How can you determine if your event was a success? The beauty of virtual events is the incredible amount of data they offer. They’re a golden opportunity to gather data and use it to determine overall event success.
Let's take a look at the data, tools, and timing of measuring your virtual event success.
Key Insights From Virtual Events
More than simply registration and attendee numbers, comprehensive virtual event analytics provide valuable insights for your entire organization. The right analytics help you gain an understanding of the effectiveness of your marketing and registration efforts as well as your event attendance, engagement, lead generation, ROI, and more. In turn, that information helps you shape future programming and strategy knowing you're on solid, quantifiable ground. Examples include:
- Lead Generating Events: Attendee engagement reports provide vital data on each attendee. From the time spent in the event to poll and survey responses, sales teams love seeing engagement data so they can personalize their event follow up based on the attendee's responses.
- Content Strategy:Insights into the content that performs best can be examined at the individual event level or across all events. At the individual event level, examining poll and survey data and reviewing questions asked in the chat can provide content marketers with ideas. Topic cluster reports that examine the most popular event topics are key to developing content strategies moving forward.
- Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Reporting grouped by company and persona to show impacts across a company’s ABM campaigns help determine attribution for prospect engagement and strategic follow-up by the sales team.
Getting Started: The Big Three Basics
So, what metrics should you be focusing on? These three reports—the usual suspects for event data—lay the foundation for results analysis:
- Registration Reports - Is your event title, description, and marketing campaign drawing your target audience and driving registrations?
- Attendance Reports - An excellent performance indicator for your content and presenter clout. To get a full picture, measure both live attendance and on-demand activity.
- Engagement Rate - Attendee engagement activities include asking questions, taking polls, and/or completing the survey.
- Pro tip: Examine polling responses and Q&A to determine if your audience was truly engaged or if they needed better clarity on the topic.
The Nitty-Gritty: Customized Metrics
Options for filtering your data for deeper insights include:
- By Segment - Event data segmentation is useful for industry-specific initiatives or when focusing on a specific product/service, offering opportunities to explore averages as well as which subsets perform best.
- By Company - Useful for account-based marketing (ABM), separating data by company helps identify reach and connection activity against the target account and when reviewing account performance. (Where are we succeeding? Where are there gaps?)
- By Persona - For targeting a particular buyer or purchaser, categorize the data by your key personas to ensure your analytics match up with your structure.
- By Engagement - With open virtual events, you may have a large number of registrants who don't actually attend your event. Parsing out data so you’re reviewing only the most engaged attendees may yield different insights.
- By Demographic - Collecting information such as age, income, education attained, etc., helps paint a more comprehensive picture of event performance by common factors, yielding insights for your marketing team to optimize their campaigns and communications.
- By Region/Geography - Determining where your priority attendees are located helps ensure you're scheduling live virtual events in a timezone that maximizes potential for real-time attendance.
- Pro Tip: Look at both live and on-demand event data. An uptick in on-demand views within a specific timezone can indicate an opportunity to schedule simulated-live events during their optimal attendance time.
Wrapping Up: Post-Event Surveys
Post-event surveys give you direct audience feedback on your event and provide you an opportunity to ask follow-up questions.
Survey Best Practices:
- Keep it short - Fewer than 10 questions.
- Don’t ask for info you already have - For example, attendee information collected at the time of registration such as email, company name, etc.
- Ask quantifiable questions for easy data gathering - Open-ended and single-answer questions are more difficult to quantify. Rating scales, e.g., "I found this content helpful," (1=not at all, 5=extremely valuable) are better for gathering more precise feedback for analysis.
- Build questions around the event type - For example, include direct sales questions for lead generation events: "Would you like us to follow up with you?"
- Leave space for open comments - Include an alphanumeric text field for respondents to add additional comments and feedback.
Tools to Track Performance
Tools vary based on the level of reporting needed and how that plays into your overall analytics and reporting:
- Basic - Using spreadsheet reports to view information and capture numbers.
- Automatic - Automation tools, such as scheduled reports, reduce the time spent on gathering metrics, freeing you to focus on interpreting and understanding your data. Additional tools available for creating dashboards and visual data representation include:
- Power BI - Microsoft’s analytics tool, its basic functionality looks at event-level data including the number of events, number of registrants and number of attendees.
- Advanced Power BI - For deeper, more complex data analysis, Advanced Power BI can layer in registrant data such as demographics, registration question responses, poll responses, and survey information.
How Often Should You Look at Metrics?
Your event data gives you fantastic insights, but your timing is important, too. How often should be running reports and analyzing them to maximize their usefulness?
- Event-level data - Review event performance and survey feedback shortly after the end of each event.
- Monthly - Review overall trends in registration and attendance, including the most popular event topics and speakers.
- Quarterly - Review segmented data by geography, demographics, or your chosen segments so you can explore trends to assist with decision making; review event ROI from the previous quarter to compare against goals.
- Yearly - Review survey responses, content trends, audience trends, sales funnel trends, cost of the events, and correlated activities to determine ROI.
Benchmarking involves taking current event data and comparing against past data or another standard. Benchmarking is particulaly useful for giving context to numbers and identifying trends. Typical event data used for benchmarking include:
- Average Attendance Rate
- Average Engagement Rate (Live attendees that have taken at least one action: asked a question, answered a poll.)
- Post-Event Survey Completion Rate
Reviewing benchmarks can be done annually, or more frequently to explain data in shorter time spans.
- Average Attendance Rate
Tools of the Trade