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The current landscape of events is shrouded with uncertainty for many marketers and event organizers. Event restrictions are changing all the time, so organizers need to take that into account. However, amid the uncertainty, a few things remain the same. Take analytics and event data for example. When measured and tracked properly, virtual event metrics are always the most reliable way of determining whether your event was a success or not.
This principle remains true for virtual events as well as in-person events. However, it’s easier to keep track of virtual event metrics and KPIs. The reason for this is that many virtual event platforms provide you with the tools to track data accurately and allow you to view it in a neat and organized manner after the event.
Before you go on to virtual event metrics, you have to define the right goals for your event.
It’s not the data itself that matters. You want to start off by defining your objectives, and the metrics provide tools to measure the success of your attempts. You need to set goals in order to form a proper virtual event strategy.
An important thing to remember is that your goals need to be measurable as well. Choose SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound) goals. For example, if you’re holding a job fair, you need to figure out how many resumes you aim to receive, how many prospective candidates you filter out, etc.
Your strategy might cover what you want to achieve from your speaker sessions, virtual exhibit booths etc. It also covers how you are going to keep the attention of your attendees. Is your objective to maximize profit, generate leads, or market your products/services to the world? Answer these questions before you jump in.
Once you’ve set the goals you have a crystal clear idea of what you want to achieve. This will help you define the virtual event KPIs that you will keep a track of. Here are some for you to consider:
The number of registrations for an event is always an obvious piece of data to keep in mind. This virtual event metric is a great way to measure event performance.
For example, if you conduct events regularly you can track these numbers and compare them with each passing event. This helps in setting a benchmark that you would like to aim for.
The number of registrations also helps in understanding audience preferences. You’ll figure out which topics/event themes attracted more people, and you can judge how effective your marketing strategies were.
It is also crucial to figure out the numerical difference between the people who registered versus the people who actually checked in for the event. This gives a clearer picture of how many people actually attended the event out of the ones who registered. It also goes on to show how well you were able to market your event and convince registrants to actually attend. You can charge for admission upon registration, send a follow-up email campaign that builds curiosity or even offer prizes to the first 50 logged in. Go a step further and add in a leaderboard that incentivizes each action taken in the virtual event.
Having high attendee engagement is a surefire way to measure the performance and success of your event. Ideally, you want a large percentage of your audience to spend the maximum amount of time they can at your event. Attendee engagement leads to more exposure and allows you to generate a better virtual event ROI.
An easy way to figure out engagement directly is to observe the activity revolving around certain segments. Webinar attendance, questions asked in a discussion session, participation in polls, surveys, games, trivia and tournaments are good ways to keep attendees hooked and consequently track engagement.
Add in fun activities to your virtual event such as photo booths and spin the wheel games, so attendees can have some fun as well.
Checking attendee engagement can be challenging on some platforms, so be sure to discuss this with the virtual event platform you are going with. This is another metric that comes in handy if you hold regular events. You can figure out which strategies work the best when it comes to increasing participation time.
This is a highly valuable virtual event KPI that comes into play after the event is done and dusted. You can analyze your website traffic post the event as this indicates how impactful your virtual event really was. Track via UTMs to see exactly how much of the traffic came from within the event, so there is no room for assumptions and estimates.
If that happens to be the case, this means that attendees are interested in finding more information about your brand or organization through the website. This is why it is best to create an event-specific web page so these people have a sense of direction. Include relevant content to that web page so attendees derive value with these site visits. This will result in viewers spending more time on the website.
The same idea applies to landing pages. If you are getting good numbers, this means that your marketing efforts are paying off. If not, you will likely want to tweak your social media posts, e-mail marketing strategies and maybe even blog posts.
This is another virtual event metric that depends entirely on event engagement and in a way, affects the event performance. If you have a large number of repeating participants in your audience, then that means your event resonates with them. Gathering the attendee list will provide you with further insight into what type of audience members are returning.
Furthermore, you can figure out what percentage of people are returning visitors, and what percentage of them are complete newcomers. Combine this information with surveys and feedback after the event to be more prepared for the future. Regular participants may signal brand loyal or potential brand advocates, who will spread the word about your business and event on social media. This, in turn, brings in more organic followers and visitors.
Asking for feedback via survey forms is always an excellent way of communicating with attendees and gaining valuable insight from their perspectives. It is important to get some feedback after the event, and the way you do this does not need to be all that complex.
You want to ask simple questions that can help you figure out what worked for different people. Have a look at a few questions as an example below:
These are just a few generic examples. Of course, you’ll want to fine-tune these so that they feel more personal to your event. Doing so means that you are also more likely to get real insight out of the replies. Not only will you be able to improve your next event, but your attendees will also feel valued.
As you have probably guessed, this virtual event metric works similarly to website visits. You can figure out the performance of your event via app downloads for the event itself, apps/services advertised on the event page, and the number of downloads/visits for these apps.
A lot of virtual event platforms offer the ability to create event-specific apps. These apps can come in handy to figure out what services and features your audience is interested in the most.
The main purpose behind most virtual events is to get people to engage with your brand. Conversions and lead generation can be the most crucial KPIs if generating interest is a major event objective, which it likely is. Remember, getting qualified leads is an entirely different thing than just generating leads.
Identify the type of leads you are getting, and what the trigger points for these different leads are. You can use this data to figure out what strategies to implement in the future. It’s also another great way to see how the event performs.
Conducting live polls and Q&A sessions is one of the best ways to keep engagement high during your virtual event. The response to live polls can provide you with valuable insights on engagement between the audience. You can also conduct live polls specific to the event itself, in order to get direct feedback from participants.
The same idea applies to Q&A sessions. Try to implement as many Q&A sessions as you can during each segment, keynote, or presentation. Even a quick one helps out a lot. If your audience is eager to ask questions, this means that they are interested in the products/services being offered.
Once the event is over, this will also help you understand what worked and what didn’t during the event.
As we’ve talked about it throughout the article, you’re now hopefully aware of the importance of engagement during a virtual event. Speaker feedback is one of the vital virtual event success metrics.
This data will tell you which speaker was able to hold the attention of the audience for a longer period of time. This comes down to the presentation and the talent of the speaker.
After the event, view the footage of every speaker, and see which one of these speakers managed to engage the audience the most. Learn from their style, and implement it in future events. You can also conduct a quick survey after the event or after presentations to see which speakers or which sessions the audience enjoyed more.
You can also always share this feedback with the speakers themselves. This allows them to make room for improvements. Also, be sure to get some feedback from the speakers as well.
Moreover, if attendees were responding well to Q&A sessions and live polls during some speaker sessions, that might also indicate the audiences’ interests.
If you know a thing or two about marketing, then you are likely posting relevant information on most of your social media channels. Analytics can easily be monitored on most of these social media posts.
Check your follower count, have a look at how many people use the event hashtag, how many people are reposting, tagging, and liking the posts, etc. You’ll also want to sort through the comments or have someone do that for you to learn what people are saying about the event. This sentiment analysis will provide further insights into how your event is perceived.
We’re also going to throw online search results and traffic into the mix here. An increase in search numbers after the event means that you left quite an impression on your attendees. This might also result in an increase in online traffic and on your social media accounts.
This should be an obvious one in our world of live streaming. Whether the event is in-person or virtual, creating networking opportunities is important for any event. Tracking chat is a good metric to measure the activity and engagement levels between the audience. You can quickly observe the number of people active in a chat window, how many one-to-one chats are being initiated, and more.
If you are seeing a lot of activity in chat, then that’s a good thing. People are conversing about the event, and this means that they will have more reason to be engaged for longer. Have a chat moderator on hand, so attendees can participate in meaningful, directed conversations.
After the event, you’ll want to keep an eye on how many people are viewing the on-demand content. If people keep coming back a few days after the event, then that is a definite good sign. Post-event content can include videos, blog posts, event session recordings, presentations, etc.
On-demand content also tends to get shared on social media channels. You’ll want to implement a message or hashtag that gets added automatically every time a visitor wants to share content from the website. This gets the word out and allows you to generate a good deal of traffic online.
By far, this is the most significant and easy way to measure what virtual event objectives you were able to achieve. Apart from engagement, events serve as marketing campaigns to potential leads as well. It is important to generate sales and earn a profit from the event.
You can assess the general income by calculating the number of tickets sold, sponsorships, etc. A lot of virtual event platforms will even help you in this regard. Management services might help you to calculate revenue. They can even provide you with some advice on how to create more revenue for future events.
Ultimately, the purpose of all of these virtual event metrics, data, KPIs, and so on, is to provide you with actionable insight. All of this data has no meaning unless you put it to good use. Yes, these metrics determine the success of your event. However, you want to learn how to improve overall, not just stress on one particular metric.
Furthermore, a lot of these virtual event metrics depend on the type of event and are subject to change depending on the purpose of the event. For example, finding prospective candidates might be more important than engagement at a certain career fair for some organizations.
Whatever the case may be, make sure to turn all of this data that you gather into real-world actions you can work on. Only then will you start noticing an improvement in future virtual events.
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