Measuring popularity by the number of Google searches has become a pretty regular metric. A quick glance at Google Trends top chart will tell you that Pharrell Williams is more popular than Benedict Cumberbatch, more of us want to make chocolate cake than carrot cake, and the thing we most want to know how to do is to draw.
The latest top 5 in the Google league tells us that museums and galleries in London are the most searched in the world. According to London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional company, the Google museum search list has London institutions at 1,2, and 3.
- Science Museum, London
- Natural History Museum, London
- British Museum, London
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC
London and Partners caution that Google’s methodology means that the results may vary day to day and the Science Museum comes top “on average”.
Perhaps more telling therefore is not how many people search the museum name on Google but how many people come to visit.
According to London and Partners a visitor survey conducted through 15,000 face to face interviews at 13 museums and galleries by research company Morris Hargreaves McIntyre concluded that they received 17.9 million overseas visitors in 2014 and 2015 out of a total visitor number of 31.5 million. That’s 57% of visitors, and an increase of 19% over the past 4 years.
French and American tourists were the most frequent, in line with figures for London visitor numbers, as reported by Urbs. Along with people from Italy, Spain and Germany they accounted for 9.7 million of the 17.9 million overseas museum visitors, according to the survey.