How to Measure Audience Engagement at Professional Events
How can you measure the impact of an event on your audience? Is it even possible? Read on to unlock the secrets of audience engagement and how to measure it.
“Audience engagement” might seem like a buzz word used one too many times. But actually, it’s proof that your event strategy produced a tangible return on investment. We sometimes tend to measure it based on our gut feeling when in fact—like other event metrics—it can be put into numbers using hard data.
If you don’t measure your audience engagement, you won’t know precisely how successful your event was. You won’t only be able to demonstrate the value of your event but also won’t be able to find the cracks that need improvement to enhance audience engagement and make future events more effective.
In this post, you’ll find some proven methods to measure attendee engagement levels at professional events and to find out just how much of an impression your event actually made.
Do Your Research
Start by analyzing your website traffic. When a person has an interest in your event brand, the website is the first place they visit. A well-received, successful event should spark interest in your brand and this should lead to a corresponding surge in website traffic. I’m sure you’re already using Google Analytics in order to measure traffic and analyze your website’s performance.
To make the most of it and interpret the numbers as correctly as possible, you can set goals. Doing so you can measure how much of your post-event traffic converts into leads. Here are some ways to do this:
- URL goals - track how many of your visitors go to a specific page on your website, for example, your event gallery.
- Event goals - track specific events, for example, downloads or newsletter signups.
- Time goals - track the average duration of each website visit.
- Page goals - track the number of pages per visit.
As a professional event planner, you know that your attendee email list is extremely valuable. Not only can you intelligently segment event email campaigns to target specific contacts, you can also keep track of how these campaigns perform. We're talking email open rates, click count and amount of downloads.
By comparing these email metrics to actual attendance numbers, you’ll find out which parts of your event kept your audience most engaged. This information will also help you plan for future events, as you’ll know which event attractions performed the best.
Cash in on the Perks of Social Media
People like hashtags. Finding the perfect hashtag is the perfect way to sign-off or categorize a digital message. What’s more, studies show that hashtags dramatically increases social media engagement.
According to marketing experts, creating and using a unique hashtag is one of the best traceable ways to create hype around your event on social media. Clicking on a hashtag allows people to quickly see everything shared and associated with your event. It’s also a great conversation starter and discovery tool.
To set up an alert for your hashtag use social media tools like Brand24, Hootsuite or Buffer. Some event management platforms, like Bizzabo, will also allow you to monitor the online conversation around your event.
Another benefit of monitoring your hashtag is that you’ll be able to see the hottest topics and most interesting discussions regarding your event. On social media, people tend to share what they really think about your event, about the speakers and what they were the most excited or disappointed about.
Make sure to take part in real-time conversations! And don’t forget that you can also use these conversations to generate stunning post-event content ideas.
When people are engaged in an event they will most likely visit your social media accounts. A marked increase in social media followers is a surefire sign your event was a success—or at least buzzworthy. But don’t forget about your new followers. Keep that engagement alive through regular interactions to maintain relationships with existing attendees. This is an amazing way to turn followers into brand ambassadors who’ll promote your next event.
Leverage Content Marketing
This requires a bit more work but it is totally worth it! Create and share content that really resonates with your attendees after the event.
You can measure comments, likes, and social shares. But that’s not all—by keeping the conversation alive you can keep engagement levels high. Keep your readers updated on topics you covered at your event, share most memorable quotes from speakers, summarise the key takeaways or highlights, share pics of attendees enjoying themselves and give them that wonderful feeling they had at your event.
You can learn more about leveraging an event content marketing strategy in the below ebook.
Measure and Boost Participation
A high level of participation is a sure sign of audience engagement. The more stimulated and involved your attendees are, the likelier they are to participate by asking questions and taking a part in discussions. You can count these solid numbers of participants but you can also do more—help participation along and boost engagement even further by using Catchbox. Get your audience engaged and entertained by tossing the mic around the room. It also breaks the ice, lightens the mood, livens up the discussion and makes your event more memorable.
Look to Attendance Numbers
Compare initial registrations figures to the dropout rate. If you’re having the time of your life at an event you most likely won’t leave the party before it ends. The same goes for any event. Engaged attendees are likelier to stay to the very end of your event. You can gather a fairly accurate picture of your event’s success by keeping tabs on RSVPs and comparing them to the numbers at the end of your event.
To get more accurate numbers you can link attendee counting to a feature like making everyone who checks in at the entrance eligible for a prize draw at the end of the event. Or maybe there's another tactics that speaks to the specific nature of your event?
Ask Your Attendees
Sometimes all you have to do is just ask. Conduct an in-event survey. That is a tried and true technique to get honest feedback. It’s a great idea to survey both attendees and speakers to get as many different perspectives and insights as possible. I would recommend sending a survey in an email.
For best results, send your survey straight after the event. People will be likelier to respond since the event will still be fresh on their mind. Make sure that the survey is as simple and straightforward as possible.
Wrapping Up: The Right Data from the Right Questions
There is a lot of hard event data you can use to measure your audience engagement, but even with all that you have to think critically about each number. And sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling, but with these simple methods of audience engagement measuring, you’ll be able to support your gut with some real evidence.
How do you measure audience engagement at your events? Do you have a tried and tested technique you like to use? Let us know in the comments section. The more everyone knows about engaging audiences, the easier it will be to create more effective and memorable events.
Dālmane is Content Marketing Manager at Catchbox—the world's first throwable microphone for audience engagement. She has been a part of a lot of live events and has a fifth sense when it comes to audience engagement.