Museums Ask: What's the ROI of #MuseumSelfie Day?

picture via @MuseumSelfieDay

January 21st was the second official #MuseumSelfie Day where museums and art institutions around the globe encouraged visitors to whip out their phones and snap a selfie next to priceless works of art.

This is a clever marketing strategy for museums and art institutions grappling with the shifting interests and communication styles of younger audiences.  The selfie social media campaign looks to draw this next generation of future visitors, donors and art champions to the institutes.  So what insights were gained from #MuseumSelfie 2015?  And how did individual institutions leverage this hip campaign for their success? First, it’s critical to separate the promotion (museum’s posting calls to participate) and actual participation (people snapping and sharing pics).  Crimson Hexagon’s Brightview analysis helps to piece apart these two different streams and shows an expected spike in sharing on January 21st. museum-opinion Looking it the proportion, we see a successful push from the promotional side in the days leading up to the event on January 21st, followed by a shift to conversation dominated by visitors responding. museum-opinion-2 A review of the top mentions and hashtags highlights the success of institutes like the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and The British Museum in London, UK who took the greatest advantage of the global event. museums-mentions-prolific The Met Museum in NYC received well over 700 posts related to #MuseumSelfie from January 20th to the 22nd, 2015, and we were able to gain important insight into hot leads and influencers for the museum to engage for future events.   museum-influencers Although I’d also argue the Met could have marketed to their 883,000 followers on Twitter to more powerful effect… check out their top performing content from all of 2014 which garnered well over 5,000 retweets in November alone:

While admittedly clever (I would have retweeted it too), content like this does little to create action that would lead to increased visitors and sales.  But campaigns like #MuseumSelfie, if leveraged properly (think: earlier promotion and content based on your other top-performing content to ensure the broadest reach possible), have the potential to impact the bottom line.
The question becomes, do museums know how to invest their digital energies, measure ROI, and glean strategic information after the event happens?  All of this data can be defined and leveraged through our ForSight tool. As for The Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston, with only 55 posts for #MuseumSelfie from January 20th to 22nd, we hope you make a renewed effort in 2016.  Boston’s not wanting for young people, you’ve just got to give them a good reason to visit!

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