What We Learned from the 2023-24 Arts & Culture Season

This Year’s Winning Digital Marketing Strategies

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As we near the end of the 2023-24 season, before we all head off to the beach for  *checks watch* 12 minutes of relaxation before diving in to next season, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on all of the hard work done in the Arts & Culture media space this past year. 

So many of our Arts & Culture clients saw increases in revenue and attendance from last year, and many are already seeing strong subscription numbers for next season! There are many factors to this, including a return of consumer confidence and audience members getting back in the habit of attending the arts again, but we saw digital marketing play a significant role in bringing audiences in. As champions of Arts & Culture and total digital media nerds, we are thrilled to share some of this past year’s winning strategies for you to try out next year.

Here are the four key Arts & Culture media learnings that got our nerdy hearts racing this season:

1. Digital Out of Home, Radio, and Connected TV Through The Trade Desk:

Our relationship with The Trade Desk has been a game changer for our Arts & Culture clients to be able to take advantage of platforms previously out of reach because of high minimum spends. And because we’re buying this media through the same platform running our display ads, we’re now able to see for the first time how awareness media like out of home or TV contributes to someone’s purchase path. Below is a Path to Conversion report from an arts client who saw how a Connected TV impression moved a customer to conversion 70% faster than a display impression. 

2. Geo-Targeting Major Cultural Moments:

With so many Broadway shows opening this spring, and other major exhibitions, concerts, and festivals happening all around the city, we worked with our partners at Locala to geotarget attendees of those events and use them in our campaigns as appropriate. In addition to serving display ads to those attendees, we’re also able to report on how many of those audiences actually made it to our venues — an especially helpful tactic for our museum clients and others who see more walk-up business.

3. Tourism is Back!

We’ve seen a steady rise in success from our tourism campaigns over the past couple seasons, but this year really solidified that tourist audiences should be a big part of 2024-25 institutional plans. We’ve been working with our partner Crimtan that uses first party booking/travel information to target audiences while planning their trips before they arrive in-market so we can get in front of tourist audiences before their trips are fully planned, which has proven extremely successful for institutions that can promote their brand rather than specific performances. Once tourists are in-market, we are able to use Meta, Trade Desk, Google, and a number of other platforms to continue to message to them for last-minute planning. 

4. Influencers and Organic Content in Paid Campaigns:

We love a “buy tickets now” message for lower-funnel audiences. But for new audiences or programs that require a bit more education, integrating influencer content or organic social content, like behind-the-scenes rehearsal videos or interviews with creative teams, can be extremely helpful in educating audiences and building greater awareness. Working with the in-house social teams for our clients to understand the upcoming organic content calendars and fold that content into our paid campaigns has proven extremely beneficial to audiences and organizations alike! 

There were so many great moments this season of trying new things, gathering new learnings, and really getting into the weeds of all of the tools at our disposal to continue finding new audiences and growing the reach of cultural institutions across the country. Happy summer, everyone!

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