The Digital Footprint

Paper
Catherine Devine, American Museum of Natural History, USA

Published paper: The Digital Footprint

There used to be just the museum, and then there was the museum and the website. And then with each year came more digital channels: apps, social, virtual reality, and voice. Now, there is a proliferation of digital channels which are ever-increasing and becoming fragmented. Websites, social, apps, mobile Web, voice and chat interfaces, virtual reality, notifications, wearables. We have more channels and increasingly more data than we can manage. 

We are drowning in data but unable to draw meaningful insights from that data. 

This paper looks at the journey the American Museum of Natural History has taken to define and monitor the institutional digital and physical footprint. This allows us to extend beyond traditional measures of website traffic to understand the channel mix, shifts between channels over time, and understand initiatives that drive growth in overall reach. In addition, it is about understanding key behavioral characteristics of the audience. Rather than looking at audience behavior in a single channel, we are looking at behavior across the integrated physical and digital experience or journey. Also, to understand how visitors move across digital channels as well as between digital and physical channels (the museum). That is, how they move between the website and email and apps and the physical museum for example. Finally, it is focused on identifying insights that support decision-making rather than generating reporting. Leveraging this data to drive decision-making in the museum that delivers on the museum’s goals and objectives, by confirming hypotheses about the audience.