Nubart Team

Business development

February 22, 2024

How to collect statistical data about your museum's visitors

Nubart's blog - how to collect statistical data on museum visitors

The significance of audience analysis in museums and cultural centers cannot be overstated. Yet, to conduct such analysis efficiently, gathering substantial, reliable statistical data is indispensable.

However, acquiring data from an anonymous audience poses a considerable challenge.

Years ago, it was common for a flight attendant to greet each passenger with a hand mysteriously hidden behind their back. This was not a simple act of courtesy, but a discreet method of data collection. In reality, the flight attendant was hiding a manual passenger counter like this one:

passenger counter

Especially in our digital age, all sorts of more or less sophisticated tricks have long been used to collect information. Some are ethically dubious, and their bad reputation has overshadowed other legitimate and privacy-friendly methods.

The difficulty of collecting data on museum visitors

In a museum, the number of visitors is perhaps the easiest figure to obtain: it is enough to count the number of tickets sold.

But from there, things get complicated.

It is not uncommon for museum receptionists to ask visitors for their country of origin or postcode when selling tickets. But not only is this a potential nuisance for visitors, it is also an extra complication for staff, especially at busy times.

Moreover, this method does not allow to capture some of the most important data for a museum director: what country is the visitor from? How long did they stay in the facilities? What did he/she think of the exhibition? Which works interested him/her the most?

Audio guides as a tool for collecting data from museum visitors

A digital audio guide is an ingenious, non-intrusive way to collect data while providing an excellent service to museum visitors.

Nubart audio guides are technically a PWA or web application. This means that the visitor uses their mobile browser to access the audio guide content. The browser allows access and collection of valuable anonymous data in an automated way, without distracting the staff or disturbing the visitor. And it does so while protecting privacy, because without registration or login, it is impossible to access the user's identity, email accounts or phone number. (Of course, access to Nubart audio guides does not require registration).

For example, browser information can be used to determine the visitor's country of origin and native language, which is essential information for a museum's marketing approach.

All data collected by Nubart is anonymous and aggregated. In addition, the statistics dashboard has been developed internally. Nubart audioguides do not use Google Analytics or any other third party statistical information service. This aspect is very important to guarantee the privacy of visitors. By not using third party cookies for data collection, we do not contribute to the large technology companies knowing, identifying and profiting from this information.

Some traditional audio guides (i.e., devices) also allow you to capture usage data, but never the country of origin.

The statistical reports we provide to the museum or exhibition centre also include some data that requires complex algorithms to obtain, such as the approximate time spent in the facilities.

Nubart's statistical dashboard is interactive. It allows you to click and un-click values and zoom in and out, among many other functions.

Nubart is continuously working to improve and expand the graphs it offers. Currently, Nubart provides information on:

  • Number of visitors using the audio guide
  • Country of origin
  • Audio guide activity by country
  • Visitor's native language
  • Audioguide activity by language
  • Number of users per day
  • Audio guide activity per day
  • Number of users per hour of the day
  • Audioguide activity by time of day
  • Devices used by users (operating system and browser)
  • Time of use of the audioguide in the museum (interval between the first and last click)
  • Number of audio tracks listened to

How to know the opinion of museum visitors

So far we have referred to statistical data that can be collected automatically by the browser used to access the audio guide. However, there are some data, such as age or opinion about the exhibition, that can only be obtained by asking the visitor.

The usual methods of obtaining feedback from museum visitors are not satisfactory:

  • Face-to-face interviews: Whether through an expensive agency or with the help of their own staff, some museums place someone with a notepad at the exit to interview visitors who have just seen the exhibition. But visitors have been on their feet for several hours and are tired and impatient. Many will also be reluctant to express criticism in the presence of a museum representative.

  • Feedback terminals: An automated version of face-to-face surveys, these are often found in airports and other public places. Some have a keypad to record detailed answers to many questions. Others simply display three emoticons for the visitor to tap as they pass: "like", "neutral" and "dislike". A visitor tired of standing for hours will hardly want to use the first option. And the second is too simple to convey really relevant information for a museum.

    In addition, the rental and maintenance of these terminals generates recurring costs of between 70 and 300 USD per month per unit.

Nubart's feedback form

Nubart audio guides incorporate a feedback form at the end of the audio guide. This makes it possible to capture the visitor's attention at one of the most important moments of a museum visit, at the end of the tour. The structure of the Nubart audio guides is particularly advantageous here, as they function as a timeline through which the visitor scrolls, virtually reproducing the route of the physical space.

At the end of the Nubart audio guide, the visitor has already completed his or her visit. He or she has already been able to form an overall impression of the exhibition, and the emotions it has aroused, be they enthusiasm or disappointment, are still vivid.

Visitors see the feedback form already open on their mobile phones, without being redirected to an external site. They can answer it in a few seconds, either when leaving the exhibition, on their way back to the hotel or in the museum cafeteria. And because the questionnaire is anonymous and not face-to-face, they do not feel intimidated by the presence of an interviewer and can express themselves freely. This probably explains the high response rate of around 10% of Nubart audio guide users.

The questions in the Nubart feedback questionnaire can be customised. We offer the possibility of sending these comments to the museum staff by e-mail in real time. In any case, all responses are recorded in the customer area.

Data quality is just as important

Nubart's audio guide cards are provided with a unique and identifiable, yet anonymous, code and are given to visitors on site. This guarantees the quality and informative value of the data. As these are non-transferable codes or links, they cannot be published on a website or social networks, which would significantly distort the data collected. The Nubart audioguide card statistics only refer to visitors who have actually visited the museum. And our feedback form can only be submitted once: this protects the quality of our data from trolls or naughty children!

As part of its services, Nubart offers both the data dashboard and the feedback form free of charge to all its customers.