Paul Hanrahan
Written by

We have seen a 95% increase in sessions from mobile devices from June 2017 -compared to same period in 2016.

Lizzie Cowan, Marketing and Communications Manager, Dovecot Studios


Dovecot Studios is a landmark centre for contemporary art, craft and design, built around a leading international tapestry studio in Edinburgh. After launching a new website in 2015, Dovecot wanted to analyse its online performance during 2016 so to make continuous improvements, moving forward into 2017/18.

DOVECOT Online Audit

Dovecot asked Culture Republic to audit its online channels and examine their performance compared to similar organisations. They wanted to know the most effective way to drive traffic and engage audiences online and asked Culture Republic to include recommendations for future improvements.

As a follow up to the analysis, Culture Republic provided face-to-face Google Analytics training, so the Dovecot could continue to use the data to inform their digital decisions in the future.

Eoin Carey taking a photo of a tapestry entitled Magne Furuholmen as part of project Glass Onion with the Dovecot

Measuring impact

Social media is a significant driver for increased website traffic, so research focused on how this was working for Dovecot. Culture Republic analysed a range of data including:

  • Twitter and Facebook engagement and follower rates, as compared to an online comparison group of other contemporary art galleries and festivals in Scotland.
  • Dovecot’s top Social Media influencers, their followers’ locations and their most popular posts.
  • Page sessions and time spent on the website, bounce rate and traffic sources and top performing content.
  • New versus returning users, and performance of mobile versus desktop use of the website.

What we learned from the dovecot analysis

  • The Studio’s retweet rate was more than double that of the comparison group.
  • On Facebook, the growth rate was 1.7% – higher than the comparison group with other social channels performing well.
  • The website’s gallery page was performing well. However, the tapestry and foundation landing pages were identified as areas for improvement.
  • The majority of web visitors were browsing from a desktop, rather than a mobile phone, with the bounce rate significantly higher on mobile.

Our findings were  provided in a short, readable, ‘infographic’ report, created to share with Board members and senior leadership.


To improve mobile performance, we recommended including a ‘hamburger’ menu button to guide visitors intuitively through the site. We also highlighted the possibility of free AdWords for Scottish charities through Google Ad Grants.

We recommended more links to Dovecot’s website, increased engagement through video content, and live social media to help boost organic reach from social channels. We also suggested some targeted paid ads on social media, to increase reach.

The follow up to our initial report was a face-to-face training day for Dovecot Studios on how to report performance of the website, using Google Analytics and other digital tools.

The ResuLt? Let’s hear from the People Involved:

Lizzie Cowan of Dovecot Studios stood in front of a textile rug by Alan Davie
Lizzie Cowan by Alan Davie rug.

Lizzie Cowan, Dovecot Studios:
“After a month of implementing Culture Republic’s recommendations, we’ve seen marked improvements. We recorded a 95% increase in sessions from mobile devices from June 2017 compared to same period in 2016. Also by adjusting the layout of our home page, and linking back more to our website from social channels, views for our Tapestry Studio landing pages are up 87% and the Foundation page are up 96% compared to June 2016! Video content has proven exceptionally popular, and is performing on a level far higher than other content, even without considering paid social advertising.”

Paul Hanrahan of Culture Republic stood infront of a window
Paul Hanrahan, Marketing Manager at Culture Republic.

Paul Hanrahan, Culture Republic:
“It was a pleasure to work with Lizzie and Dovecot on this project. Working together, we ensured that digital analysis, and actionable, practical next steps to the data, will be the focus going forward for the Dovecot.”

“It’s encouraging to see the steps that have been taken on by our recommendations and the resulting success this is having in terms of engagement and increased awareness. I’m particularly enthused to see the investment in more video content for social media. The success of The Soft Machine Video on Dovecot Facebook Post shows the power of video for our sector. To have over 50,000 views and around 500 likes – in just under a week- is just phenomenal!”

Soft Machine

This short film made by The Edinburgh Film Company is about Soft Machine, a rug made at Dovecot Tapestry Studio in collaboration with Glasgow based artist Jim Lambie. The rug was gun tufted by Dennis Reinmüller and Kristi Vana at Dovecot in 2016, and exhibited at Studio Voltaire's pop-up fundraising store House of Voltaire in London.#jimlambie #tufting #rug #softmachine #dovecot #studio #wool #yarn #choosewool #contemporary #artist #collaborationRead more about Dovecot's collaborations with contemporary artists here:

Publié par Dovecot sur mercredi 21 juin 2017

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Main image credit: Cove Park Saturday Arts Club. Copyright Dovecot Studios