1. How much money have you spent so far? Have you gotten more funding from other sources? Do you need more funding?
In total, I spent about $400 on this project, including the $300 received from the original grantors. This money was spent purchasing advertising as described in the complete project report, but some was also spent evaluating approaches to quantifying this project's impact.
2. How is the project going? (a few paragraphs)
The project has now been completed! You can see my results and thoughts in detail at the links above, but I've adopted the content here as well:
This project is part of a set of three related projects with two goals:
1. Testing the use of targeted advertising to disseminate forecasts to audiences when and where they are most useful.
2. Using the impact market funding process to identify and fund forecasts that would be useful to disseminate more widely.
This particular mini-market project focused on disseminating forecasts that would be useful to new undergraduates making decisions on how to spend their time in college.
To do this, I purchased advertising for 80,000 Hours' guidance for college students, served to students attending UC Merced's new student orientation in summer 2023. This group of students was selected because UC Merced is geographically distinct from the surrounding community and located in the middle of an agricultural area, making it easier to advertise exclusively to students on campus. An example ad can be seen here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CvS4pYmSuxe
The ads I launched generated 39,324 impressions, and reached 6,712 distinct accounts. The audience selected for these ads was 18-to-20-year-olds physically located on UC Merced's campus. Based on these metrics, I believe that I was able to reach a significant portion of new students attending orientation this past summer.
187 of the accounts reached through this ad visited 80,000 Hours' advice for college students - a cost of about $1.34 per visitor.
If being exposed to to effective altruism and related ideas early in one's college career leads to long-term changes in attitude, this project could be quite valuable - but it's difficult to calculate long-run impact based on just a few ads.
A optimistic and high-uncertainty attempt to estimate this: the average US BA degree holder earns about $2.8 million over their course of their lifetime. Of the 187 people who were intrigued enough by the ad to visit the website, perhaps 1% of them were influenced in one way or another to take the article's advice on their future career, and for this 1% of visitors, being exposed to the advice in this forecast was enough to increase the "social value" of their future earnings by about a tenth of a percent. Under these assumptions and with a 5% discount rate, the net present value of this project is about $2,246.
This project also formed a useful test case for my work on improving reporting for retro funders in impact markets.
3. How well has your project gone compared to where you expected it to be at this point? (Score from 1-10, 10 = Better than expected)
I would rate this project at around a 7-out-of-10. I think that my impact was greater than expected, but my attempts to quantify it more precisely through surveys didn't work that well. To adapt to this, I used other approaches to estimating this project's impact. Overall, I do think it's "philanthropically cost-effective" to use advertising as a way to promote certain forecasts, particularly when well targeted at certain populations who are likely to find them useful.
4. Are there any remaining ways you need help, besides more funding?
Not at the moment - I consider this project to be complete for now.
5. Any other thoughts or feedback?
I think these forecasting mini-market projects have highlighted the challenges of quantifying the impact of these projects to present to retro funders. I think that one future approach might be to define a limited number of impact "endpoints" (metrics that the retro funder finds important), then have all projects up for retro funding try to quantify their impact in terms of those endpoints.