When it comes to web design and digital marketing, contemporary art galleries, collectors, museums and even curators and critics retain an ambiguous, almost defensive approach to the ethos of communication online. The reasons for this phenomenon, this ambivalence are complex and many. They range from the idea that the web is somehow beneath their realm, both aesthetically and financially to the belief that websites and social media phenomena are banal and not worthy of their attention from a cultural standpoint.
Today’s Global Art Buyers Are More Internet-Savvy Than Ever
These out-dated assumptions are the first mistakes galleries and auction houses make. Their second mistake is in not understanding the cultural import of smartphones and tablets. Today, more people browse the web via a mobile device than a desktop or laptop computer. Whether you are a dealer in Moscow or a collector in Los Angeles, your device is an extension of your personality and a trusted tool for gathering information on the latest exhibitions, sales trends and hot artists. When galleries have boring or websites that are not fully mobile and tablet-friendly, they are likely losing viewers and sales. A mobile-friendly website is more than just a site that re-sizes to different screens on different devices. A truly optimized site also looks and feels good regardless of the device or screen-size.
The mistake many galleries make is going with an all white or overly simplistic site design that ends up underwhelming visitors in its predictably minimalist look and thereby losing the interest of the viewer rather than seducing them to stay and learn about an artist’s work.
By assuming that their buyers and collectors are somehow not influenced by web results or not paying attention to what transpires online, galleries are leaving millions of dollars in sales behind because they fail to properly market their roster of artists and the individual works they produce.
How do I know this? Let me tell you a story:
The Smartphone is the Tool of Choice for Communication in the Art World
Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars in Lost Sales
One day, a prominent gallery dealer who also happens to be a personal acquaintance, asked me to her office to inquire why an artist she represented did not show her gallery in search results when the artist’s name was searched on Google and other search engines. We Googled the artist in question together and a gallery, mostly a secondary dealer, appeared first on Google and sales for that artist were going to this dealer whose gallery was a competitor, rather than to my friend’s gallery.
The reason for this was simple: My friend never optimized or marketed her gallery online. This young dealer had incorrectly assumed that all buyers and collectors would simply know she was the primary representative of the artist’s work! This assumption cost her at least $500,000 in annual sales.
Art Fairs Are But One Example of the Globalization of Contemporary Art
The Art World is Now Global and The Web Is Where It Mingles
With today’s jet-set collectors coming from Moscow to Beijing, from Buenos Aires and Sydney, the Internet is the sole primary neutral source of information for those who do not live and frequent the familiar art centers of London, New York, Los Angeles and other cities. The art world has gone global and a solid website with a strong online presence for every artist, gallery and auction house is a must!
With Art Fairs and non-stop global events ranging from auctions and pop-up galleries, today’s art buyers lean on social media, Google and blogs for more and more of their art intel.
One Google Ranking Can Make or Break an Artist’s Sales
A Case Study in Success
One of our recent success stories is expanding the reputation and identity of artists like Vaclav Vytlacil. Our client, who a modernist gallery, was looking to improve their brand awareness for this all-important and under-appreciated eccentric painter.
MediaSophia created an online press campaign that enhanced the Google results with a variety of media placements including a new Wikipedia page and other forms of content.
The result was a rise in interest for Vytlacil’s work and a corresponding shift in the gallery’s presence within the markets for such artists. For more information about our services for contemporary artists, galleries, collectors and auction houses visit mediasophia.com/art.