Audience Journey

What it means

Audience journey refers to the path individuals, groups, or audience segments take, or are encouraged to take, as they move through various touchpoints, interactions, and experiences with museums. It often takes the forms of a diagram—a map, a pyramid, or a funnel—that visualizes the different steps in the process, all from the audience’s perspective.

How it’s used

Mapping an audience journey helps staff understand interactions from the viewpoint of the visitor or web user, and see how all of the different pieces can fit together.

One common audience journey is the audience development pyramid. Within museums or arts organizations, this often takes the form of moving people along a journey from being unaware to aware (e.g., knowing who you are and what you offer), to attracted (e.g., visiting for the first time), to attached (e.g., visiting multiple times, recommending to friends, becoming a member), and to becoming advocates (e.g., being a donor or identifying with or championing the museum).

Another is the audience journey map, which maps out all the different moments a visitor interacts with your museum, from first hearing about it (e.g., listening to a news story) to actively seeking more information (e.g., searching online, visiting a website) to walking in the door to after the visit (e.g., posting pictures on social media).

The same technique can be used when developing new projects like websites or digital interactives (user experience/UX journey). It’s also a key organizing principle in fundraising and audience development, leading to the use of Customer Relationship Management software/CRMs like Salesforce.

Why it matters

How effectively museums engage audiences at these critical junctures along their journey can have a powerful impact on an institution’s economic sustainability and mission. Knowing and understanding audience journeys is a key decision-making and strategic tool. It also helps to lay out relationships between different touchpoints or the entire constellation of actions that are possible for visitors or an audience member to take.


See also Audience Persona and Audience Segmentation

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