Arts & Culture

The importance of clear, concise information for cultural conversion rates

Featured Image: Monica Silvestre

Last year was a more successful year for cultural websites, according to Substrakt, a digital agency specialising in the arts and culture sector. 

In Substrakt’s recently published Benchmark Report: Cultural Website Performance, the agency said there were more visitors to cultural organisations’ websites, more revenue and more engagement.

For example, access to a mobile device has vastly improved the ability to make transactions. In comparison to 2022, in 2023 mobile traffic for the sites analysed by Substrakt was responsible for 87.7% more sessions, 33.3% more transactions and 44.9% more revenue.

Substrakt analysed data from 76 cultural organisations, made up of 28 small, 26 medium and 22 large institutions.

The report added: “Mobile traffic in 2023 was responsible for the most traffic, the most ticket purchases, the most ticket revenue, the largest number of donations, and the most membership sales. It is clear that mobile is now the primary mode through which most users engage with cultural organisations’ websites.”

The importance of having a clear and easy-to-use website is a must for cultural organisations, given the level of traffic on mobile devices.

“The data shows us that mobile is unavoidably how most people are engaging with most cultural websites,” Ash Mann, executive director of Substrakt, told TheTicketingBusiness.

“Even the organisation in our study with the lowest proportion of mobile traffic still had 50% of their traffic on mobile (the average was over 69%). We are in a mobile-first world, we cannot ignore that.”

While rates were down compared to 2022, desktop still saw traffic converted at 4.59% across all sites analysed (down from 4.96%), whereas mobile traffic converted at 2.26% on average (down from 2.36% in 2022).

The best-performing organisation’s conversion rate on desktop was 16%, and on mobile was 8%.

Average order value

While average order value remained more or less the same for desktop in 2023 compared to 2022, mobile saw a 3.9% increase from an average of £88.68 (€104/$113) in 2022 to average of £92.11 in 2023, demonstrating mobile’s importance.

Organisations in the ‘medium’ group saw increases in average order value across both desktop and mobile traffic. However, this did not translate to organisations within the ‘small’ category, which saw notable decreases in average order value across the mobile and desktop. ‘Small’ organisations saw a reduction of 13.% for desktop traffic and 4.6% on mobile.

The highest average order value was £229.55 on mobile and £290.82 on desktop, while the lowest among the organisations studied was £18.51 on mobile and £19.97 on desktop.

Additionally, the basket abandonment rate across the 25 organisations that could be analysed was 40.88%. This was an increase from 2022 where the average basket abandonment rate was 29%.

The Benchmark Report highlighted case studies of organisations that have witnessed solid conversion rates across mobile and desktop, one of which was PAC NYC, a new arts centre in New York City.

Substrakt identified a number of elements that form the purchase journey which have likely supported the higher-than-average conversion rates. PAC NYC’s website featured clear event pages and information, and calls to action. The seat maps were highly representative of the actual dimensions and layout of the auditorium, the checkout process was relatively short, and made it easy for the user to understand specific access information.

“The most important things are clarity, simplicity. All of the highest performing examples in our study embraced these two ideas,” explained Mann.

“They made it clear how a user could do whatever they came to the site to do – clear language, clear navigation, and they made it simple. And that means understanding and putting your users’ needs first.

“All too often we see cultural e-commerce experiences that make it far more difficult than necessary for a customer to buy something.”

Mann added: “Customers are not resetting or lowering their expectations when they land on a cultural website, they expect it to be as easy to buy a ticket as it is to complete any other type of transaction online.”

Substrakt’s report reiterated this need for simplicity, and added that cultural organisations will need to adopt a genuinely mobile-first mindset to drive conversion rates. The agency further highlighted the importance of organic search as a significant traffic source, while also noting the positive outcomes of an effective landing page.

The ability to optimise and streamline the checkout process will further enhance conversion rates, and the ability to monitor traffic will aid cultural organisations in creating effective strategies.

You can read the Benchmark Report: Cultural Website Performance, here.

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