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Reigniting a Regional Gallery: How insight-led digital helped Essex's foremost contemporary art space get its mojo back

Public contemporary art gallery Firstsite’s visitor figures were low, and the gallery had already identified low awareness and negative public sentiment as principal causes, with problems in organisational structure and operations reinforcing the problems. Funding was under review, with key external stakeholders looking at footfall as a key indicator of successful management.
Working with the Director and Board we agreed a defined catchment area for the gallery and partnered with Art Council England’s (ACE) Audience Finder team and the gallery’s volunteer team to gather accurate, clean data that could be related to ACE’s own segmentation and reporting process. We also developed specific demographic research with Audience Finder to create a more detailed understanding of usage and attitude positions within the catchment. Simultaneously, data across a huge range of points was captured on a daily basis, providing opportunities for analysis, optimisation and reporting.
Continuous analysis using a bespoke econometric model we created in house gave us executional tools that helped to prioritise spend pn the most effective channels, letting the gallery leadership focus on the audiences that would help them to deliver their orgsanisation's mission; improving the wellbeing of their community through art.
Results:
The overall campaign strategy was built on achieving huge reach, and metrics bore out the success of the approach:
· Monthly visitor numbers increased by an average of 16% on previous year data
· Social reach increased by 137% over 11 months (Facebook +117%, Instagram +108%, twitter +193%)
· Traffic to the new website increased by 38% over 10 months
· Total digital reach increased by 268% over 11 months
· Marketing spend increased by 54% in real terms, at no cost to the gallery, due to Google Grant
· Reporting was successfully received, and the gallery received ongoing funding in the 2017 ACE National Portfolio Organisation funding round.
· Negative sentiment online decreased to minimal levels, also impacting PR, with exclusively positive local media coverage resulting.

Project Team

Hannah Hayes-Westall

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FAD Magazine

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Project Tags

  • Arts Marketing
  • Marketing
  • Social Marketing
  • Planning
  • Creative Strategy
  • Digital Strategy

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