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Defence Forces go online to drum up new recruits

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Defence Forces on exercises in the Glen of Imaal

Defence Forces on exercises in the Glen of Imaal

Defence Forces on exercises in the Glen of Imaal

Snapchat and TikTok are proving a big hit for the Irish Defence Forces in getting new recruits to sign up.

Advertising campaigns describe how the messaging and social media networks delivered the best bang for the buck in a military marketing blitz last autumn.

Details of a nearly €26,000 campaign from September to October show how the Defence Forces recorded 10.8 million impressions on social media and more than 37,000 link clicks.

A later analysis of the platforms used showed Snapchat was the cheapest to reach 1,000 people at €1.37, followed by TikTok at €1.52.

The Defence Forces said Snapchat should be a focus for future campaigns after yielding a “cheap CPM [cost per thousand impressions]” and more than 16,000 swipe-ups.

Use of TikTok was also successful, with a creative campaign on joining the Army proving effective and hoovering 70pc of the total impressions delivered on the video platform.

Although Instagram and Facebook were a little more expensive for reaching audiences, the Defence Forces said they had been useful for reaching female audiences — a key aim of the campaigns.

Internal analysis of the campaign showed that “due to the gender split on Facebook/Instagram in terms of impressions and link clicks, we would recommend continuing to utilise this audience”.

Records released under Freedom of Information also detail how a Spotify campaign in February last year had proved a hit, with more than one million impressions. This was ahead of the targets set.

Analysis said it had been a “strong campaign” and that men had been more likely to engage.

A separate strand of that campaign on Facebook showed 72pc of the traffic through to the recruitment website was coming from that social media platform.

It said Dublin had generated the “lion’s share” of link clicks, followed by Cork and Kildare.

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The look-back analysis said the volume of clicks had decreased as time progressed and the Defence Forces should look at trying to “stagger” creative parts of their campaign in the future to avoid this falling off.

Details from a campaign last July illustrate how a campaign on Snapchat had delivered almost the same number of impressions as advertising on Facebook and Twitter, at a fifth of the cost.

The Snapchat campaign had yielded just under six million impressions, with the Defence Forces spending €5,947 on that strand of the campaign.

A spend of €31,999 on Facebook and Instagram had led to just over six million impressions, but it did have a more than double “reach”, according to the data.

The analysis also showed that while 54pc of the people who were seeing the adverts on Facebook and Instagram were female, the majority of clicks — also 54pc — were coming from men.

A campaign summary said there was around a 68-32 split between males and females engaging with recruitment adverts and that 29pc of clicks came from people aged from 18 to 24.

The day of the week that appeared to generate most interest was Wednesday, closely followed by Tuesday and Thursday.

People interested in joining the military were also most likely to be looking for information from 9pm to 11pm, analysis showed.

The Defence Forces said targets had been met in both 2020 and 2021 despite Covid restrictions, with more than 880 recruit inductions.

A statement said they were happy with how social media advertising was working and that they had also actively used their own social media channels.

A spokesperson said: “The Defence Forces recruitment office will continue to use social media platforms to communicate the benefits of a career with us as well as the life skills and values achieved through a soldier’s, sailor’s or air person’s service.

“We encourage potential applicants, career guidance counsellors and teachers to follow our recruitment accounts for information on current and upcoming recruitment opportunities.”


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