Several institutions thinking of doing something like the Second House of Sweden have been asking us for metrics. As we’re a public agency, we’re only too happy to oblige, especially if it encourages further projects like this:-)
Overall, we get between 300 and 400 visitors per day to our two sims. Around 80 people per day register via our branded online registration page www.sweden.se/secondlife; the others teleport in. These numbers are an order of magnitude smaller than the visitor numbers of the websites that the Swedish Institute manages, but such a comparison would be deceptive, for two reasons:
- The pool of potential visitors for the Second House of Sweden is limited to Second Life users, and conservative numbers put that figure at around 1 million regular users, vs the 1.25 billion that use the internet.
- The experiences of visiting the Second House of Sweden is best compared to visiting a real space, because that is what it is trying to emulate. How many visitors does a real-world cultural center get in a day? What is the cost involved in servicing these visitors? What would the cost be to bring visitors from far-flung places, where there are no such cultural centers, to a real-world cultural center? When these kinds of questions are asked, building a virtual embassy makes eminent sense.
Several metrics support our conclusion that the embassy makes for a good proxy for a real-world Swedish cultural experience:
We already know that the users of Second Life are technologically savvy, curious, and future-oriented — that’s sort of a prerequisite for being in Second Life, and it is exactly the target group we believe is most receptive to the message that Sweden is a modern, tolerant, nature-loving country. But we also know that our visitors are incredibly spread out geographically. Look:
Furthermore, we also see our visitors spending a much longer time at the embassy than on a conventional website; around three times longer, in fact: (This charts shows average visit length)
From these charts, we conclude that it makes good sense to experiment with Second Life. It allows us to pursue immersive and prolonged cultural contacts that have a clear social aspect — the latest example being the free Swedish lessons we are currently giving:
Finally, some other stats that may be of use; here’s when most people visit, in Second Life (=California) time:
Basically, European evenings are the most popular times to come by.