Get ready to discover KPIs that will help you both achieve event success and justify your event strategy. See the list.
According to 2020 Event Marketing Report, the majority of marketers believe that events are the most critical marketing channel over digital advertising, email marketing and content marketing. Additional research from the Post COVID-19 Event Outlook Report shows that this trends holds for both virtual and in-person events.
With so many moving parts and various stakeholders involved in the event planning and event management process, how can you make sure that you are measuring and proving your event success? This question is the very reason why defining event success metrics should be a high priority task.
To help give you some ideas on how to define event success, here is a list of 23 important KPIs that hone in on measuring event ROI.
Whether your main objective is to increase brand awareness, maximize revenue, or delight attendees, this list will help you start defining your specific version of event success. Before you dive into the list, you might want to review how to set event planning goals to achieve success.
Event Success KPIs
1. Event Check-ins
This key metric directly indicates the amount of attendees who have arrived and checked in at the event. This KPI is crucial in both absolute and relative terms. Comparing the number of event check-ins with the total number of registrations is an important statistic. If there is an unusual discrepancy between the two numbers, this would be something worth looking into—why are you losing people between registration and check-in? Make sure the check-in number is accurate for each day of your event so that you can compare this number against other metrics.
2. Attendee Satisfaction Surveys
The most immediate way you will know if attendees enjoyed the event is by asking them. Survey responses are helpful in understanding attendee satisfaction and ensuring that future events exceed their expectations. Be specific with your questions and when possible, offer numeric response options. You will be able to draw deeper insights if your data is clean and quantifiable.
3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
Though this KPI also falls under “attendee satisfaction survey”, the NPS is important enough to deserve its own spot on this list. This score asks the simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that you would recommend this event to friends? Scores of 9-10 are considered “promoters” who will act as loyal enthusiasts for your event brand. Scores of 7-8 are “passives” who are satisfied attendees but are still vulnerable to competitive offerings. Finally, scores between 0-6 are considered “detractors” and run the risk of damaging your event brand through negative reviews. The NPS is then calculated as follows:
% promoters - % detractors
This score is a key indicator of how much value your event brought to attendees, which is something all major stakeholders will want to know.
"We look at feedback for the most part, we look at audience feedback, we do a survey of course, like every other event, but I personally speak with probably hundreds of attendees in the run-up to, at the conference, following the conference, and some who attend every year."
—Andrea Rosen, Head of Adobe 99U, Adobe
4. Number of Active Community Members
This metric will ensure that you stay aware of activity levels within the community as well as which types of attendees are most active. Indicators of an active community member may be the number of profiles viewed or time spent within the app. Data like this is useful in optimizing the mobile app experience and finding ways to engage attendees within the platform.
5. Number of Messages Sent within the Event Community
Among the many other ways one can measure activity within the event community, looking at the number of messages sent among members will prove if the platform is being utilized as an effective networking tool. Developing business relationships is one of the key components of any event and measuring this particular metric will prove if the app is helpful in facilitating connections.
6. Speaker Engagement
Though there may be much anticipation for a particular speaker to take the stage, a speaker’s performance is ultimately determined by the audience. One way to gauge interest in speakers is by measuring the amount of profile views they receive within the app. Additionally, make sure to provide ways in which attendees can interact and respond to the speaker’s performance, such as live polling or survey responses after the speech
7. Live Polling Response Rate
With the right event app or virtual event solution, you can have attendees vote in live polls during an event session. This response rate will indicate the attendees’ engagement levels and help event organizers understand which sessions were most successful.
8. Social Media Mentions
Social media mentions are when users directly give a “shout out” by using a handle or hashtag within their comment/tweet. During the event planning process, make sure your event handle and hashtag is simple, unique, and shareable. Keeping track of mentions will help you better understand the social media friendliness of your event as well was the social media savviness of your attendees.
9. Social Media Engagement
Slightly different from mentions, social media engagement is when a user reacts to a post, usually as a like, share, or retweet. This metric also is an accurate indicator of how deeply certain sessions, speakers, and the event itself resonated with attendees. Make sure you have enough social media content for attendees to react to!
10. Total Registrations
Surely a metric that is already top of mind, the total number of registrations is one of the most immediate ways to measure event success. It is also important to track registrations on a monthly basis to have a clearer understanding of sales performance over time. Which month had the highest registrations? Why so? The more detailed you can become with this metric, the more clarity it will provide when evaluating your event.
"We're seeing that events are still the primary driver of marketing results. Events touch almost event single opportunity that progresses and ultimately closes. It's a great place to be, and it's a great way to lean in and provide business results."
—Colleen Bisconti, Vice President, Global Conferences and Events, IBM
11. Registration by Ticket Type
This is another way you can be be more granular with your registration data. By dividing registration performance into ticket type, this will give you a better sense of which ticket types and price points were most appealing to attendees. If you're using a hybrid in-person and virtual event strategy, this will also help you understand the percentage of attendees joining in different formats. Such data will be helpful when organizing your next event, allowing you to be more targeted in your ticket offerings.
12. Gross Revenue
Many would argue this is the main KPI for event success. It is an important metric to measure against your initial revenue goals and the difference between the two will indicate how realistic or idealistic you were about the benchmarks set. Gross revenue is also an important barometer for the demand of your type of event within the industry.
13. Cost to Revenue Ratio
Gross revenue is not an insightful metric unless it is compared with the total cost of the event. This ratio is important in understanding how much profit (or loss) your event has generated and how you could continue to improve this ratio for future events. This a KPI that stakeholders such as sponsors and investors would want to see.
14. Revenue by Promo Code
Having separate promo codes with tracking links is very helpful in understanding exactly where your revenue stream is coming from. If one particular promo code that was targeted for C-level executives is bringing in the most registrations, that is definitely a noteworthy data point. Create promo codes to provide a more in-depth breakdown of your ticket sales.
15. Sponsorship Page Engagement
This KPI will be crucial in satisfying sponsors as well as closing future partnerships. You most likely have multiple pages where sponsors can make themselves visible within the app. Engagement with these pages, such as pages views and likes, are important metrics to prove that attendees are in fact interacting with sponsors.
16. Sponsorship Satisfaction
Because sponsors are largely responsible for the financial backing of your event, ensuring their satisfaction is a key metric for event success as well as a way to gauge the likelihood of future sponsorships. There are numerous ways to measure this value such as through surveys or post-event debrief meetings. Whichever method you choose, make sure to record this data to understand what worked for the sponsors and what didn’t. Looking to land some even bigger sponsors? Check out this event sponsorship guide.
17. Sponsorship Revenue
Finally, when sponsors are largely responsible for the financial backing of your event, you'll also want to measure the dollar amount of your sponsor revenue. If you're able to deliver a knock-out sponsorship experience, access to a relevant audience, ample ways to engage attendees, and other methods for delivering sponsorship value, there's a good chance sponsors will continue to come back and partner for future events.
18. Number of Returning Attendees
Chances are that your team organizes recurring events, whether that be monthly, annually, or even bi-annually. An interesting stat to keep record of would be the number of repeat attendees who come to subsequent events. This will show whether your event content is resonating with the targeted audience and will give you an idea of the value that you are creating for them. A high number of returning attendees is an indicator that you’ve found the right formula.
19. Number of Qualified Sales Leads
If your event is meant to generate prospects for your sales team, measuring the number of qualified leads is a key indicator of event success. The definition of a qualified lead will be specific to your company so make sure you have detailed criteria before measuring this KPI. A qualified lead may be from a certain industry, be in a managerial position within his/her company, or demonstrate a clear need for your company’s service/product.
20. Pipeline Generated
This metric compliments the number of qualified sales leads - especially in the B2B world of events. If revenue is a goal for your event, linking new lead generation/ open sales opportunities and their estimated dollar value is an important metric to identify and measure. Your sales team will be able to raise this number to you as long as the proper attribution is tied to a contact or opportunity.
21. Accounts Influenced (ABM)
In an account-based event marketing strategy, identifying the target accounts that have been influenced by events (and other marketing activities) is an important metric to tract for event success. ABM is typically a strategy used by B2B organizations that are familiar with longer sales cycles and multiple touch points. Understanding how an event influences a target account is key in quantifying the value of your ABM events strategy.
22. Customers Acquired
After collecting qualified leads from the event, the logical next step would be to measure the amount of customers that are acquired. Here you have to make sure the event marketing attribution is clean and that these customers were indeed acquired as a result of the event. There are multiple channels through which a lead can become a customer so it is important that for this metric, you identify the lead source as the event itself. Having the right event data integrations set-up will go a long way to helping you out.
"Everything we do has goals and metrics tied to it to ensure that we are creating opportunities to close business for the company. The hyper-focus is growing revenue for the sales team within all of the activations we have."
—Lindsay Niemiec McKenna, VP of Revenue Marketing, Yext
23. Cost per Customer Acquisition
This metric is mostly relevant for companies that sell a specific product and are organizing events in hopes to acquire more customers. Though the number of acquired customers is a key metric, arguably a more important KPI is the cost per customer acquisition. Being aware of the amount of time and budget that is required to close an event-sourced deal is an important indicator of your event’s impact on the bottom line.
Wrapping Up: Your Event Success KPIs
Defining and measure event success is a specific and personalized process. Which KPIs are important to you will matter on what sort of goals you have set for yourself. However, having these 20 KPIs in your toolkit will help you better understand which metrics are most relevant for your event and how you can start measuring those numbers.
For more info on important event KPIs and data points, check out our previous blog post about event metrics or our ebook on event data by clicking the below button.
Looking for inspiration from other event leaders in the industry? See how event leaders from IBM, Yext, Adobe and more are building events that last on the IN-PERSON Podcast.