Gauging the Success: What to Measure at Events?
Working in the event industry, you might’ve been wondering: how do I measure the success of my show? Feedback collection, previously discussed on this blog, is one basic step towards learning more about the public’s reception of your event. I feel like you shouldn’t stop there, though. There’s a number of event key performance indicators you can set and measure your actions against.
See below as I discuss certain fundamental aspects of an event you can gauge to improve the next edition.
Now, as far as the measuring methods go, you have at your disposal tools such as email surveys, beacons, tablets or kiosks placed around the venue, app tracking mechanisms, as well as any infrastructure the venue may offer for this purpose.
The bottom line is that even with no access to sophisticated tracking tech, you can always send well-designed email questionnaires or politely ask people on the spot for their opinions and thus measure the event KPIs.
Let’s now take a look at some of the success metrics you should be paying attention to.
Overall satisfaction level
What’s the attendees’ and perhaps exhibitors’/speakers’ overall impression of the event? Did they get what they came for? Would they come back next year? How would they rate the conference?
A detailed scale (1-10, as opposed to, say, 1-5) and a field for additional comments should give you a decent picture of how satisfied the participants were.
Were the presentations the right length? Were the multimedia used sufficient? Did you learn anything new? Was the speaker charismatic and clear enough? Is there any particular topic range you’d like to see covered in the future?
Here, you do pretty much the same thing as with the overall level of satisfaction. Speeches are a great selling point of any meeting, so make sure they meet the expectations of the audience.
This event KPI may be a bit difficult to measure, as it will require the use of technology, but the results it yields may be interesting and useful. Learning about the attendees’ visitation patterns can help you understand what spots enjoyed the greatest popularity.
You can achieve this using BLE beacons, small devices placed strategically around the venue, paired with a mobile app. A variety of interactions between the two can be pre-programmed, whose results will help measure if the event was a success.
The venue has the power to make a great first impression on the attendees. Some organizers stick to proven spots, others experiment with the setting each time. Both these approaches can work well.
Collecting feedback regarding the venue may be especially useful for those constantly working with the same space provider. This should help him stay motivated to keep everything working, as he knows he’s going to be rated after the show’s over.
Yes, the venue and the services it provides can affect the experience. Still, you remain the organizer responsible for things running smoothly throughout the event. Instead of trusting your gut, man up and ask the attendees how good of a job you’ve done in organizational terms.
You don’t have to make this your main focus. As a professional, you probably do your best anyway to ensure all things are set up properly. Organizational efficiency can be a section in the bigger Overall experience survey.
Now, this would be a very interesting thing to “measure”. Obviously, not every event will include an after party, but for those that do, I’d be curious to see how people felt about such an informal get-together.
Designing the very questions would be exciting in itself. Did you like the music? What about its volume? How was the food? How many business cards have you exchanged? How does the party stack up against the main event in terms of networking? Answers to such questions will help you decide to either keep or scrap the afterparty.
If you decide to enhance your event with an app, and I don’t see why you shouldn’t give it a shot, then all the measuring related to its usage will most likely be predesigned and baked into the solution.
Gauging the extent to which the app was used will provide insights into the kind of interactions people had with one another at the show. The higher the usage rate, the more of a success the event was.
A smart event manager will measure a variety of factors to stay on top of things. The array of tools available make the collection of information possible for anyone. Your goal should be to obtain as much data as possible without being too pushy, and at least some level of automation will help make things seamless.
Make all the necessary preparations for the show, determine some key event metrics, run the event, measure and collect data, see how it relates to your KPIs, enjoy the success!