Monday, January 2, 2012

Who Searches For Museums?

Google Correlate is a type of search engine off-shoot that finds search patterns which correspond with real-world trends.  For instance, researchers noticed the relationships between "flu related" searches (such as "what should I do if my child has a high fever?" or "what is the best cold medicine?") on Google to the spread of actual flu cases around the U.S.

The exploration of such relationships was the genesis of Google Correlate.  I thought it would be fun to see what sorts of search correlations show up when the term "museums" was used.

As you can see in the screen shot above, the term "breeding" has one of the highest correlations with the term "museums"!  Now before you start increasing the number of "Singles Programs" or "Adult Only Nights" at your museum, you should know that when I did a regular Google search on the term "breeding" the bulk of the initial results relate to animal husbandry and genetics in animals.

Perhaps something of more immediate practical use for museum folks are the terms "rock climbing" and "club."  It looks like there may be practical programming and exhibit opportunities to capitalize on there.

The last cluster of search relationships tie into homes and housing concerns, as well as garage plans.  Do search engine users (or real estate agents!) see a relationship between museums in a community and home values?  Could those with garage plans be thinking of creating their own museums?

There are lots of fun ways to play with search data correlations (including varying time sequences and differences between countries)  in Google Correlate.  Who knows what insights you might find by clicking on over to do a little data mining specifically related to potential exhibit topics, or even the name of your museum?

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