Museums and Digital Communication


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Kristen Purcell spoke at the Art Museum Marketing Association (AMMA) meeting at the Baltimore Museum of Art on Friday, May 17th, for an audience of marketing directors from the largest art museums in the U.S. Sharing insights from Pew Internet's recent national survey of arts organizations, Kristen discussed how these organizations are using digital tools to carry out their missions and the key questions art museums can focus on in developing their own digital strategies.

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Museums and Digital Communication

  1. 1. Museums and Digital CommunicationAudience –Content – ImpactKristen Purcell, Ph.D.,Associate Director, Pew Internet ProjectArt Museum Marketing Association Meeting. Baltimore, MD. May 17, 2013.
  2. 2.  Data presented here are based on surveys conducted by the PewResearch Center – our mission is to provide high quality, objective data tothought leaders and policymakers Between May 30 and July 20, 2012, Pew Internet conducted an onlinesurvey of a non-probability national (U.S.) sample of arts organizations 1,258 arts organizations took the survey, representing a wide range ofdisciplines, organizational functions, budgets, etc. Art museums comprised 9% of the final sample (performing groups madeup the largest portion of the final sample at 22%) Presentation slides and full report are available at pewinternet.orgArts Organizationsand Digital Technologies
  3. 3. Audience – Content – ImpactArts Organizations and Digital TechnologiesGuiding QuestionsWho is youraudience and howwell do you knowthem?What digital toolsdo they use/haveaccess to?Do digital toolsbroaden orfundamentallychange youraudience?How does yourcontent shape yourchoice of digital toolor strategy?Can you give upcontrol of yourcontent and theonline conversation?What is yourorganization’s(digital) identity/personality?What are yourultimate goals interms of impact?How will youmeasure impact inthese areas?What impactsare possible?(Your resources +tools available +human nature)
  4. 4. AudienceArts Organizations and Digital TechnologiesGuiding QuestionsWho is youraudience and howwell do you knowthem?What digital toolsdo they use/haveaccess to?Do digital toolsbroaden orfundamentallychange youraudience?
  5. 5. “listen more than you ask”Who is your audience and howwell do you know them?81% of arts organizations surveyed let users comment publiclyon their websites77% use social media to monitor what is being said about their org65% use social media to learn more about their audience52% use social media to get feedback from the public or“crowdsource” an idea28% host online discussion groupsHow, and how well, are you listening?
  6. 6. 85% of US adults use the internet2/3 have broadband at home84% have a cell phone, including 45% whohave a smartphone24% have a tablet computer19% have an e-reader2/3 of adult cell phone users are wirelessinternet users69% of online adults use social networkingsites, 16% use TwitterUS Adult Internet/Digital Tool Use in 2013What digital tools does your audience use?* Based on Pew Internet Tracking Surveys
  7. 7. 95% of kids 12-17 use the internet93% have a computer or have access toone at home78% have a cell phone, including 37% whohave a smartphone23% have a tablet computer74% access the internet on mobile devices(smartphone, tablet, etc)In July 2011, 80% of online teens usedSNS, 14% used TwitterUS Teen Internet/Digital Tool Use in 2013What digital tools does your audience use?* Based on Pew Internet Tracking Surveys
  8. 8. Information is Woven Into Our LivesMobile is the needle, Social Networks are the threadSocial Networks…Surround us withinformation through ourmany connectionsBring us information frommultiple, varied sourcesProvide instant feedback,meaning and contextAllow us to shape andcreate informationourselves and easilyamplify others’ messagesMobile…Moves informationwith usMakes informationaccessible ANYTIMEand ANYWHEREPuts information at ourfingertips, literallyMagnifies the demandfor timely, actionableinformationMakes informationlocation-sensitive
  9. 9. 6%8%12%15%16%View/download info or images from amuseumDownload or listen to audio tour at amuseum, gallery or historical siteView or download info/images from ahistoric site, park or monumentWatch or download a music, dance ortheater performanceView or download visual arts content% of all adults in 2011 who had used a handheld device (phone/e-reader/tablet) to…How your patrons reflected these mobile/social trends in 2011Currently, 74% of adult smartphone owners use their phone to get directions,recommendations or other information based on their present location21% use their phone to get coupons or deals to use at local businesses2011 dataWhat digital tools does your audience use?
  10. 10. 8%11%29%41%MuseumsArts galleries or other visualarts orgsMusical, dance or theatergroups/venuesIndividual artists, musicians orother performers% of adult SNS/Twitter users in 2011 who followed…
  11. 11. In the 12 months prior to the 2011 survey….44% of adults had attended a live music, dance or theater performanceIt was 77% among those who follow a music/dance/theatrical groupor venue on SNS35% of adults had visited a museumIt was 82% among those who follow a museum on SNS35% of adults had attended an arts, craft or music festivalIt was 55% among those who follow individual artists, musicians orperformers on SNS29% of adults had visited an art gallery, show or exhibitIt was 82% among those who follow an art gallery or other visualarts organization on SNSSocial networking is a connection with “Superfans”What digital tools does your audience use?It’s a chicken and egg question, but does the answer matter?
  12. 12. Perceived impacts of technology on the artsBased on your experiences and those of your organization, do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Conducted May 30-July 20, 2012. N for respondents who answered this question=1,207.Broad impacts of digital technology on the artsDo digital tools broaden or change your audience?27%31%50%50%52%42%0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%The internet has played a major role in broadeningthe boundaries of what is considered artBecause of the internet and digital technologies,the arts audience is more diverse than it was in thepastThe internet has increased engagement inthe arts by providing a public platform throughwhich more people can share their workStrongly agree Somewhat agree“Because we do a lot of work in rural areas, withsenior citizens, and low income areas, socialmedia only works for a portion of ouraudience…A heavy reliance on social media,though convenient, can exclude many people.”93% of arts orgs say socialmedia help them reach abroader audience than theywould otherwise be able to
  13. 13. ContentArts Organizations and Digital TechnologiesGuiding QuestionsHow does yourcontent shape yourchoice of digital toolor strategy?Can you give upcontrol of yourcontent and the onlineconversation?What is yourorganization’s (digital)identity/personality?
  14. 14. 99% of arts organizations surveyed host a websiteOn those sites, 94% post photos81% post or stream video57% post or stream audio50% maintain a blog20% present online exhibits---------------------------86% have increased the number of online events and exhibitsthey host over the past several years24% use mobile apps to provide content to the publicNo two organizations (or digital strategies) are the sameHow does your content shape your organization’schoice of digital tools and strategies?
  15. 15. How does your content shape your organization’schoice of digital tools and strategies?97% of the arts organizations surveyed have a profileor page on a social media site69% have employees with professional social mediaprofiles they use in their capacity as a representativeof the organization56% of the orgs that use social media have a profile on4-9 different social media sites10% of the orgs that use social media are active on10+ platformsNo two organizations (or digital strategies) are the same
  16. 16. How does your content shape your organization’schoice of digital tools and strategies?Among arts orgs that use social media, the top sites used are…Reflects wherethe audienceis, but…Does it reflectthe bestplatform forYOUR content
  17. 17. How often arts organizations post content on social media…Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Arts Organizations Survey. Conductedbetween May 30-July 20, 2012. N for respondents who answered this question=1,131.Severaltimes aday25%Aboutonce a day20%Severaltimes aweek28%Aboutonce aweek16%Everyfewweeks8%Lessoften3%Infinite uses of social media…• 82% use social media to engagewith audience members prior to,during, or following an event45% of arts orgs that use social media post dailyHow does your content shape your organization’schoice of digital tools and strategies?“We solicited ideas for how to name our"signature cocktail" at an upcomingbenefit, based on the theme of thebenefit. Facebook fans wrote in with lotsof ideas, we picked our top favorites, andthen released a poll so fans could vote onthe name we ended up using. It generatedawareness of the event (which was arecord success) and allowed those whomight not have been able to attend theevent a way to engage with the party.”
  18. 18. There is no one-size-fits-all digital tool or strategyHow does your content shape your organization’schoice of digital tools and strategies?“When SB1079 passed in Arizona, our organization (whospecializes in Mexican music and dance), in the matterof days, was able to write, record and make a video of asong that directly addressed the issue. The video wasposted on YouTube and got hundreds of hits in thematter of days. It was a way for us to execute ourmission to a large audience in a short amount of time.”“After seeing that a patron has checked into our venue or has beentalking about how good our show was, we thank them publicly andinvite them back. This gives us the ability to create a personalinteraction with them and create a connection that encouragesthem to come back. Sometimes our actors will join in when they seeus thanking a patron, and send a personal thanks from the cast.”PersonalTimelyRelevant
  19. 19. How well does your content lend itself to digital dissemination?How does your content shape your organization’schoice of digital tools and strategies?What is the VALUE of your content?What is the NATURE of your content?How much DEPTH is there toyour content?Can your content be MORSELIZEDeasily and in a meaningful way?Is your content easily SHAREABLE?5 keyquestionsto ask
  20. 20. Patrons likely already expect free + open access to your content,and at least partially digital immersion90% of the arts orgssurveyed let patronsshare their content viaemail, SNS andTwitter48% strongly agree and26% agree that “theinternet and relatedtechnologies havecreated an expectationamong some audiencemembers that all digitalcontent should be free”Just 3% strongly agreeand 19% agree that “theinternet and digitaltechnologies are hurtingattendance at in-personevents”Can you give up control of your content?“Access will be good for educational purposes and to increaseawareness of the arts, especially historical material in performanceof all types. However, issues of copyright and payment for thatmaterial, such as in apps and in streaming or downloading, aremurky and hard to navigate for artists themselves as to value andfairness of payments to the artist for original content.”“As the realism of participatory digital entertainment and theimmersion ability of non-participatory digital entertainmentincreases, it threatens the elements that make the live arts unique—the sense of immediacy, immersion, and personal interaction withthe art. Weve long hung fast to the belief that theres nothing like alive experience, but digital entertainment is getting closer and closerto replicating that experience.”“The audience has already moved from ‘arts attendance as an event’to ‘arts attendance as an experience.’ This desire for a full-range ofpositive experience from ticket purchase, to travel, to parking, totreatment at the space, to quality of performance, to exit – this willonly increase over the next 10 years.”
  21. 21. Can you give up control of the online conversation?• Credibility and reputation areassessed through multiple filters–Trusted information sources(including search engines)–Personal beliefs/experiences–Social networks–Aggressive fact checking• Bad information hangs around, but itcan be attacked in several ways–Directed response–Recanting (by you or others)–Better information, especially frommultiple sources• Just 5% of the arts orgs surveyed saythat “social media creates more risksthan benefits for our organization”“Any time you engage in social media, youopen yourself up to negative feedback. Anexample of this would be announcing oursummer concert series, and having someonenot like one of the many guest artists webring in. However, for every negativecomment, there is usually someone with adifferent opinion.”“We were the subject of commentsconcerning funding and donations from alocal political organization and our patronsresponded in full with comments, examplesand telling our story in a stronger and betterway than even our staff would have beenable to do. We were proud that we did nothave to, in any way, defend our value to thecommunity, our audience did this for us.”52% of organizations not on social media say that lack of control ofwhat is said in these spaces is a reason they don’t use them
  22. 22. Surveillance –powerful watchordinarySousveillance –ordinary watchpowerfulCoveillance – peerswatch peersCan you give up control of the online conversation?The reality is that all organizations face more scrutinyTransparency and openness are new markers of trustSignal your audience that you trust them with your contentAND with your reputation“We provide grants andan organization whowas unhappy about notreceiving a grantposted some negativestuff on Twitter. Whilewe responded and keptit professional, it didput negative commentsout there associatedwith our profile,potentially damagingour brand.”
  23. 23. What is your organization’s digital identity/personality?• 76% of social media-using arts orgs have full-time paid staff tending the sites• 29% use part-time staff• 16% use volunteers, 8% use paid contractors• Altogether, 13% use a combination of full-timeand part-time staffers to manage social media• Just 27% have a staff member whose positionis dedicated to social media management• 73% use staff to oversee social media whoalso have other responsibilities• 70% agree (including 38% who strongly agree)that “Younger employees in our organizationhave a more positive view of social media”“Before we put policies inplace, one of our employees,who was a great social mediauser, kind of merged his ownidentity on Facebook withthat of our organization.Therefore, when he alsowould party and post aboutit – it became an area ofdiscipline. And he didntunderstand the need forseparating these things out,keeping his personal life offof our public profile. Thatwas several years ago.”Social media is a top-down activity, not bottom-upWho will you be online, and who will speak for you?
  24. 24. ImpactArts Organizations and Digital TechnologiesGuiding QuestionsWhat are yourultimate goals interms of impact?How will youmeasure impact inthese areas?What impactsare possible?(Your resources +tools available +human nature)
  25. 25. % of arts orgs who say the internet is very or somewhat important for…Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Arts Organizations Survey. Conducted between May 30-July 20, 2012. N for respondents who answered thisquestion=1,212.19%27%28%33%55%63%64%65%78%81%24%16%39%37%29%29%27%25%18%15%0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Improving arts curationImproving arts cataloging and collections managementArtistic creation and/or collaborationProviding arts education to the publicEngaging in arts advocacyUsing your organizations resources more efficientlyIndentifying sources of fundingGathering research and data for grant applicationsIncreasing audience engagementPromoting the artsVery Important Somewhat ImportantWhat are your organizational goals vis a vis impact?Perceived importance of the internet and digital tools among arts orgs,both external and internalInternalEducation,Collaboration,Curation
  26. 26. • 56% see major impact on boosting org’s publicprofile• 53% see major impact on engagement with public• 48% see major impact on increasing traffic towebsite• 45% see major impact on event promotion/attendance• 41% see major impact on audience building andstakeholder engagement----------------------------------------------------• 27% see major impact on audience engagementw/content• Just 13% see major impact on professionalcollaboration, or on fundraisingWhat are your organizational goals vis a vis impact?Promotion(increasingawareness,public image,attendance)Engagement(with organization,with content)EducationFundraisingCollaborationActual impacts arts orgs see from their internet/social media efforts91% say social media is worth the time their organization spends on it
  27. 27. Promotion•74% maintain an online calendar•72% sell tickets online•34% make info available through RSS feeds•31% offer discounts through services suchas Groupon or LivingSocialFundraising•86% accept donations online•47% sell merchandise online•15% use apps to sell tickets, products orservices•5% accept donations or gifts via SMS or textmessagingWhat are your organizational goals vis a vis impact?Promotion(increasingawareness, publicimage, attendance)Engagement(with organization,with content)EducationFundraisingCollaborationInternet/social media efforts geared toward specific goals
  28. 28. What are your organizational goals vis a vis impact?Engagement with an organization can mean many different thingsLeadingOwningContributingEndorsingFollowingObservingAt the bottom, communicationsand relationships are tech-centric and automated. At thetop, they are personal andlabor-intensive.Using tech to automateinteractions at the bottom helpsscale engagement to reach lotsof people (websites, databases,email, social networks).Automated communicationsbecome less effective abovelevel three, where personalrelationships becomeincreasingly critical.Borrowed from Gideon Rosenblatt’s “The Engagement Pyramid: Six Levels of Connecting People and Social Change”Wherebulk ofsocialmediaimpactoccurs
  29. 29. What are your organizational goals vis a vis impact?What is the next level of engagement?• 56% of arts orgs surveyed said internetand digital media have a MAJOR impacton organization’s public profile• 53% say dig tools have a MAJOR impacton engagement with the public• 48% see major impact on website traffic• 45% see major impact on eventpromotion/ attendance-------------------------------------------------• 27% see a major impact on publicunderstanding of/engagement withartistic content• 16% see major impact on publiceducationA concern of orgs surveyedwas that while social mediaencourage engagement with theorganization, they do not alwaysencourage a deep engagementwith/ understanding of artisticcontent___________________Is it the tool?Is it how the tool is used?Is it something unique aboutarts content?Is it the social media audience?Has this always been the casewith arts outreach?Is this true for all kinds oforganizations?Engagement with an organization or engagement with content?
  30. 30. How will you measure your impact?Measuring impact isa 3-step process:1) Decide whichmetric/tool to useto measure impact2) Learn how to use it3) Make decisionsbased on itsoutputMetrics can 1) help improve online presence, 2) provide data for funders, 3) inform decision-making•55% of arts orgs surveyed use Google Analyticsto measure web traffic and campaigns•8% are not using any web analytics•Generally, the bigger the overall budget, themore metrics an organization uses•Online metrics (page views, unique visitors) v.measurable outcomes (ticket sales, museumvisits, membership, donations)•Smaller organizations in particular notethat measurable outcomes are very importantto funders•Online metrics v. measurable impacts v.immeasurable impacts(public education, collaboration may be lessmeasurable impacts, not less common)This may be the million dollar question!
  31. 31. What impacts are possible?• 49% of arts orgs surveyedhave sought fundingspecifically to expandtheir organization’s use ofthe internet or other digitaltechnologies, such asapps and social media(mostly unsuccessful)• 36% have conductedresearch to learn moreabout how their audiencesuse technologies• 35% agree that “theinternet is shifting thefocus of many artsorganizations from artisticcreation and curation topromotion and marketing”Possible Impacts =Your Resources +Tools Available + Human Nature30%37%38%52%58%5%44%48%32%41%33%0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%Social media creates more risks thanbenefits for ourorganizationOverall, my organization does not havethe personnel or resources it needs touse social media effectivelySocial media helps our existingaudience membersfeel more a part of the organizationThe younger employees in ourorganization have amore positive view of social media…Social media helps my organizationreach a broader audience than it wouldotherwise be able toSocial media is worth the time ourorganization spends on itVery true Somewhat true
  32. 32. Among arts organizations that do not currently have a social media presence…Source: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Arts Orgs Survey. Conducted May 30-July 20, 2012. N for respondents who answered this question=1,117.5%7%12%16%18%30%35%5%23%40%33%39%25%40%0% 20% 40% 60% 80%My organization tried using social media in the past andfound that it was ineffectiveMy organization does not have access to the updatedhardware or software necessary to use social mediaeffectivelyMy organization does not use social media because it istoo difficult to control what is said in social networkingspacesMy organization does not have the financial resources itneeds to begin using social mediaMy organization is able to reach our community/stakeholders through other means, so we do not need touse social mediaMy organization does not have the staff skills orknowledge it needs to begin using social mediaMy organization is concerned about the continuedresources that would be necessary to maintain asuccessful social media profile or campaignMajor reason Minor reasonWhat impacts are possible?Not everyone is on board the social media train,mainly because of resources not desire
  33. 33. What impacts are possible?A new way of thinking about SCALEBorrowed fromMichaelEdsonWeb and New MediaStrategy for theSmithsonian@mpedsonFull version of his talk“The Age of Scale”is available onSlideshare“A global ‘audience’ of collaborators (individuals, learners, fans, community) was notimaginable to an organization 30 years ago” – Michael Edson• New tools = a new approach to organization’s mission
  34. 34. What impacts are possible?• National Gallery has 4.6 MILLION visitors• 108.4 million viewers for the 2013 SuperBowl• 1.3 BILLION views of Gangnam Style (andcounting)• In November 2012 TEDTalk reached its ONEBILLIONTH video view• Wikipedia has 1.8 BILLION edits and growing• On KICKSTARTER in 2012, 2.2 MILLION peoplefrom 177 countries pledged more than $319MILLION to support 18,000+ projects• Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s renditionof “Space Oddity” had 1.8 million views onYouTube and more than 3,000 Reddit commentsMonday afternoon, one day after it was postedParts borrowed fromMichael EdsonWeb and New Media Strategyfor the SmithsonianFull version of his talk“The Age of Scale” is availableon SlideshareChris Hadfield understands SCALEA new way of thinking about SCALE
  35. 35. Kristen PurcellAssociate Director for Research, Pew Internet Projectkpurcell@pewinternet.orgTwitter:@pewinternet@kristenpurcellTHANKYOU!!Data and report available at