More than numbers: how visitor engagement data can be captured and used to amplify your creativity

Friday, April 16, 2021: 2:00pm - 3:30pm - - Paper Session

Tim Stroh, Art Processors, Australia

Published paper: More than numbers: how visitor engagement data can be captured and used to amplify your creativity

Many museums today know that effective and actionable data is essential to achieving visitation goals—better audience engagement, reaching different and diverse audiences, and increasing attendance. Further, museums and other cultural centers are also facing increasing barriers to audience attraction and retention. The solution to these challenges, and the key to achieving goals for audience engagement, has several parts including a revised understanding of consumer psychology, data and insights, and your creativity. The starting point of being accurate answers to key questions including: What actually is visitor engagement? How can you pragmatically measure it? How can you use data and insights to amplify your creative impact? These and other questions will be addressed in this essential conversation for curators, creators of experiences, and museums. The paper, accompanying presentation, and discussion will cover a three-phase research program designed to generate a better understanding of the consumer market, museum visitors, and their engagement with objects and spaces: 1. A review of current literature on consumer, tourism, and evolutionary psychology, as well as entertainment and neuroaesthetics. 2. Direct research on visitors conducted in late 2019/early 2020 at a major U.S. museum, two Australian museums (one major and one minor), and two additional “leisure entertainment” sites. 3. Current analysis of the single largest data set in existence of museum-visitor movement, dwell time and interactions. Research results and useful takeaways will be shared including: 1. A new model for segmenting the consumer marketplace and visitors that enables practical application and greater predictive accuracy; 2. A description of pragmatic cost-effective tools and methods for capturing engagement data and undertaking analysis; and 3. Methods for using insights to amplify creativity and impact.

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