As we were looking into what changes might affect the ministry in the coming years, we saw a story how the iPhone was introduced 12 years ago. Although mobile phones were growing in popularity at that time, they were still primarily a device for making phone calls. The idea that our phone would become something we are never without, and look at for hours each day, was a long way off. But as we all know, things change quickly.
Need Him Global has worked hard to understand changing technology trends. In the last few years, we have done campaigns on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Google. Our goal is to always test new concepts responsibly to understand which of those create sincere conversation and offer us new opportunities to share the Gospel. This has become more challenging as new technologies keep getting introduced and often grow at incredible speed.
In this spirit of trying new things, the ministry recently did two different trials using Instagram. For those of you who do not use it, Instagram is a photo and video sharing application on your mobile device. The number of users has doubled in the past two years and there are now over 1 billion people using it.
We created two short (15 seconds) videos on loneliness and self-harm. We targeted young people and made a small investment in testing this approach. The results were very encouraging. The videos were presented over 1.5 million times in December to 717,202 unique people. It led to over 5000 young people engaging the ministry and hearing the Gospel.
These are important initiatives because we know attention spans are decreasing. How people find and consume information has changed. Long form articles are less acceptable with newspapers and magazines dying a slow death. People are less likely to read more than a couple hundred characters and would rather watch it quickly than read about it. We are using these trends to our advantage to generate cost-effective and productive conversations.
We also are ensuring that our Echo response system is incorporating these growing technologies. This allows us to both reach people through alternative social media but also talk to them through the communication platforms they prefer. Our latest addition is integrating WhatsApp into our response system so we can communicate with their 1.5 billion active monthly users. Stay tuned for more on where that takes us.