Missing Audiences – survey

Cultural organisations have overcome huge barriers to reopen, working in new conditions and often with reduced staff teams.

But there are many visitors and audience members who still haven’t returned to the organisations they used to go to frequently – and some who haven’t returned to anything at all.

The Missing Audiences survey is designed to help you find out what is holding audiences and visitors back from attending so you can put their needs at the heart of your planning.

Register to take part

Missing Audiences is FREE for cultural organisations in the UK.

To register to take part, fill in our participant information form →

If you have any questions which are not covered in the FAQs, please get in touch with Flo Carr on

The Missing Audiences survey – delivered by the Insights Alliance  – is designed to:

  • help cultural organisations discover why some previously frequent audiences and visitors have not yet returned since Covid
  • interrogate whether non-attendance is related to Covid safety or other factors, and what activities audiences and visitors feel comfortable doing
  • measure audience confidence levels and appetite for safety measures
  • reassure audiences and visitors, and facilitate open conversation
  • give organisations the information needed to create impactful and targeted re-attendance campaigns and keep audiences at the heart of future plans

The research will run in two waves – September – October 2021 and January – February 2022.

Missing Audiences is FREE to take part in, you’ll have access to your results in real time and you’ll also be part of a national benchmark, building up a picture of cultural audiences across the country for the benefit of all.

The Missing Audiences survey is operated for organisations in Northern Ireland in association with Thrive.


What are the survey questions?

The survey questions are available to download or view via the test link:

Please note that the final question set may slightly differ from this.

Who should we send it to?

The survey is designed to be sent to your previous bookers or visitors who have NOT returned since you reopened and don’t have a future booking with you. We recommend including only those who had attended in the two years before Covid i.e. from the start of 2018 to when you closed in 2020.

Your link will be limited to 1,000 responses, so we recommend sending to around 3,000 – 5,000 people.

We understand that some audience members will have attended with someone else who bought the ticket, so we have included questions which will help to filter out those who have actually attended.

If you only have a mailing list, and aren’t sure who has re-attended, the survey is designed to ask questions to determine that, so you could send it to your full mailing list, with an appropriate covering email.

What should I say in the email?

We’ll provide you with a template email for you to use or adapt to suit your organisation – or of course you’re welcome to write your own.

How long will the survey run?

The first wave of Missing Audiences will run for 6 weeks from 13 September to 24 October 2021. The second wave is planned for a further 6 weeks in January and February 2022. You don’t have to take part in both waves but we think it will be useful to see how the responses have changed.

When should we send it out?

You can send out the survey whenever you like during the 6 week research period, but we recommend sending it no later than 15 October in the first wave to give your audiences time to respond. You can also send a reminder email during that time if you’d like to.

How are the responses captured and how do I see my results?

We provide you with a specific link for your organisation that you will email out to customers. Once they click on this link their responses are recorded in our survey software. The results are available for you to see in real time through another link which we will send you for that purpose.

The results from your attenders are then aggregated with responses from all other organisations and used to create reports for the s

ector on the overall results. We will not share the responses for your individual organisation with anyone else – the results we share will always be the aggregated results so that no organisation can be individually identified.

Is there a deadline for signing up?

You can join each wave of research at any time, but we’d like to encourage you to sign up before the first wave starts on 13 September so we can get you set up with plenty of time.

Which types of organisations can take part?

It is designed to be used by any kind of cultural organisation which has previously offered audiences or visitors a live in-person cultural experience – including theatres, museums, visitor attractions, touring companies, arts centres and many more!

We are currently open to organisations in the UK only. The survey is operated for organisations in Northern Ireland in association with Thrive.

If you are based elsewhere, please get in touch and we’ll see if we can help.

What are the GDPR implications?

We do not touch, or collect ANY personal data. As you send out the link in an email from your systems, we have no contact with customer email addresses, and the data that comes back into our software is NOT regarded as personal data, as there is no identifiable data in the responses.

If you, or any of your colleagues have any concerns about this, please get in touch.

Are audiences tired of filling out surveys?

Over the last 18 months audiences have been very supportive of research done by the cultural organisations they love and have given their time willingly in huge numbers when organisations have explained why their answers are so important.

We don’t think you’ll need to add an incentive to complete the survey (e.g. ‘Be in with a chance to win £100 of high street vouchers!’) but if you’d like to, you can redirect your respondents to a page on your website to collect their contact details when they’ve completed the survey. Please note that we are not able to collect contact details.

This survey is not intended to replace your post-visit surveys so if you’re able to target this only to those people who haven’t returned there shouldn’t be any crossover.

Start a project

To set up a conversation without obligation, please fill in the form below and we'll get in touch.