Ecosia is a search engine which donates 80% of their ad profits to charity. Powered by Bing and using their own algorithms, they display advertisers’ ads alongside organic search results. Ecosia claim that on average, every search raises 20 European cents. For every 45 searches they will plant a single tree.
You might have seen them all over Facebook promoting themselves in the below ad:
Visiting the Ecosia site they give you some interesting stats. There’s a number live counting a projection of how many trees they have planted as well as how many active users are currently using the search engine. They currently claim to be planting trees in countries all over the world including Brazil, Spain, Peru, Madagascar and many more.
They create a vision of trust and transparency by allowing you to download their financial reports for the trees they have planted and overall company costs, ensuring you know your searches are going to good use.
Here’s what you’ll be greeted with on the home page:
If you download the app for your phone, you can also find out the exact number of searches you’ve made and in turn, how many tress you’ve helped to plant.
Amazon fires spark huge surge in popularity
In August 2019 the devastating fires that the Amazon faced created a 1150% spike in visitors to the Ecosia landing page. The search engine now reports they can plant a tree every 0.8 seconds due to the current spike in popularity. They have also committed to planting a million extra trees in Brazil over the next 6 months.
Big names across the world are lending their support for the search engine, including musician Oliver Sykes and politician Amelia Womack, you can see their Tweets below:
What’s not to love?
Ecosia is certainly doing great thing and it’s good to see our searches going to good use. As the world becomes more and more conscious of the environment and our impact on the planet, it’s unsurprising to see the world of search become a network of creating awareness of the importance of caring for the planet.
Could they really challenge Google?
The reality is, no one will ever really be able to top Google. They’re the biggest search engine in the world with over 20 years of experience that pretty much every internet user has heard of and uses for their searches.
Ecosia are certainly doing some great things but we can’t expect them to outperform Google any time in the distant future. They’re only going to improve with time as their team grows and they grow as a search engine. Ecosia is also built on top of the Microsoft Bing search engine so it’s likely any limitations you experience with them, you’d also experience using Bing.
It’s definitely worth trying out as you do feel good doing your bit for the environment, but I wouldn’t set it as your default browser anytime soon.
We do have some concerns
Our concern with Ecosia from a marketing perspective is that they are advertising the fact that when you click on their ads, ‘you plant a tree’. Their core marketing is insisting that if users search through them and if they click on the ads, they are making a real positive impact on the environment.
How big do you expect the CTR to be? If a user is using Ecosia with the mind set of ‘planting as many trees as possible’ then paid ads will simply never perform as well as on Google or Bing. Customer intent is confusing, you are no longer showing ads only to people with a real intent, you are showing ads to people who are looking to plant trees. Expect high CTR and conversion rates to plummet.
On their FAQ’s, they do insist that they use anti-fraud software which will not count clicks which are not genuine. This will stop advertisers being charged for people blindly scatter-clicking all of the available ads to plant as many trees as possible, however I think this is only a small level of precaution and won’t address the bigger problem.
We really like the idea of Ecosia and we think what they are doing is fantastic. But as a marketer, before you get excited, just stop to think about your ROI.