March 13, 2023
Imagine watching a presidential election and getting only the raw vote totals, with absolutely no other context.
Like whether the numbers for a candidate were trending up or down in each state, and by how much. Or what that county’s results could indicate about broader election trends. Or how those developments impacted each candidate’s path to victory.
Sure, you’d know that 88% of people in Los Angeles County voted for Candidate X, but you wouldn’t know why it matters and more importantly, who’s going to win the race.
As you can see, data is only useful if you know what questions it answers — and how you can use it to improve over time. And virtual events generate hundreds or thousands of data points, so it’s hard to know which numbers are worth obsessing over (and which ones you can tell your CMO to ignore).
We’re here to help. Below are the key indicators to use when evaluating your own event — and ways to improve performance in these areas.
Simply put, how many people signed up for your event? This is the most basic way to evaluate your event’s appeal to your audience. The wide variance between events means that there’s no one gold standard for event registrations, so compare this against your competitors, past events and your own (reasonable) expectations.
Not happy with your numbers?: Look at your landing page first. If your landing page’s message differs significantly from your social media and email messaging, your audience may become confused and fail to register.
Also confirm that your registration link is easy to find, brightly colored and functional, so that anyone interested in registering is able to do so as easily as possible.
From there, consider your event’s value proposition and its relevance to your audience. Is your event promising new insights that your guests can’t get in a Google search? Are you teaching something they use to improve their work? Are your topics timely and current?
People consider all of these points before deciding to commit to a full-day event. So to earn registrants, your agenda needs to make it clear that you’ll deliver on all three.
Of course, earning registrants is only half the battle. It’s only when those registrants actually attend your event that you can begin connecting with them and referring them to demos. What percentage of your registrants tuned into your event?
While your registration rates measure your event’s initial appeal, your show-up rate broadly measures its staying power. Were you able to stay top of mind with your pre-event marketing and communication?
The average no-show rate for virtual events is 35%, so if your show-up rates fall below 65%, you may need to reevaluate your event’s marketing and registration mechanisms.
Not happy with your numbers?: Consider sending more reminder emails and increasing your activity on social media to drum up more excitement for your event — and earn more live attendees. Even a few short videos of your speakers in action can re-excite registrants that signed up last month.
Also recruit your speakers and sponsors to promote the event. In the month leading up to the event, provide them with sample copy and graphics, so they’re sending consistent and high-quality reminders to your attendees (and as a bonus, getting new registrants, too).
Also ask your support team whether they received complaints about the online check-in experience. If your virtual event platform is difficult to access, many would-be attendees may give up before signing in, even if they were interested in your content.
Virtual event organizers still fight the perception that their events aren’t as social or “real” as their live gatherings. Through virtual networking opportunities, like AI-powered matchmaking or round tables, organizers can encourage deeper connection among attendees and truly recreate the magic of in-person events.
But in order to provide outstanding networking opportunities, hosts need a clear picture of what’s happening in each of their networking chat rooms, round tables, speed networking sessions, etc.
Do attendees prefer chatting in groups or individually in a video call? Are attendees saving one another’s contact information after chatting on the platform, or are they leaving the relationship there? How often and how many people are sending messages in each discussion room, and is one room more appealing than the other? What are people talking about and what value are attendees providing (or not providing) one another?
Your Networking Centers’ metrics can track all of this activity and more. This includes pageviews in each discussion room, full transcripts from each of those rooms, the number of contacts “saved” by attendees, the number of chat messages sent in the Networking Center, etc.
With this data, you can see whether your attendees see each other as relevant contacts and how interested your audience is interacting with each other. You can also see which topics spark conversation and which fall flat. Finally, you can learn about your attendees’ needs, then meet them with new networking opportunities at your next event.
Once you know about your audience’s networking behavior, you can meet them where they are — and help them spark stronger connections at your event.
From breakout rooms to 3D product demos and more, virtual event platforms are coming out with more and more features that round out the event experience.
But ultimately, your event’s success depends on the quality of your content. Are your speakers and sessions giving attendees truly new insights? Are attendees leaving with takeaways? And to get real basic, are attendees even paying attention?
Your session-level analytics can tell you all this and more. Besides just seeing which sessions were most popular, you can generate granular data about your audience’s engagement for each individual session. That includes:
Sponsors and exhibitors are essential pieces of any event’s budget. But event partners may be skeptical of the ROI of virtual events, compared to their in-person counterparts. However, the granular data generated by virtual event platforms makes it easier than ever to evaluate success and prove ROI for your event partners.
To evaluate individual exhibitor booths, you can use many of same metrics used for sessions: attendance and engagement rates, chat and Q&A activity, answered polls, clicked offers, and more. You can also measure the amount of meetings booked in each booth to really get a feel for each booth’s appeal to attendees.
At the end of each session, the speakers and/or the host will send a pop-up offer directing to an external website or offer (typically a demo request form, free trial signup or purchase platform).
Similar to registration numbers, the “right” amount of clicked offers is highly contextual. While a small business owner might delight at booking one demo from a webinar, the CMO of an established SaaS company might not settle for any less than 200.
Not happy with your numbers? If the click-through rates are lower than you’d like, review the “offer” portion of your sessions. Ensure that your speaker presented the offer clearly and concisely enough that your audience knew what the offer was and why it mattered. It’s also worth reviewing the design and copy of the offer itself to see if the button is prominently displayed and easy to read.
Organizers have more metrics, calculations and models to evaluate their event success than ever. But the most important sign of long-term success remains the same: Did attendees enjoy their experience with you?
But to accurately gauge audience sentiment, your survey questions need to be comprehensive enough to reflect the full event experience and precise enough to leave no margin for error. Some starter questions include:
PS: Remember to include open-ended questions, as these often produce the insights your team may not have considered.
Commonly considered the gold standard of customer success, this answers the question, ”Would your attendees recommend your event to their peers?” Ask this question in the attendee satisfaction survey, with a 1-10 scale. NPS scores can be applied both to your overall event and to individual attendees.
You can also use Individual NPS scores to divide your audience into three strategically important segments. With this information, you can create differentiated outreach strategies for attendees based on their level of satisfaction (so you can avoid inviting your biggest detractors to your referral program, for instance).
These segments include:
What’s the next move?: As with your Promoters and Passives, refer to the rest of Detractors’ post-event surveys for any sources of dissatisfaction. The key here is to learn whether these complaints are justified or unreasonable, given the context of your event. Because the former can (and should be) fixed, while the latter speaks to mismatched expectations that can’t be resolved by marketing. (Anyone who’s worked in customer service knows the difference.)
To calculate your overall event’s net promoter score, take the percentage of respondents who are promoters and then subtract the percentage of respondents who are detractors.
One of the most common objectives of any event organizer is generating sales.
But B2B purchases take many months to complete, and can often be derailed by the one stubborn senior leader that can’t and won’t sign onto your product for any reason. So judging your event success solely on the deals booked metric can be counterproductive, and fails to account for other positive responses that aren’t immediately reflected in your revenue statements.
We get the impulse. We’ve got bills, too. But in the long term, it’s more productive to evaluate your event by its ability to move prospects further along your sales pipeline.
So in addition to deals booked, consider other questions like: How many attendees booked meetings with your sales team following the event? How many of your current prospects advanced further along the sales pipeline as a result of your event? How many referrals did you get in the subsequent?
While many of these meetings may not result in sales, they signal that your event provided useful content and elicited interest among the right people. And no event organizer will sneeze at that.
Not happy with your numbers?: If you don’t think your event generated enough business, look at your event program first. It’s possible that your content didn’t target people at the right point at the sales funnel — or that your topics weren’t relevant enough for their needs.
Also review your follow-up strategy: Did your sales team receive lead data in a timely manner? Was their outreach targeted and timely enough? Did you present an offer and/or resources specific to the event? These factors can influence an event attendee to continue their relationship with the host company, so it’s worth investigating how you can improve in these areas.
Need guidance on how to navigate your virtual event analytics? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a one-on-one consultation with a BigMarker event expert today.
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