Benefitting Science with Social Media Advertising

Over the years, Design & Data has helped science organisations improve the organic visibility of their content through targeted social media and online marketing.


Every year, Design & Data collaborates with scientific organisations that publish high-level reports and research findings, seeking exposure and outreach for wider audiences. These organisations aim to underline their authority as centres of excellence in their given domains and connect with new target groups, such as policy makers, the media, and the interested general public, to explore future research and collaboration opportunities. To help these organisations improve their audience awareness and annual viewership, Design & Data looked into how we could increase the organic visibility of specific scientific content by leveraging online and social media advertising campaigns, especially advertising options that could work with smaller budgets.

Idea, solution

We developed a campaign method using advertisement platforms such as Google Ads. With these platforms, we strategically placed the information our clients wanted to communicate into relevant publications. We used a targeted approach based on who the intended audience was (e.g., policymakers) and where they were based (geolocation) to generate interest and media attention. Booking directly with notable publications to guarantee a minimum number of impressions can be expensive. However, our approach of geotargeting specific audiences and potential readers helped our ads be picked up by notable publications for a lower cost, resulting in similar visibility and audience outreach. We also created a UTM tracking link for each ad we developed so that we could individually track the ad’s performance in Google Analytics. This allowed us to refine the advertising campaign as it went along by bidding on preferred publications and eliminating publications where the ads did not perform as well or were not relevant in terms of target audience.


Various layers of advertising can be combined to increase campaign impact and visibility. By using online and social media advertising, such as Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook Ads, we can help our clients increase the organic visibility of their scientific content within pre-determined target audiences, such as what we did for the 2021 European State of the Climate Report for ECMWF and the Copernicus Ocean State Report for Mercator Ocean International for 2020, 2021, and 2022. While larger budgets will naturally result in more campaign visibility, the added toolkit of Google and social media advertising has many benefits for scientific organisations, helping them generate increase interest for their research, achieve recognition in high-level publications, and ensure their content’s success for future funding.  

Social media campaign produced for publication on the Mercator Ocean International Twitter page.


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Team leader: Sebastian