How to Use Event Data Analytics to Measure and Improve Your Events
Event data can be a valuable tool for delivering incredibly successful events. Being able to identify the strengths of your event and the aspects that need improvement makes it easy to refine what you’re offering and develop a strategy for consistently delivering events that achieve their goals.
There is a huge range of different types of events out there, which means that there are a lot of different metrics you can use to collect event data and measure success. In this article, we explore some of the main types of event data that can be used to improve your events and share the best way to gauge your success.
In this article:
What is Event Data?
In the context of virtual, hybrid or in-person events, event data is any data that you collected related to the performance of an organised event. It can be connected to ticket sales, attendees, engagement, social media coverage and interaction, the impact of event marketing material, or the success of individual talks, workshops or performances that are part of the event.
Analysing event data allows you to gauge the success of many different aspects of your event, providing a useful record of aspects that went well or didn’t perform in the way you had expected. You can then use this data to identify ways you can improve future events, helping to develop a strategy for success that leads to high levels of attendance, engagement and enjoyment.
What Event Data Can You Measure?
There’s a wide range of different metrics you can use in event data analytics, allowing you to tap into the performance of each different aspect, from initial advertising to post-event reviews. Below, we share some of the best metrics to analyse when looking at registration, attendee and engagement data.
Registration data allows you to assess how well your event performs before it actually takes place. This is a great way to measure whether you’re advertising it to the right target audience and analyse how effective your marketing efforts are at converting attendees.
The number of tickets sold to your event is one of the key metrics that you’ll likely use to measure its success. This not only lets you know how many people are going to be attending, but the pace at which tickets are sold indicates how popular your event is, as does the time it takes for all event tickets to sell out.
Landing Page Traffic
If you have a dedicated landing page on your website for your event, you can track the amount of traffic to this page to assess how popular it is. You can use tools like Google Analytics to do this, measuring the number of visitors the page gets every day, tracking when the page got the most traffic and using other data to identify what caused this traffic.
Leading on from that last metric, another key piece of registration data is the source of each attendee registration. This involves tracking where every person that buys a ticket comes from before they arrive on your event landing page in order to identify how they’re finding out about the event and what’s persuading them to register.
This is a really useful piece of data because you can measure which of the links to your registration landing page got the most clicks and therefore which of your marketing efforts was most successful in getting potential attendees to visit your site. You can use this to identify where your target audience is spending their time and which kinds of messages are most effective at reaching them, helping to develop more effective event advertising methods in the future.
Landing Page Conversions
Alongside tracking the amount of traffic you get to your event landing page, you should also measure the number of visitors that convert to attendees and compare these two pieces of data. This indicates how effective the marketing material on the landing page is and whether the traffic you’re directing to the landing page is high-quality.
The profits you make from organising an event may be a key success metric if you’re using the event to raise money or increase revenue. It’s also a useful metric for calculating the return on investment of your event and assessing whether you spent your budget efficiently.
Diving into attendee data allows you to get a better idea of whether you’re organising and hosting events that your target audience actually enjoys and finds valuable. Here are some of the best metrics to help with that.
Number of Attendees
The number of attendees at your event is a classic analytical metric. You can also compare this number to the number of tickets you actually have available, the number of attendees you predicted you’d get and the number of attendees that have come to previous or similar events.
Number of New Attendees
Tracking the number of new attendees you get at an event is a great metric to analyse if you’re trying to grow your audience and increase awareness of your event. To make this data more insightful, you could also ask new attendees how they heard about the event to track where this growth is coming from.
Number of Returning Attendees
The number of returning attendees you have at your events indicates how well you’re doing at retaining your audience and how enjoyable and valuable attendees are finding your events. In a similar vein to the previous metric, it’s very useful to be able to identify what it is that’s bringing returning attendees back to your events and then ensuring that you continue to offer this at future events.
Attendee enjoyment can be a tricky metric to measure because it’s subjective. The data that you collect for this will be qualitative, so there won’t be the same clarity in being able to identify whether your event was or wasn’t 100% enjoyable.
The way that attendees decide if they’ve enjoyed an event will likely be based on different factors depending on why they’re attending in the first place. For example, some attendees might enjoy the event because they met new people and had fun, whilst others will enjoy an event where they feel they learn something new or are challenged or enlightened by conversations and talks.
You can gather data to gauge attendee enjoyment by sending out surveys after your event and asking attendees to review their experience. You might ask them to rate their level of enjoyment on a scale or might ask for a written record of what they particularly enjoyed or found valuable.
Gathering data on engagement is one of the hardest areas of event data analytics because engagement is much harder to measure quantitatively. Below are some of the key ways that you can track engagement to get a good idea of how much your attendees and audience are interacting with your events and related content.
One of the best ways to measure engagement data is to look at the interactions that your pre-event communications receive. This involves emails sent to attendees in the build-up to the event and information about the event shared on social media and your website.
With email communication, you can gather data on open rates and interaction with links within this content. With other content, you can look at landing page traffic, likes and comments on social media, and any instances where the content about your event is shared.
If you have an event app, you can also gather data from how attendees use and interact with this before the event to gauge whether you’re providing useful and valuable content.
Social Media Engagement
If social media is part of your event marketing strategy then social media engagement is an essential metric. This lets you know how successful your social media content has been in engaging and providing value to your audience and can help you to refine your approach by identifying the key features of successful posts.
You can measure engagement through things such as likes, comments, shares and views on social media. Many social media platforms have their own data platforms that let you measure these metrics to track engagement, so it’s quite a straightforward and very useful metric to be measuring.
Another metric that is related to engagement is how much press coverage your event gets. This doesn’t directly link to attendee engagement during your event, but instead the impact and the reach that your event has and how successfully you have advertised it.
Press coverage in the lead-up to your event indicates that you’re hosting something unique that attendees are going to be excited about attending, as well as showing that any PR efforts have been successful. If you receive press coverage after your event has taken place, especially from attendees, this indicates that the event was engaging and enjoyable enough to warrant a positive review afterwards.
The more positive press coverage that an event gets the better, so this is definitely worth tracking if PR has been part of your marketing strategy.
Social Media Mentions
Another metric that is linked to attendee engagement is how many mentions your brand or event gets on social media. This includes mentions before, during and after the event.
The more mentions and content about your event that gets shared on social media, the greater your reach is going to be and the more potential attendees you’ll reach and hopefully inspire to come to your next event. Generating a lot of hype on social media is also great for your brand in general and can help to better establish your event in your industry sector.
Event apps are becoming more and more popular, particularly for large events like conferences or multi-day trade shows where lots of different activities and presentations are taking place. Tracking how much your app is used tells you a lot about whether this event app itself is engaging, but it can also give a general indication of event and attendee engagement.
Gather data about how many different features on the app are used and whether there are spikes in user activity during the event. You can then use this data to refine your app experience for future events and get a good idea of which parts of the event were more engaging than others.
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How to Measure the Success of an Event with Data
Success looks different for every event, so measuring the success of your event with data depends on what your goals for the event were.
When defining event goals you should always also define how you’re going to measure these goals, which gives you a set of metrics that you can use to decide whether you’ve been successful. For example, if one of your goals is to have a higher number of attendees than a previous event, the metric for success will be the number of people that attended.
Along with identifying key success metrics in line with your goals, you’ll also need to define how you’ll know whether you’ve been successful. For example, if you’re aiming for a greater level of engagement with your emails leading up to an event, you might decide that a 50% open rate is the data point that indicates success.
Most events have multiple goals that may also tie in with wider business objectives, so you’ll likely have multiple metrics that you can use in event data analytics. What’s important is knowing what these metrics are and the results you’re aiming for before you start tracking event data, as this will make it much easier to decide whether your event has been successful.
The more data you collect from your event, the better equipped you’ll be to identify which aspects of it were most successful and which provided your attendees with a valuable experience. By analysing this data, you’ll then be able to develop a strategy for successful events that includes the best ways to market your event, engage your attendees and grow your target audience.
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