Measuring success with DigitalPasifik

The aim of the Pacific Virtual Museum pilot is to “make visible and accessible digitised cultural heritage of the Pacific, for people in and of the Pacific”. The team behind the digitalpasifik.org site have unique performance goals, because a person exiting their website is considered a successful journey.

The site presents records, objects and images about the Pacific, ranging from music videos from The Coconet TV to images of plant varieties held by the Smithsonian Institution. The site displays thumbnails and metadata only for each of the records, and if people want to view the original digital records they can click out to the official site.

The site uses Supplejack to harvest metadata from content partners, and users of the site are directed to the source site as quickly as possible. The team focuses on value to users rather than content ownership, which means that they rely heavily on data to show their success.

Programme Manager Tim Kong says: “We hope that this site will serve as a bridge between the worlds of cultural heritage institutions around the world, who often hold and preserve these items and records, and the people of the Pacific.”

It might not be cultural repatriation, but the website goes some way to providing visibility to records, objects and images that are often not easily findable via Google or are only accessible via complex institutional catalogues and websites. The site also enables communities and smaller cultural heritage institutions based in the Pacific Islands to be presented as equals alongside more well recognised Western institutions.

The ‘Contribute your story’ function allows users of the site to comment on an individual record, contributing their thoughts and memories next to the metadata held by the record holder. This approach enables the team to create a page in which user contributions are the entry point to exploring these records.  

You can read more about the intent of this function, and the design of the function.

The team runs a popular Facebook group, and Twitter account, posting about Pacific community events and sharing topical records with their community.

Tim works with a variety of different content partners, and uses performance data to show these partners the value of the site.

We created a dashboard report for each content partner, showing how people engage with their records. The key conversion measure is people clicking out to the partner sites to view the official records – this shows that the DigitalPasifik website is attracting a new audience for the partners and generating traffic to their websites. 

The dashboard below shows performance of content from The Coconet TV, and clicks out to this site in the bottom right-hand corner:

Another area of interest is the location of the audience – DigitalPasifik aims to reach people living in the Pacific Islands. They made the site mobile friendly as research told them that mobiles are much more popular than desktop computers in the islands, and this rings true in the data.

It’s rare that a site’s success is defined by how many people exit the site to engage with other websites. This is what makes DigitalPasifik unique – their goal isn’t to be the primary source of content or keep all the traffic on their website. They want to create awareness about cultural records to people who might not otherwise find them. It’s a great example of how we can measure true value to users, even if they’re not converting on our website.

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