Your event’s goals vs. your event’s achievements
Article / Sources: Diederik Haitink, Director EA Exhibitions / Stephen Kim, content marketing specialist
One of the first things that we, as an exhibition service provider, discuss with our clients are the goals the client has for the event. When can the exhibition be called a success in the eyes of the initiator and her participants?
It is important to determine KPI’s that will help you achieve event success on the one hand and measure and evaluate it on the other hand.
So, your event strategy can be justified and constantly improved.
Live exhibition events can become your most effective marketing channel! But how do you get there?
To help give you some ideas on how to define event success, here is a list of important KPIs that hone in on measuring event ROI.
Whether your main objective is to increase brand awareness, maximize revenue, or delight attendees, this list will help you start defining your specific version of event success.
This key metric directly indicates the number of attendees who have arrived and checked in at the event. This KPI is crucial in both absolute and relative terms. Comparing the number of event check-ins with the total number of registrations is an important statistic. If there is an unusual discrepancy between the two numbers, this would be something worth looking into—why are you losing people between registration and check-in? Make sure the check-in number is accurate for each day of your event so that you can compare this number against other metrics.
Surely a metric that is already top of mind, the total number of registrations is one of the most immediate ways to measure event success. It is also important to track registrations on a monthly basis to have a clearer understanding of sales performance over time. Which month had the highest registrations? Why so? The more detailed you can become with this metric, the more clarity it will provide when evaluating your event.
The most immediate way you will know if attendees enjoyed the event is by asking them. Survey responses are helpful in understanding attendee satisfaction and ensuring that future events exceed their expectations. Be specific with your questions and when possible, offer numeric response options. You will be able to draw deeper insights if your data is clean and quantifiable.
Chances are that your team organizes recurring events, whether that be monthly, annually, or even bi-annually. An interesting stat to keep record of would be the number of repeat attendees who come to subsequent events. This will show whether your event content is resonating with the targeted audience and will give you an idea of the value that you are creating for them. A high number of returning attendees is an indicator that you’ve found the right formula.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Though this KPI also falls under “attendee satisfaction survey”, the NPS is important enough to deserve its own spot on this list. This score asks the simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that you would recommend this event to friends? Scores of 9-10 are considered “promoters” who will act as loyal enthusiasts for your event brand. Scores of 7-8 are “passives” who are satisfied attendees but are still vulnerable to competitive offerings. Finally, scores between 0-6 are considered “detractors” and run the risk of damaging your event brand through negative reviews. The NPS is then calculated as follows:
% promoters – % detractors
This score is a key indicator of how much value your event brought to attendees, which is something all major stakeholders will want to know.
#Active community members
This metric will ensure that you stay aware of activity levels within the community as well as which types of attendees are most active. Indicators of an active community member may be the number of profiles viewed or time spent within, for example an app, if your event has one. Data like this is useful in optimizing the mobile app experience and finding ways to engage attendees within the platform.
#Social media mentions
Social media mentions are when users directly give a “shout out” by using a handle or hashtag within their comment/tweet. During the event planning process, make sure your event handle and hashtag is simple, unique, and shareable. Keeping track of mentions will help you better understand the social media friendliness of your event as well was the social media savviness of your attendees.
Social Media Engagement
Slightly different from mentions, social media engagement is when a user reacts to a post, usually as a like, share, or retweet. This metric also is an accurate indicator of how deeply certain sessions, speakers, and the event itself resonated with attendees. Make sure you have enough social media content for attendees to react to!
Many would argue this is the main KPI for event success. It is an important metric to measure against your initial revenue goals and the difference between the two will indicate how realistic or idealistic you were about the benchmarks set. Gross revenue is also an important barometer for the demand of your type of event within the industry.
Cost to revenue ratio
Gross revenue is not an insightful metric unless it is compared with the total cost of the event. This ratio is important in understanding how much profit (or loss) your event has generated and how you could continue to improve this ratio for future events. This a KPI that stakeholders such as sponsors and investors would want to see.
This KPI will be crucial in satisfying sponsors as well as closing future partnerships. You most likely have multiple pages where sponsors can make themselves visible within an app or website. Engagement with these pages, such as pages views and likes, are important metrics to prove that attendees are in fact interacting with sponsors.
Because sponsors are largely responsible for the financial backing of your event, ensuring their satisfaction is a key metric for event success as well as a way to gauge the likelihood of future sponsorships. There are numerous ways to measure this value such as through surveys or post-event debrief meetings. Whichever method you choose, make sure to record this data to understand what worked for the sponsors and what didn’t.
#Qualified sales leads
If your event is meant to generate prospects for your sales team, measuring the number of qualified leads is a key indicator of event success. The definition of a qualified lead will be specific to your company so make sure you have detailed criteria before measuring this KPI. A qualified lead may be from a certain industry, be in a managerial position within his/her company or demonstrate a clear need for your company’s service/product.
After collecting qualified leads from the event, the logical next step would be to measure the number of customers that are acquired. Here you have to make sure the event marketing attribution is clean and that these customers were indeed acquired as a result of the event. There are multiple channels through which a lead can become a customer, so it is important that for this metric, you identify the lead source as the event itself.
Cost per customer acquisition
This metric is mostly relevant for companies that sell a specific product and are organizing events in hopes to acquire more customers. Though the number of acquired customers is a key metric, arguably a more important KPI is the cost per customer acquisition. Being aware of the amount of time and budget that is required to close an event-sourced deal is an important indicator of your event’s impact on the bottom line.
Defining and measure event success is a specific and personalized process. Which KPIs are important to you will matter on what sort of goals you have set for yourself. However, having these 20 KPIs in your toolbelt will help you better understand which metrics are most relevant for your event and how you can start measuring those numbers.
EA Exhibitions will be happy to help you set relevant goals for your exhibition and find the right exhibition concept and set up to help maximize your event’s success!
Sources: Diederik Haitink, Director EA Exhibitions / Stephen Kim, content marketing specialist