Is Your Group Keeping Up With Digital Marketing Trends?

Capacity Interactive (CI) recently published their fourth annual Arts Industry Digital Marketing Benchmark Study (h/t Thomas Cott) and some of their findings are worth noticing. Moreover, everything covered in the report is covered in one or more how-to articles at Here are some shortcuts to help you drill down into what’s important.

CI Study: Instagram usage saw dramatic growth – followers across respondents increased 174%. 96% of organizations had Instagram accounts, up from 81% in 2014, and 47% posted at least a few times per week.

  • An ArtsHacker original series from 2016, An Arts Manager’s guide To Instagram focuses on how arts organizations can better understand and develop an effective Instagram strategy. You can find the series archive at
  • You’ll can also find all sorts of additional articles about Instagram.

CI Study: 100% of organizations had Facebook accounts and, for the first time, 100% of respondents indicated they purchased Facebook ads. Facebook fans grew 45% YOY across all budget sizes. 73% of respondents indicated they posted on Facebook at least once a day. Also, Facebook was the primary outlet for organizations to post and promote video, surpassing YouTube for both paid and organic posting.

CI Study: Organizations began to pay more attention to social metrics. 41% of respondents indicated they checked their social media metrics at least once a week. That was an increase from 21% in 2014, but there is still a long way to go.

A long way to go indeed. Fortunately, metrics is one of the most prolific topics at ArtsHacker.

CI Study: Most arts organizations used video to market their offerings and began to invest in content.

CI Study: Organizations are investing more in digital, but challenges around funding and expertise are still limiting digital effectiveness.

Yep, budget limitations suck, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. ArtsHacker is a veritable ocean of resources to help you find free options and prevent wasting money on options that won’t work:

  • Loads of articles about social media topics in general.
  • How to take advantage of FREE Google advertising via Google Grants.
  • So many great articles about Hootsuit!
  • Super slick, super free Photoshop templates for creating updating your social media branding.
  • Trying to figure out if live streaming on Meerkat or Perisope is for your org. ArtsHacker has an article to help you figure it out (of course it does!).
  • Need to know about podcasting? We’ve got an entire series about everything from hardware to software for all budget sizes and how to properly distribute your content.

Last but not least, there’s even an article about digital advertising for arts organizations written by some guy who apparently knows what he’s talking about.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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4 thoughts on “Is Your Group Keeping Up With Digital Marketing Trends?

  1. I haven’t read the report, but what about Snapchat? Just last week, Bloomberg reported that Snapchat has surpassed Twitter in daily active users. I’ve never gotten into it myself, and it’s the first time I can remember feeling like I don’t understand the kids these days.


    • Interesting and I don’t know much about it either but I’m certainly going to run it past the ArtsHacker authors and see if anyone does. Like most social media platforms, I’m curious to know about applicability.

      • I know a lot of media properties use it. The downside is that your posts only exist for 24 hours. To users, this allows posts to be imperfect. You can post something that you won’t be held accountable for years or even weeks later. I personally like the idea that the things I make stick around, but I totally understand the impetus on the other side.

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