Google has regularly shared findings from studies conducted from various sources (including its own analytics from searches and YouTube) in Think with Google, which I receive as an email a couple times each month as a subscription. They’ve now gathered those studies together in a new Data Gallery which, of course, can be searched by topic. There’s nothing for “museums,” “historic sites,” or “tourism,” but there is lots for “travel & hospitality.” You can also narrow your search by industry (e.g., “travel & hospitality”), by platform (e.g., mobile, video), by themes (e.g., consumer trends, Millennials, U.S.).
A quick browse through the “travel & hospitality” shows the growing importance of video. For example, their research shows that two out of three U. S. consumers watch online travel videos when they’re thinking about taking a trip and nearly 90 percent of YouTube travel searches focus on destinations, attractions/points of interest or general travel ideas. This suggests that historic sites and house museums need to begin producing videos, not just refreshing their websites. And those videos don’t need to be fancy—homemade productions can be effective. Travel vlogs (aka video blogs, which are typically made by amateurs) receive four times more social engagement (likes, comments, shares, favorites, and subscriptions) than other types of travel content on YouTube. Even I am thinking about producing videos for this blog (and you’ll probably be laughing when you see them because they’re definitely going to be handcrafted).
Each search result links to an in-depth article. I was intrigued by “two out of three U. S. consumers watch online travel videos,” which took me to “Travel Content Takes Off on YouTube.” That article provided more details on what travelers are seeking and what’s popular, supplemented by lots of data and charts. I was surprised to find out that travel searches conducted on Google are significantly different from YouTube. On Google, people are more likely to search for a travel brand (e.g., Jet Blue, Marriott, Hilton) whereas on YouTube they are more likely to look for the name of the regional destination (e.g., Las Vegas, Hawaii, Paris). Searching for local attractions by name (e.g., Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, Eiffel Tower) represents less than 10 percent in either source. What’s this mean for historic sites? If you want to increase your visibility, you’ll need to associate yourself with the region as a destination, especially on YouTube. Perhaps you can suggest what to see in your region in a YouTube video? Get different perspectives from the curator and the educator?
What’s especially nice about Think with Google is that you can also download a beautifully formatted free version as a pdf. That’s handy for stashing away in your files or sharing with your staff or board to keep them informed about what’s happening in your field.
If you found some particularly helpful information for historic sites and house museums in Think with Google or the Data Gallery, please share it in the comments below.