Case Study Nasher Sculpture Center

Nasher Sculpture Center

$120k/y in Ad Grants to drive web & foot traffic to the museum.

About

Nasher Sculpture Center, located in the heart of the Dallas Arts District, is home to one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary sculptures in the world. It presents rotating exhibitions of artworks as well as special exhibitions drawn from other museums and private collections. In addition to indoor gallery space, the Center contains an auditorium, education and research facilities, a cafe, and a store. Nasher Sculpture Center is a major spot for art lovers as well as tourists visiting Dallas.

Marketing Goals

  • Audit existing Ad Grants campaigns
  • Increase the website traffic volume
  • Increase the grant utilization
  • Configure new conversions
  • Increase the number of engaged website visitors (measured by long session duration and multiple page visits)
  • Generate new monetary conversions – foot traffic, online ticket sales, venue booking requests

Success Metrics

  • Generate 25,000 relevant website visits in the first year of cooperation
  • Bring at least 500 highly-engaged website visitors in the first year of cooperation
  • Increase the grant utilization to $100,000 in the first year of cooperation
  • Launch new campaigns targeted at tourists
  • Regularly add new campaigns promoting current exhibitions

Initial Situation

Nasher Sculpture Center used its Ad Grants account since 10/2018. They ran 3 campaigns targeted at local audiences, the monthly click volume was below 100, monthly grant utilization below $100 and, on top of that, the account wasn’t compliant with then announced new Ad Grants compliance requirements. The conversion rate was a major compliance problem. It might sound surprising, but the client didn’t have a low conversion rate, it was quite the opposite. Their conversion rate at the time of our initial audit in mid-2019 exceeded 70%, which was mostly due to incorrectly configured newsletter signup conversion.

Our audit also revealed other important problems. The keyword lists were short, important large-volume keywords were missing, ad texts were not optimized for major keywords, most ads were in old formats and most campaigns used low-performing manual bidding models. This setup coupled with incorrect conversion data prevented Nasher from using a significant part of the grant and also limited opportunities for data-driven optimization.

Impact of Google Ad Grants

After the initial audit, it became apparent that we need to bring existing campaigns to compliance, build new, more broadly targeted campaigns, and fix the conversion tracking.

We’ve agreed to promote all services offered by the museum to maximize our traffic and conversion prospects. Following campaigns were created for the client:

  • Brand
  • Brand awareness
  • Tourists
  • Donate
  • Local
  • Exhibitions
  • Artists
  • Volunteering
  • Reserve Venue
  • Shop

Thanks to the massive campaign expansion and fixed conversion tracking setup, the account performance grew exponentially soon after the ads were pushed live. In the first month of our management of the account, we’ve used $4,300 of grant funds, tracked over 1900 clicks and 76 conversions.

The strong performance kept building up as we gathered more conversion data. Accurate conversion tracking helped automated bidding algorithms complete the learning phase quickly. Evergreen campaigns built up momentum with the “Tourist” and “Shop” campaigns leading the way. These were supplemented by “Exhibition” campaigns, where we updated the ads on an ongoing basis to keep them always aligned with the website.

In the 4th month of our cooperation, we’ve used the full grant for the first time. Ever since we kept using the full grant every single month.

Broad-enough targeting, diligent data-driven optimization and focus on relevant keywords with lower levels of competition were the main factors that helped us meet and exceed the target success metrics. In the first year of our cooperation, we’ve managed to use over $112k in grant funds, generate over 29.5k website visits and track over 900 meaningful conversions. Out of that, over 600 were highly-engaged website visitors, who are particularly valuable to the museum as they are likely to visit them physically and/or visit the website repeatedly.

Ad Grants campaigns currently bring almost 20% of total website traffic and with a high percentage of new users they became a steady source of new foot traffic and brand visibility.

The Road Ahead

The recent pandemic had a major impact on the museum operations. During the time of forced closure, the museum decided to focus on producing online resources – activities for kids, art resources, online art lectures, virtual exhibitions, video content & more. The campaign focus shifted accordingly. Tourist campaigns were paused, new campaigns promoting various online pieces were created, and quickly expanded. Conversion tracking was adjusted to accurately measure the impact of resource campaigns.

Now, that the pandemic seems to be largely over and the museum opened again, Ad Grants campaigns were reworked again to mainly attract tourist and local art-loving audiences. Online resource campaigns were not completely paused, best converting campaigns remain active with lower budgets.

Nasher Sculpture Center is about to host a major virtual reality event, which will be promoted via rich media, including banners and video. We are currently developing these campaigns in a new commercial Google Ads campaigns. Encouraged by the success of Ad Grants campaigns, we hope that the commercial campaign will meet Nasher’s expectations and yield a positive ROI. The plan is also to use the commercial Google Ads account to run banner retargeting campaigns soon.

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