Back in the Spring we blogged about the nuclear energy industry’s tepid online response to Japan’s nuclear disaster.  We were puzzled by the absence of  industry-sponsored search advertisements even as the world was turning to search engines for facts about nuclear power. Click here to read our original post.

Fast forward to August: We came across this advertisement today while browsing Facebook:

 

Kudos to the Nuclear Energy Institute for the ad.  It takes consumers to an informative webpage detailing the industry’s safety processes.

But it’s late to the game.  The chart below shows that – as you’d expect – public interest in nuclear power today is a tiny fraction of what it was in the weeks following the crisis.

 

Searches for "nuclear energy" spiked in March and remained above average for weeks.

(The chart measures Google searches for “nuclear power” – not Facebook engagement – but is still a good barometer for public interest.)

We try to resist armchair quarterbacking on this blog, especially with once-in-a-generation crises, but when the public most wanted to engage the industry online it was largely absent.  The Japan nuclear disaster reminds us that online advertising is a lightning-quick, targeted, and cost-effective rapid response tool for organizations in a communications crisis.  When the crowd goes online searching for you, be sure to meet them there.