Event | Audience Finder workshops

Highlights from our Audience Finder workshop tour...

At the AMA conference in July over 200 people sat in anticipation as we declared that The Audience Agency had an announcement for the cultural sector. Sitting in nervous contemplation beforehand, we wondered what people would think. For over two years we had been working hard to make sure that our Audience Finder tool could be a real game changer for the sector.

We believe that everyone, wherever they live and whatever their background, should have access to culture. We are committed to delivering tools that help individuals and organisations reach more people, more often and with deeper engagement. The only way to ensure this can happen was by making Audience Finder free to all cultural organisations.

So that’s what we did.

Audience Finder only works in collaboration - we need the sector to push us, for you to constantly ask questions that drive us to create services and tools to help you. This September we packed our bags and travelled over 1,642 miles to deliver nine free Audience Finder workshops across England and Wales. Over 400 people attended, representing every art-form.

Workshop Attendance By Artformpng
Artforms at the Audience Finder workshops

So, what did we collectively learn and how are people across the sector using Audience Finder? The results, as always, show how innovative the sector is.


Putting Audience Finder into practice - the case studies

From internal advocacy to informing programming, the various ways that cultural organisations have been using audience finder was wonderful to see.

  • The York Theatre Royal and National Railway Museum use shared data and Audience Spectrum as a common language to talk about their audiences and visitors; resulting in a joint campaign for The Railway Children aimed at growing their crossover audiences.
  • QUAD in Derby are using their audience data to inform their development strategy; tailoring sponsorship packages to show how partnering with them can help sponsors reach the right people.
  • mac birmingham have used it as an internal advocacy tool with their executive team, board and other staff to help them understand the diversity of their audiences and what they want from their visit.
  • ICA showed us how they are using Audience Finder in their everyday work and which tools they find particularly useful, including the interactive postcode mapping, artform information and the Audience Development Planner.
  • St Barbe’s Museum in Lymington found the data from Audience Finder was vital in in the success of their recent HLF bid. Through the survey data they discovered that the annual programme was the biggest driver for visits, and have since adapted their marketing strategy to publish brochure twice a year.
  • b-side, a multimedia arts festival in Dorset, uses insights from Audience Finder to inform their programming and ensure that their work resonates with audiences. It also helped to confirm a hunch they had about their audiences and now allows them to programme work with more confidence that it will reach the right market.

Surveys, surveys, surveys

Across the country, one of the most popular topics for discussion was how to collect survey data and how Audience Finder and The Audience Agency can help organisations do this.

Interestingly, a frequently asked question was why we ask organisations to collect a minimum of 380 survey responses.

380 is indeed a magic number. It results in a 5% margin of error and 95% confidence level; meaning that the sample is more likely to represent the profile of your overall audience. What this means to people not fluent in research speak is that if you collect less you’ll have a larger margin of error and your results will become less meaningful. And –this is the really interesting part – even if you collected more than 380, it doesn’t necessarily impact on the margin of error. Which, if nothing else, might turn you into a pub quiz legend.

We know it can be difficult to reach that target. Mark Tomlinson at St Barbe’s discussed some of his top survey tips, which we will write up and share with you all shortly.

In the meantime you may want to check out some of our audience survey resources:


Don’t leave home without some form of data protection

Understandably, concerns about data protection were raised. For peace of mind, we can assure you that data shared with Audience Finder is anonymised, with any personal identifiers stripped out. It is only ever used for research purposes - you can find out more about that here.

Extraction in Action

Another popular topic was data extraction for box offices. Just to clarify the box office systems that Audience Finder currently supports with automated data extraction are Databox, ENTA, Patronbase, Spectrix, SRO4 and Tessitura. For those on Audience View we are working with their fantastic team and we hope to add this system shortly. In the meantime we have very effective work-around processes, just contact the Audience Finder team to find out how to do this.

Segmentation for the nation

There was a lot of interest in Audience Spectrum, the segmentation tool used in Audience Finder. There are many segmentation models available and it can be tricky to know which one is the best fit for you; which will be the most useful.

There is one simple reason why Audience Spectrum is different to other models. It is not just behavioural. It is not just geolocatable. It is both; for the whole of England and Wales.

This means that it doesn’t just show you who your current attenders are, it also tells you about those who have never stepped foot through your doors - giving you the building blocks of how to reach more people.

As we often say, audience development is about understanding who your audiences are, and discovering who they could be. It’s not just about engaging the engaged. You can find out more here or contact us directly if you want to find out more – we’re always happy to talk about segmentation!

That’s a brief overview of the main topics. We’ve also captured all the questions you asked (well, we are The Audience Agency, after all!) and will be writing this up along with the answers as an FAQ, to be published soon.

Thank you

Thank you to everyone who joined us, we know it’s not easy to carve out time from schedules and we hope that it was a good use of your valuable time.

We all had a fantastic time meeting so many passionate and creative people. We were not only heartened and amazed by the different ways organisations are using audience data, but also inspired by the ways you’d like to use Audience Finder in future. Now it’s up to us to create even more tools that, together, will help answer your questions and make a difference in practice.