We all know attendee satisfaction is key to event success, but how do we measure it? Learn which KPIs are most helpful when capturing attendee satisfaction.
Any sound event strategy will consist of multiple methods for maximizing attendee satisfaction. After all, the main objective of any event is to delight those who chose to attend. However, measuring this aspect of the event can get tricky.
It’s important to understand attendee satisfaction as a quantifiable metric as opposed to a strictly qualitative variable. Additionally, it’s important to remember that attendee engagement and satisfaction are closely linked.
The degrees to which attendees are engaged during your event will be a clear indicator of their overall satisfaction level with the experience.
Also, keep in mind that attendee engagement and attendee satisfaction are not the same thing. Rather, the former helps to inform the latter. The key difference is that engagement KPIs help to contextualize overall attendee satisfaction, creating a more robust and insightful post-event analysis.
Featuring metrics that overlap both attendee engagement and satisfaction, here are 10 KPIs to help you better measure attendee satisfaction.
1) Repeat Registrations
Remember that attendee satisfaction does not have to be isolated per event. One of the most important ways an individual can show delight for your event is by being a repeat attendee.
Keep close track of all individuals who have come to your event for a second or even third time. Having a significant subset of loyal attendees is the base you’ll need to build a strong event audience.
In fact, you should always have a specific marketing strategy reserved for individuals who have attended your event in the past. Showing appreciation for past attendees, whether that be through discounted ticket prices or extra event swag, will go a long way in terms of building a loyal attendee base as well as igniting word to mouth marketing.
2) Capturing Live Social Media Activity
It is always ideal to capture attendee satisfaction in real time. One of the best ways to do this is to set up a social media hub that aggregates all content related to your event. Track the amount of posts, shares, and likes that your event content receives across platforms. A tool like Tint helps to compile all social media activity in real time.
Tint is able to collect content from over 20 different channels and display them all simultaneously. In addition to being an attractive visual to have onsite at your event, it is also a great way to keep track of your social media performance in real time.
Make sure to think of ways of gamifying the social media activity by creating incentives for attendees to post on their channels. For example, you can offer a free ticket to next year’s event for the people with the most likes or shares on a post that features your event hashtag.
3) Net Promoter Score (NPS)
This universal KPI measures a person’s readiness to promote a specific service or product to his or her network. For event planners, the NPS measures the attendee’s willingness to recommend your event to others. When conducted effectively and collected across a wide audience, the NPS offers valuable insight into the overall impact of your event.
The NPS is measured by asking the question: “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend this event to friends?” Scores of 9 and 10 are considered “promoters” who will act as loyal enthusiasts for your event brand. Scores of 7 and 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.
4) Post-event Online Buzz
Once the event comes to a close, your goal should be to carry on the momentum. Similar to live event social media monitoring, think of ways to encourage and capture online buzz after your event.
- Are people blogging about your event?
- How many people are sharing content related to your event?
- Which types of posts are receiving the most engagement?
Keep track of this kind of social media activity to accurately measure your post-event momentum.
To be more efficient with this kind of tracking, consider using a brand monitoring tool that keeps track of all mentions of your event across the web. The simplest tool for this use case would be Google Alerts. This Google feature pings you whenever there is new content related to your selected keyword. So if you set up a Google Alert with the name of your event, you’ll be notified every time it is mentioned on the web. You can also set it up to receive these notifications via email.
5) Session Rating
Sessions are a core aspect of the event experience for attendees and collecting feedback will help understand the larger picture of attendee satisfaction.
Ideally, attendees would be able to rate sessions as soon as they are over since this is when the experience is freshest in their minds. This means that the event management software of your choice should have the capability to record session ratings within the conference agenda. This makes the feedback process intuitive and immediate for attendees.
Summarizing all session ratings after the event will provide valuable insights into which ones were most successful, thus helping you curate the content for your next event.
6) Real-time Written Feedback
Sometimes doing a simple 0 - 5 rating for your sessions is not enough. You’ll want as much detail as possible when it comes to feedback in order to more fully understand your attendees’ satisfaction level. Including a response text box within the conference agenda is an effective and efficient way to solicit feedback from attendees. Placing these responses side-by-side with the post-event survey responses will help paint a clear picture into what positively contributed to the attendee experience.
7) Post-event Surveys
Post-event survey responses comprise the metric that ties it all together. In order to make this survey as useful as possible, try to keep most of the questions as one-click replies as opposed to open-ended responses.
Multiple choice, numerical scales, and yes-or-no questions are ideal because it makes for a quicker experience for attendees and it helps you aggregate the results more easily.
Of course you’ll end up including a few open-ended questions to ensure more detailed feedback, but keep in mind that the more uniform the response options are, the easier it will be to measure attendee satisfaction at scale.
One particular event that did a great job of conducting post-event surveys and quantifying the results was the 2017 Social Media Summit hosted by Cogs and Marvel. The event team made sure to capture attendee feedback with a thorough and detailed survey that helped them better understand where the event succeeded and where it could be improved. The survey results showed that 98% of attendees were likely to attend the following year’s event. Having post-event surveys is not only important for analysis, but also as marketing material for the next year’s event.
8) Number of Active Community Members
The event app will play a crucial role in tracking many of the metrics that can help tell the story behind overall attendee satisfaction. This metric refers to attendees within the event app community who are most utilizing the event app. Activity can be defined in multiple ways such as profiles viewed, messages sent, and messages received. Though this KPI may not be a clear indication of event satisfaction, these results can help enrich the attendee satisfaction data later on. If you’re able to find a correlation between engaged community activity and positive post-event feedback, it may be worthwhile to focus on maximizing event community engagement for your next event.
9) Messages Sent in Event App
One of the important metrics to keep track of is the number of messages sent within the event app being used. In addition to being a good indicator of event engagement, the number of messages sent can also shed light on the importance of networking for your attendees. Developing business relationships is one of the key components of any event and tracking the number of messages sent within the will prove if the app is helpful in facilitating those connections.
If this particular metric is higher than expected, you’ll know that attendees highly valued the networking aspect of your event, which should encourage you to focus on creating an environment where attendees can connect with one another for next year’s event.
10) Speaker Profile Views and Ratings
Speakers and panelists are a critical part of the overall event experience and their performance may very well be correlated with overall attendee satisfaction. For this reason, keeping track of speaker profile views and ratings will prove useful during post-event analysis.
This metric will be particularly interesting when compared alongside session ratings. Seeing if there’s any tie between speaker profile views and their corresponding sessions will be valuable insight into the pieces that contribute to a delightful attendee experience.
At first, attendee satisfaction may seem like strictly qualitative property that is difficult to quantify. However, when approached with the correct framework and relevant KPIs, measuring attendee satisfaction is not only possible but can even be easily formulized. Here are a few takeaways to keep in mind:
- Event surveys should consist mostly of quantifiable responses to make for a simpler and more insightful post-event analysis process.
- Gather feedback during the event through an embedded ratings system and response page within the event agenda to ensure immediate and accurate reviews of your event.
- Engagement is not equivalent to event satisfaction, but the former can be used to help paint the full picture of attendee satisfaction.
Whenever you’re trying to evaluate a specific aspect of your event, utilizing event metrics to analyze the performance is a key best practice. Using the aforementioned KPIs will help you to pinpoint which variables contribute most to attendee satisfaction, thus enabling you to repeat your strategy for future enterprise event marketing campaigns.
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