Live events have seen a challenging few months. There has been a large shift to virtual events, but we’ve also seen a lot of questions around both running and measuring the success of a virtual event. As more and more events shift to digital platforms, here are four ways to measure the impact of virtual events.
1. NUMBER OF REGISTRANTS
Registration is the first step in collecting data for your event, so you’ll want to think carefully about what questions to ask your attendees. It is typical to request contact information and demographic information like age, gender, location and job position.
Right off the bat, you can get a glimpse of how successful the event may be by the number of people who register. Registration can show you if your intended audience or target demographic is signing up. It is important to remind people about the event in the days and weeks leading up to it to try to increase attendance. After the event is over, you can easily measure the attendance rate of the number of people who signed up versus the number of people who attended. In normal times, we would expect to see a 40-45% attendance rate, but the recent surge of remote work and online conferences have been generating attendance rates well over 50% and higher. Because of this, the impact of virtual events is higher.
2. EMAIL ENGAGEMENT
Email marketing is a great way to promote your virtual event while increasing the number of registrations, providing information and allowing for feedback after the event. Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and Benchmark are three popular email marketing services that can help you create email templates for your campaigns.
Email open rates and click-through rates are solid indicators of the impact of virtual events. According to Constant Contact, the average email open rate is 16.22% and the average click-through rate is 7.17%. To improve your open rate and click-through rate, create personalized subject lines and use demographic data to write targeted emails.
The best way to improve your next event is to get feedback during and after your virtual event. Getting feedback is almost as important as choosing the right host.
Use live polling during the event to see how engaged participants are during sessions. As soon as the event ends or participants close out of the window, ask for feedback with a pop-up rating page on the quality of the video and audio as well as the attendees’ overall feelings about the event. A great way to do this is by showing a star rating page and asking users to rate the event.
Make sure to send out a survey via email within 48 hours after the event to get feedback from the attendees. Numeric surveys give quantifiable data and are easier to analyze than free responses, using questions that attendees can answer with a rating 1-10 will provide useful data about the success of the event. Short surveys are best as it increases the rate of participation, or consider offering a small gift card in exchange for participating in the survey. It is also useful to have a section where attendees can give written feedback and specific suggestions and these comments can be used later on for testimonials.
Don’t forget about the people who registered for the event but did not attend. Contact people who missed the event and ask them why they missed it. You’ll gain a lot of insight into your audience and can create future events that are a better fit for length, timing, and content.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT AND REACH
The impact of virtual events can be monitored through social media. Social media analytics are helpful in showing engagement and impressions. Are your posts and stories reaching enough of the right people? Do your followers seem excited about the event? You can get these answers quickly through social media.
Before the event, create a specific hashtag to use on social media to promote the event and raise awareness. During the event, participants can use this hashtag when they share that they are attending the event on social media. You can look through this hashtag after the event to get some authentic feedback on how engaged the attendees were and how much they enjoyed the event.
Promote your event on all social media platforms, and include those metrics in your overall event impact summary. Encourage your attendees to do the same. Ask the speakers if they would be willing to put a promotion about it on their Instagram or Facebook stories, or write a short post on Twitter or LinkedIn about the event.
Virtual events have many benefits, one of which is that they are easier to measure if you know the right areas to focus on. With a bit of careful planning, a great virtual speaker, and the right audience, you can accurately measure and evaluate the success of your next virtual event by following these tips. Good luck!