Competitor Digital Snapshot Report™ Ocean Conservation
This report is a competitive digital analysis of 5 brands in the global ocean conservation space.
We’ll highlight key metrics for each competitor across the digital landscape, then make a comparison to determine which brands are winning and lagging in each area.
Once the winners are determined, we’ll dig into specifics on why they’re winning. This will help us surface actionable insights.
Finally, we’ll highlight suggestions of further research that RightMetric could provide to uncover more specific opportunities to fuel digital growth for your brand.
Key Takeaways: Recommended Actions
In this section we summarize the most important key takeaways and actionable recommendations from the Competitor Snapshot Report™.
Ocean conservation brands focus on targeting youth while sailing race brands target an older audience.
(i) Find your place with GenZs. There’s space to be the sailing race brand for women 18-24 years old.
(ii) Connect with this group by producing native content and creative messaging that resonates with their interests, including memes, cultural references, and an irreverent tone.
Top ad spends by Patagonia, Oceana, and The Ocean Race occurred over the winter holiday season (November to December).
(i) Collaborate with brand sponsors to create merch for the holiday season like how The Ocean Race did with Helly Hansen to garner more funds for ocean conservation initiatives.
(ii) Leverage holiday promotional periods when audiences are more engaged online to showcase your sailing event to more people.
Patagonia spent the most on digital ads at $14M followed by SailGP ($1.1M), Oceana ($957K), and The Ocean Race ($882K).
(i) Explore less conventional platforms like Snapchat for advertising. Patagonia allocated 60% of its ad budget here.
(ii) Use creative elements like an eye-catching plushie in your ads, like Oceana did with their shark plushie.
(iii) Partner with popular figures from various fields, like how SailGP collaborated with athletes surfing athlete, Jamie O’Brien.
Patagonia spent significantly more on paid search ($10.9M), while the rest of the competitive set spent an average of $150K, indicating a white space opportunity.
(i) Allocate more ad spend to paid search; there is little competition in this space.
(ii) Utilize ocean animal and ocean plastic conservation keywords to attract new audiences from the ocean conservation space.
With the exception of Patagonia, all brands have not generated significant traffic from referrals and email marketing, indicating an untapped opportunity in this medium
(i) Identify and collaborate with influential websites and forums in the ocean conservation community to increase referrals.
(ii) Offer incentives like exclusive content or partner with your brand sponsors to provide discounts to gain email subscribers.
The Ocean Race saw the most significant growth of organic traffic of +1500% YoY.
(i) 24% of The Ocean Race's organic search traffic comes from their race tracker. Consider developing a web page dedicated to providing current information on your sailing team's race results.
(ii) Create SEO educational blog posts like how Oceana does by sharing interesting facts about marine animals to strengthen audience compassion for the climate crisis and ocean health.
The Ocean Cleanup and SailGP have seen great success on TikTok, reaping 289M and 182M views respectively, in the past two years.
(i) Take advantage of the low competition on TikTok and begin repurposing content that has been successful on other platforms.
(ii) Partner with popular TikTok creators who are connected to the ocean conservation niche for promoting environmentalism and sailing events.
(iii) Combine emotional storytelling with educational content. Oceana shares fun facts about sea creatures along with an emotional narrative, and adds a call-to-action to donate at the end of the video.
When analyzing competitor traffic, we look for growth spikes.
Once we detect a brand significantly outpacing competitors’ growth, that’s our clue to dig into all that brand’s digital activities to determine which strategies and tactics fuelled the growth. Then distill that into repeatable learnings for you to apply to your brand.
Patagonia leads in traffic volume while The Ocean Race is the only brand seeing significant growth.
Patagonia is the clear winner from this competitive set in terms of traffic volume, with 93M visits in the past 12 months. However, The Ocean Race saw the largest growth. They’ve grown traffic by +2165% over the past twelve months, increasing from 608K to 14M yearly visits. For context, the average growth for the other competitors is -3% in the same period.
Oceana follows with the third-highest traffic at 6M visits in the past 12 months.
Target audiences that live in the cities that a sailing route passes to boost traffic from audiences living across the globe.
Patagonia’s highest search volume was during November to January, which correlates with holiday spending seasons. The Ocean Race saw the most traffic from January to June over the past year. This correlates to their race on the IMOCA Route which ran during the same period.
When analyzing advertising data, we look at absolute spend volumes to identify winners. Then, we narrow down to each brand and examine spikes in advertising spend and social traffic.
Once we identify which brands are investing significantly in advertising, we look at which platforms they are focusing their efforts on and the top-performing creatives on each platform. Analyzing top-performing creatives allow us to extract effective advertising tactics that are being utilized by your competitors.
Prioritize Display, Instagram and Facebook, but experiment with Snapchat, YouTube, and TikTok.
From November 2021 to October 2023, Patagonia spent the most at $14M.
SailGP, Oceana, and The Ocean Race follow each other closely at $1.1M, $957K, and $882K, respectively. The Ocean Cleanup did not invest in digital advertising in the past two years.
Patagonia allocated 60% of its budget to Snapchat over the past two years.
SailGP prioritized Facebook (38%) & Instagram (39%).
Oceana focused on Facebook (60%) and Display (32%).
The Ocean Race focused solely on display.
Experiment with an approach like Patagonia. They explore less conventional platforms like Snapchat, instead of focusing spend on just traditional platforms.
Leverage holiday promotional periods when audiences are more engaged online to showcase your sailing event to more people.
Patagonia, Oceana, and The Ocean Race prioritize their top ad spends over the holidays (November to December). SailGP experiences a stable ad spend throughout the year, seeing peaks during April & May (2022 & 2023), which correlates with their announcements of their yearly sailing schedule.
Identify what your audience is spending their free time doing outside the winter holiday season and consider starting a campaign to fill in the whitespace period where competitors are not spending as much on advertising (January to October).
Tap into the retro trend of camcorder filming.
Patagonia ran this $257K ad that captures the essence of retro videography, complete with grainy visuals and camera flickers, reminiscent of old-school camcorder footage.
Spend $257K | Impressions 17M | CPM $15.1
Make ads feel more organic and homemade by embracing the current trend of imparting a retro ambiance to your visual media.
Guide your audience through the most exhilarating moments of outdoor expeditions.
Patagonia’s $207K ad does this by focusing on the intense experiences of athletes during their adventures. This approach not only aligns the brand with the thrill of outdoor activities but also positions Patagonia as an essential choice for athletes seeking to embark on such adventures.
Spend $207K | Impressions 13.8M | CPM $15
Help audiences make an impact.
Oceana spent $81K on this ad that urges viewers to sign a pledge aimed at reducing plastic waste in the oceans.
Spend $81K | Impressions 12.7M | CPM $6.4
Inform your audience about ocean conservation & empower them to make a difference. Actions like signing pledges offer a straightforward way for individuals to contribute to environmental preservation efforts.
Attract attention through eye-catching products.
Oceana’s ad invites viewers to 'adopt a shark today' with an image of a shark plushie that moves around, cleverly leading to a landing page where purchases contribute to ocean animal conservation.
Put the fun in fundraising by adding an enjoyable element to the process, like how Oceana offers a plushie in exchange for donations.
Cleverly entice fans to buy race tickets.
SailGP invested $43K in this ad to promote their Sail Grand Prix race in Bermuda, cleverly using the tagline 'your excuse to go to Bermuda' to entice fans into combining the thrill of the race with the allure of a vacation.
Spend $43K | Impressions 2.4M | CPM $18
Use location-based targeting to sell race tickets: emphasize local convenience for nearby fans and package remote races as vacation opportunities, adding extra appeal for distant events.
Partner with athletes outside of sailing.
SailGP’s $40K campaign showcases a vlog featuring RedBull athlete and big wave surfer Jamie O’Brien experiencing sailing with the SailGP team.
Spend $40K | Impressions 2.2M| CPM $18
Increase your audience reach by collaborating with athletes from different sports and featuring their experiences in your advertising. This approach can attract fans from various sports and expand interest in your events.
Boost interest in upcoming races with inspiring taglines.
The Ocean Race’s $274K display ad on Time.com, featuring the motivational phrase 'why push boundaries when you can fly above them', effectively resonates with the aspirational tone of the platform.
Customize your display ads to suit the interests and writing style of the audience on the chosen website.
Motivate viewers to support ocean conservation efforts.
The Ocean Race collaborated with Time Magazine to urge viewers to sign a global petition advocating for ocean rights.
Collaborate with prominent organizations to extend your reach and amplify the impact of campaigns aimed at encouraging viewers to sign significant petitions.
Paid Search Spend
There’s an opportunity to compete on Paid Search. Patagonia is the only competitor spending significantly.
Patagonia is spending the most on paid search, with a total spend of $10.9M in the past 2 years.
The Ocean Cleanup is spending $87K. Oceana and SailGP spend $51K and $12K respectively, while The Ocean Race does not invest in this platform.
Paid Search Traffic
Patagonia’s search strategy translated into 7.3M in Paid Search traffic, maintaining them as a leader in this department.
While it seems like Oceana has a stronger strategy than SailGP, they spent 76% more than SailGP but generated the same amount of traffic (7.5K).
Oceana spent $51K on Paid Search traffic, roughly $14.7 CPC, while SailGP spent $12K in Paid Search traffic, roughly $6.2 CPC.
Paid Search Spend
Utilize keywords about ocean animals and ocean plastic conservation in your Paid Search strategy.
Keywords featuring inquiries about ocean animals, ocean conservation, and branded sailing race searches are seeing an average of 214K searches per month in globally.
*Patagonia was not considered for identifying top keywords due to their paid keyword mismatch with the sailing audience.
Paid Search Creatives: The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup’s paid search strategy is educational and awareness-focused.
Top paid search ads for The Ocean Cleanup used the following tactics:
- Provides alarming statistics to capture attention.
- Clearly states the organization's goal (removing 90% of plastics).
- Highlights the company’s technological solutions.
Top performing search ads feature a non-branded keyword strategy.
Landing pages for these ads directed to blog posts with visuals and data to educate the audience.
Paid Search Creatives: Oceana
Oceana clearly explains the impact of a donation with Paid Search by:
- Highlighting stories of sea otter conservation success.
- Making the adoption process simple and straightforward.
- Including testimonials or stories of how adoptions have made a difference.
- Providing detailed information on how donations contribute to habitat preservation.
Paid Search Creatives: SailGP
SailGP’s paid search strategy is focused on promoting their racing events.
Top paid search ads for SailGP used the following tactics:
- Creates a sense of urgency with "Limited tickets".
- Directs attention to specific dates for planning trips.
- Highlights the excitement of the event ("world's most exciting racing on water").
Top performing search ads feature a branded & non-branded keyword strategy.
Landing pages for these ads use engaging visuals from past events to showcase the excitement.
Analyze competitor referral traffic to identify the key drivers behind their visits and uncover potential opportunities.
Identify the press and media entities that have the most influence over your target audience, and pinpoint the optimal websites for affiliate marketing partnerships and display ad placements.
Optimize referrals and make them part of your strategy, competitors are not focusing here as much.
Referrals account for just 3% of the total marketing traffic for the competitive set. Patagonia stands out, drawing 4.8 million visits from November 2021 to October 2023, while the rest of the competitive set generated on average 214K visits.
Advertise on sailing forums and websites selling water sports gear to effectively reach sailing enthusiasts.
Position yourself in front of forum users that are likely enthusiasts or professionals in sailing, providing a targeted audience.
- Engage in community discussions to build brand awareness.
- Share expert insights or sponsor forum sections relevant to sailing.
- Sponsor or contribute to podcasts and articles.
- Advertise in classifieds or collaborate on featured content.
As we dissect organic search data, we keep an eye on spikes in competitor traffic and keyword trends.
When a brand outperforms others in organic search, we delve into its best-performing web pages to understand what captivates the audience. By identifying the most impactful keywords, we can decode prevailing content themes and formats, leading us to web content opportunities that truly resonate with the audience.
Patagonia is leading the pack in Organic Search traffic.
SailGP and The Ocean Race are the only brands seeing growth in Organic Search. The Ocean Race saw the most significant growth of +1500% YoY.
The remaining brands are all seeing decreasing organic traffic YoY, with The Ocean Cleanup and Patagonia experiencing the most decrease in traffic at -13% and -12%, respectively.
*Total Organic Traffic (Global): Nov. 2021 - Oct. 2022 vs. Nov. 2022 - Oct. 2023
Organic Traffic Growth
Oceana focuses on using non-branded keywords to attract new audiences with their educational blog posts.
Oceana’s organic search traffic mostly comes from non-branded keywords. A few keywords they have ranked for include:
Oceana creates blog posts about marine animals like the dumbo octopus to attract new audiences interested in ocean conservation.
Consider creating SEO educational blog posts that shares knowledge to the audience about the climate crisis, ocean health, and sustainability.
Organic Traffic Growth
Enhance SEO by focusing on branded keywords and developing a dedicated webpage for real-time race tracking and team results.
The Ocean Race’s organic search traffic all comes from branded keywords. A few keywords they have ranked for include:
24% of The Ocean Race's organic search traffic comes from their race tracker, which displays the real-time geolocation and results of each sailing team.
Consider developing a web page dedicated to providing current information on your sailing team's race results.
Analyzing competitors' social metrics reveals untapped platforms with high audience engagement and minimal competition.
It helps identify the platforms that drive web traffic and indicates where to focus your social strategy for maximum reach, engagement, and follower growth. By benchmarking competitors' social media efforts and performance across platforms, you can identify top-performing areas and gain insights to enhance your own social strategy.
Organic social is a prominent channel in the ocean conservation space.
All brands have a significant social following that is concentrated mainly on traditional social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Patagonia has the largest following at 8.2M and The Ocean Cleanup comes in second at 6.3M followers.
The Ocean Cleanup has garnered the most followers on TikTok, making up 32% of their total followers across all platforms.
Get active on TikTok.
The Ocean Cleanup and SailGP are the only brands that are harnessing the power of this platform.
The Ocean Cleanup saw a 82% YoY growth from November 2021 to October 2023, primarily driven by their presence on TikTok and Instagram.
The Ocean Cleanup saw a spike in total follower growth in August 2023(+995K new followers). Their Instagram saw the largest growth of 683K new followers, thanks to two viral videos that received 52M and 40M views.
The Ocean Cleanup's viral videos are successful because they quickly show the most satisfying part: removing trash from the ocean.
Use this approach for sailing races – highlight the race's thrilling moments and show how they help ocean conservation.
Patagonia saw the most growth with 226K new followers YoY.
Patagonia (+226K new followers) and Oceana (+78K new followers) experienced two major growth months on Instagram in September 2022 and June 2022, respectively.
Patagonia’s posted its founder, Yvon Chouinard’s letter announcing Patagonia's new ownership model, which involves transferring all voting stock to protect company values. Oceana did a series of informative posts sharing fun facts about sea animals such as the Barracuda fish.
Communicate your brand's contributions to ocean conservation annually by highlighting:
- fundraising figures
- actions taken
- engaging statistics
- posts featuring key company figures or sailing athletes.
Develop educational series about the marine species your brand aids in protecting.
Keep your social media as a top of funnel awareness strategy.
All brands see less than 4% of website traffic come from socials, with the exception of The Ocean Cleanup who saw 13%, on average. Most brands are not seeing social media as a top driver directly to site but rather a way to get people thinking about their products.
Reddit, YouTube and LinkedIn are top drivers of traffic to web pages. YouTube & LinkedIn traffic can be attributed to digital ads and consistent posts by Patagonia and The Ocean Cleanup. Reddit traffic comes from Patagonia’s active Reddit forum.
A social media approach for the ocean conservation industry should focus more on frequency and getting prospects to see your brand often, so that it’s top of mind.
Capitalize on the relatively low competition on TikTok to enhance your brand's visibility.
The Ocean Cleanup (289M views) and SailGP (182M views) have already seen great success on TikTok, showing how effective it can be for engaging audiences.
Their success on TikTok, indicated by high video view counts, shows that TikTok is a potent platform for gaining attention.
Partner with popular TikTok creators who are connected to the ocean conservation niche to promote environmentalism and sailing events.
Ensure the content feels natural and authentic, in line with what the TikTok audience prefers, rather than making it seem like a traditional ad.
*Video views from November 2021 - October 2023
Content & Messaging
By analyzing the competitors' content, we can discover unique content opportunities, pinpoint successful production elements and techniques for replication, and identify underperforming themes to sidestep.
This will guide an effective content strategy for the ocean conservation audience.
Top Performing Social Content
Create fast-paced time lapse videos.
The Ocean Cleanup’s videos convey the magnitude of ocean pollution, while also highlighting the results of cleanup efforts. By compressing hours of work into a few minutes, these time lapses offer a visually impactful and easy-to-digest format to viewers.
Combine emotional storytelling with educational content.
Oceana’s has been posting videos with fun facts about sea creatures, along with a narrative that connects viewers emotionally to the subject, and adding a call-to-action to donate to the cause.
Top Performing Social Content
Showcase the most thrilling and memorable moments from sailing races.
Sail GP engages viewers by showcasing the skill, speed, and drama of the races in race highlight compilations.
Capture the unpredictability of sailing races.
The Ocean Race captures the dramatic and high-intensity moments during races. This includes close-ups of crashes, reactions of crew members, and the challenging conditions faced.
When analyzing email marketing, we look for growth spikes in email list size, email traffic and send volumes.
Once we detect a brand significantly outpacing competitors’ growth, that’s our clue to dig into all that brand’s email campaigns to determine which strategies and tactics fuelled the growth. Areas we analyze include optimal send times, top-performing creatives, subject line tactics, traffic generation, and landing pages.
Leverage email marketing, it is an untapped space amongst the competitive set.
The Ocean Cleanup, Oceana, and SailGP have not been able to generate any significant traffic to their sites from email marketing. While The Ocean Race may have seen minimal traffic from emails between January 2023 to June 2023, it has not been able to sustain traffic to their sites.
Other than Patagonia, brands are not prioritizing email as a communication strategy with their audience base.
Incentivize ocean conservation fans to follow your email list by:
(i) Offering freebies, such as exclusive content to new subscribers.
(ii) Pledging to make a donation to ocean conservation efforts for each new email sign-up, this aligns with both the interests of outdoor sport fans and environmentalists.
When looking at demographics, we analyze site visitors and social media followers.
We analyze the demographics of all brands in the competitive set to determine the average audience demographics and identify any anomalies in the data. This helps us to identify if any brand is attracting an audience that is not being captured by others.
Website Demo (Age)
Ocean conservation brands focus on targeting youth while sailing race brands target an older audience.
The competitive set's biggest focus is the 25-34 year old audience.
The Ocean Cleanup and Oceana has the highest share of the 18-34 year old young adult audience, while SailGP and The Ocean Race captured predominantly older people, from 45-64 years old.
Website Demo (Gender)
Find your place with GenZs. There’s space to be the sailing race brand for women 18-24 years old.
SailGP and The Ocean Race currently attract a predominantly male and older audience, leaving an opportunity to engage with a younger demographic. Connect with this group by producing organic-looking content and creative messaging that resonates with their interests, including memes, cultural references, and an irreverent tone.
When looking at geographics, we analyze site visitors.
We analyze which regions are generating the highest volumes of site traffic for each brand in the competitive set, and see if there is any growth in certain markets. Combining geographics with demographic data allows us to create a robust audience profile for the competitive set.
Focus on building a presence in the United States but explore Europe by marketing in countries like the UK.
The United States represents 57% of incoming traffic for competitors, where Patagonia has the top presence (94.5%).
The United Kingdom follows with 7% of incoming traffic.
Patagonia dominates in all top 5 markets compared to competitors but in Germany The Ocean Race takes up a significant competitive space, holding 48% of traffic share.
Website Geographics (Excluding Patagonia)
Consider building a presence in Germany while maintaining focus on the United States.
Germany represents 26% of incoming traffic for competitors, where The Ocean Race has the top presence (93%). Consider promoting your sailing events during Kiel Week, Germany’s largest sailing event.
The United States follows with 15% of incoming traffic, which is leveraged by Oceana and The Ocean Race.
The Ocean Race dominates in Germany, France, and Slovakia compared to competitors but the United States and The United Kingdom is a space where competitors hold a more balanced traffic share.
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