Understanding our audiences is a key element in the design of the digital experiences we offer. Our digital strategy principles aim for an approach that is audience-centered and insight-driven. But what does this mean in practice? How can we move from the data and insights to inform our digital plan and decide on priorities? As part of my role as a digital analyst, I act as an audience advocate, championing the voice of our visitors among the digital team and across the gallery, allowing us to respond to their needs. Here is an example of how we are applying our most recent audience research data to our digital plans.

In the past six months we have carried out a substantial piece of research to get a better understanding of who comes to our website. We started to analyse the motivations and usage of the online collection and based on this research, a series of changes will be implemented as part of the Archives & Access project. This audience research helped to define our subsequent piece of work, a survey for the whole website aimed to better know our online visitors, their motivation to come to the site and the role that the website plays in the gallery experience before, during and after their visit.

The ultimate goal of this research was to define a segmentation that will classify website visits based primarily on the motivations that drive users to the site, but also, taking into account a set of other variables such as knowledge of art, vocational connection and online behaviour. Having a segmentation helps identify the needs and expectations of a specific type of visit and also assesses the visitor satisfaction, creating hence, better digital experiences.

Website audience segmentation
Website visits segmentation

In order to implement the newly created segmentation, this present month we held a workshop in the digital department in which we analysed the different visit modes. The portrait of each visit mode featured a series of characteristics particular to that segment: motivation, content interests, visit frequency, knowledge of art, vocational connection, brand equity, relation with the gallery visit, demographics and other online behaviour attributes.

Website visit portrait

The first thing we did was to describe the ideal experience for each type of visit and then, we started a discussion following these questions: Are we serving these users well? How can we improve the website to meet their needs and deepen the engagement? What are the key digital initiatives in our plan? What are the challenges and opportunities? This brainstorming activity helped us to put forth a clear strategy for each segment establishing how we can provide the best possible experience to the visitors and also take them through surprising journeys that can potentially increase their engagement with Tate.

Tate Digital workshop

As resources are limited, implementing all these ideas would be almost impossible, so we carried out a prioritisation exercise during the workshop to shape our purpose and production activities for this year. The exercise consisted of placing each segment in a matrix defined by our strategic priorities and the current user experience. The result gave us a clear narrow focus on the key areas to work on in order to impact the production planning.

Prioritisation exercise
Work in progress during the prioritisation exercise

Having a website visits segmentation gives us a common shared language to work internally and embed this audience-centered approach, so in the future, all digital activities have clear defined target audiences and objectives right at the beginning of the production process.

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The digital age is inevitable and the only way to cope up is to learn more about it.