How to start measuring event success?
Every marketing action is nothing more than just a way to spend a part of your budget when you don’t know what benefits it brings. Events as one of the marketing tools require a thorough analysis to evaluate event ROI. How to kickstart the process of measuring event success? Dive in the article and find out.
In the times of quickly changing customers’ preferences and their recently developed resistance on traditional advertising, companies reach other methods. In past years events became one of the main marketing tools. Reports show that about 93% of developing companies’ budget place priority on hosting events and 57% of which give them a high priority.
However, when the after-event dust settles there comes a question. Was it worth it? Unfortunately, there are many companies that are not able to determine the success of their events. Event evaluation was a tough nut to crack for many years as it’s a vivid thing to measure but those times are gone for good. Evaluating an event’s results is a must.
Measuring event success allows you to defend the budget spendings. It shows how much profits you gained by investing in event marketing. Event management software, such as Eventory, came into the picture. It makes it possible to track attendees’ engagement, measure the aspects that can let you evaluate chosen KPIs and more. Nowadays, it’s crucial to keep track of your event ROI in order to define the benefits of your event marketing strategy and be able to tell how it contributed to achieving the company’s goals.
The process of determining your event’s performance needs to be well-planned. In order to be able properly run event evaluation, you need to remember about it from the very beginning of the event planning process. Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you without a quick guide on how to do it. Let’s find out how to start measuring event success.
The beginner’s guide to measuring event success
Event evaluation can be a tricky process. You need to see a bigger picture of what you want to achieve long before the event even starts. Thinking through all the organizational matters can significantly improve your ability to better verify some of the aspects. This is why you need to bear in mind the whole measuring process in advance.
The basis of measuring event success lays in properly set objectives of event marketing strategy and linger on further event organizing steps, ending weeks before the event. Knowing this, we can determine a list of stages to cover in order to start evaluating your event marketing ROI. They could look like this:
- Define clear event marketing goals
- Set adequate KPIs
- Choose measuring tools and techniques
- Analyze the results
Obviously, the list can change depending on the event’s specifics. Those are just the key areas that will let you fully evaluate your endeavor. Now it’s time to take a closer look at each of them.
Step #1 Determine event marketing goals and objectives
Defining marketing goals is the first and probably the most important part of preparing yourself to measure your event. After all, at this point, you clarify what you want to achieve by implementing an event marketing strategy. Knowing exactly what is your goal, defining precise targets to meet is crucial in terms of choosing the right measurement method and metrics.
Therefore, it’s vital to not only choose the right objectives but to define them correctly. This means that the goal defining process needs to be well thought through.
Base the decision on the general marketing strategy
Event marketing’s purpose is to enhance the marketing activity of the whole company. That’s why the goals you set for your event need to correspond with the general ones. Imagine that your company wants to increase the number of sales in the upcoming year. In this situation, you won’t launch a party for your customers. You will go bigger to reach more prospects. Your goals, in this case, would be for example generating leads, acquiring offer requests or raising participant’s interest with your company stand.
When you have a general idea what areas your objectives will tackle, you need to take care of their proper definition.
Make your goals SMART in order to run a successful event evaluation
Having an idea in which direction you want to go with an event and what you want to achieve is not enough to control an event ROI. Specified goals need to be constructed in a way that allows checking their achievement after the event ends. In order to do so, stick to the SMART rule and make sure your goals are always:
- Specific – what and why do you want to achieve
- Measurable – set a clear target and think whether you’ll be able to measure it
- Achievable – aim at levels you’ll be able to reach
- Relevant – focus on the aspects that will contribute to your company’s success and are important to achieve
- Time-bound – give yourself a deadline in goal achieving
Remember, telling your team that the objective is to generate new leads won’t do the trick. Now, think how it would look following the SMART criteria. Need an example? Look at a properly defined goal:
You have it all in that one goal. The clear, relevant number of leads you want to acquire, ambitious yet achievable goal and deadline. Also, you can easily measure whether you get those leads or not afterward. As for the time, you want to leave some time to those undecided prospects that can later show up as your brand new lead. You can also go for the percentage target but remember about the point of reference. Having the goals determined, there comes the time to decide on the indicators that will allow you to measure goal achievement.
Step #2 Key Performance Indicator – the foundation of measuring event success
There’s no way to go around measuring event success without making clear how you are going to do it. Setting goals and objectives, point you a direction towards which you can work. However, you need to specify benchmarks and metrics to operate with in order to control the progress. It’s the Key Performance Indicators, known also as KPIs, that will tell you what exactly to measure during the event and what will contribute to event marketing ROI.
As the KPIs result directly from the goals that you determined for your actions, it’s hard to give you an exact list of indicators you’ll need. However, let’s go through some of the most popular event success metrics examples.
Financial and Sales KPIs
The first, and often the most desired outcome of the event management strategy is the financial and sales profits. Many companies see the events as a good opportunity to boost sales and repair the incomes from selling products and services via event face to face interaction with attendees. Hence they often choose indicators that could illustrate the performance in this area, such as:
A rather easy indicator to evaluate. It shows how much you managed to earn on an event. Take into account all of the costs that you had in the organizational process. Count the spendings and then add the sum of sold tickets and value od sold services and products during an event. Also, don’t forget about non-monetary things, such as your team’s work time or the boost in your employer branding that you need you to count into the profits that will let you estimate the return of the interest. There you have it – the return of your investment.
The number of new clients
As the name suggests, this KPI will tell you how many new customers you gained thanks to your event presence. It can be counted for example by monitoring the peaks in your customer base and comparing the number to the pre-event statistics. It’s important to carry on with the measuring the process also after the event – you don’t always decide to buy something in the minute you see the offer, right? Wait for about two weeks until some customers to grow to the purchase decision to get a whole image on metrics. If you want to make sure that new clients come from event think about preparing special discounts codes for attendees.
The number of leads generated during the event
Counting leads during an event is a demanding task. First, determine what you mean by cold, warm and hot leads. Then, observe the stand and keep a track of those interested in your offer. You can count them in a single spreadsheet or use technology to track offer inquiries and the number of scanned QR codes of your company. This way, you’ll be able to run an event evaluation considering its contribution to enriching your lead base.
Next group of event success metrics examples are the marketing KPIs. While the marketing goals may be less substantive, hence harder to measure it’s important to choose adequate indicators of performance. They’ll allow measuring your marketing actions in a numeric way.
The increase in website traffic
When your aim is to raise brand awareness or reach new target groups, you may want to check how the traffic on your website looks like. Compare the pre-event numbers with the data from the time of the event. Check also the following weeks to track any changes that could be the effect of an event. It will let you find out whether the word about your company is spreading or rather the opposite.
The social media mentions
When you track the website traffic you might want to check also your brand’s mentions on the web. You can use dedicated platforms to check the tone of the mentions and their number. A good idea is to create an event’s hashtag and monitor the number of posts with it. The idea was used in I <3 Marketing conference and met with great enthusiasm. It’s also a good way to gather the feedback. What is more, with the help of an event hashtag the brand can much easier connect with prospects, react with publications and interact with authors.
Correlation of audience with the target group
When you want to find out whether your event’s promotion was on point and reached the desired group of people, go for this KPI. Run a survey and check what industries have their representatives at your event. Count the correlation of your target audience size to the general number of participants and evaluate if you met your goal.
Above mentioned Key Performance Indicators are just some picked ideas from the most popular ones. They are just a couple of success metrics examples but remember that you can choose and determine your own, depending on your objectives. If you launch a recruiting event, go for HR KPIs and so on.
When you have the list of your very own indicators to support your event evaluation, look for the measurement tools.
Step #3 Choose the right tools to measure your event
Key Performance Indicators give you an insight into what you should measure to be able to run an event evaluation. Now you need to decide how to measure them and pick the right instruments that will do it. There are a couple of measurements that need to be done like:
- Counting the attendance and generated leads
- Surveys or
- Web/content analysis
Let’s check what we could implement in each of these categories.
How can you count different parts of your event?
Counting will be the crucial part of measuring an event. Success and adequacy lie in how efficiently you’ll do it. There are traditional ways to do it and those supported by technological tools.
It’s a device that gives you an opportunity to manually count people or situations. The mechanism is simple, one click on the device equals one person, one lead, one application and so on. For example, it’s a one way to count the people who approached your sponsor stand or entry the event. However, in this case, one person needs to be constantly focused on this one task. Therefore, not only you waste your employee’s time but also it’s extremely easy to make a mistake, which makes the count not precise.
Another manual method to keep track of the number of attendees, leads, visitors of individual stands and so on is the counting done in the spreadsheet. You write down every person and eventually get the list and the final count. Even writing about it makes me tired, so I wouldn’t recommend this method during big live events.
Thanks to the technology development we can leave clickers alone and go for more efficient, easier and automatic solutions. One of those would be QR codes.
Qr codes are personalized graphic codes that can be scanned and therefore counted. Now how can they help you with measuring event success? By placing QR codes around the venue you can engage guests and measure their event activity. Also, the codes can cloak interesting facts about your company hence, they contribute to boosting brand awareness.
Also, by giving the personalized QR codes to exhibitors, you can measure how many people visited exact stands. It gives your partners the basis to run event evaluation. You get the insight which one you should get rid of during the next edition and which were the popular ones.
What is more, this solution will be a game-changer in terms of obtaining new leads during the event. Just imagine, by having your personal QR code at the stand you can persuade people potentially interested in your offer to check the details by scanning the code. Then, they’ll be asked to fill in the entry form (you can also offer some tasty discount as a gift). This way you not only present the offer but also get the data about the prospect you can use to warm up the lead later on.
QR codes are extremely easy to use. Once you generate the individual codes, you need a scanner, such as Eventory Scanner, to read them. The device will automatically count the number of scanned objects, behind which you will have a single attendee.
How can you gather feedback and check attendees’ opinion?
Not only the numbers matters when it comes to event evaluation. Tracking the level of attendee’s satisfaction with an event or learning about their awareness of your brand is equally important as hard data. To gather such, let’s call is soft information, you need to implement tools that will enable you to run a survey.
The first option is to take care of the matter in the traditional way. Hand out printed questionnaires and organize the stands where they’ll be hand back. It’ll let your respondents stay anonymous which will lead to more honest answers. However, it’s not the best way if you want to run the survey in a quick, easy and efficient way. Also, printed materials generate additional costs that can be saved and it’s a more ecological approach. Worth to consider is also the attendee’s’ convenience – not everyone wants to wait for a printed form. When the questionnaire is on their smartphones they can fill it also on their way home.
Event mobile application
The other solution is more eco-friendly and can help you save a great deal of time. Mobile applications (like Eventory) have a built-in option of creating questionnaires. They automatically send the form to every attendee that have access to the app and remind them to leave the answers. Later on, you’ll be able to check how many forms were filled, what were the answers. No need to count votes or write down the answers. It’s all in one place. Often, such tools can prepare proper statistics in an approachable form of graphs and tables as well.
When it comes to big events, it’s good to leave tradition behind and go with digital solutions which can significantly improve the data gathering process. To make it even more efficient, you can organize a contest (choose one attendee from those who filled out the form to win a prize) or simply hand out an event gadget for filling out the questionnaire.
How to check on web content?
Last but not least, area to cover when measuring event success is the Internet. Sounds serious but don’t worry – there are tools that can help. Remember that You need to track not only the content that concerns your event. Keep up with mentions about your competition, worldwide events and their participants. It can also affect your endeavor or give you an impulse to improve some aspects. Let’s see what we got here.
Key phrase mentions
The most important thing you should keep track of are mentions about your brand, event itself and so on. You can do it with a little help of web platforms, such as Brand24 (highly recommended as we also track the Eventory’s presence with this tool), BrandWatch, SentiOne and more. They analyze the web content and choose only those websites, social posts and other mentions that contain the key phrase you choose. It can be your events’ name, your brand or the topic of your conference. In the same time, you’ll be able to find out whether the mentions are positive or not – a good option, but check the true intentions of the author first if you want to evaluate the event success.
Having the numbers measured, you need to efficiently draw some conclusions. That’s where we move to the last point of our measuring journey.
Step #4 Take care of data’s presentation, it’ll help you analyze it
So there you have it. The most important aspects of your event, all measured up and ready to be evaluated. To make the analysis easier and more understandable you should pay attention to the way you present your data.
The form of gathered data is important. The report you create serves not only your own analyzing purposes. An approachable and clear graphic form will allow other people to clearly notice the profits that came out of your event marketing strategy. Generally speaking, the whole event evaluation will be much easier when you will have data in tight order. Also, compare obtained data with target numbers, think about highlighting the most important parts of the report.
Another important thing to remember is looking at your results in a bigger picture. The number of attendees will not tell you anything unless, for example, you will compare it with the number from last year. Remember that only giving your data the right context tells the story.
Measuring event success is the most important thing in the whole process next to the event organization itself. It needs to be taken into consideration from the very beginning of the process.
To start your event evaluation you need to firstly define clear and measurable goals. Then, it’s important to pick KPIs that will fit those goals and will enable you to check the goals achievement. Only then you can choose the right methods and measurement tools, which will gather data you can analyze at the end of measuring an event success.
Remember that often the fewer tools the better. Try to reach for platforms which provide you with an ecosystem of measuring tools, such as Eventory. This way you’ll not be able to determine your event ROI but also will get the neat report just after the event.
Do you measure your event success? Tell us about it!