Ask Me Anything: Audience Behavior Metrics

Jennifer Sowinski Nemeth

Senior Consultant & Analyst

Jennifer enjoys working with arts and culture clients to help them increase revenue and grow audience through data-driven strategies including pricing studies, venue re-scaling, customer behavior analyses, and segmentation.
July 09, 2018

“We’re interested in tracking our audience behavior over the past several seasons, but aren’t sure where to start. What metrics do you recommend to measure our audience behavior?


Tracking your audience behavior can be very valuable in understanding typical patterns, developing trends, and deciding how you influence future behavior. Of course, which measures you find most useful will depend on the goals of your organization and the specific initiative you’re working on. But, if you’re just getting started, here are some important measures to consider:

  • Number of years attended/Churn: If your goal is to keep patrons coming back each year, this is an important measure to track. Does most of your audience come once, but then never return? How do other behaviors change as the number of years attended increases? Even if you’re not trying to change this number, just knowing what percent of your audience is new and lapsing each year can be very valuable information.
  • Average annual frequency: How often do patrons attend an event at your organization each year? Have certain programming changes or marketing choices had an effect on how often patrons come to multiple events in one year?
  • Average ticket yield: How much does your audience actually pay for a ticket (versus the starting price)? At first glance, this measure may seem like it’s only a reflection on pricing strategy. However, it can also give you important insights into audience behavior. Does your average yield change over the sales cycle, or over the course of a season? Tracking average yield can help you discover audience behavior trends that you might not pinpoint otherwise.
  • Average annual spend: Just like average yield, this measure is not just about pricing. Average annual spend includes: tickets, donations, membership, and ancillary spend (parking cafe, gift shop, etc.) which provides you with a comprehensive picture of how engaged your patrons are with your organization.

These are just a few of the innumerable measures you could use to track audience behavior, but they’re a great place to start. If you have an audience behavior measure that you just can’t live without, I’d love to hear about it!

JCA Arts Marketing collaborates with cultural organizations to increase revenue, boost attendance and membership, and grow patron loyalty. We provide consulting and software services to hundreds of cultural institutions across multiple genres, including dance, museums, opera, performing arts centers, symphony, and theatre. We can help you achieve your marketing goals.

Jennifer Sowinski, Consultant, JCA Arts Marketing