When Digital and Social Impact Join Forces: Pictition.com

When Digital and Social Impact Join Forces: Pictition.com

We’ve all read about the lack of privacy on the internet, especially in regards to social media. But we won’t be disconnecting from the web anytime soon — and with the right approach, we might be able to use its less-than-private nature to do good.

That’s exactly what Pictition.com has set out to do. Pictition.com is a platform that allows users to sign a petition in just a few clicks with their Facebook profile picture. Angela Riley, a strategist and founding member at Pictition.com sat down to talk to us about the features and impact of this new and exciting digital tool.

How does Pictition.com work?

Pictition.com offers organizations and individuals a new way to promote a cause that needs support. The Pictition.com team does it all for their customers, from showing them how to use the tool to creating content for their Pictition, making sure it’s compelling, to getting the most people possible to sign it. After setting up a Pictition, the customer promotes it on social media (typical budget to promote a campaign on Facebook for 30 days is around $2,000), petitioners sign it with a picture, they add an optional comment, and their picture and comments become part of the digital Pictition mosaic.

Pictition Blog Post Picture

Customers track all of this through Pictition’s very own Campaign Management Tool, “where they can see all the people who have signed the Pictition and their information as well as the platform through which they signed it.” This list can then be uploaded into the customer’s CRM system to reach out to these people directly. That’s on top of the other analytics reports the customer can generate within the Campaign Management Tool regarding the performance of their campaign such as Sign and Share rates and virality net-new signs-from-shares.

Pictitions can also be in the form of Pictition Embed, a digital mosaic of faces that can live on the customer’s site, or digital signage, printed media and even in a printed Book of Faces.

Pictition media outlets

Worried about legal implications? Don’t.

“Because petitioners sign with their Facebook identity, they authorize the Facebook API to give us their information. Petitioners have already agreed to Facebook’s privacy terms, so thecustomer isn’t infringing their privacy,” said Riley.

What’s the typical lifecycle of a Pictition?

“The lifecycle of a Pictition really depends on what the customer wants to accomplish. Some people may want to use their Pictition Mosaic to in advocacy actions with Congress or the Senate; others may need it to support an ongoing awareness campaign, or build a customer email list, and so on.”

During a Pictition campaign, the customer collects all the supporter info and performance metrics in their online Campaign Management Tool. Because Pictitions are so hyper-visual, customers can use the pictures and comments they have collected to create videos and presentations.

What’s an example of a Pictition success story?

USA for UNCHR (the UN Refugee Agency) is one of Pictition’s nonprofit customers. USA for UNCHR wanted to gather support from U.S. citizens for UNHCR’s global campaign: #withrefugees. The petition was delivered on September 19th to the UN General Assembly in a high-level summit to address large movements of refugees and migrants.

“When we started working with USA for UNHCR,” said Riley, “they were running a campaign on Facebook asking U.S. citizens to stand #WithRefugees. Petitioners would click on the ad and be directed to the custom-designed landing page where they would read a mission statement and fill in an online petition. That’s a typical petition process. Through this system, USA for UNHCR was getting about 20% of people who saw the ad to click on it and sign.”

When they set up a Pictition for #WithRefugees, the sign rate jumped to an average of about 45%. After seeing such great results, USA for UNHCR decided to direct all oftheir advertising to their Pictition.com landing page. But Pictition didn’t stop there.

“The next step is working on how to use this support for powerful outputs,” continued Riley. The Pictition team is producing a book of faces and comments of the people who have signed, “which is a beautiful and impactful artifact because it showcases the power of the people.” On top of that, “targets in the white house, U.S. Senate and so on have never seen anything like this. It has the potential to be a game-changer and grab attention.”

How is Pictition.com different from online petitions?

For both the petitioner and the customer, a Pictition is different because it’s visual and frictionless. The petitioner gets a personalized version of the Pictition they can share in just a few clicks, and the customer instantly gets images, comments, and information they can use to support their cause and measure the impact of their campaign. Not to mention the emotional component. Once petitioners have signed, their face becomes part of a community that they can see is standing with them in supporting this cause, and they can comment as well. When you sign a regular online petition, not only do you not get all these visual benefits, you still have to type your name, your email, and your zip code at a minimum and you are doing all that on a smartphone.

Angela Riley continued sharing impressive numbers. “The share rate of people after they sign a Pictition is regularly between 50% and 60%. That’s remarkable especially when you think that each share can influence others to sign it as well.” And they do, since “of those shares, up to 15% converts into additional signatures. That’s 15% ofextra signatures that the customer gets for free because didn’t have to undergo any direct promoting efforts to get them.”

Why are people responding well to this tool, despite their possible privacy concerns?

“Our digital behavior on social media and mobile is so natural to us yet it’s unnatural in our physical world. The main thing we do on social and mobile is sharing, sometimes fairly personal things, with our network and the world.” The reason why Pictition has a potential to be successful is that it has been designed to live within this behavioral norm. “So if I’m on my Facebook timeline and I am fed an ad from UCHNR that prompts me to support refugees, I will click on it because I believe in the cause and that’s the first thing I think about. Of course, like I said before, the lack of friction of the process is another thing that prompts people to participate. It takes just a few clicks to sign the Pictition and I get a shareable image that I can post back on Facebook to tell my community of friends that I support the cause.”

After talking to Angela Riley, we decided to dive deeper into why it is exactly that people share online so freely. We found some answers in a New York Times Insights report, “The Psychology of Sharing.” We have summarized their main findings below.

So… why do people share online?

1. To better process information. Remember when we were in school and we thought that taking notes on paper would help us remember the concepts better (which turns out to actually be true, by the way)? Well, our train of thought is similar when it comes to sharing on social media:

  • 85% say reading other people’s responses helps them understand and process information and events;
  • 73% say they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it.

2. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others. We are not born with all the knowledge in the world. We need other people to expand our knowledge. When we share and read other people’s thoughts we can influence others and learn about things we would not have been able to know about otherwise. Angel Haze, a rapper and singer, is the perfect example of that. She was born in a cult and she wasn’t allowed to listen to music. At all. However, when she eventually moved to Brooklyn, she became exposed to secular music because a friend shared a rap song with her during her lunch break at school. That’s how she found her calling in music and now her life revolves around it. This would have never happened if she hadn’t talked with someone outside of her cult circle and if that somebody hadn’t shared something with her.

  • 49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action.

3. To define ourselves. The whole fashion industry was built around the concept of self-fulfillment and self-identification. “Style is a way to show who you are without having to speak,” once said designer Rachel Zoe. We “dress to impress,” to show our personality. In the digital world, where people can’t exactly see us, what we share defines who we are.

  • 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about.

4. To grow and nourish our relationships. This is where the role of Pictition.com becomes especially relevant and clear. Most of our friends are so because we have something in common. We may have met them in college because we were taking a class together or at a concert of an artist we both liked. Add to that the fact that humans are social animals and you’ve got your answer. If we want to make more friends, what better way than share what we love online for other people to see and talk to us about?

  • 73% share information because it helps them connect with others who share their interests.

5. For self-fulfillment purposes. Psychiatrist of the likes of Kurt Goldstein and Abraham Maslow have studied and proven that men feel the most complete, happy and fulfilled when they feel like they are part of something. Being part of something gives us purpose. Thanks to digital and social media, it is now more accessible for everybody, regardless of geographical location, looks or social status to be a part of something together. That’s why celebrity endorsements are so important for social campaigns. If I’m an Alicia Keys fan and she supports the fight against HIV/AIDS, I will want to learn more about it. If I can fight for it with her by singing a petition just like she would do, that’s even better.

  • 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world.



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Carolina is a progressive strategic thinker and sports, art, literature, and music enthusiast with skills in business administration as well as design. She mixes business and design in all of her projects, because she considers design a perfect tool to guide business thinking and represent a project's outcome.