4 Essential Metrics for Evaluating Event Marketing Performance

Once upon a time, it was only outside-the-box thinking baseball managers who used analytics.

Now, if you’re a marketing professional and you’re not up to your neck in analytics, you’re probably looking for a new job.

Everyone has specifically defined metrics they use to analyze and measure the performance of their event, website, attendance turnout, and/or marketing plan, but are they using the right metrics in the right way?

Here are four essential event questions and the metrics you can use to answer them.

Was your message effectively delivered?

Every marketing campaign centers around a single message. It may have several sub-themes, but everything is tied together with a single message, often directed toward a very specific audience. So, how well was that message received? Did the audience pay attention and act on it as you wished? Well, in order to know that, you will need to gather some information.

First, how many people registered?

This is a great indication of whether or not your message resonated. If a lot of people signed up for the event, you did something right because something compelled them to do so. You also need to compare this number with how many people you expected to register and how many registered for past events.

Next, from where did they register?

What was the medium that brought people to your registration page? You absolutely need to know this information. For example, if 70 percent of the people came from Facebook and only 12 percent from the newsletter, it tells you two things. One, this audience can be reached on Facebook and you need to focus your efforts there. Two, you need to revamp your newsletter because it isn’t working. Knowing where your audience spends the majority of their time allows you to hone your efforts and tweak your messaging toward them.

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Photo Credit: Gregory FCA

How many people looked at the invitations you sent?

If you sent a digital invitation, you can find out exactly how many people RSVP’d, opened but didn’t respond, or ignored it altogether. This is especially useful because you can see how subtle tweaks – like different information in the subject line, calls to action, design, verbiage, etc. – directly impacts these numbers. This is all valuable info that you can carry forward in your marketing initiatives for years to come.

Was your audience engaged?

Now that you have the responses, you want to make sure these folks actually show up. You can help boost attendance by building excitement through follow-up communications to people who RSVP’d. How you send this communication is up to you – email, social media messages, notifications from an event app – but you absolutely need to send it.

You could also create social media contests, such as a raffle on Twitter or an Instagram contest that could generate buzz and keep your potential attendees engaged.

How many of your attendees are returning?

Some attrition is a natural part of any event. Folks lose interest over time, it’s human nature. However, if the majority of your attendees are new, that tells you that people are losing interest after only a few events (maybe one). That’s a real concern.

Of course, if the majority of your attendees are returnees, that’s also not great news. It means that you are not doing enough to attract new interest in your event.

Ideally, you want to see a healthy balance between returning and new attendees.

How many people actually showed up?

This number will truly let you know how well you are engaging with your audience. If your RSVPs are significantly different than the number of folks that show up on the day, you likely need to ramp up the conversation you are having with your potential attendees. If you aren’t getting a lot of responses to your communications, that means you are having one-way conversations. And that’s not going to cut it.

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Photo Credit: All American Speakers

How’s that event hashtag trending?

You created a unique hashtag for your event, right? Well, how’s it doing? The number of times you see your hashtag pop up is a great indicator of whether people are talking about your event on social media.

But it’s not the only one. Are people posting pictures from the event on Instagram? Are they quoting popular speakers on Facebook or Twitter? These are all great signs that the event is resonating.

An absence of these things is unfortunate, but it could be even worse. Make sure that people are not voicing displeasure about your event on social media, as well. Utilizing a social media dashboard can help you keep track of your mentions, both good and bad.

Did the right people show up?

Knowing your audience is key, and ensuring they make it to your event is even more important. You have to look at the types of attendees based on the goal of your event.

How many “top attendees” showed up?

This may sound harsh, but not all attendees are created equal. Some attendees are going to buy more tickets and spend more than others – it’s the nature of business.

These are attendees that you want to make sure that you nourish. Think of these folks as your VIPs and create marketing campaigns specifically targeted toward them. Treat them good (actually, great) and they’ll return year after year (these are folks you want to see pop up on your returns list).

How many quality leads did your sales team get?

Once the event wraps up, you want to check out how many people who attended led to serious meetings with your sales team. A quality lead doesn’t necessarily wind up in a sale, but it’s an opportunity that absolutely could have.

Naturally, you’ll need to keep your industry’s buying cycle in mind. A meeting held six months after your event could be gold or coal depending on the cycle.

How many sales resulted from the event?

Again, the buying cycle comes into play. Depending on the industry, a sale that occurred a year and a half after an event could still be attributed to it, just due to the nature of your industry.

You are going to want to keep track of this number using CRM software, because it directly impacts your event’s overall ROI.

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What was your event’s overall ROI?

There are two elements to measuring a return on investment (ROI) for an event:

Look at every cost associated with the event and compare them to the actual revenue generated from the event. This depends on many factors, including sale cycles and how long it takes buyers to commit. So, it can be a long process.

Some examples of measuring goals other than sales include: news generated by the event, networking opportunities, and building brand awareness.

How do I calculate ROI?

Now that you have all this data, you can determine the true value of your event.

Start by adding up your total expenses. Then calculate the gross profits earned from the leads generated at the show. The final step is to subtract the gross profits from the total costs, then divide that number by the total costs to determine the total percentage of your ROI.

For example: You spent $100,000 on an event. Sales from that show generated $200,000.

200,000 – 100,000 = 100,000

100,000 ÷ 100,000 = 1

Meaning you had 100 percent ROI.

Do I ever stop measuring?

No! The more you measure, the more you'll understand the value of each show.

Your performance will be different for every event, but you can stabilize it by carefully following your attendees’ metrics and putting on a great show. For help with all aspects of an event to ensure you get the best possible ROI, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.

sofia krsmanovic