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The Royal Institution (Ri) has been committed to engaging the British public with the sciences for over two hundred years. The Ri approached Pro Bono Economics as they wanted to know more about viewer engagement with their online science videos.


FTI economists used available data to determine video consumption (the number of views and minutes watched), viewer engagement (the number of likes, comments and shares) and quality of engagement (the number of views or minutes watched per number of likes, comments and shares) to build a picture of the Ri's most engaging online content.


Where information was available, findings showed that the Ri’s online audience is generally young (with over two-thirds of views coming from those younger than 35). In terms of format, Ri talks and events receive the highest levels of engagement. The Ri has continued to collect data related to its online audience and will use findings and methods from the report to inform their digital content strategy.


These measures will be used to inform the Ri’s digital strategy, to track the impact of their digital content, and to support the Ri’s fundraising initiatives. Greater engagement with the Ri’s science videos may lead to greater engagement with science in general – for example, through an increase in visitor numbers to the Ri’s Faraday Museum, or wider benefits such as an increase in the number of students studying science at university.

Vicky Pryce (Chief Economic Advisor at CEBR)

“This report is an excellent example of how Pro Bono Economics is enabling organisations to make best use of their scarce resources without compromising on core activities… This report will help the Royal Institution pioneer new methods of digital engagement with the sciences in a way that extends the reach and impact of their videos, whilst providing insight into the most engaging content.”

Cassie Williams (Digital Manager at the Royal Institution)

"At the Ri, one of our aims is to encourage people to ‘think more deeply about the wonders and applications of science’. Whilst we already knew which of our videos were most viewed, and hence most popular, PBE volunteer economists helped us to better understand how our audience were engaging with them. Through working with FTI, we now have metrics which we use to measure whether we are achieving our objective of encouraging our audience to ‘think more deeply.’"