Full report
Published: 9 February 2021

The Davos Agenda 2021: Global Engagement

Digital Media Engagement

Special Address by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South AfricaGeneva - Switzerland, 25-29 January 2021. Copyright ©️ World Economic Forum/Pascal BitzCyril M. Ramaphosa, President of South AfricaChaired by Børge Brende, President, World Economic Forum
Source: World Economic Forum / Pascal Bitz

Live Event Experience

More than 130 Davos Agenda sessions were livestreamed on the event webpage and on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Weibo pages. This year’s sessions got over 11 million views, a more than 300% increase on last year’s viewership. Sessions were captioned in English, and some were interpreted into eight languages.

We brought high-end live studio production, customized design and distribution across six separate studios to over 120 sessions at Davos Agenda. This included live Special Addresses that were publicly available and widely distributed to our media partners as well as private, Toplink-only, off-the-record interactive dialogues between 12 G20 Heads of State, the President of the EU and the UN Secretary General and the CEOs of our Strategic Partners.

From pre-production and planning to live production and delivery, we provided end-to-end physical delivery of all live sessions, seamless virtual interaction for participants and audiences, enhanced content distribution opportunities, and a visually-captivating event look and feel.

This year, we used our live blog – situated on the homepage of the event page – to not only cover sessions in real-time, but also to highlight key institutional content and stories demonstrating the concrete impact of the meeting. Additionally, for Special Addresses, we flashed news alerts to media, linking back to the live blog coverage of those speeches.

We worked with each social media platform to promote the event online. Working in partnership with media and international organizations, we were able to cross-post the sessions onto various pages, increasing the number of views.

We launched a social media campaign 10 days prior to the event, using custom graphics to create an online image for the event, as participants promoted their sessions on both their personal and company's social media accounts.

Speakers, including presidents and prime ministers, promoted key sessions.

This year the Davos Agenda Daily Newsletter was sent to all participants each morning (CET) of the meeting, as a first look ahead to the day’s agenda and covering the highlights of the previous day’s sessions and speakers.

Along with dynamic content for speakers, moderators and registrants, readers also received information in each edition about the Forum’s daily impact, key sessions to share on social media and with their broader networks, the latest podcasts and videos, partner and liveblog updates, links to top-performing posts on Forum Agenda and mentions of Davos Agenda in the news.

Focus on Business

This year’s all-virtual meeting meant that partners were particularly keen to collaborate on digital content. We posted a total of 114 partner blogs, which received a combined 410,000 page views. The best performing blogs were about climate change and risk by one of the 2021 Risks Report partners, Zurich Insurance, and a piece about wellbeing in the workplace by McKinsey & Company.

In addition to submitting blogs for Agenda, we invited Strategic Partners to contribute to five themed articles relating to each of The Davos Agenda days. We received more than 40 quotes from senior business leaders – reflecting their priorities and predictions for the coming year.

A new Partner Microsite gathered interest, with “Live Updates” – showcasing news and highlights from and about the Forum’s partners – running throughout the event and appearing on the event homepage. A total of 54 updates were posted during the course of the week, itself, with page views reaching 5.4k for the month of January, versus 2.1k during November 2020.

Reinforcing the role of business in solving the world’s most complex issues, Sarita Nayyar, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, World Economic Forum said, "Business leaders have partnered with us all through 2020 to bring innovative solutions and to expedite implementation." During The Davos Agenda, more than 1,000 business leaders joined sessions to highlight many of these initiatives, including Partnering for Racial Justice in Business, the Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative (DAC) and the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders.

New Insights and Analysis

Almost 20 reports were launched during January to support The Davos Agenda. Ahead of the meeting, the annual Global Risks Report 2021 came out, framing the outlook for an event set against the backdrop of the pandemic. Material came from a number of Forum platforms and mirrored the meeting’s themes, but with a focus laid on the environment (and particularly calls for net-zero ahead of COP26 in November), the need for renewed global cooperation, and the outlook for the economy and future of jobs.

UpLink, the Forum’s first open, accessible, free, digital platform to crowdsource solutions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build innovation ecosystems celebrated one year since its launch. More than 11,500 innovators have answered the call to take action for a fairer, greener world. Nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs have submitted solutions to more than 15 SDG innovation challenges, with nearly 100 recognized as UpLink Innovators.

Our short film on UpLink’s first year, featuring Professor Klaus Schwab, the CEOs from Deloitte and Salesforce, and many of our innovators, has been viewed more than 150,000 times.

UpLink announced the second cohort of Ocean Innovators demonstrating solutions to coral reef restoration, scaling restorative aquaculture, unearthing technologies for marine protection and helping invest in nature-based solutions.

The UpLink-inspired #MyBigIdea hashtag on TikTok closed on 1 February with over 250 million views. It saw ITU and UNICEF join entrepreneurs in posting solutions-focused videos to a global hashtag that trended top in 50 markets. Unlike last year, in the forerunner campaign #alltehdiference, we were able to include a website link in the hashtag page, contributing towards a 440% boost in traffic to the Uplink website.

Beyond the numbers, the campaign goal to deepen public engagement with Uplink and drive positive impact with a new and younger audience was a success. One testimony came from Nairobi Shaper Wanjuhi Njoroge, who is now planning to use TikTok to encourage Kenyans to vote after her #MyBigIdea video attracted 150,00 views. The benefits flow both ways, with contributors such as TeknTrash being considered for inclusion in forthcoming Uplink projects. By the end of January, UpLink had more than 11,500 users signed up to the platform.

Growing our Audience


We featured 260 Agenda blogs connected with the event – including newsy “Buzz” articles and the aforementioned Partner and Forum Voice blogs – garnering 1,155,387 page views.

Here are five of the most-read articles:

Of those, 55 articles were from Forum spokespeople (Forum Voices), covering key topics of the meeting ranging from pandemic recovery to stakeholder capitalism to climate action to diversity and inclusion.

This year we saw a 22% increase in traffic from search traffic to all blogs compared with last year's event.

Audio and Video

Social Media Videos

We published 115 videos related to the Davos Agenda, resulting in more than 62 million views. Twenty-seven of these included appearances by participants or were based on Zoom interviews with partners.

The most successful videos were story-led, such as the one about the incredible clothes that grow with your child (2.7 million views) or the Indian designer making mattresses out of PPE (2 million views). The Global Risks Report videos also generated 1.8 million views. Our most-viewed reactive videos were John Kerry on America’s climate comeback and Greta Thunberg’s message to Davos, both shared by Leonardo Dicaprio on Instagram, and Ursula von der Leyen on big tech.

Over on Instagram and Facebook stories, fuelled by an intensive live-clipping operation, rolling coverage won us 13 million views (up from 8 million last year) and – unusual in the current social media climate – thousands of positive comments on Instagram.

Twitter clips averaged around 8,000 views per clip, fuelling 2.6 million views on Twitter alone; with one or two smashing it out of the park – Dr Tedros on vaccine nationalism attracted 620,000 views and Xi Jinping’s ‘The strong should not bully the weak’ had 450,000. They helped attract four times the usual viewing numbers on Twitter for the week, and thanks to the emphasis on video, we doubled our impressions per day across the entire week, a 20% increase on last year's Annual Meeting in Davos. In a first, the clips were also distributed by Reuters as part of their coverage of the event.

In collaboration with YouTube and London-based production company Little Dot, we kicked off Davos Agenda week with an animated video that attempted to demystify the ‘Great Reset’. The video attracted 210,000 views, 2,000 new subscribers and the attention of far-right publication Breitbart.

The four Daily Davos highlights reels were hosted by a cast of YouTube influencers including Lilly Singh, Daniel Howell, Danielle Bainbridge, Prajakta Koli and Bhuvan Bam, the idea being to bring Davos content and inspiration to a diverse new audience. These have so far won us 150,000 views and hundreds of new subscribers. In addition, dedicated playlists showcased the best of each days’ sessions, optimised with thumbnail and SEO description, amounting to an additional 420,000 views.

'Radio Davos' Podcast

The 'Radio Davos' podcast was available daily on the Forum’s website and Davos homepage, and as a podcast available on all major platforms. Its ‘morning show’ format gave listeners a flavour of the main themes and events of each day. Each episode featured a different co-host from prominent media around the world: The Economist, Financial Times, Politico, Business Insider and Straits Times.

Forum partners featured on the podcasts included: IKEA (on the circular economy), Coca-Cola (racial justice), Verizon (digital divide). Each episode had a high-profile interview: Mark Carney, Jane Goodall, Robert Downey Jr, Greta Thunberg, and Crystal Awardees photographer Sebastião Salgado and architect David Adjaye). Radio Davos had more than 30,000 listens during the Davos Agenda week.

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