Dial Up The Metrics: Measuring Event Success Accurately
Tech-savvy event managers already know that event promotion online gets people in line. But the value of technology doesn’t end when the curtain closes. We live in an era of “big data” — why not make the most of it?
Measuring event success with data will show you what’s working and what needs improvement in your marketing strategy. Smart, consistent measurement practices will ensure that you can repeat your success time and time again.
Creating a measurement strategy is the first step towards data-driven event success. What are your goals for the coming year? What resources are you working with?
A scientific approach like this may sound like a lot of work. But the technology and volume of data available actually make it a breeze. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Identify the areas you want to measure.
Virtually all aspects of your event can be measured and evaluated. They key to effective measurement is to appraise each aspect separately and consider how it contributes to your overall goal. Which elements are most important to sustaining success?
2. Break each area down into individual elements.
Let’s say your goal is to increase event revenue. There are several factors that contribute to this, such as your promotional strategy and event attendance. Event promotion takes many forms — flyers, online ads, email news blasts are just a few examples. You may be using a tiered ticket pricing system, in which case the total number of ticket sales can be further broken down by type.
You are likely already keeping track of audience size at your events, which gives you a broad idea of attendance over time. More specific information such as age group or gender might help to explain why two superficially similar events resulted in vastly different returns on investment.
3. Compare and question related elements.
Separating out the variables that contribute to overall revenue helps you understand event success from multiple angles. Did more people respond to email blasts than flyers? Do events with early bird ticket options sell out faster than events with flat rate pricing? Are women more likely to attend your events than men? Clear, specific metrics will give you insight into which promotional tactics work and which need improvement.
4. Know when to dig deeper.
As you continue to develop your measurement strategy, you may uncover new questions about your event promotion practices. Twice as many people responded to email blasts than flyers. You released a promotional code, but nobody used it. Why? Here are two ways you could find out:
Talk to your customers.
One way to answer your questions could be a customer survey. Most ticket sales services like Eventbrite or Brown Paper Tickets offer event page customization, which allows you to ask attendees questions or prompt them for more information. Asking customers how they heard about your event can give you insight into why some marketing vehicles are more successful than others.
Create a standalone survey.
If you want more insight into past events, a separate survey may be useful. Online research software like Qualtrics or SurveyMonkey are useful tools for asking your customers direct questions about their buying habits, satisfaction with your events, and other factors related to your promotional practices. Survey results can be analyzed and displayed in graphs to better help you and your staff understand the why’s and how’s of your event success data.
5. Measure consistently.
Simply put, the better the data you collect, the better your analysis will be. If you host a recurring event, make sure you are collecting the same kinds of data throughout. If your goal is to increase women’s attendance at your venue, make sure to keep track of outreach tactics and audience demographics for every event you host, rather than just tracking overall audience numbers.
The need for consistent measurement may seem obvious. But spotty records can give you an incomplete or an inaccurate picture of your events, which leads to poorly informed business decisions.
You need to stay consistent.
6. Use resources appropriately.
Now that you have a better idea of what’s working and what needs improvement, you’ll be able to allocate resources appropriately.
Are your social media platforms bringing in less traffic than anticipated? Dedicate a team to improving your social media marketing strategy. Check out Evvnt, a service that promotes events on 4,500+ event listing sites, increases SEO visibility, and creates targeted marketing based on event category and location.
Maybe you have a good sense of what your data is telling you, but you’re wondering what your next step should be. If that’s the case, take a look at Kissmetrics. This comprehensive market analytics service helps you pinpoint areas of improvement and delivers specific, data-driven strategies to increase event success. Their website says it all: Data-informed insights grow every business.
7. Select a service that fits your needs.
High-powered measurement requires high-powered instruments. This article has already described some excellent services, but here are a few more standouts to help you get the most out of measuring event success:
Eventbrite has a data visualization feature built into its event management page. Choose from several different chart types like “sales by ticket type” or “attendee geography” to see how your chosen metrics measure up.
Do you have an event site you’d like to keep tabs on? Check out Google Analytics for Eventbrite. Once you’ve integrated Google Analytics into your Eventbrite management page, you’ll be able to track online sales conversions.
Bizzabo helps to create connections between event organizers and attendees through a straightforward, informative platform. The powerful measurement tool offers many opportunities to understand customer behavior and marketing trends.
Another great service for monitoring online activity is Mention. It allows you to manage and analyze your social media presence across multiple platforms. You do this from a single, integrated management dashboard. It lets you understand who is talking about your event, where they’re talking, and what kind of buzz you’re generating.
Maybe your Instagram feed is bringing in lots of traffic to your event page, but the Twitterverse is surprisingly silent. When was the last time somebody looked at your Facebook page? With this kind of knowledge, you’ll get a better sense of which aspects of your online promotion are most effective and which need a little work.
For more information about planning and promoting events, check out Brinda Ayer’s article on The Next Web.
8. Learn from the past to prepare for the future.
Measuring event success is an integral exercise for every event management team. A clear, in-depth understanding of past performance offers many insights into sustaining success in the future. Understanding what has worked before will help you prepare for what’s to come. Dial up the metrics and you can turn success into an everyday event.