Social Media Update 2016

This post originally appeared on Head over there for lots of great information for arts administrators.

A few weeks ago, the Pew Research Center released their Social Media Update. Take a look and see lots of great data about how people are using social media.

Over the past decade, Pew Research Center has documented the wide variety of ways in which Americans use social media to seek out information and interact with others. A majority of Americans now say they get news via social media, and half of the public has turned to these sites to learn about the 2016 presidential election. Americans are using social media in the context of…

Read the full report…

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How to Create Custom Audiences on Facebook

This post originally appeared on Head over there for lots of great information for arts administrators.

Did you know that you can upload your ticket buyer list and show Facebook ads directly to them?

If you are running paid Facebook campaigns, you need to know about the power of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences.

As per Facebook, “a Custom Audience from a customer list is a type of audience you can create made up of your existing customers.” And, “Lookalike Audiences are a way to reach new people who are likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to customers you care about.”

How to Create Custom Audiences on Facebook

I’m sure you can immediately see the value is serving content to these types of groups on Facebook.

Let’s jump right in and I’ll show you how to create them.

1. Create a Facebook ad campaign in your Ads Manager

After you create the campaign, at the top of the screen should be the Audience area.  Right at the top you will see Custom Audiences.  Since this is your first time, you will need to create one by clicking on Create New under the text field.


Choose Custom Audience (I’ll get to Lookalike Audiences later) and then choose Customer File here:


On the next screen, choose Choose a File or Copy and Paste Data

2. Upload your list

This is where the real fun starts.  You’ll need to have your list as a .CSV file and you can upload it here.


3. Map your data

You can then map your data fields however you’d like.  It used to be that Facebook could just get a match based on an email or phone number, but that’s not the case anymore.  You can match using a combination of many fields such as name, zip code, gender, age, and more.


Click Upload & Create and you are on your way!

Now, once that Custom Audience has been created, you can use it as part of  your targeting for your Facebook ads by going back to the Audience area again in your Ad Set (Step 1) and typing in the name of the audience.

About Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences are super powerful because they allow you to easily create an audience that is similar to a Custom Audience you’ve already uploaded.  Say you want to create a lookalike audience of your new acquisitions for the opera Carmen.

1. Upload your base Custom Audience

The first thing you’ll want to do is upload your new acquisition ticket buyers for that particular show as a Custom Audience using the steps above.

2. Go back to your Audience area in your Ad Set and choose Create New > Lookalike Audience


3.  Choose the audience you want to clone

The cool thing about Lookalike Audiences is that you can based them on either a Custom Audience or people who like your Facebook Page.  If you want to clone your Carmen new acquisition ticket buyers, you will see that Custom Audience in the list of options.  If you want to use your page, you’ll see that there as well.


Then click Create Audience. That’s it!

After you start with a Custom Audience, you can still refine that targeting to people within that audience who live in a certain geographic area, have certain interests, etc.

Do you use Custom Audiences already? I’d love to hear about your successes!

Stop Buying Online Ads Direct Right Now

This post originally appeared on Head over there for lots of great information for arts administrators.

So, when you want to run some online display ads, are you placing them through your local newspaper, TV news station, or magazine?


Placing ads direct on sites like these is the equivalent of ye olde “spray and pray” approach which is rarely successful with limited arts organization budgets.  You end up spending a lot of money for little to no results.

Success in online display advertising is all about targeting. You want to serve ad content to people who have a good chance of purchasing tickets.  These are people who may already like the opera/ballet/symphony/museum, or who like similar cultural events. These are also people who you feel are good prospects for whatever event you are promoting even if they don’t directly like your particular art form.

You can do this by placing ads through the Google Display Network (GDN).  GDN uses the power of behavior and interest targeting to show your ads to people not just on websites you think they might visit, but on the actual websites they go to no matter where they are on the internet.

Let’s take a look at a little case study from Palm Beach Opera.*

Like most of you, we placed our online ads direct each year with our local newspaper and TV new stations.  The number of impressions and clicks for each show was lackluster at best every single time.  Here is a screenshot of some of that data:


For this particular opera campaign, we got a total of just 77,724 impressions and 102 clicks.  We were spending $2,500 – $3,000 PER OPERA, PER WEBSITE for this kind of result.

I knew there had to be a better way.

We switched everything over to the Google Display Network (with the help of the fine folks over at Capacity Interactive) and stopped placing direct on local websites.  In our very first outing (for the opera Macbeth), we dramatically increased our impressions and clicks.


WHAAAAAAAAAAA!? We ended up with just under 900,000 (yes, that is the right amount of zeros) and 1,800 clicks. All for under $3,000, saving us thousands of dollars. Not to mention the fact that we installed Google’s tracking pixel on our website so that we could track conversions…

One of the biggest concerns we had was that our ads weren’t going to show up on any local websites.  That turned out not to be the case.  Here is a sample of where our ads were shown:


You can clearly see the national sites there but our local sites (WPTV, CBS12, WPBF, Gossip Extra) are still included.

You may be looking at this and thinking that this is all well and good, but your organization doesn’t have $3,000 per show to put towards advertising like this.

Let’s look at another, smaller organization that was working with a much smaller budget.

Earlier this year, I worked with the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival to promote their summer season.  We had a small budget of just $800 for online advertising.  Their result with that budget was this:


They ended up with just under 1.5 MILLION impressions and over 9,000 clicks which is incredibly significant for an organization of their size (or any size, really).

So, now that I’ve got you totally convinced to switch over your online advertising to GDN, here are some tips:

  • If you or a member of your team would like to try out running these ads in-house, Google offers some great tutorials on how to get things set up.   If you are not sure you want to attempt this on your own, reach out to a professional like Capacity Interactive or similar.
  • Always be sure to run multiple ad sizes and not just the standard 300 x 250 and 728 x 90.  Google gives some good guidance on which sizes tend to work the best.
  • Utilize remarketing campaigns in conjunction to your new acquisition campaigns.  This will show your ads again to people who clicked through on a previous ad.  If you are tracking conversions, this is most likely where you’ll see the highest ROI. (Google also has some instructions on how to set that up.)
  • Make sure that the landing page you are directing people to upon click through is optimized so that they can find out more about the event and then purchase a ticket quickly and easily. My colleague Marc van Bree wrote a great post on how to do this here on Arts Hacker.

One more piece of advice. If you have been placing online ads with your local newspaper ad rep, they may not react favorably when you tell them that you are not going to be doing that anymore.  They will most likely try to get you to place in their “ad network” or even on the Google Display Network through them. I can’t tell you what decision to make but, keep in mind that it is their job to sell you things and bring in revenue for the paper and not to help you create campaigns that bring in revenue for your organization.

NOTE: Google will not let you run your Google Grants and paid GDN campaigns from the same account.  If you are using Google Grants (which you absolutely should be), you will need to make a separate account to run your display advertising.

*Full disclosure mode: I was the Director of Communications at Palm Beach Opera until December 2015.

3 Things All Your Facebook Posts Should Have

This post originally appeared on Head over there for lots of great information for arts administrators.

We all do Facebook, right? Whether you do organic posts, paid posts, or a combination of the two, there are three things that your posts should have to make them more effective.

The goal with Facebook (or any social media, really) is engagement.  “Reach” doesn’t really matter if no one is engaging with your content.

It goes without saying that your post copy should be engaging and relevant.  I usually recommend no more than 3-4 lines of text in a post. You want it to be just enough to get people interested but not too much where they won’t read it and scroll right on by.

Going beyond the text, there are three more tactical items that your posts should have. Do your Facebook posts have these three key elements?

1. A photo or video

Every single one of your posts should include a natively uploaded photo or video.  Facebook likes content like this and will rank it higher. It also is much more engaging for the viewer. What do I mean by “natively uploaded,” you ask?  Don’t use the preview image that appears when you put in a link.  Actually upload the photo or video directly to Facebook using the little camera icon at the bottom of your post like this:


(Also, be sure that your image is the correct size.  I recommend two free tools for quickly and easily sizing images for social media: Canva and Landscape.)

2. Tags (when possible)

When you are writing a post, always be sure to tag people, organizations, and businesses when possible.  When you add a tag to your post, people who also follow that person/thing might see your post as well, upping your reach. Tagging is super simple to do so make sure you remember to do it whenever you can.


3. A link

What do you want people to do after seeing your post? Think about your messaging for a moment. Are you talking about an upcoming performance? An education program for children? A current fundraising campaign? Make sure you add a URL at the end of your post that links directly to additional pertinent information. A URL click is a great type of engagement on a post because you are getting people from Facebook over to your website.


Tip: If the URL of your landing page is rather long, shorten it by using a free service like Bitly.

3 Things All Your Facebook Posts Should Have

How To Create Custom Dashboards

This post originally appeared on Head over there for lots of great information for arts administrators.

Do you have specific pieces of data that you always want to see when you’re checking your Google Analytics? (Because I know you are checking your Google Analytics regularly, right? Yes. Yes, you are.)

A super handy way to streamline the process is to create a custom dashboard. You can take almost any data set that is in Google Analytics and put it into a dashboard.  Let me show you!

Step 1: Login to your GA account and navigate to some data that you regularly look at.

In this example, I’m looking at pageviews.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 10.25.37 AM

Step 2: Click the Add To Dashboard link at the top of the page

Check that out! Did you ever notice that before?

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 10.25.37 AM 2

Step 3: Add it to your Dashboard

Because you most likely don’t have any dashboards already created, choose New Dashboard as where you want this data to go.  For me, I want a timeline view (which is the same as what you would see usually in GA) so I’m going choose that option.  Then click Add To Dashboard

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 10.29.38 AM

After this, it will take you directly to your dashboard that you’ve just created.

Once you’re there, you can customize the look of the dashboard by clicking the Customize Dashboard link in the top right and you can also edit the data that you have in there as well.

Step 4:  Share your Dashboard

One of the great things about Dashboards is that you can share them easily.  My favorite way to do this is to set up an automated email to the members of my team so that everyone can keep up to date with how things are going.  You could also create dashboards for different departments and customize the data to their interests. (For example, you could do one for your Development department with information about Fundraising pages.)

To set up an email, simply go to your dashboard and click the Email link at the top.  You will then see this:

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 10.36.56 AM

Just fill in the email address(es) of the people you want to get the email and you are ready to go!

Do you use Dashboards already? Share how you use them in the comments below!

How to Create Custom Dashboards

No One Cares About Your Website Slider

This post originally appeared on Head over there for lots of great information for arts administrators.

I’m sorry but it’s true.

Most arts organizations have some sort of slider feature (also called a carousel) on their website.  You probably do right now.  Well, the cold hard truth is that very few people are actually seeing that slider content.

How do I know this?  DATA. (No, not this Data.  I’m talking about real facts that have been collected and analyzed over time.)

I think it makes us (meaning arts marketers and arts administrators) feel better to have a slider of some sort on our website but that doesn’t mean that it is effective.

A couple of years ago, the folks at Notre Dame did a study on this and here’s what they found. Only about 1% of people click on a slider feature on websites.   Of these clicks, 84% were on the first slider feature.

Ok, let’s take a second for that to sink in…

So, now that we’ve accepted the fact that no one is even looking at let alone clicking on our slider features, what do we do about it?  We’ve got some awesome things going on that we want to feature there to make sure people see them.  What do we do?!?!?!?

Let’s totally rethink the point of the slider for a second.  The information there is related to very important shows/programs/information, right?  Let’s figure out a better way to get people to do what we want them to do upon getting to our website.

1. Switch to a hero image with a clear and prominent CTA.

A couple of seasons ago at Palm Beach Opera*, I moved to this design from a more traditional slider and the number of clicks on the CTA button improved dramatically.  This option is probably the easiest to implement on your website (especially if it is running on WordPress).


When I thought about it, the point of that slider for me was to get people to see all of our events.  That large CTA button linked to a page with all of those events listed (with an image) in chronological order.  (Yes, it was a bit scary to make this switch but, luckily, my General Director was incredibly supportive of us trying something new.)

Here are some other non-arts samples of this approach:



2. Run a slideshow or video behind the content

This approach enables you to still feature all of that great production photography you have but still keep the same copy and CTA to ensure people see what you want.  My favorite nonprofit example of this is from the Nashville Zoo.  Here’s a screenshot but you’ve really got to go to their website to see it for yourself.


It is clear from this homepage that they have three main actions they want people to take: plan a visit, become a member, and to purchase tickets.  They are so clear right when the page loads and remain throughout the slideshow behind.

Squarespace also does this same sort of thing using video (albeit with just one CTA):


3. Go totally custom

Recently, The Metropolitan Opera redesigned their website and, whilst initially it featured large hero videos, at some point in the past few months, they switched over to a modified sprite carousel.  This is a custom option but it is so effective because the background images automatically switch out when you start to scroll so you can’t help but see all of them.


I challenge you to broaden your thinking on how you can better facilitate clicks on your homepage.  I’d love to know how it turns out!

(PS – If you’re looking for ways to definitively see how people are really interacting with your website, I highly recommend this and this.)

*NOTE: I was the Director of Communications at Palm Beach Opera until the end of December 2015.

How To Find The Truth About Your Audience Demographics

We all have anecdotal information about who buys tickets to our organization’s event.  “Well, our people are all [insert adjective here]” or “our people are [insert adjective here] so they prefer to…” If this sounds familiar to you, you are not alone.

But how well do you REALLY know your audience?  Do you actually have data that shows who, demographically, is purchasing tickets or memberships?  If you do, awesome! If you don’t, I’ve got a couple of ways that will help you find out.

How To Find The Truth About Your Audience DemographicsWhy should you find out the demographics of your audience for real?  Most arts organizations need to not only grow their audiences, but grow specific segments of their audience.  Yes, an opera company may need to grow their audience generally, but the Baby Boomer segment is a particular interest in their market.  Maybe you have programming that fits in with a particular demographic group and you want to reach out to them specifically for those events.  Perhaps your audience doesn’t accurately reflect the demographics of your area and you want to improve that.

I’ve got two tools that I highly recommend you check out to get some demographic intel on your audience.  Those of you who regularly read my posts know that I’m the queen of free and low-cost solutions.  This is not necessarily one of them.  However, I firmly believe that getting and using accurate data is an investment and I’ve have many occasions where the return was absolutely worth the cost.

Tool #1

Reach out to a list broker or mailhouse in your area that can do a list matching for you.  (If you’re in my neck of the woods, call these guys and ask for Scott.)  A list matching is a process where they take your patron lists and run them against their database and attach demographics to each person.  Some of the demographic information could include age, presence of children in the home, annual income, etc.  You can work with them to find specific pieces of information that you might want to know above and beyond the standard (like if they own a boat, for example).


Beyond that, they can use the demographic profile of those on your existing list to find new, qualified prospects.  These prospects could match all of the demographics and basically be a clone of your existing patron set, or they can be a clone of a segment within your patron set that you want to grow.

Tool #2

There is a new software on the market called PatronLink360 which is developed by Arts & Analytics (which is headed by the guy who literally wrote the book on precision marketing.)  Arts & Analytics was created to provide big data services specifically for arts organizations.  If you’re even the slightest bit tech savvy, PatronLink is a self-service way to get this demographic information as well as to clone varying segments.

You load in your list, the software runs its magic, and you have demographic data in just a few minutes.  If you want to clone your list to get new prospects, you can do that with just a couple of clicks.

Arts & Analytics

The cool thing about this software is that rather than paying per service, you pay a monthly fee so you are free to load in as many lists as you’d like whenever you want.  Want to find out the demographics of the people who attended your world premiere?  Check. Are you looking to see the growth of a particular segment year over year? Check. Need to get real life demographic numbers for a particular program for a grant application or report? Check.

I’ve used both of these tools personally and can attest to their efficacy.  Let’s stop making up estimating demographics and get some real data to back us up.

How have you used demographics to guide your marketing?  I’d love to hear your experience!

Disclosure: I used both tools recommended in this post while working as a practitioner at Palm Beach Opera.  Currently, I provide Arts & Analytics with marketing consulting services.

How To Create A “Dark Post” On Facebook

This post originally appeared on Head over there for lots of great information for arts administrators.

Updated on December 19, 2016

Have you ever experimented with so-called “dark posts” on Facebook?  A dark post (also called an unpublished post) is a post that doesn’t show up on your page but can be promoted through an advertising campaign.

How To Create A “Dark Post” On Facebook

Dark posts can be really handy when you want to reach out to specific groups of people but not clutter your page with too much varying content.  Some examples of how you could use dark posts as a part of your Facebook marketing might be:

  • To run a companion campaign for your young friends group for event RSVPs, ticket purchases, or even membership
  • To engage a specific demographic group with imagery and messaging that is meaningful to them
  • To reinforce subscription renewal messaging to a custom audience of your existing subscribers

As you can see, there are lots of ways that you can use dark posts to your advantage!

Let’s get started on how to make a dark post and use it in your campaign.

Step 1

Go to your Business Manager, select your Ad Account, click on the menu button in the top left (right next to the Facebook logo), and then select All Tools. This will open up a menu that looks like this where you can select Power Editor


Step 2

On the left-hand side of the page, click on Ads Posts


Step 3

Click on the Create Post button and it will bring up a dialogue box where you can create your post.  My favorite kind of posts are using photos, so you’ll see that I have that type selected here


Be sure that “This post will only be used as an ad” is selected at the bottom.

After you create the post, you should see it in your Power Editor and it will look like this:


You can click on the post and see what it will look like in the feed.  Here is the sample post that I created:


Step 4

Go out of Power Editor and back to your Ad Account.  You can either create a new campaign (as I’m doing in the screenshot below) or add your post to an existing campaign.  Either way, you should now have this post as an option in the dropdown


From here, you will be taken to the Ad Set level to choose your targeting and budget.

To track your dark post’s performance, you will need to go to your Power Editor and it will show you the stats there.

Have you ever utilized dark posts on Facebook?  How did you use them and were they successful?

It’s Official: Click Click Done Was The #1 RANKED SESSION Among #NAMPC 2015 Attendees!

By Drew McManus
This post originally appeared on

We are so pleased to learn that the Click.Click.Done. Developing Your Google Analytics Skills session at the 2015 National Arts Marketing Project Conference was ranked as the #1 session among session attendees!The session was developed by Arts Hacker Editor-in-Chief Drew McManus along with contributors Ceci Dadisman and Marc van Bree and designed to be a very hands-on type of experience where attendees put lessons into motion in real time.National Arts Marketing Project Manager, Laura Kakolewski, was kind enough to share the following information as well as attendee responses. We would like to thank everyone who attended the session for the fantastic feedback along with extending our gratitude to Ms. Kakolweski and all of her colleagues who make the conference such a fantastic annual event.

In this year’s survey, respondents were asked to select from a list which session(s) they attended at #NAMPC 2015, rank their preferred session, and give an overall response for satisfaction. I am thrilled to let you know that Click. Click. Done. was ranked as the #1 session among those who ranked the sessions in which they attended. I am going to let these responses speak for themselves. ~ Laura Kakolewski

Click Click Done was really overdue and useful. Speakers were lively and provided great content.

The Sunday session on Google Analytics — this was the information I needed to make this work for me. I had asked for sessions on Google Analytics after the last two conferences and was SO pleased that there were two sessions! Both exceeded my expectations and gave me tools I can use right now.

Google Analytics session. Very good information that can be put to use immediately. Well organized and presented

Google Analytics with Drew, Ceci and Marc was far and away the most useful in terms of “we are going to teach you a useful skill” – the practical application is a nice complement to all of the big ideas and data.

Click Click Done stood out the most, as they provided a comprehensive resource to which I can refer back long after the conference, and the panelists were all responsive to questions during and after the session, both in person and via Twitter.

Click, Click Done: Developing Your Google Analytics Skills, the presenters were fantastic! They had an appropriate amount of information for all levels of abilities and experience. I came into this session with some experience with GA and still learnt a lot. The speakers also left attendees with a fantastic website resource!

The google analytics session was good. While much of the info was familiar, I wish I had, had that session five years ago when I was trying to figure it out on my own. They also alerted me to some features that are new and/or that I’m underutilizing.

Session on Google Analytics. They asked us to bring out computers and they showed us what we needed to know

Click, Click, Done! – NOW I get Google Analytics! Lots of great tools that can be started immediately. Looking forward to Click, Click, TWO at a future conference.

Click. Click. Done. Developing Your Google Analytics Skills. At my organization, I manage 3 websites and I am constantly trying to find ways to use them more efficiently and make them more user friendly. We have Google Analytics set up on all 3 websites, however I didn’t understand how to read the reports. This session really opened my eyes to the mechanics and the uses of our websites, and I plan to use Google Analytics more in the future when it comes to redesigning the sites.

Click, Click, Done. Made me realize I need to pay much more attention to Google Analytics and it finally got me to apply for the AdWords grant.

Really liked the group that gave the early morning session on Google Analytics – they definitely brought a presentation that everyone could learn from. They should be brought back again, because I think their information will still be timely and relevant.

Also, each of the panelists from the Click, Click, Done/Google Analytics sessions were extremely helping in providing a web resource for future use, walked the attendees through various procedures, and were clear and not overwhelming with technical detail in their explanations.

Ceci Dadisman of the Click. Click. Done. session – super specific but still engaging.

Drew McManus & Ceci Dadisman These three were fantastic, inspiring and I believe their message was applicable to groups of all sizes.

Click. Click. Done. was one of the most informative and well broken down presentations I’ve ever attended. They made Google Analytics accessible even for someone who hates numbers!

Ceci Dadisman, Drew McManus, and Marc Van Bree. All three of these speakers in the Google Analytics session were incredibly well prepared and presented some great information for all skill levels to use and implement in their organizations.

Ceci Dadisman, Drew McManus, and Mark van Bree were very engaging, very well-prepared, and very informative. The presentation had a good flow and was organized effectively.

Ceci Dadisman, Drew McManus, Mark Van Bree – smart, capable communicators sharing relevant information at a good pace and fit a lot of quality info into an hour, website was huge bonus.

Drew McManus- Brilliant analytic mind and yet knew we’re not natural analysts and that we learn from doing, not just listening.; Ceci Dadisman – she gets it! Knows what it’s like to be an arts marketer and knew the best advice on how to manage analytics in our orgs.

Ceci Dadisman – she broke complex google analytics down to easy to understand and implement tasks, for people of all user levels too.

Drew McManus – Click, Click Done This gave me the most food for thought – I really need to get comfortable with analytics and this will help me do so.

In addition to structuring the session to function as a type of live ArtsHacker skills building event, we used the opportunity to introduce an entirely new concept to the conference in the form of a dedicated SessionSYNC microsite.


Since most attendees were actively working on the session tutorials via a laptop, having the Session Sync open via their mobile device (or even another laptop browser tab) made it easy to access the content without distracting from what they were there to learn. The touch screen focus was exactly what needed and made it super easy for users to slide around between elements in the single page design but we made sure to add a slide out menu that contained shortcut anchor links to each major section.

All of this meant a user never had to sit and wait for a page load other than the one on the initial site visit. This meant the site wasn’t only fast, but downright seamless.

All in all, the site was a great deal of fun to design and build; the entire project used resources on hand (including the animations) so there were zero out of pocket expenses and the only other resource was simply time. Moreover, since the site was hosted as a subdomain install at, it not only serves as a handy ongoing resource for the existing content, but it can easily be reconfigured for future NAMPC events as needed.

In the end, it is gratifying to see that the ideals which guide content, “forget the conceptual stuff, people just need to get stuff done,” was capable of generating a session that turned out to be such a hit with NAMPC attendees.