Nibble-sized Toolkit: Digital Engagement with Late Adopters

The most important driver for the cultural sector to put digital at its heart is the changing expectations of our audiences.

Last week I blogged about engaging online with a user type described by MTM London as Confident Core – the largest group (29%) of internet users with whom cultural organisations can create targeted engagement campaigns. Confident Core, as their name suggests, are pretty au fait with all the bells and whistles the internet has to offer. This week we’ll look at the second largest group: Late Adopters, and the key differences to bear in mind when planning online marketing to this user type.

Late Adopters sketch notes

21% of internet users are ‘Late Adopters’. This means they show relatively low confidence online – they will use email, Google and a few trusted sites.

They may book tickets online, but social media and the mobile Internet remain a mystery. This segment claims an active interest in the arts and culture although in practice they attend only once in a while. Late Adopters are most likely to visit libraries and attend theatre performances other than plays (such as musicals/shows). Late Adopters show average levels of attendance at most types of events, although they are not likely to participate in arts and cultural activities themselves (the exceptions being reading and crafts).

Typically older than average (mostly 45+), with a female skew; nearly one quarter are retired and most are married.

Arts Audiences: Insight segments potentially included in this user type are Mature Explorers, Dinner and a Show, Mid-life Hobbyists, Traditional Culture Vultures and Retired Arts & Crafts.

We can see from the Interaction Pyramid below that this places Late Adopters at the lowest end of online interaction.

Pyramid of Interaction: benefits classification framework for engagement with arts and culture online

They do:

  • Access: discovering what’s on, filtering opportunities and planning attendance or participation

They might:

  • Learn: acquiring new skills and knowledge (for example, finding out more about the life of an artist)

They don’t:

  • Experience: experiencing the full creative or artistic work online
  • Share: using the internet to share content, experiences and opinions
  • Create: use of the Internet to assist with the creative process itself.

So what?


All these parameters of information are really useful in devising digital engagement strategy for Late Adopters. We can now assert that digital strategy should support the key user needs of discovery and filtering, and (to a lesser extent) learning. If you want to engage online with this group, here are my top five tips:

1.      Aggregators: will be used if they are trusted offline brands in their own right, but the online-only aggregators are less likely to be trusted. It is important to ensure your digital presence is reinforced in printed materials and traditional advertising and aim to have a presence on as many trusted aggregator sites (e.g. regional listings, newspaper online sites etc) as possible.

2.      Unsolicited online contact: this user type will ignore emails unless they already have a relationship with the provider. Yet they are very willing to enter correspondence with arts and cultural providers online, as long as they feel comfortable that the dialogue is genuine. Useful, timely and appropriate email contact is likely to have the most effect on this group.

3.      Online security:reassurances around payment are required, because this user type is very anxious about making online payments or indeed entering any personal details online.

4.      Rich media:this segment is much less likely to engage with audio-visual content or other sophisticated content and functionality (e.g. podcasts) due to low skills and low confidence. Make sure the basic content is easily available through text and pictures

5.      Enthusiasm to improve skills:despite their low confidence, this user type is willing to learn how to get more out of the internet, especially when it can help them further their knowledge in the areas of arts and culture they are enthusiastic about. You could target this group with email tutorials, encouraging and enabling audience members to try viewing clips or taking a virtual tour, for example.


What next?

Next time we’ll look at the Leading Edge user type, and ways of maximising online engagement with this high tech and high expectation group.

If you would like to discuss how I could help you with your digital strategy just get in touch!

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