Social Media and Google Analytics for Museums

Jessica Juckes, International Training Programme Assistant

I have recently been on two training courses at City Lit adult education centre in London, on Social Media and Google Analytics.

Social media, blogging and web presence are vital for the International Training Programme to be able to offer and encourage communication and collaboration between its fellows and partners. As we work to develop the ITP blog, we hope that knowledge of Google Analytics will help us to evaluate how visitors are interacting with the content, providing us with insights on how to offer an ever-improving platform to the ITP network.

Keeping on top of social media trends is important for all of us in the museum sector, and using Google Analytics can help us to improve our museums’ websites, from selling tickets to offering collections information to researchers. As such, I am sharing the most valuable points from the training with you below.


Social media audiences
: the world’s largest social network
Twitter: popular with ‘millennials’ and young professionals
: students and recent graduates make up the fastest-growing demographic
Instagram: highly popular with 18 to 29 year olds
Youtube: one of the top three websites worldwide
Pinterest: large percentage of female users and users with high household incomes, in comparison with other social networks

Think about how your museum’s different social media platforms could serve different purposes and be approached, used and received differently.

Optimising your social media profiles
Cross Promotion
: always put a link to your other social media channels and to your website or blog on all our social media profiles. This will improve referral traffic.
Quality Images: keep images consistent across all social media channels. The profile picture should be of you (for your personal professional account) or your institution logo, so people know who they are following. The cover photo should be eye-catching and reflect who you are/what you do. Keep it simple – don’t try to fit lots of information into the photo.

Top 5 Social Media Trends for 2018

1. Instagram Stories
Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat – and Instagram Stories is only one year old!
At this rate, nearly half of all Instagram users will be using Stories by the end of 2018.
Companies interested in connecting with Instagram users must take the time to master Instagram Stories.

2. Rethinking Twitter
Twitter failed to grow followers significantly in 2017.
In fact, Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram all have more followers.
In 2018, it is likely that Twitter’s leadership will aim to rethink how the platform operates, which will impact how users and businesses use Twitter.

3. Expansion of Live Streaming
Companies have started using live streaming to capture the attention of followers. Facebook Live videos attract over 40% more engagement (views, likes, comments and shares) than standard videos posted on Facebook.

4. Rise of Augmented Reality
This emerging technology will have its initial impact on mobile gaming, but it is likely that social media platforms will also find ways to incorporate the new technology. Snapchat and Instagram will likely launch filters powered by AR.

5. Continued Interest in Influencer Marketing
Over 90% of marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy believe it is successful. Companies partner with bloggers and YouTube vloggers to connect with new audiences and improve engagement with existing audiences on social media.

How could knowledge of these trends be useful for your museum’s use of social media during 2018?

Course run by Manideepa Paul, City Lit

Analytics 1


With Google Analytics, you can track what kinds of users are visiting your museum’s website and/or blog and find out how they are using it.

Google Analytics (GA) offers a lot more information than the Insights section of a blog. There are more than 230 options to choose from in terms of the data you want to look at and how you want it presented to you!

Signing up to Google Analytics is free! You need to use/create a free Gmail email address to sign up. You can then link this Gmail address to your regular work email address, so that the notifications reach your work address.
You can use the demo account to get familiar with the site before signing up.

Unfortunately, you can’t use Google Analytics to track your museum’s Facebook page or group, or any other social media page – it can only be used for websites and blogs.
But… you can track who reached your website/blog through clicking on a link on a social media page such as Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.
And social media pages also have their own Insights sections to examine user data (although they are not as detailed as GA).

To use Google Analytics effectively, you need to think about what the primary and secondary objectives of your website/blog are, so that you can create the targets/benchmarks for success:
-To sell a product or tickets?
-To help users to find the information they need?
-To encourage user engagement/communication and frequent visitation?
-To broadcast who you are and what you offer?
-To collect information on users (such as email addresses)?

Information on Google Analytics is referred to as ‘dimensions’ (the ‘what’/description) and metrics (the how many’/numerical data).

What channel did the user reach the site through (Did they search on Google? Did they type in the website address directly? Did they click on a link on another site?)
-What countries are the users from?
-What Internet browser do your users use? (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari?)
Note: when the dimension says ‘not set’, it means that these people are using a private internet connection and Google cannot pass you their data.

-Visitors (users) – the number of unique users that visited your site during a certain time period
-Visits (sessions) – the number of visits a user has made during a certain time period
-Page views and events – eg the number of visits a particular page received, or the number of downloads a particular PDF received
-Time-based metrics – the amount of time a user stayed on the website, or on a certain page
-Bounce rate – the number of sessions where the user only did one thing (did they go onto the website but not click on anything or look at any other pages?) For a blog, this might be ok (followers know to come every day/every week to see the new post), but for a museum website, this is probably a bad sign!


Google Analytics creates reports for you according to goals and filters that you set (see below).
You can select and compare certain date ranges (eg February 2017 compared to February 2018).

Using the time graph, you can add annotations (notes) where there is something important to remember about a particular day/month (eg if the number of visitors has increased hugely on one day, and you want your team to know that that was the day you sent out a press release for a new exhibition). This is a way to store the information for your team in order to make informed conclusions about the data.

There are three streams of reports on GA:
AUDIENCE – who visits your website
ACQUISITION – how people find your website
BEHAVIOUR – what they do on your website

Reports - Audience

Access reports from the tool bar on the left of the page


Audience - Geo - Location

Click on each report stream to open up its options

Audience – Demographics
How old are your visitors and are they mainly male or female?

Audience – Geo
What countries/regions/cities are they from? What are their primary languages?

Audience – Behaviour – New vs Returning
You can use this to understand how people who have been to your site before behave differently to those who are visiting for the first time

Audience – Behaviour – Frequency & Recency
How often do people return to the site?

Audience – Technology – Browser & OS
Is your site definitely working properly on all browsers? Use the information to inform your design and tech teams if there is a problem

Audience – Mobile
Are users mostly accessing your site through desktop computers, mobile phones or tablets (eg iPad)?
This might inform how you develop your website in the future (eg if you are suddenly getting a lot of users accessing through mobile phone, have you made your website responsive?)
Mobile tends to get used a lot for searches, but desktop is still used more for purchases.


Acquisition – All Traffic – Channels
How did your users reach you? Was it direct (ie they typed the website address directly into the browser or clicked on a bookmark they had saved), did they click on a link (a ‘referral’ from an email, social media or another website), did they find it through a search engine such as Google?
Note: organic = a ‘natural’ search result vs. a search result that was paid for by a company (ie they paid to put their link at the top of the search, as an ad)

Acquisitions – All Traffic – Referrals
What other sites bring users to you? How do those users then engage with the site?

Acquisition – All Traffic – Source/Medium
This puts together the two data fields above.
What kind of people does each channel bring you? (are they ‘quality’ visitors, according to your targets?)
Which channels keep users on your site and achieving the goals that you have set out?
You can measure the ‘quality’ of the views your website is receiving by looking at the bounce rate: is it effective to pay for ads online and (if so), where should you place them?
eg If you get a lot of referrals from Facebook, but very few from Twitter, then maybe you should put more energy into your Facebook page than your Twitter page.

Marketing tip: for organisations with charity status, Google offers Google Ad Grants, allowing non-profit organisations in certain ITP countries to create Google search adverts for free (after signing up to Google for Nonprofits).

Acquisition – AdWords – Search Queries
What are people searching when they reach my site?


Behaviour – Behaviour Flow
This visualises the paths visitors take from one page to the next – it can help you discover what content keeps visitors engaged with your site.

Behaviour – Site Content – Landing Pages / Exit Pages
What are the first and last pages people look at on your site during a session? (and what could this mean about how they are engaging with the information made available to them?)

Behaviour – Site Speed
Is there a problem loading one of the pages on your website? Look here to see if any of the pages are taking a long time to load, so you can inform your web developer.

Behaviour – Site Search – Search Terms
You will need a web developer to add a bit of code on your website to enable Google Analytics to track your website’s search box, but it is a very quick job (2 mins!)
What are users searching for on your site?
Can they find what they’re looking for?
Did they find what they were looking for? (how many pages of search results did they scroll through, did they do another search immediately after?)


By setting goals, you can manage the huge amount of data that Google Analytics provides, and more easily visualise whether your website is meeting targets that you are setting.


The admin section is at the very bottom of the tool bar on the left side of the page

Admin – View – Goals – Goal Setup – Custom
-Event goal: set up a goal to track when users do something specific like download a pdf or click ‘play’ on a video
-Pages per visit goal: set a threshold for how many pages you would like your visitors to look at when they visit the website – Google Analytics will tell you if they are above or below the threshold
-Duration goal: set a threshold for how long you would like your visitors to stay on the site – GA will tell you if they are above or below the threshold
-Destination goal (useful if you have an online shop on your website – when the user reaches the confirmation of payment page, then that classes as them having completed the activity/reached the destination)

Conversions – Goals – Overview
Measure your goal completions
The conversion rate is the number of people who reached your goal divided by the total number of people

Admin – View – Filters
You can use filters to modify the data that you are seeing, so that you can exclude (or include) some data to see what is relevant to you.

Common filters include:
IP address (so that the data does not include people in your building – who will be using the same IP address. This is because your institution’s website might be the landing page for all your company computers – so you don’t want to include those ‘views’ in your data!)
-Geographic location (maybe there are particular countries you do or do not want to engage with?)
-Device type (to see if people are interacting with you through mobile, desktop or laptop)


Google Analytics Solutions Gallery is a crowd sourced help portal for GA, which also contains templates for GA custom reports that you can copy, to save you time and effort!


The Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) is free to complete and is well-respected by employers. The qualification remains current for 18 months after the exam. You can take a beginners or advanced level course.

Course run by Salvatore Mairoano, City Lit