Chemoji Mojo: 10 Lessons from an Engagement Campaign

By Stephanie Holland

As an integrated marketing team that drives sales, circulation, and reader engagement, lead generation is our middle name! And while this very forum, C&EN Marketing Elements, has given us a great opportunity to step away from our campaigns and share insights with our peers, those concrete looming goals and objectives from our bosses will always be about the acquisition. Don’t get me wrong, we love helping our sales team reach their targets (yes, we want you to advertise), but sometimes, the answer is as simple as engagement. Below are 10 strategies we learned when stepping away from the lead generation game, which you can leverage when working on your own engagement campaigns.

The Background: If you were following the conversation on social media or attended #ACSBoston, you may have seen our soft launch of ACS Chemoji (and if you haven’t, download here for Android and iOS).

ACS Chemoji is a sticker application designed specifically for the science community. It originated from different departments: our art director and colleagues on the ACS journals marketing team, and at the same time from one of our C&EN writers, Jessica Morrison. Great minds think alike, and a collaboration was formed! A cross-functional team from CAS, ACS Journals Marketing, and C&EN divided the work and costs, and within a week, we had over 5,000 downloads. The campaign has barely started!

Here is what we learned throughout the ACS Chemoji launch.

number1Budget Wisely.

In the Chemoji case, ROI was the warm and fuzzy feeling we got when we followed the hashtag on twitter, or saw #ACSBoston attendees fall in love with our cardboard cutouts. But because our boss is watching, do be mindful of budget. Call on colleagues in other departments, partners, and distributors to share the load, and the marketing!

number2Narrow your channels. Be strategic about which media channels are the best to drive engagement. If you don’t have budget to spend on media buys, be creative and use social media. For Chemoji, we knew that social media and word of mouth were our best friends. A simple bit.ly link has generated over 7,000 clicks, and the hashtag on twitter has been used 500 times. (Bonus, our app name and hashtag included our ACS name, giving us key branding – and additional ammunition for the success of the campaign.)

number3Crowdsource. We leveraged an internal research panel of ACS members to provide feedback on which stickers to create within the app. The benefits are two-fold: you hear directly from those who will actually use the product, and, you’re building a strong community by asking in the first place.

number4Leverage Social Influencers. Before we pushed Chemoji internally, we invited some of our favorite twitter followers to access the app first and help us get the word out.


This is another great way to reward your most loyal supporters, giving them exclusive access to content.

number5Research the Competitive Landscape. Be sure to know what you’re up against, – we’re looking at you, GE. Whether it’s providing an award to honor scientists, or a simple photo contest, be sure you’re aware of what has already been done. There may not be a need to re-invent the wheel, or you may find that your audience and community are actually quite different, and your new project would be the perfect addition to your field.

number6Details. Just because this was a fun campaign, does not mean you can approach it half-heartedly. Be sure that all design and branding elements are consistent. Messaging should be optimized by platform using a common hashtag, and have a range of social media banners and digital ad units in the correct specs. One roadblock we hit was concerning our paid social media campaign. The amount of targeting that Twitter allows for is an amazing benefit, and we quickly saw that these promotions could be delivered to phones where the app wasn’t yet available. ROI was important, but so was the user experience. We paused the campaign, and promoted a story about the app instead of the original call to action we had planned. Don’t be afraid to change something you had planned for – things happen, and you need to keep an eye out for them.

number7Test, test, test! Where your CI research leads you might also surprise you: Our developer has a number of similar apps, and when we began to read the reviews, we quickly realized we needed to be clear in our own messaging. So we developed an ACS Chemoji branded FAQ for our users, available digitally, and printed onsite at the conference. This FAQ was also important to distribute internally to ensure all of our collaborators had consistent messaging, too. One word can make all the difference, and because of this due-diligence, we successfully avoided common customer service issues.

number8Integrate. The number one question to ask yourself when building an engagement campaign? How can we integrate with other campaigns? Because ROI may not be so easily understood without a dollar amount assigned to it, integration will simply increase the stats and optics that you will have. We were able to integrate our engagement campaign into our lead gen campaign at our national meeting. We had an airbrush artist onsite to promote our Talented 12 members, so we asked him to create custom Chemoji labcoats as well. Participants could enter a raffle to win them, and thus, contributed to our lead generation goals for the event.

number9Go Beyond the Launch. Integration also helps you extend the shelf life of your campaign. Is there a quiz or poll you could use with your audience? What content can you create for your blog, or maybe it’s simply eliciting feedback from the users?

number1 number0

Measurement is still important. While it was truly rewarding to see the reaction from chemists in person at our national meeting, warm and fuzzies do not pay the bills. Be sure you can measure the impact of efforts, and define your KPIs and goals ahead of your launch as much as possible. This can be by tracking the hashtag or social media postings, reviewing impression and CTR on banner ads, or in our app’s case, tracking usage through our developer’s analytics. Our Happy Chemist chemoji sticker is, naturally, leading the shares.

ACS Chemoji Stats

Do you have ideas for another chemoji sticker? Tell us in the comments below and you may just see it in our extension pack!

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