Sharing user analytics: an experiment

Professional Forum
David Klevan, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, USA, Dana Allen-Greil, National Archives, USA, Amy Heibel, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA, Loic Tallon, Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA

In October 2014, colleagues from the National Gallery of Art, the Met, LACMA, and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum started an experiment in sharing their user analytics.  Inspired by the (fantastic) leadership of Culture24 and their "Let's Get Real" initiative, we made the commitment to meet online once a month to share data and insights.  There was no fixed plan per say, only the knowledge that there was data we were interested to discuss, share and compare with one another so as to better understand its "meaning."

Like many in our field, we all relied on regular one-on-one discussions colleagues when we encountered particular challenges or were starting a new project. The objective with this experiment was to test the value of a more formal structure for this knowledge share, and determine whether we could develop ongoing metrics that would help all four institutions in their decision making.  Our initial focus was user analytics for mobile, both mobile web and apps, but we were conscious and open to this evolving through discussion.

Questions we hoped to explore included: Are we setting realistic benchmarks for user uptake? What constitutes real "success" for a museum's mobile app or mobile website? Do different museums interpret what is successful differently, and if so, why? What KPIs do we hold in common?

This professional forum will share the successes and failures of this experiment, and what our next steps will be.  We'll share the data points / benchmarks we developed, and debate the value of this type of approach to data sharing so that other institutions might establish similar experiments with one another.

Bibliography:
Culture24 (2014) Let's Get Real action research.
http://weareculture24.org.uk/projects/action-research/ Consulted September 30, 2014 .

Petrie, M. and L. Tallon. (2010). The iPhone Effect? Comparing Visitors’ and Museum Professionals’ Evolving Expectations of Mobile Interpretation Tools. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2010: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics. Consulted September 25, 2014. http://www.archimuse.com/mw2010/papers/petrie/petrie.html