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How to Measure Event Success: 7 KPIs to Watch

Events are tricky. Even when you know you pulled off a great one, it can be a challenge to measure your event’s ROI.

Luckily, there are plenty of key performance indicators (KPIs) you can use to determine whether your latest event was a hit or a dud. Ideally, you’ll have these goals and KPIs in mind before you start an event, so you can set yourself up for success. If you’ve struggled in the past to measure event success, see if one (or several) of these markers can help you demonstrate your event’s impact.

Attendance

The quickest and easiest way to evaluate your event is by looking at attendance numbers. Was the turnout what you hoped for?

If your goal is to bring new customers into your business, for example, attendance can be a useful gauge of success. Keeping track of attendance allows you to quantify the number of people you reached, whether those people are prospective customers for a business, audience members at a performance or attendees at a conference.

Net Promoter Score

You may have used Net Promoter Score [LS1] to measure enthusiasm for your brand, but you can apply the same logic to your events.

Net Promoter Score is calculated based on the answer to a single question: Would you recommend this brand to a friend or colleague? Respondents give a rating between zero and 10, zero being not at all likely to recommend, and 10 being most likely.

The “net” in Net Promoter Score comes in when you calculate your score, which is the net, or difference, between the number of people who wouldn’t recommend your brand (detractors) and those who would (promoters).

You can use this approach to measure the perception of your events, too. Distribute a survey with a slight twist on the traditional question: Ask if respondents would recommend your event to a friend or colleague, and then calculate a Net Promoter Score for your event. Track this KPI regularly to see which events are earning the highest scores.

Surveys

If you’re less concerned with your Net Promoter Score and more interested in general feedback, use a survey to gather intel and evaluate ROI.

Before attendees leave, ask them to fill out a short survey (emphasis on “short”—nobody wants to write a novel). Choose a few key questions that will elicit valuable feedback; we recommend a mix of easy, closed-ended questions that can be answered with a “yes” or a “no,” and some open-ended questions that provide plenty of space to elaborate.

If you’re struggling to get started, this guide from SurveyMonkey will help you brainstorm the right type of questions for your event.

Social Media Engagement

This is a KPI you can start monitoring in advance. Watch for social buzz leading up to your event—keep an eye on who is sharing the registration URL and helping build hype.

After the event, look back to see who checked in and posted. You may find that your guests shared candid feedback on Twitter, or posted photos on Instagram. Use a social analytics and listening tool to follow conversations based on keywords, geographic location and other parameters. That way, you can be sure not to miss any important mentions.

Sales

If you’re selling a product or service, you can tally up your sales at the event to measure ROI. If you sell $5,000 at an event that only cost $500, chances are the event was a good investment!

You can also measure success by looking at sales completed after the event. Include a “how did you hear about us?” question in the check-out page of your e-commerce site. It’s not a foolproof system, but it can help you attribute sales to a specific event.

Leads

Depending on your objective, gathering information from attendees can be just as valuable—or even more valuable!—than making a sale. Think of your ROI in terms of leads collected during the event. A lead could be a valuable connection with a prospective client. It could also include the number of attendee email addresses or phone numbers you collected, along with newsletter sign-ups and other important touchpoints.

Customer Acquisition Cost

As you continue to host events, you can begin tracking your customer acquisition cost (CAC). The simplest way to calculate CAC is to take the total cost of your event divided by the number of new customers you acquired.

You can also compare your CAC across marketing channels. You might find that the CAC for your events is lower (or higher) than the CAC for other marketing efforts, which is helpful insight when it comes time to evaluate your marketing strategy.

Tie KPIs Back Into the Big Picture

These metrics will give you a starting point for measuring event success, but don’t get too hung up on a particular KPI. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to choose KPIs that align with your overall event goals and objectives.

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