How can you prove the value of your event?
For some types of events, the concept of success can be pretty tricky to pin down, but an event’s value or performance is commonly measured in terms of ROI (Return on Investment.)
ROI, or Return on Investment, is a widely accepted business standard: the ratio between net income and investment. To measure ROI, we can analyze the event by measuring specific key figures we call event KPIs.
ROI is used to define the financial return of business activity, and in the case of an event, ROI is the return of all financial investments made for an event.
For example, if the event requires a $100,000 investment in hosting and generates $110,000 in total revenue, it has an ROI of 110%.
An event with an ROI of 100% would be break-even.
This guide will discuss all you need to know about measuring important KPIs for your event. We’ll cover which KPIs are critical, how evaluating KPIs can help you drive positive ROI, and ultimately, how to use KPI evaluation to:
- Make your next event as efficient as possible in achieving its objective while using as few resources as possible
- Demonstrate that your sponsor’s funding and the client’s event budget are well spent
- Attract more attendees to your future events
- Attract more and better sponsors for your future events
Let’s begin this guide from the basics without further ado: What are KPIs?
Defining the Event KPIs?
First, what are KPIs?
A KPI is short for a Key Performance Indicator. In a nutshell, it is a measurable value that we can use to evaluate how successful an individual, an organization, or a project is at achieving its objective (or its target).
Event KPIs are measurable values we can use to evaluate an event’s performance against the desired event objective(s).
For example, if an event is hosted to support a product launch as its primary objective, the number of attendees who purchased/pre-ordered the product can be a great KPI to track.
The Importance of Measuring Event KPIs
→ Allowing event goals to stay top of mind
Event KPIs are crucial to achieving your event’s goals since when something is not measurable, you won’t be able to see where you’re going wrong and how to make better decisions in achieving these goals.
When event planners and/or the marketing and communication departments know and understand their KPIs, the event’s objectives are always top of mind.
→ Improving transparency and performance management
Another critical reason to consider is that what gets measured gets managed.
Allowing team members to monitor their performance via KPIs makes them more likely to finish their tasks and achieve their objectives. Even in missing KPIs, they can better understand how to avoid the same mistakes in the future by analyzing the KPIs to identify what went wrong.
Regularly monitoring KPIs promotes transparency in the event planning process, allowing everyone in the team to see what they are doing, what others are responsible for, and their progress.
→ Measuring ROI
By keeping track of relevant KPIs of your event, you can check whether your investment for the event is justified or profitable (Return on Investment/ROI.)
This gives you better insights into how to plan and host successful events and improve event-over-event results consistently. If your event is already doing well, financial-wise, you can improve future events using what you’ve learned from the measured KPIs. Vice versa, if it’s not profitable yet, you can learn from your mistakes.
The following section will discuss how evaluating event KPIs will help you drive positive ROI.
How Measuring Event KPIs can Help Drive Positive ROI and
Regular and accurate monitoring of KPIs can help you improve your event’s ROI in several different ways:
→ Objective evaluation of your performance
The single most important reason why KPIs should be measured is so that you can objectively monitor your event’s performance against its goals.
If, for example, your event’s goal is to sell a certain amount of tickets, your KPIs should be able to show you how close or far you are from reaching this objective.
Measuring your objectives gives you more precise insights into where you’re going wrong and makes the necessary adjustments to reach your objectives faster.
This alone can, directly and indirectly, contribute to driving positive ROI and ROO.
→ Boost productivity
As discussed in the previous section, monitoring your KPIs will promote transparency and accountability, which in turn can help improve your team members’ motivation.
When KPIs are regularly measured, your team members will be more motivated to perform their job. They can accomplish their tasks using fewer resources (including) time, improving their efficiency and productivity.
When your team members are optimal in performing their tasks and achieving their objectives, you’ll improve your event’s ROI and ROO.
→ Receive important information faster
In improving your event’s ROI, there will always be challenges along the way, but what’s important is to identify them and find potential solutions as soon as possible.
By regularly keeping track of your KPIs, the real-time data can allow you to identify challenges and problems sooner. So you’re not left surprised and are always ready with the solution.
For example, if you closely monitor social media mentions (a critical event KPI), you can notice potential attendees’ complaints sooner.
You’ll achieve the event’s objectives faster and more efficiently by tackling these issues and challenges.
In short, you’ll use fewer resources and less time to get your results, improving your ROI.
Important Event KPIs to Measure
Planning and managing an event, as we know, is often a complex process involving many different phases and moving parts.
Therefore, we’ll need to measure different KPIs in different phases of the event to address these different variables.
We’ll divide this section into three essential parts: KPIs to measure before, during, and after the event.
KPIs to Measure Before the Event
KPI 1: Number of Registrations
Tracking the number of registrations is one of the most important KPIs to measure. It is also one of the most immediate ways to measure your event’s success.
While measuring the total number of registrations throughout the event can always be helpful to have a clearer insight into sales performance over time, it is crucial to measure before the event.
If the registration number is still relatively low, you may need to promote your event more aggressively or try different marketing approaches.
On the other hand, if your total registration is already high, you may want to increase your event’s capacity (i.e., moving to a bigger venue) or consider turning it into a hybrid event if you haven’t already.
You can use Eventtia’s event dashboard to identify and monitor the registration behavior in real-time, so you can track registration and how you are doing in terms of your payment collection goal through an intuitive graph. You can also check the type of audience with the highest registration rate to get more granular insight into your data.
KPI 2: Registration by Ticket Type
Note: if you only sell one type of ticket or if it’s a free event, you can skip this.
Measuring the individual registration number according to different ticket types gives you a more accurate, granular insight into your event’s performance.
For instance, you can understand which ticket types and price points were most appealing and which failed to attract more registrants. This can allow you to adjust your strategy to maximize the overall registration before the event.
When organizing your future events, this data will also be helpful so you can have a more effective, targeted ticketing strategy.
KPI 3: Scheduled Meetings
Suppose you offer networking meetings at your event and allow attendees to schedule appointments during registration. In that case, you should also keep track of the number of scheduled meetings to assess whether your marketing efforts and launch campaign are doing well.
Tools like Eventtia allow you to see real-time scheduled meeting updates, so you can easily visualize how your team is meeting your scheduled meeting and overall networking objectives.
KPI 4: Total Website Visits
Monitoring total website visits before the event can help you assess your event marketing’s performance, among other things.
For example, suppose your website visits are relatively low even after you’ve promoted heavily. In that case, it’s a potential sign that your marketing effort is not yet effective, and you should consider making adjustments and/or trying different marketing strategies.
On the other hand, if your website visits are already high, but the registration/ticket purchase numbers are still relatively low, you may need to improve your website’s content.
KPI 5: Event Email Open Rate
Despite the newer marketing channels and tactics, email marketing remains one of the most effective methods for promoting events, with one of the highest ROIs.
So, if you haven’t already, you definitely should make email marketing an integral part of your event marketing.
You can promote your event via email newsletters and send out invitations to your mailing list, reminders, and pre-event/post-event surveys, among others. Yet, despite its effectiveness, you still need to regularly monitor your email marketing performance to ensure it stays optimal.
You should keep track of the email opening rate: the percentage of people who clicked and opened your emails. If your open rate is too low, you might send your emails to the wrong prospects, or you may need to optimize your subject line.
While email marketing is relatively affordable, you still need to ensure it’s as cost-effective as possible. Regularly monitoring the event email open rate is the best way to measure your email marketing performance.
All-in-one event management solution Eventtia has built-in email marketing features, so you can easily send emails to your registered participants and measure open rates straight from Eventtia’s dashboard without needing to leave the app.
KPIs to Measure During the Event
KPI 6: Number of Attending Attendees
How many registrants are attending the event? If it’s a hybrid event, you’d also want to measure the total number of in-person and online attendees.
Measuring the number of attendees is a crucial indicator of the success of virtually any kind of event.
If, for example, only a small percentage of registered participants attended your event, then you should identify the reason for this. There are plenty of reasons for this: you may choose the wrong date/time, your venue might not be attractive, and so on.
However, monitoring and evaluating this KPI can provide essential insights into whether your marketing efforts are efficient and your event’s content is attractive to your target audience.
KPI 7: Uniquely Connected Attendees
For virtual events, you can leverage Eventtia to monitor how many unique attendees are connected to your virtual event platform at any given time. This allows you to measure engagement, for example, by measuring whether the number of connected attendees increases or decreases as the event continues.
KPI 8: Number of Attendees per Activity
It’s common for most events to offer more than one activity: the main content, breakout sessions, networking meetings, and so on.
If that’s the case, it’s important to measure the number of attendees per activity to evaluate which activities are working and which aren’t doing so well. This can provide important information on how to plan your following events’ agenda.
KPI 9: Number of Live Meetings
If your event offers networking opportunities in the form of meetings, evaluate how many scheduled meetings turned live.
If the percentage is relatively lower than what you’ve hoped, try to pinpoint the reason so you can make the necessary adjustments in the future.
Advanced event management platforms like Eventtia offer a built-in meeting assessment tool so you can easily keep track of various KPIs related to networking meetings.
KPI 10: Total Attendees in Meetings
Pretty self-explanatory and directly related to the KPI above. Keeping track of the total number of attendees in meetings (as well as attendees in each meeting) can be useful in measuring the event’s success in facilitating networking for your attendees and maintaining engagement throughout the event.
The higher the number of attendees who join and are active in meetings, the more successful your event facilitates successful networking.
Remember that networking opportunities remain the top reason for people to attend events. You can use this valuable data to plan better events in the future, especially regarding how you should host networking meetings.
KPIs to Measure after The Event
KPI 11: Number of Answered Surveys
Once you’ve successfully hosted the event, your job is not yet done.
Make sure to conduct a post-event evaluation, and as soon as the event ends, send a thank-you note and post-event survey to your attendees.
While the answer to each question in the survey can be considered KPIs on their own, you should keep track of the number of answered surveys, which is a strong indicator of positive attendance experience and satisfaction.
KPI 12: Number of Previous Attendees Registering for New Event
This is probably not a KPI you can measure immediately after the event has finished, but still a pretty useful KPI you can use to measure attendee satisfaction.
When planning a new event, keep track of the number of previous attendees registering for this new event. If the percentage is quite high, it’s a sign of high attendance satisfaction, and your target audience will perceive your business/event organizer as credible.
On the other hand, if the number is lower than expected, try to identify the reason and work on a solution.
The list of KPIs we’ve shared above is non-exhaustive, and you can identify and measure more KPIs as you see fit, according to your event type, size, complexity, and target audience.
Nevertheless, the 12 KPIs we have shared above are the most important ones, and you can use them to build a solid foundation for measuring your event’s performance against its objectives. Using Eventtia, you quickly access and keep track of all these 12 KPIs to help host your next successful event.