Benchmark your online activity against New Zealand arts organisations


Last year, I had the good fortune to be invited to talk at the 21st Century Arts Conference run by Creative New Zealand in Wellington.  The trip was memorable for a couple of reason: aside from the joy of accidentally finding myself in the front row of a Flight Of Conchords hometown gig, in the presence of the cast of The Hobbit (true story), I was also fortunate enough to come across two important projects for the arts sector: Morris Hargreaves McIntyre’s Culture Segments projects, and the Optimiser pilot project – which collects online marketing data for the NZ arts sector in order to develop benchmarks.

Fast forward to this week, and Optimiser has released a suite of overall findings from the benchmarking project, allowing cultural organisations to compare their digital results with their counterparts in New Zealand.

The pilot programme includes participants of all sizes including New Zealand International Arts Festival, Auckland Arts Festival, The Dowse Art Museum, The Auckland Performing Arts Centre,  Auckland Theatre Company, City Gallery Wellington and many more.

Supported by Creative New Zealand, Optimiser is led by arts marketing consultants Vicki Allpress Hill of The Audience Connection and Tim Roberts of ARTS Australia.

Key findings from the pilot include:

  • Statistics are culled from a total of 4,970,093 web site visits across the study period of 1 July 2012 – 30 June 2013.  Average monthly visits across the 30 organisations in the pilot were 10,724, with a duration of 2:17 and a bounce rate of 54.81%.
  • 724,748 of these visits were made on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) – around 15%. Almost all of these visits were made on an iPad or iPhone.  Duration of visit was lower (1:46), and the bounce rate was higher (58.4%).
  • Just under half (47.12%) of visits came via Search, only 19.41% were direct (i.e. someone typed in the organisation’s URL, or opened a bookmark, to access the site).
  • Average email open rate was 24.3%, with an average click through rate of 2.39% (feeling better already?)
  • Highest average email open rate (31.3%) occurred on … Sunday.  Open rates were 3.5% higher on weekends, yet almost no emails were schedule to be sent at that time (see below).

Email Volumes By Day Of The Week

  • People who ‘Liked’ content on a participant’s Facebook page had an average of 277 Friends (which is broadly in line with the global Facebook rate).  Facebook engagement saw an average 7.07% ‘talking about this’ rate.
  • The organisations in the pilot using Twitter generated 11,584 tweets (around 386 per organisation or just over one per day) during the year 1 July 2012 – 30 June 2013.
  • Across all participants, the average view per YouTube video was 5,812 (highest single video view 29,384).  The Average video view duration as 1:48, with 20% of views coming from mobile.
  • YouTube appears to act as a near inverse of other social channels, with the predominant age group being 45-54, triple the volume of their 25-34 counterparts (see below).

Social Media Demographics

In the accompanying blog post, the Optimiser team note that “this is an initial overview that presents some of the overall findings and trends for the participants as a group” and that they “have started to segment the various measures to provide meaningful benchmarks” – clearly stating that there’s more to come.  Follow the project at

How do you compare?  Any surprises?

Image: ‘Quotes in stone by Wellington Marina’ by Gouldy99 via Flickr.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Born in Scotland and now resident in Sydney, my career-long passion has been in developing new audiences for arts and culture, as a director, producer and marketer of innovative creative work.

This blog looks at at the intersections of culture, technology and media, and the changing ways in which audiences interact with the arts and creative industries.







Never miss a post - sign up for an irregular email blast when new content is published.


Invalid or expired token.