Measuring event success has always been a sticky question for the event planning industry. How do you measure a good time? There are several schools of thought on this but the bottom line is that you should measure your success based on your goals. Remind yourself why you are planning the event. This will lead you to the best metrics.
Here are five metrics to measure success based on some common goals for hosting an event.
Return on investment is probably the most used measurement. If your goals are bottom-line driven, meaning profit is the goal, this is the metric to use. And it’s pretty simple.
Return on Investment = (Revenue-Expenses)/Expenses x 100
Revenue includes not only ticket sales but sponsorship dollars, food sales, donations, or merchandise sales. Expenses include every bill you have to pay to host the event including venue, equipment and food costs, speaker fees, swag, advertising, etc. The goal is to make the resulting percentage as large as possible. At this point, there is no good industry benchmark to measure against. It’s best to measure your event on your past experience.
Keeping track of the number of repeat attendees is an incredibly impactful measurement. Studies show that a 2% increase in client retention can have the same effect on your bottom line as decreasing expenses by 10%. If your goals are to optimize your productivity and build a loyal customer base, increasing your retention rate is a necessary objective. This is a long-term process. You can’t just focus on this for one event. Set a series of achievable goals to increase the percentage of repeat attendees over time.
There is no more compelling event marketing tool than a customer recommendation. In order to receive that coveted endorsement, you must deliver a stellar event. If your event goals are to build your brand and extend your industry reach, attendee satisfaction is a good indication of how you are doing. Collecting that information can be done through satisfaction surveys. Develop a feedback loop in which you ask pertinent questions throughout the customer’s event journey regarding their experience. Be sure to include the all-important question “Would you recommend this event to a colleague?” Measure positive results against negative results and set targets for improvement.
Social Media Engagement
If one of your event goals is to build your reach online, social media engagement is a good benchmark to track. It’s not just about measuring how many people follow you. It’s more important to know how many people are actively engaging with you, whether it be sharing your posts or commenting on a video. When you compare that number to your follower total, you arrive at your engagement rate. Benchmarks vary by platform. A median Facebook benchmark is .16% while Instagram is 1.73% and Twitter is .046%. Our recommendation is to start with these benchmarks but then adjust them over time to reflect what is more typical of your industry or event.
If your event is connected to selling a product or service, an important measurement is the number of qualified leads collected during the event. Determine your goal on how many leads you need to generate and plan an impactful event that inspires product interest and/or loyalty. It’s important to establish protocol to determine what a qualified lead is versus just someone showing interest. Prioritize these leads by establishing their level of interest. That will help you with follow-up after the event.
No matter what your event goals are, it’s important to measure the results of each event with consistent metrics. These metrics assist you in understanding what is working and what needs to be improved through event marketing or event management. This is not a static endeavor. As the industry grows and our culture changes, iteration, and refinement of metrics are important to continued success.