Independent Dorset Poster Campaign: Audience Survey

Before we put up our poster we gathered some data about the potential audience and how people used the space in order to find the best location to place our poster. Below are the main points from the data we collected on the demographics of the space and how people use it.

  • In a 30 minute period 180 people moved through the space
  • 80% of people in the space were students


Here’s a map of the space. The orange boxes indicate doorways. The blue circles are seating areas and the red box is a coffee bar. Black are other fixed miscellaneous objects.

On average the number of people who walk through the space was 30 people per 5 minute period. Only around half that number were taking more time in the space doing activities such as chatting in groups or having coffee, both sitting down at the tables and  standing.

Footfall through the space was very fast, with people, on average moving through the space in around 10 seconds.

Areas where people tended to congregate in the space

Highlighted in blue are the main areas where people tended to congregate and spend more time, although, if standing, people did not tend to stay very long, a minute or two at most. People who were sitting down tended to stay longer, but were often engaged in other activities, such as doing work, and tended not to explore the space as much.

Arrows represent the main pedestrian routes taken through the space

The main pedestrian flow we observed through the space not only shows the footfall but also the areas that are more often in people’s eyeline and are therefore more likely to be noticed. On average people only took 10 seconds to move through the space whilst walking through it, so positioning will take a key role in the prominence of our poster. Notably, a statue in the entrance of the lobby attracted some people’s attention, so that might be a good place to place our poster.

Crosses represent potential poster locations

This map marks several possible places where our poster might get noticed more often. Around the coffee bar is one of the prime areas, as as well as being in the path of  a major traffic route for the space, people also tend to congregate there waiting for coffee etc, which would give them time to read the poster. Other possible locations include doorways and a pillar which are prime areas of heavy footfall, as people are forced to go past them whilst entering and exiting the space.

One of the interesting things I discovered when researching the space is that the wall areas near the seats were rarely looked at, even though they were filled with television screens and printed media. A possible reason for this is that the printed media already there has quite dense text, which the audience in the space might not have found very eyecatching. Another reason might be that as they are so close to the seats, anybody standing trying to read them would be effectively catching the eyeline of a seated person, which would be uncomfortable. This could be discouraging people from trying to read the posters.

We did our observations during the day, during the week. If we had done more observation during different times of the year we would have more data to extrapolate from and could have gained a very different perspective of the space. For example around exam periods people might be more busy and less likely to take time in the space, whereas during events such as open days people might be doing the opposite.

All of our people counting sensors are built to cope with multiple entries and come with the industry’s highest standard of 95+ per cent accuracy for the lifetime of a contract.

To get a more accurate count of people in the future we could use the methods used by professional retail marketing companies, such as using infrared sensors to detect someone passing by, or heat sensors. This would be far more accurate than by counting people by hand, which is prone to human error. This was the case when we collaborated our group results, as we had different counts and they had to be averaged. However this would be costly to implement and may raise ethical issues with audience participation.

Examples of techniques used by professional marketing companies can be found at the link below:

IPSOS, 2014. People Counting [online]. Available from: [Accessed 19.10.2014]

Leave a Reply