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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday March 5, 2013

Updated on Monday July 30, 2018

Benchmark study: What are your visitors doing?

Neil Bates, Marketing Specialist, tells us why he's leading research into what users do and what users want.

Europeana has established a workgroup with the goal of increasing our collective knowledge of end-users – who they are, what they do, and what they want. The End-User Research Workgroup has 12 members from Europe’s museums, libraries and archives, and aims to analyse and generate meaningful and reliable research about the users of both Europeana and partner services. As the web becomes more fragmented and dispersed, we want to look at the bigger picture and from that, gain a better understanding of where users fit in.

Image by Alexander Rentsch - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0

In the first meeting entitled ‘Benchmarking Success’, which took place on 31 January in The Hague, members discussed a framework for benchmarking their websites against others, including Europeana. The meeting also explored the potential of opening up usage and traffic data across the Europeana Network. Doing this will give us a better and broader understanding of end-users across the cultural heritage sector and enable us to translate this data into real use cases – we can discover what implications end-user actions have on a site’s metrics. This will in turn facilitate the workgroup to explore why users engage with certain types of content, design, platform, or layout.

There have already been very successful benchmarking initiatives on a national level, such as Culture24’s 'Let's Get Real' report from 2011. However, through Europeana and its Network there is a real opportunity to develop a similar study that is cross-domain and pan-European. It is evident that the people who are interested in the content Europeana and its partners hold, want to find it in places with which they are familiar. It is therefore not enough to analyse visits on Europeana or partner websites individually, we also need to look at the behaviour of users in the larger ecosystem of web services such as Wikipedia, Facebook and Pinterest. This way, we will learn much more about users of digitised cultural heritage across the sector than if we analysed only our own user bases.

Take Part: Benchmark Your Visitors

Moving forward from the first meeting, it has been agreed that members participating in the workgroup will contribute their traffic and usage data for a pilot study to be published in April. The study will be the basis for the next meeting which is due to take place in spring of this year, and at which the decision will be made on whether to expand the study further.

In order to gain broad cross-domain representation from across the Network, we are inviting all heritage GLAM institutions to contribute their data to the study. In order to make things as easy as possible, we have generated custom report configurations for Google Analytics.

For those of you who want to participate, we have created a step-by-step guide that tells you exactly what you need to do. The guide links to a series of Google Analytics custom reports – using these ensures that we are all collecting the same data, in the same way, giving us accurate and reliable data. We have also included optional steps for those of you willing to contribute Facebook Insights - as mentioned earlier, we are really interested in analysing the behaviour of users in the larger ecosystem of web services they use.

For questions related to this study, the End-User Research Workgroup, or if you’d like to submit your traffic and usage data – please contact Neil Bates.