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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Making sense of numbers: a journey of spreading the online metrics culture across Tate


Measuring online performance has been one of the hot topics for museum online professionals in the UK. Tate was one of the participants in the Culture 24’s action research project which focused on measuring online success. All participants agreed that reporting purely on number of visits and time spent on site fulfilled the governmental requirements, but has not necessarily helped to evaluate online presence against institutional objectives.

We realised we had to start using the large amount of available metrics in a more intelligent way. In this paper we would like to present the steps we have taken to increase the benefits that online metrics can bring to other institutions and and have brought to Tate and the challenges we met on the way of spreading the analytics culture across the organisation.

Using online analytics maturity models we will assess Tate’s management of online analytics looking at each of the following aspects:  

  • Management
  • Objectives
  • Scope
  • Resources
  • Methodology and process
  • Technology

There were many different reasons that motivated us to embark on this journey: most importantly, our wish to understand who our online visitors are and how they engage with Tate’s content to offer the best possible user experience. The explosion in digital social engagement also changed the way we perceive, develop and evaluate content for our digital and physical spaces and the metrics have had to follow in the same fashion.

The paper will uncover our analysis process and present outcomes of our metrics audit, the process of creating online analytics reports for the website launch against a new set of key performance indicators, and show how we started making sense of online metrics in a more mature way.

We are also hoping to present findings from a comparative evaluation study of two campaigns to illustrate real analytics in action. The paper would have a great value as a practical case study for any organisation wanting to implement the online analytics culture across their organisations and tell stories using numbers.  


Paper - in formal session


ElenaVillaespesa's picture
I am a PhD student on Digital Heritage at the University of Leicester. My research is about how to measure the impact and value of museums on the Social Web. I also work as Web Analyst and Producer at Tate reporting on online visitors and social media statistics. Previously I worked at the...
TijanaTasich's picture
Tijana currently works as Senior Digital Producer and Information Architect for Tate where she leads the production team. She was the project lead and information architect for the Tate's website which was relaunched in April 2012. Tijana studied Art History but eventually got a degree in Arts...