“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Although Peter Drucker’s quote may have initially applied to his work more than 80 years ago with well-renowned manufacturing companies such as General Motors, it still applies today to all things marketing: content marketing, search engine marketing, social media marketing – and yes – event marketing. Just like GM analyzes the performance of an auto assembly line, if you want to improve your events, you too need to measure their performance and calculate ROI.
Sounds easy, right? After all, there are myriad event technology solutions on the market, many with sophisticated reporting and analytics tools that put event attendance numbers, registration numbers, and even the number of content downloads at your fingertips.
And the truth is, with the right event technology, event success is easy to measure… but only if you take time first to identify the objectives of your event marketing strategy. Are you creating events to drive leads and/or generate brand awareness? Or maybe you’re hosting an event to launch a new product, recruit new employees, or train new managers?
Once you’ve outlined the objectives of your event strategy, you can then define how you will assess its success, which leads to the question, what KPI for events do you measure? For example, you might use event management KPIs to measure brand awareness by registration and attendee numbers or lead generation by the number of booth visits or presentation attendance. There’s no right or wrong answer, and no “magic number” will tell you how successful your events were. However, if you hone in on three to five metrics that you feel reflect how well you achieved your event objectives, you’ll be primed to demonstrate your events’ value and iterate your event strategy to improve continuously.
KPIs for Events Worth Measuring
When determining KPIs, it’s important to be specific to determine to what extent you achieved your event goals. Here are some event KPI examples.
In most cases, your business sells products or services. You may host an in-person or virtual event to launch a new product, promote your services, or attract new customers. Here are some sales KPIs to track the success of an event:
- New customers: Closing new clients is the “holy grail” for many event organizers and measuring deal attribution or influence from your event will help you estimate the event’s ROI. Fortunately, event technology makes it easy to measure deal attribution or influence. For example, the Eventory by 6Connex app will assign a QR code to every attendee, enabling you to track behavior such as presentation attendance, booth visits, networking meetings, and more. Another way to measure new deal attribution or influence from your event is to provide attendees with a special code, which can be redeemed when purchasing your product or service.
- Net new leads: Sometimes, the most notable achievement from your event can be a new lead. Again, event technology such as the Eventory app makes it easy to measure lead generation. Remember, new leads can come from any number of attendee behaviors, including signing up for a newsletter or joining a social media community.
- Sales funnel progression: You’ll likely have event attendees already in your sales funnel. Track their progression through the funnel after your event. For example, did they move from an awareness stage prior to the event to a consideration stage after the event?
- Average sale value: Estimate the average value of products and/or services sold because of the event. Compare it with data from previous events. You could also compare the average sale value by sales rep to determine who performs best at events and then staff future events accordingly.
- Total sales value: Calculate the total value of products and/or services sold because of the event. Compare the event performance against historical data as well as against other marketing channels. This will help you assess event ROI.
- Networking: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. In addition to closing deals, it’s important for sales reps to network at events and bring new contacts into the marketing funnel. Setting networking objectives for sales teams is common prior to event participation.
This group of event marketing KPIs can be used to maximize event profits and inform future event budgets.
- ROI: This metric calculates how much revenue you made (or lost) organizing an event. When measuring ROI, be sure to consider all event expenses. It’s reasonable to include non-monetary expenses, such as the value of the event planning team’s time. Then, calculate your income from the event. This should include new products and services sold, sponsorships sold, and ticket sales if there were fees for event participation.
- Profit: Like the value of sold products and services, calculating the profit from new deals that were either influenced or directly attributed to your event may be important, especially to your sales team, as many reps are compensated based on profit. When calculating profit, be sure to account for not only production costs but also staff expenses.
Marketers can use KPIs for events to measure the event's influence on any number of marketing goals, such as increasing brand awareness, acquiring new marketable contacts, or accelerating existing contacts through the marketing funnel.
- Audience size: How many people registered for your event, and how many attended? This data is easy to capture with event technology that includes automated registration, ticketing, and badging features such as Eventory. You can also leverage QR codes to track session attendance, booth visits, and more to better understand your agenda's most appealing parts.
- Website traffic: You can check whether the traffic on your website increased during and after your event with a tool like Google Analytics. Remember that relationships established during the event are not restricted to the time of the event itself, so measure website traffic long after the closing remarks!
- Brand awareness: A “side effect” of a well-organized event can be an increase in brand awareness. However, brand awareness can be difficult to measure. One idea: consider monitoring social media both before the event and in the weeks following the event. Research the frequency with which your brand appears. Another option is to create a dedicated hashtag for the event and track its activity. You can also create a short survey using event technology such as Eventory and ask your participants about their perception of your brand before and after the event.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): The NPS indicator was created by Fred Reicheld, who devised a standard for measuring client loyalty and satisfaction. In an NPS survey, your clients are asked to grade, on a scale of 1 to 10, their willingness to recommend your services and products to other people. The scale is divided into 3 categories: results between 0 and 6 are negative opinions, 7 and 8 are neutral, and 9 and 10 are favorable. NPS is measured by subtracting the percentage of negative opinions from the percentage of “promoters.” Why is it worth measuring? It allows you to easily compare the score of your brand with the competition, and in the case of events, you can measure your NPS both before and after your event to determine whether the event influenced the score.
- Inbound hyperlinks: This KPI can be measured before and after your event. The metric indirectly reflects your brand awareness and is best captured by using tools such as Google Analytics.
- Session ratings: Asking attendees to rate your event sessions will give you detailed insights into how you can fine-tune your event agenda to maximize attendee satisfaction at future events. The best way to capture the data is either through in-event survey technology found in many event apps or through a post-event survey.
- Interactions: If one of your event’s value propositions is the chance to network with industry peers, consider taking advantage of a mobile event app such as Eventory, which will allow you to track how many times participants exchanged contact data, sent in-app messages, and more.
- Event movements: By measuring this KPI, you will know which event activities generated the most interest. For example, did people attend more networking sessions or visit the exhibit hall? Which booths did they visit, and how much time did they spend at each one? Again, an event app with QR code technology will make it easy to track this data.
- Social media mentions: Don't miss this KPI to track the success of an event. Measure social media mentions with classic monitoring tools such as Brand24 or SentiOne. Be sure to measure the sentiment of those mentions so you can assess how your brand was received.
6Connex tip: Speaking of KPIs, are you looking for the best way to measure event success? We've got you covered! Our benchmark for attendee engagement takes it a step further - consulting on how to make your next event even more successful. Our consultations provide actionable suggestions on how to continually improve so you’re not only meeting but exceeding your KPIs. We're well-versed in what we do, and we analyze the following factors to provide you with an attendee engagement score:
- Attendee conversion,
- Content views,
- Location entries,
- Gamification participation,
- and Webcast participation
At the core of the Benchmark for Attendee Engagement is the Attendee Engagement Score, which measures the average attendee engagement level during the event. The higher the score, the healthier and happier your attendees, and the better your ROI.
If you organize an event as an employer, your goals could include increasing brand awareness, capturing new talent, or retaining your current employees. Collecting event data will give you more information about your performance. Here are some event management KPIs that you'll find helpful.
- Attendee profiles: In addition to measuring attendance numbers, you should identify the characteristics of the people present. If the purpose of your event was to recruit new talent, did the attendees’ profiles match your ideal candidate profiles? Thanks to features in event apps such as Eventory, you can easily capture demographic and other data at the point of registration.
- Applications: This metric is straightforward. If the goal of your event is to fill open positions, how many job applications were completed?
- Candidates: This metric is also straightforward. If the goal of your event is to recruit new talent for open positions, how many right-fit candidates did you generate?
- Interviews scheduled and held: If your event is for recruiting purposes, be sure to use an event app such as Eventory, which generates personalized business cards and facilitates networking. Then track how many interviews were scheduled and conducted at the event. Keep in mind, you can also track interview activity with event participants after the event to get a more complete picture of your event’s success.
- Length of hiring process: You may find it interesting to compare the time it takes you to fill an open position with a hiring event versus without a hiring event to verify whether the hiring event is a worthwhile recruiting strategy.
- Hiring costs: This is a crucial event management KPI. In addition to comparing how much time it takes to fill an open position with an event versus without one, you might also want to compare the cost of filling an open position with a hiring event versus without one.
Occasionally, you participate in an event as a partner, perhaps in the role of a sponsor or exhibitor. Participation, however, usually comes at a cost, so you want to make sure you measure the right event KPIS to see the return on your investment.
- Booth visitors: If you’re exhibiting at the event, knowing how many people visited your booth is important. Using QR codes can help you easily understand this number, and event technology with gamification features can also help you capture detailed data.
- Time spent at booth: Measuring the average time each visitor spent at your booth will allow you to assess the quality of your booth experience. Was the booth so interactive that people spent time, or did they pass by without interest? This type of data can inform your booth strategy at future events.
- Website referral traffic: Measure the number of website hits you receive from the event website, event social media channels, event email campaigns, etc.
- Net new leads: Partners, too, will want to measure the number of new leads they capture at an event. This data will help you determine whether event participation was worthwhile and inform future event calendars.
- Presentation attendance and rating: If your event partnership included a speaking session, measure how many people were present and how the content was received using feedback tools in event apps such as Eventory. The data can be used to iterate your presentation as necessary to better meet the needs of your audience in the future.
Innovative Event Technology to Measure Event KPI for Marketing
Event marketing is essential in every marketer’s toolbox, and a well-thought-out event marketing strategy is crucial to achieving marketing – and overall business – goals. However, careful measurement and analysis of event data will allow you to convert your event objectives into tangible results. As stated by Bill Gates, “In business, the idea of measuring what you are doing, picking the measurements that count like customer satisfaction and performance... you thrive on that.”
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Webinar Alert: Raising the Bar for Sustainable Events with MUSE - Let's Go Green Together!
Join us on June 27th at 10 a.m. CST for our webinar "Raising the Bar: Achieving Sustainable Events through Innovative Technologies and Expert Insights." co-hosted with MUSE. Learn from event sustainability gurus as they share tips on reducing carbon footprints and creating events that make Mother Nature proud. Don't miss out on this industry leading, eco-friendly event! Register below.