Museums and cultural institutions suffered immensely during the Covid-19 pandemic. The public health restrictions and stay home orders made it impossible for people to visit exhibits in-person. Exhibits are at their best when the audience can be fully immersed in the experience and covid made that impossible. Technology helped to a degree as some institutions could move their exhibits online and host virtual events. The pandemic certainly emphasized the important role museums an cultural institutions play in grounding our humanity and shaping our history. These institutions now know there is a crucial need to gather and engage audiences and donors online. Here are three of the most effective channels to leverage to do so…but first, a note on targeting.

Museums and cultural institutions are unique in that they often collect vast amounts of data about their visitors (whether online or in-person). The marketing departments of major institutions often have a finely-tuned sense of exactly who their target audience is. The three channels we’ve isolated below, can each incorporate and leverage that knowledge to further their campaign results.

Direct and Indirect Engagement on Google Ads

Google Ads is an advertising platform that allows organizations to place ads on Google and its network of affiliates. These ads are highly targeted and can appear on the first page of Google search results for relevant keywords. Because the ads are displayed on Google properties, they’re often clicked on by users who are actively seeking information about your organization. These ads are highly customizable, allowing you to select your target audience based on factors such as location, age and gender. The ads can also be tailored based on the keywords that your ideal customers are searching for and the amount they’re willing to spend. This can be a great option for museums and cultural institutions that want to appeal to a wide audience while also promoting a variety of different products and services.

Highly-Targeted Facebook Ads via Look Alike Audiences

Similar to Google Ads, Facebook ads are highly targeted, allowing you to select your ideal audience based on a number of factors such as age, location and interests. Facebook’s lookalike audiences are a great way to reach new customers – a lookalike audience is a way your ads can reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics to your existing customers. Facebook ads can be particularly effective for museums and cultural institutions that offer products or services that appeal to a wide audience. For example, a children’s museum might create an ad that promotes upcoming summer classes, while an art museum might promote their latest exhibitions.

Instagram Marketing

Another social media marketing channel that museums and cultural institutions can take advantage of is Instagram. Instagram was originally designed for photographers which makes it a visually-rich option for museums and cultural institutions that want to showcase their collections. The are advertising solutions available on Instagram which makes it as easy to target the museums audience as it is on Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Bridging the Divide between Physical Curation and Digital Connection

In the digital era, the physical magnetism of institutions themselves and the perfect curation of exhibits is only one part of a successful marketing strategy. Fortunately, there are several affordable marketing channels available to cultural institutions. If you’re also looking for ways to promote your museum or similar organization, consider focusing on these three highly targeted options: Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Instagram Marketing.