LEWIS began working with American Registry of Internet Numbers in August 2009 with the shared objective of raising awareness and understanding of the subjects and issues of IPv4 depletion and IPv6 adoption. The goal was to create an educational awareness campaign to highlight the importance of and explain the small tasks certain businesses needed to execute to ensure the continued growth and functionality of the Internet. LEWIS clearly required a deep technical understanding of the issues.
Its team engaged in one-on-one education sessions with ARIN’s subject matter experts as well as leading secondary research to gather data on how the transition would affect a multitude of industries, including Internet Service Providers (ISPs), hosting providers, government agencies, every day businesses, gaming companies, and the every day consumer. The findings ultimately both informed strategy and helped form the central repository of trusted information to which all outreach-earned traffic would funnel. Organized into a separate microsite from ARIN’s organizational website, this knowledge center would also be key in ensuring that media could access a fact-checking resource with the most up-to-date information available throughout the program. Based on this knowledge, LEWIS knew it needed a campaign that leveraged both traditional media and social networks.
From the outset of the campaign, LEWIS targeted key journalists to explain how IPv6 impacted each kind of Internet stakeholder. The team focused on key depletion milestones, spiking outreach volume when the free pool reached 10, 5, and finally 0 per cent of IPv4 addresses remaining. In doing so, LEWIS created multiple ‘news events’ and literally hundreds of interview opportunities in advance of the depletion deadline. LEWIS also implemented an equally aggressive speaker program to reach both technology strategists and their technical staffs. This required creating compelling content and newsworthy presentations to draw crowds at speaking engagements for ARIN CEO John Curran at over 30 events, including landing prized slots at Interop, FOSE, HostingCon, CES and COMPTEL.
At the same time, a social media program needed to be created organically from the ground up, from establishing initial channel presences straight through to relying upon them as deeply as mass media to drive interest in the topic.
LEWIS clearly defined phased objectives (build, populate, promote), benchmarked and established analytics for each phase, researched audience communications preferences and trends, developed content, and, ultimately, measured and refined results against increasingly sophisticated KPIs. The team focused on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, leveraging ARIN’s community through social media interactions via microblogging, polls and videos. The team also monitored all social media channels to inject ARIN into the daily conversations about IPv4 depletion and to surface opportunities to earnestly start new ones. By answering technical questions, re-tweeting interesting community offerings, and creating frank and useful content proactively, the team was able to promote ARIN as a subject matter expert not only with media but also among need-expressers whose tweets formed the beachheads for deeper technical conversations.
The education strategy required a means to inform the media and general public with totally accurate and trusted non-commercial content. LEWIS created a user-friendly microsite and embeddable blog widget that dynamically pushed ARIN’s updates to constituent websites. The microsite housed the ‘Team ARIN’ Blog, calendar and other tools to help users better understand IPv6 adoption and promote action. The microsite even served as the lynchpin for an April Fools’ joke around IPv6, for which the team built a special Twitter application that removed the I’s, P’s, V’s and 6’s from any Twitter stream and re-presented it to them as if it were their actual Twitter stream gone haywire. It cleverly reminded people to consider a world without IPv6 while providing a humorous, action-oriented viral quality to the campaign. Traffic to the microsite spiked as a result, with over 500 hits per hour at its height, surpassed during the campaign only by the actual depletion press conference event.
The IPv4 depletion campaign hit its most fevered pitch at the joint press conference hosted by the Number Resource Organization, the parent organization of ARIN and the 4 other Regional Internet Registries, and ICANN, in Miami Florida on February 3, 2011, when it was announced that the free pool of IPv4 addresses had finally been officially depleted. LEWIS managed a marathon of embargoed and day-of media briefings, over 30 in all.