It’s no secret that virtual events became entirely necessary due to COVID-19. But even after the pandemic ends, they are expected to maintain an increased level of prevalence because of the rise of remote workforces and social connectivity through digital technology, as well as the technical capabilities and knowledge that we have developed amid the coronavirus that we can pull off effective virtual events.
As more and more organizations incorporate them, it’s important to understand what makes this type of event successful and to be able to measure it. Marketers need to define relevant and useful key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate what will make a virtual event successful.
Establishing strong event KPIs is important for organizations on a larger scale. Having clarity around what makes a virtual event successful spells out for all stakeholders what an event is aiming to achieve. It also produces data that companies can use to measure what’s working and not working, so they can have a better sense of what to keep or change in the future.
Virtual event KPIs are usually based on the expected return and the amount of money invested – the higher the investment on the part of your company, the higher the return that’s expected.
Let’s take a look at some of the key metrics for defining virtual event success.
Registration and check-in numbers
As with any event, the number of people who attend is a huge indicator of its success. One of the most obvious measures for this is the number of event registrations, but it’s important to track check-ins, as well. If there’s a significant gap between the number of people who register and those who actually check in, you should take some time to look into what’s causing the drop between registration and attendance.
Tracking these numbers for every event will give your company a sense of how events perform over time, allowing for more informed program decisions. Additionally, looking at which events had the highest and lowest attendance numbers will inform you on which types of content resonate with your target audience.
Community and speaker engagement are two important factors to consider when you’re putting together event KPIs. An engaged audience is a key part of any successful event, so it’s important to have measurable ways to track engagement for your event.
Two common ways to do this are live polling and tracking social media engagement. Live polling is exactly what it sounds like: asking your audience how they feel about the event as it’s happening.
An engaged audience will also talk, tag, tweet, mention and post about the event they’re attending, so tracking social media signals will give you an idea of whether they’re making the event part of their conversations, telling their friends and generally having a positive experience. The major social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have sophisticated and insightful analytics tools that are a must-use for event organizers and managers.
Another important KPI to consider for virtual events is audience retention. Virtual events can last several hours or more, so understanding the length of time attendees stay provides valuable insight on audience engagement and satisfaction.
If your audience stays for the majority of the event, it’s a great indication that they’re engaged and enjoying the content. On the other hand, if they drop off after a short period of time – losing focus, leaving the video conference, etc. – that is a sign that the event setup or content is not working.
Net Promoter Score
Because audience satisfaction is a big part of measuring event success, Net Promoter Scores are another important KPI to consider. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) indicates how likely attendees are to attend another event or recommend it to someone else.
A great way to measure NPS is through a short survey where attendees can reflect on how satisfied they were with the event and how likely they are to recommend it to others. Your company can then use this data to improve events going forward.
Organic and direct web traffic
A successful event leaves an impression, and a great way to track these impressions is through measuring web search and direct traffic. An uptick in these numbers after an event indicates that people are searching for more information on your company or product after the event, indicating increased interest in your brand.
Similarly, social media mentions are another way to track buzz and interest after an event. They’re a great indicator that people found your event worth discussing and sharing and a valuable source of digital, word-of-mouth advertising for your brand, building organic, promotional excitement for the next event.
Return on Investment
Last but certainly not least, successful event ROI (return on investment) is obviously one of the most important things to consider when it comes to event KPIs. At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of any event is to drive sales or revenue, so measuring return on investment is an essential metric.
Successful event ROI can be calculated by subtracting total cost from total revenue, which comprises ticket sales, sponsorships and any other profits from your event.This can also help you calculate the cost per lead for your event, or how much you’re spending for each qualified lead, giving your company a better sense of how to budget and plan future events.
Find a virtual event planning partner
Virtual events are a great way to build your brand and drive sales for your company through increased awareness and engagement. To understand what makes a virtual event successful, it’s important to identify and track KPIs that align with your organizational and event goals.
At CPG Agency, we specialize in creating immersive virtual conference experiences to suit your brand and engage your attendees, and have a proven, expert ability in identifying relevant KPIs and monitoring key metrics. When your brand needs to pivot your meeting or event due to health concerns or other reasons, we are the full-service partner who can step in immediately to design the right virtual experience with the dedicated project management and production services that will make it successful.With CPG, you can transform your live meeting or event into a turnkey, virtual branded experience. We’d love to partner with you in planning your next virtual event. Contact us to learn more about how we can support your virtual event needs.