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How you can get ahead of 64 percent of private galleries

Galleries are equipped with alarm and detection systems that offer full control over every single move in the gallery. Day and night. But when it comes to the web most galleries adopt an opposite approach. Oh well, luckily going out of control on the web is next to impossible, right?

 

Wrong. It is even worse

Moreover this is exactly the situation 64 percent of galleries are facing daily with their gallery's site. They function all controls off. 24/7.

 

Yet most gallery owners think they're in full control

They are convinced they know exactly what's happening. For example, that all visitors enter their site via the home page. And because their gallery's site offers an easy and clear navigation, they expect their visitors to follow the pre-established trajectory. Sorry to tell you, but...

 

Your web visitors are as fickle as pigeons

Wouldn't it be interesting if you could monitor day and night what is happening on your web site? Where your visitors spend most of their visiting time. How they proceed? Where they leave your gallery's site? After how much time? Which artists they looked at? How long they spent on a given page? How often they come back?

 

In real life monitoring is almost a full-time job for a team

Consider a little squad of collaborators to get after the same results: follow closely each single visitor in your gallery, ask where (s)he comes from, monitor their parcours with a stop-watch to check how long they stay, how long they look at each work, what documents they consult, etc. Plus importing all data in a spreadsheet, analyzing the results?

 

On the web you can gather this information on the fly

All you need do is install tracking software and your gallery's site becomes as transparent to you as what you monitor via the video screens in your gallery. Better. Even more transparent. If you want to, you can get fully detailed information on what's happening with every single page of your gallery's site.

 

Don't get me wrong

I am not talking about the web stat software a lot of providers offer. True, this software offers features to enable you to see where your visitors come from, their type of browser and so on, but you can't distil information on what pages they've consulted, what works they were looking at, etc.

 

Why should you go after more detailed information?

It's always pleasant for the ego to notice how many visitors have reached your gallery's site. But the number of visitors isn't a guarantee of success, let alone effectiveness. What it really is all about is: does your gallery's site respond to the expectations of your visitors? Do they want and get to the information you offer on your site?

This is where tracking enters the scene. Until then it's like working with all monitoring and alarms off.

 

Opt for the real thing

What you need is a high-performance tool to start managing your gallery's site. There is a myriad of expensive tracking software and specialised services available. Others come for free. I know, “free” is often perceived as poor quality. But the exception makes the rule this time.With Google itself offering a superb tool: Google Analytics.

 

Why Google Analytics?

On top of the fact that it is free, Google Analytics offers all you need. Nothing more, nothing less. All the basics, the page views, the technical info, all the features to segment or filter your visitors based on your criteria, tools to build scenarios, cross match figures,... More than enough information to give an even more precise image on who's visiting your site than that you have about your gallery.

 

Don't think, tracking is nothing for me

When gallery owners are confronted with the amount of data generated, they often abandon. It's simply too much. A normal reaction. How to interpret all these figures? What action to take? Where to start?

 

Take the time to incorporate tracking in your gallery routine

Consider tracking as a very first step to really start to work with your gallery site and integrate it in your marketing strategy. Establish a new habit to check your tracking figures regularly. You could adopt a routine to do it after every opening or other highlights on your gallery calendar.

 

See what's happening

Translating the results you read in your stats need not be more difficult than reading them. As with all new tools it takes time to get familiar with the data presented. So yes, there's a learning curve involved. But you'll recognize patterns very soon.

 

Your visitors' behaviour offers you vital information

Something they are not eager to communicate directly. But their whole on-line behaviour offers a tremendous source of information not only about how they perceive your site, but also how your artists' work is perceived by the time they spend on a page of an artist. You can compare their visiting time artist per artist, check how easily they navigate your site, etc.

 

Why? What !? Is this real? Get ready for a surprise

I can assure you that almost nothing at your gallery's site will turn out as you thought. Before you start asking yourself why you put so much effort in your site if visitors stay only for a moment, why they don't follow your navigation,... don't despair. Because only then begins the real work. More on this in another article.

 

In case you're still hesitating

 

Take me there

 

Step one

  • Open a personal account on www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount
  • Confirm your subscription on the Google Email Confirmation message sent to the email address you entered

Step two

  • Go to Google Analytics on www.google.com/analytics/
  • Because you are new to Google Analytics, you click the 'Sign Up Now'
  • All you have to do here is enter your account's password
  • Click the 'Sign up' button to get started tracking your visitors

 

 

One more thing: why did I mention 64 percent?

It's easy to invent percentages or to produce stats. When I mention the percentage of gallery sites working with all controls off, I base myself on a quick survey of 250 contemporary art gallery sites worldwide I have checked randomly on the subject. Only 87 had tracking software installed. Most of them are top galleries.

You don't wonder why, do you?

 

 

 

 

Next step: Discover why most roster pages are real turnoffs for new time visitors and how to make your own roster page respond to their expectations.

 

 

If you haven't done so already:

 

 

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Article written by Luuk Christiaens