Measuring the all-important event KPIs

Planning, launching and running an event takes a lot of work and selling a large number of tickets is often considered the measuring stick for evaluating success.  It is not however, the only factor in gauging an event’s success.  There are a number of KPIs and event metrics to consider that can help you get the best out of your event and give you the invaluable insight to strategize the design of your next event. Deciding which of these KPIs matter to you will depend on the goals and objectives you’ve set for your event.
With so many moving parts and various stakeholders involved in the event planning and management process, it’s worth considering these different metrics before the event planning phase begins. Whether your main objective is to increase brand awareness, maximise revenue, or delight attendees, the following list is a guideline to help you start defining your specific version of event success:

Registration Numbers:

The total number of attendees is one of the immediate ways to measure an events success. It is important to evaluate registrations in the weeks running up to the event and also consider tracking the progress year-on-year to ensure you set realistic goals for future events. Don’t forget to look at registration performance by the different ticket types. This will give you a sense of which type and price points were most appealing to attendees and will help with future price promotions. You could also compare your event attendee numbers to competitor events in the market. The more detailed you can become the more clarity it will provide in your attendee marketing.

Event check in:

This key metric indicates the amount of attendees who have arrived and checked into the event. Comparing the total number of check-ins with the total number of registrations is an important statistic and can help you identify key factors into why you are losing people in between registration and check-in. It can also help you adjust your marketing campaigns and pre-event communications accordingly.

Attendee satisfaction:

Event success relies heavily on attendee experience. The most immediate way to know if attendees enjoyed the event is by asking them. Post event surveys can give you key insights into what they liked or didn’t, what parts of your event they found most valuable, or what topics, activities or speakers they’d like at the next event. These responses can help shape future events that deliver on attendee and exhibitor expectations. Remember to be specific with your questions to gain quantitative and comparable results

Monetary outcomes:

From a sponsor’s perspective, sales from an event would be a realistic way to measure success. For organisers, sponsorship sales and ticket sales are a good indication of success. Many would argue this is the main KPI for event success and that gross revenue is also an important barometer for the demand of your type of event within the industry.

Social Media:

Social media is a great platform for communicating to your audience, giving your brand a personality, and raising publicity for the event. The social media metric is an accurate indicator of how deeply certain sessions, speakers, and the event itself resonated with attendees. It is important to measure both the engagement and mentions. Attendees, media and press and industry stakeholders will probably all contribute to the social media buzz surrounding your event, but ensure you consider the volume and the sentiment of the messages. Keeping track will help you understand how social media savvy your attendees are.

Retention:

If your event is an annual industry conference – do you get the same attendees names, companies and sponsors returning each year? This is a good indication that you are providing the right content and speakers to keep attracting the same visitors as well as acquiring new delegates.  A high number of returning attendees is an indicator that you’ve found the right formula. Loyal attendees are also one of the best ways of promoting your event by word of mouth.  Remember recommendation is a good measure of success of any event.

Sponsor Recognition:

It’s not just the attendees’ level of satisfaction that determines event success but also that of the sponsors as well. Ensure you cater for their expectations too!

Press and media coverage:

This is a valuable metric to every event business and can help build trust and knowledge about your brand and event. Whether it’s pre or post event, any coverage will help boost your brand to your target audience and increase sponsorship opportunities for future events.
You do need to remember that there are some KPIs that are not so easily measured but are nonetheless just as important to consider:
  • Developing business and strategic partnerships and relationships: This can help make an event success through association
  • New opportunities: this can include new leads, new goals and new ideas for future events and spin-off products
Measuring event success is an important step which shouldn’t be overlooked and it is never enough to have just one KPI. Measuring success ensures you’re delivering on expectations for all your key stakeholders: attendees, exhibitors, speakers and more and will help you make improvements so the next event repeats the successes and reaches an even higher milestone.
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