Important Event Metrics That Every Event Manager Should Know
Metrics are an event manager's best friend. The right metrics help persuade sponsors, and they help you plan successful events. Every event manager should know at least five important event metrics.
The most important marketing metrics depend on the purpose of your event. For example, an event manager planning a celebrity golf tournament to raise money for a local children's hospital would want to track the money raised and other sponsorship-related metrics.
On the other hand, an event planner organizing a college recruiting event might be more interested in how many attendees later apply to the college.
Event attendance is a common event metric. This information is important, but it doesn't reveal success. Did these attendees enjoy the event? Did they learn something? Did they buy anything? Did they decide to volunteer or to donate money? Look beyond attendance to gain real insight into the success of your event.
Moving Beyond Attendee Count: Five Important Event Metrics That Every Event Manager Should Know
1. Online Marketing Metrics
Chances are you know marketing metrics, since businesses and organizations often include event management in their marketing or fundraising departments. However, event managers are often so busy that they overlook some accessible marketing metrics.
Your event's online presence offers a wealth of free information. Consider implementing the following metrics:
Google Analytics provides detailed, free information about the effectiveness of your event website. Take it one step further by implementing Google Tag Manager for more sophisticated tracking, including your event social media profiles and other event page profiles. Google Analytics Academy offers free training on using both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
Your mailing list statistics offer insights into the effectiveness of your email campaigns. One simple metric is your opens-to-conversions rate. How many recipients opened your email? How does that compare to how many recipients attended?
Your event social media analytics offer extensive insights into the people who choose to follow your event. Twitter Flight School and Facebook Blueprint both offer training on how to become a power user of their analytics and more advanced advertising features.
These insights help you optimize your pre-event promotion.
2. Net Promoter Score
A Net Promoter Score (NPS) offers a quick way to quantify qualitative data like attendee satisfaction. Basically, you ask attendees one simple question:
"How likely are you to recommend X to a friend?" — Answer on a 1 - 10 scale (10 is high).
Rank the scores in the following pattern:
Detractors: These are the attendees who rate 0 - 6
Passives: These are the attendees who rate 7 - 8
Promoters: These are the attendees who rate 9 - 10
Event managers adapt this technique in a variety of ways. For example, suppose your event's goal is to raise awareness about your brand. Conduct two different NPS surveys, the first survey before your event and the second after. If your before average NPS is 7 and your after average is 9, then you have evidence that your event improved awareness among the attendees.
NPS offers a way to evaluate attendee experience as an outcome. This challenge is always present in the event industry, as outlined in a study published in the Journal of Project Management.
The Harvard Business Review published a classic article on NPS titled The One Number You Need to Grow.
3. Cost Per Attendee
Tracking cost per attendee offers stakeholders a perspective on event costs. This metric also offers a starting point in calculating your event Return on Investment (ROI).
To calculate, simply add up all your event expenses. Divide your expenses by your total attendees.
4. Event Return on Investment
Marketers frequently discuss ROI figures, and event managers also use ROI calculations. The best ROI calculation method varies according to your goal.
Cost Per Attendee is one simple variation of an event ROI. However, the real return or goal usually goes deeper than simply the number of attendees. To illustrate this point, here are a couple examples:
If your primary goal is to increase sales, you would calculate using your event expenses compared to your event sales data.
If your primary goal is to raise money, you would factor your expenses and funds raised.
Less tangible goals like awareness building require more creativity. How many requests for information did you receive? How many media mentions? Compare any desired outcomes with the event cost. If possible, compare this to the tangible value of the outcomes.
5. Attendee Metrics
Your event attendee metrics highlight whether your event targets the right people. To start, go back to your event's purpose. Next, create "ideal attendee" profiles. These are very similar to the "ideal customer" profiles that inbound marketers create.
Next, use your Google and social media audience metrics to see how your actual online audience compares with your ideal. This exercise may prompt you to adjust your event promotion campaign or even your event.
Finally, consider your actual event attendees:
How many new attendees? How many returning? If you organize an annual event, a low percentage of returning attendees usually indicates a problem. On the other hand, if you see very low new attendees, that may uncover ineffective marketing or outreach.
Quantify how each attendee fits within your stakeholder life cycle. For example, how many are new to your event or organization? How many are regular customers?
The most important event metrics depend on what outcomes you desire for your event. Choose the metrics that offer the insights you need.
Does tracking these metrics feel overwhelming? Event management software makes it easier to accurately track metrics such as event expenses. Book your free demonstration to see how easy it is to track powerful metrics.
Evaluating Event Marketing: Experience or Outcome?, Emma H. Wood (2009), Journal of Promotion Management, 15:1-2, 247-268
Google Analytics Academy, Google
Twitter Flight School, Twitter
Facebook Blueprint, Facebook
The One Number You Need to Grow, Harvard Business Review