USAID launches new phase of highly successful online Digital Deterrence Campaign in Thailand

The outbreak of COVID-19 has accelerated the trend of trafficking and sale of illegal wildlife products through online markets.  On August 19, the Digital Deterrence campaign to deter potential online purchase of illegal ivory and tiger products was relaunched in Thailand by USAID Reducing Demand for Wildlife and the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation on Google.  The campaign, which was started under USAID Wildlife Asia and significantly reduced intention to buy ivory and tiger products, aims to increase the sense of personal risk, and decrease the sense of anonymity of online searchers. The campaign targets individuals based on sensitive key words that denote possible interest in purchase of ivory and tiger products.  When the searcher uses any of these key words, one of three ads are served.  Clicking on the ads leads to a landing page sponsored by the DNP warning against online trade in illegal wildlife.  This relaunched campaign is expected to be viewed around 300,000 times in three months. Innovations like digital marketing that precisely targets audiences based on their online behaviors, are effective in helping halt the rapidly growing online trade in illegal wildlife products, decrease purchase and consumption, and protect endangered species.