Instagram=High Engagement, But Don’t Make Marketing Decisions Based On A Blog Title

Earlier this month Colleen Dilenschneider wrote a post providing data that showed Instagram was the social media platform with the highest levels of audience engagement and conversions (deciding to attend/participate in activities or subscribe to newsletter) for arts organizations.

There were apparently a lot of questions raised by this information so she followed up today with a closer look and breakdown of the data. 

Before I get in to reviewing what she writes, I did want to note that in the last few months Dilenschneider seems to increasingly acknowledge that people often misread data or use it to support decisions in ways it wasn’t intended. She will make a statement either cautioning against interpreting or using the data in a certain way. This post is no different where she states:

This chart is not intended to tell you how to distribute marketing resources. As leaders know, an effective marketing and communication strategy considers how these platforms work together. However, the key takeaway is clear: People are using the internet to obtain information, and social media is a top source of information for likely visitors to cultural organizations.

One of the things that was interesting to see was that while Instagram had the highest engagement, (as measured by likes, clicks, comments), for both exhibit (museums, aquariums, etc) and performance based cultural organizations, it was far more effective, at least in 2nd Quarter of 2022, at engagement for exhibit based organizations.

Similarly, Instagram had highest engagement across all age groups, although the younger age ranges had higher engagement than the older ranges. Overall, Facebook had lower engagement but had an inverted engagement that increased as age increased. The engagement gaps between age groups for Instagram are much large than for Facebook.

Tiktok comes in third on all categories, but Dilenschneider cautions against ignoring the platform, especially for performance based organizations:

With an index value of 62.7 for individuals aged 18-34 on TikTok, and an index value of 66.0 for individuals aged 18-34 on Facebook, these platforms may be closer in terms of performance than some leaders might expect. This information is critical to watch if yours is an organization aiming to engage younger audiences – an imperative for the long-term viability of many symphonies and orchestras.

I encourage people to read her most recent post more closely. Readers may note that I have not included images of her charts in the post as I used to. While I definitely feel it would aid in your comprehension of the information being presented, I noticed a couple months back that her site’s policy on image and data reproduction prohibited redistribution so I wanted to err on the side of caution. Especially given my own site’s much looser Creative Commons license which may give people the impression that any depictions of her data here is open for reuse.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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