Was your event successful? That’s the question that you’re asking after the event is over. Everything went according to what seemed to be a successful event. However, things are not always what it seems. Whether your measuring success in virtual or in-person events, how do you know if your event was successful? By defining goals and KPIs to measure every single stage of your event.
A crucial step for continuous improvement is to set targets based on key performance indicators. This includes taking into consideration the stages before, during, and after the event.
To identify your shortcomings or improve what you’re good at, there must be constant evaluation. Looking back and realizing what could be changed is the path to organizing successful events.
In this article, you’re going to learn what KPIs are and the importance of creating event goals and main outcomes. You will also understand what the 7 crucial KPIs are to measure the success of your events and the importance of choosing the right event management platform to do so. Finally, the relevance of data collection so you can measure your ROI.
What are KPIs
KPIs are nothing more than key performance indicators. They refer to a set of quantifiable measures used to assess the overall performance of event planning.
By conducting a performance evaluation of your events based on key performance indicators, you can understand what went right or wrong, and most important, of course, whether the event had a positive return on investment (ROI).
Creating your event goals and main outcomes
When it comes to defining the goals and main outcomes of the event, you have to mainly take into account the type of event you are creating. For example, if you’re talking about a job fair, clearly you’re not going to consider sales, because they do not exist. But rather, the number of job applications from visitors. However, if you’re talking about a trade show, maybe it makes sense to evaluate the number of sales-qualified leads collected during the event.
As you see, you can define different goals depending on what type of event you want to organize. To help you out, here are some questions you can ask yourself so you can define your main goals:
- Why am I organizing this event?
- What are the attendees gonna take away from this event?
- What will define the success of my event and how can I measure it?
Taking into consideration what was said previously, you’ll now see a list of 7 crucial KPIs when it comes to event planning, while also describing the importance of each one.
7 events KPIs you need to track
You can break down these 7 KPIs you need to track into 3 phases: before the event, during the event, and post-event.
Let’s start with some important KPIs before the event has even started.
1. Event KPIs: Registration or ticket sales
One of the most important but obvious quantitive indicators if you want to measure the success of an event before it has even started is the number of registrations if the event is free or ticket sales if it’s paid. Hence, the importance of building an event registration strategy.
Quantitive questions you should be asking when evaluating this KPI:
- Am i reaching the expected event registrations for this event?
- Am i reaching the expected sales value through ticket selling?
After evaluating the quantitive KPIs, and if you find that you haven’t reached the desired numbers, you should be asking the following questions:
- Who is exactly planning to participate in the event?
- Are the participants who you expected?
If you can access this information in real-time, before the event has even started, and you aren’t reaching the results you wanted, maybe there’s something you need to think about in the communication or the content of your event.
The next phase is the day of the event.
2. Event KPIs: Attendance rate
The following most important KPI is the participation rate which compares the total number of check-ins with the total number of registrations.
If you’re organizing a free event and you notice a big discrepancy between your event registrations and check-ins, this could be something you need to look out for.
Maybe you’re not communicating efficiently when it comes to leading up to the event and that may result in possible participants forgetting that they registered for it. This is one of the reasons why you need to know how to create a smooth registration and check-in in events.
Two communication ideas you can apply when leading up to the event:
- Reminder email;
- Unveil the event program gradually and use it as content.
3. Event KPIs: Session participation rate
Another very important KPI is the session participation rate. And why is this? Because you can tell from the outset which sessions participants found most appealing.
There might be sessions with a huge participation rate compared to all the others. You should analyze this data when deciding on sessions for future events. Ideally, you should have an even participation rate.
With real-time data, you can send messages to the participants to call them to attend the sessions that have a lower participation rate.
4. Event KPIs: Engagement rate
With the ideal event management platform, you can count on digital tools and tactics to engage your attendees.
One of the powerful tools for this purpose is live polling. Through polls, you can get feedback on the speakers’ content and any additional info, which can result in more ideas for future events.
By measuring the engagement rate of your event tools, you can understand which sessions were more successful. If a certain session had a higher engagement rate than another, then, probably the participant found that session more appealing. Use this information to create more exciting sessions.
At last, the phase after the event
5. Event KPIs: Sales/Leads generated
This KPI can be seen in two ways depending on the event you’re talking about. You may be talking about sales-qualified leads or even sales if the event is a trade show. On the other hand, if it is a job fair, the number of job application attendees applied.
When evaluating this KPI, you should ask yourself how and why. Different variables can come into play:
- Was the location more closely related to your target audience?
- Are the exhibitors with more qualified leads more attractive overall
- Did your exhibitors engage more or less with your visitors?
- Did your exhibitors create brand activation with rewards?
6. Event KPIs: Return on investment (ROI)
This one is obvious but necessary. Every business needs to have a return on investment, otherwise, it won’t survive. It usually consists of the difference between revenue and total costs.
The question is, was it worth it? The answer to this question will depend on the nature of the event. Not all events have a monetary purpose. You will have more details about this matter later on in the article.
7. Event KPIs: Attendee’s satisfaction
You never know until you ask, right? Event surveys allow you to collect feedback from participants after the event is over and there is no better way to understand if you’re delivering what they want without asking them directly.
You can ask them for a qualitative evaluation where you give them the freedom to express their opinions openly, or you can quantify the feedback through a scale-based evaluation, for example from 1 – 10 on the various stages of the event.
Why choosing the right event management platform matters
Given all of the above, choosing the right event management platform is of utmost importance.
There are multiple tools you can use, from integrated media, ticketing and payments, white labeling, and live streaming, among others. All of this has made life easier for event organizers, removing most of the manual work so they can focus on what matters.
The right event management platform to measure your KPIs will offer you tools like live dashboards so you can analyze what’s happening in the event in real-time and make quick changes if necessary.
In addition, it’ll also have the ability to provide you with reports where you have previously processed the data so that you can extract insights to help you understand if you have reached the goals you set out to achieve.
Relevance of data collection to measure your ROI
Measuring the ROI is most of the time pretty straightforward since all you have to do is calculate the revenue minus the total costs. However, like it was said before, your goals may not revolve exclusively around monetary value. This is why data collection is extremely important to measure your ROI.
Gathering data to track your event performance seems quite challenging, but with today’s technology that isn’t the reality anymore. Nowadays, we have easy access to data that helps us measure things accurately.
When you’re using a reliable event management platform, you can count on tools to collect and process an amazing amount of data. From here, you can start calculating your ROI based on other metrics, such as:
- Leads generated
- Social media activity (mentions, followers, reactions, etc)
- Website Traffic
For example, if your goal was to raise more brand awareness, then you should look at your social media activity. If more people are mentioning your brand or you noticed an increase in followers, then your event might be a success if they reached the goal number you set out to achieve.
Lets look at the website traffic example. If you can increase 20% your website traffic you’ll have much more possibilities to convert these visitors into clients. This way, you don’t look at a positive ROI immediately after the event but rather as something that is part of a longer process.
As you can see, there are different ways to measure your ROI and that’s why data collection is so important.