Can you prove that your event marketing plan is paying dividends?
Chances are, you already believe it does. According to Bizzabo's 2019 Event Marketing Benchmarks and Trends Report, most marketers see event marketing as their most effective channel. But can you prove it to your boss?
The study states that event marketing spend grew 17% between 2017 and 2018. Clearly, company executives are willing to pay for this type of marketing. But that favor will only extend as far as marketers can show ROI. Just as with traditional promotions, you need to capture quantifiable marketing metrics that show the results of your experiential events.
The good news is, although quantifying experiences may seem like trying to catch the wind, there are simple ways to measure engagement.
The 5 Best Marketing Metrics to Track for Events
Before you start tracking your event marketing metrics, be sure you're comparing apples to apples. One client might participate in events during different times of the year or at various locations, and these factors can skew your data significantly. The more comparable and consistent events are, the more reliable the data.
With that in mind, here are five ways of measuring engagement at your events.
1. Watch social media impressions. Social media extends the experience beyond the event walls. A whopping 98% of event-goers create digital content at events — and all who create it, share it. If attendees aren't getting social about your event online, then something is missing the mark.
It's easy to track event-related activity on your social media pages and follow mentions and hashtags for your brand and event. Don't miss this low-hanging fruit.
2. Track how many are returning. There's a straightforward question you can ask to assess the value people found in your event: Did they come back? And taking this further, since events vary with some taking place in the same place each year and others moving from one location to another over the course of a tour, the question might be “Have they returned to this event multiple times, either in person or digitally, through social media participation?”
Repeat attendance is a simple but powerful way to measure engagement and see if you are creating useful content for your attendees. Make sure you have a digital registration system in place to track this.
3. See what's hot. Live heat maps allow you to dial into specific components of your event and determine which parts engage people most. Red-hot areas indicate where people are congregating the most, while blue spots show the attractions that aren't drawing people's attention.
You can use this data in real-time to run specific promotions that might draw people toward those less-visited areas and improve overall engagement. Traffic flow is also typically tracked with this technology so re-arranging the floor plan/layout may also do the trick to increase visits to a specific area.
4. Evaluate your conversion rate. You have to approach your event page or other web listings in the same way as you would another product listing. Conversion rate, then, is a key marketing metric in any scenario.
With today's tools, it's no trouble to track the relationship between your event page visits and sign-ups. This information gives you critical data about engagement with your event well before the big day. A frustrating registration experience might be turning would-be attendees away.
5. Access more data with an app. An event app gives you an even more direct line to your guests than social media does. Live polls, surveys, and attendance data all help you tweak the event and respond to attendees on the spot.
Monitoring sponsor data through the app is also an effective means of measuring ROI and quantifying the value of a sponsorship. The information gained from a sponsor can be limited solely to surface-level metrics such as total attendees, so supplement it with other numbers using these 5 metrics to get a clearer view of engagement.
You already know why engagement is important for your events. But now you know how to make sure it's happening. Try these experiential marketing techniques and start improving your event engagement today.