Society for ScienceBreaking New Digital Ground with a Virtual Global Event for Science Fans

An aerial view of urban park featuring a skyline, lake and many people picnicking

Hosted by nonprofit Society for Science, the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the world's oldest STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math) competition. In 2021, Regeneron ISEF pivoted to a virtual format. Social Driver created a multichannel digital advertising campaign that engaged the broader scientific community, generating over 8 million impressions and reaching more than 150,000 young people around the world.

Challenge

Inspiring Innovation with a High-Stakes Virtual Event

The Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) is the world's oldest STEM (science, engineering, technology, and math) competition. Every year, about 2,000 students from as many as 80 countries gather to display their original research projects and compete for as much as $4 million in awards. Hosted by the Society for Science, Regeneron ISEF inspires world-changing innovation and builds an impressive talent pipeline.

In 2021, Regeneron ISEF pivoted to a virtual format, a unique challenge for a competition of this scale. This was a high-stakes moment for the Society for Science. Since they could invite people who usually couldn’t attend the event in person, they wanted to reach a bigger audience than ever, including high school students, educators, and STEM professionals from around the world.

Social Driver partnered with Society for Science to create a multichannel digital advertising campaign that would engage the broader scientific community, drive attendance and spark excitement throughout the entire event.

Solution

Engaging the Next Generation of Young Scientists

Social Driver has supported many high-profile, youth-focused and scientific events to drive excitement and attendance in person and online. This was the client’s first partnership with a creative agency, and we succeeded through hands-on project management and proactive communication. Our expertise in digital and creative strategies helped make Regeneron ISEF 2021 a success and created a roadmap for future Society for Science programs.

Our team conducted in-depth research to identify preferred platforms for Generation Z students and STEM professionals and tailor a segmented channel strategy for each audience. We developed a full suite of creative assets, with visuals and messaging that appeal to each segment. Social Driver’s creative and social experts worked in lockstep to ground every asset in audience insights.

We drove initial event registration through web traffic and social ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Sustaining momentum throughout an event is a key challenge of hosting a digital competition. We created an engagement ad campaign that reminded people to tune into Regeneron ISEF and sparked ongoing buzz across the multi-day lineup of events, exhibits, college fairs, and even an international dance party.

These campaigns boosted the client’s organic efforts by reaching a brand-new pool of science enthusiasts around the world.

How We Helped

Advertising
Digital Strategy
Video and Animation
Digital Campaign Development
Social Media Creative

Reaching Generation Z STEM Students with Vibrant Visuals

The Society for Science’s in-house design team needed a deeper bench to develop ad graphics for Regeneron ISEF. Social Driver created a full suite of assets, including eye-catching stills, animated GIFs, and channel “reskins.”

Our creative team married a vivid, saturated watercolor aesthetic with screen-based imagery to reinforce the virtual nature of the event. These assets tapped into the visual preferences of our Generation Z audience, with bright, bold colors, energetic movement, and minimalistic design features.

Inviting STEM Professionals to the Table

Since Regeneron ISEF 2021 was a virtual event, communicating accessibility was key to reaching the broader scientific community. Our ads featured imagery of people working at their desks to show STEM professionals they belonged at the event--and could easily attend when it worked for their schedules.

Driving Engagement with a Targeted Strategy

As part of our integrated approach, our team also gave Society for Science a playbook for organic campaigns, including hashtag analysis, community management, partner activation, and email campaigns. These targeted recommendations gave the Society for Science the tools and insights to stretch their marketing budget even further.

Results

8 million+
impressions
200,000+
sessions on the event website (nearly 10 times more than the previous year)
11,000
registered users, with even more non-registered users

Connecting with a Diverse Audience of Science Lovers

At Social Driver, we use the Three Dimensions of Digital Strategy framework to measure success according to what people see, say, and do. On those fronts, the Regeneron ISEF campaign was a major success. Our strategies drove attendance for streaming events, captured leads through registrations, and sparked engagement with post-event content.

The client said our campaign drove “a huge increase in reach and awareness,” with the vast majority of the event’s website traffic coming from our Twitter and Facebook ads. The campaign reached a much larger audience than the Society for Science expected, connecting the nonprofit with a diverse, global contingent of science fans.

The Society for Science partnered with Social Driver to promote Regeneron ISEF 2021 with absolutely fantastic results. Their professionalism, expertise, and collegiality made the high-pressure project a pleasure. We learned a lot from working with them. Their creative captured the energy and passion of our young scientists. And the campaign helped us build an audience of more than 150,000 across more than 100 countries for this incredible, inspiring event.

kathlene collins
cheif marketing officer,
society for science
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