One of the commitments included in the Culture is Digital report, published in March 2018, related to helping cultural organisations to understand which metrics available from digital platforms, are the most meaningful, against a given objective. Specifically, the commitment said:

"The Space and The Audience Agency will work with arts and cultural organisations, Nesta, the BBC and other content publishers and partners to develop a metrics framework and best practice guidance for arts and cultural organisations to use when planning and assessing audience engagement across different digital platforms."

To this end, The Audience Agency (TAA), BBC and The Space, alongside other supporters such as Nesta, have spent some time over the last 18 months exploring ways to help improve understanding of digital metrics.

This process involved several steps: firstly, the group discussed different potential outputs and consulted with a sample of arts organisations, to understand the challenge and the need. Following this, the group spent some time exploring different approaches, including frameworks and templates. In the end it was decided that the ideal output would be a practical tool that organisations could use to help them work out which metrics are most meaningful for any given objective. The team spent time discussing how to approach the problem, whether to start with objectives or content type? How to factor in the issue of quality (of content)? And what about the inherent assumption that the organisation in question knew how to make the most of each platform?

Ultimately, we have ranked available metrics from all the main social media platforms and Google Analytics insights against a range of objectives. For example, if an organisation is aiming to sell tickets, how should they best measure the effectiveness of their Facebook activity? The outcome is a spreadsheet which calculates and ranks available metrics against a variety of objectives, plus a basic prototype (mobile version) to demonstrate how a tool of this type might work. The idea is that there would be additional supporting information alongside the tool, to provide further context, tips and advice. For example, we are well aware that this currently takes no account of the quality of content, which is of course a vital factor in whether it will resonate with your audience. We envisaged that associated resources would address this issue.

We have shared the concept and prototype with some experts within the sector and received useful feedback. Now we’d like to share it publicly and invite further comments.

Further work on the project would be dependent on securing additional funding but we are pleased to share our ‘workings out’ since we feel it may be beneficial to those currently considering how to measure the impact of their online activity.

You can download a copy of the spreadsheet HERE under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You can also interact with the prototype HERE but please be aware that it currently only has one path through it (follow the yellow hand icon).

If you have any queries or comments please send them to

We would like to thank the following people for the comments and input:

  • James Akers, ACE tech champion, data & analytics specialist
  • Kate Carter, Head of Brand, Audiences + Digital, Scottish Ballet
  • Jane Finnis, CEO, C24
  • Dee Ishani - Senior Account Manager, Made Media
  • Sarah Madden, ACE tech champion, digital marketing specialist
  • Tom Scott, Head of Digital, Wellcome Collection
  • Chris Unitt, Independent Consultant, Analytics Expert