Evaluating your event's impact: 3 types of key metrics

How to evaluate your event's impact

Organizations invest time, effort, and money into hosting events for many purposes, including fundraising, networking, and marketing. At the event’s end, you’ll naturally want to determine if it was successful and if you met your goals. You can do this by establishing key metrics to evaluate your event.

To help you better understand the impact of your event, this guide will cover the following topics:

  • 3 types of event impact metrics to evaluate
  • Driving impact with your event: 3 tips

Keep in mind that your organization is unique—what another organization considers an impactful event may not be impactful for you. Consider these metrics through the lens of your organization’s size, audience, and outcomes from past events. 

3 types of metrics to evaluate events

Let’s dive into the different types of metrics your organization can use to analyze your event’s impact.

1. Financial event metrics

For most organizations, financial metrics are the most obvious way to evaluate the impact of an event. Return on investment (ROI) is the most important finance-related metric, but you’ll need to know these metrics to calculate it:

  • Event costs: This will include all expenses and funds put towards organizing and hosting the event.
  • Leads generated: Events can generate leads that you can further nurture and convert into a customer.

To calculate your ROI, divide the revenue generated by leads from your event by the total amount of expenses. This tells you how efficiently you allocated your funds, and organizations should aim to have as high an ROI as possible.

These metrics can provide a clear-cut answer as to whether your event was a financial success. However, other metrics are needed to determine why your event had the impact that it did. 

2. Event attendance metrics

Aside from financial metrics, you can also look at attendance-related metrics to evaluate your event’s impact. These data points provide insight into your marketing, the makeup of your target audience, and your overall ability to cultivate a loyal and engaged audience. Record and reflect on event attendance metrics such as:

  • Number of attendees: The number of people who attend your event indicates how successful your marketing and promotional efforts were.
  • Attendee demographics: Compare the demographics of event attendees to that of your target audience. Ask yourself if you’re attracting your ideal attendees, and if not, how you can change your marketing strategy for future events.
  • Attendance over time: Consider similar events you have hosted in the past and compare the number of attendees for those events versus your most recent event. Consistent audience retention indicates your events are high-quality, as guests who attended a previous event feel motivated to attend your next one as well. 

Aside from overall event attendance, also assess the attendee-related metrics for specific activities featured at your event. For example, if your organization works in the digital marketing vertical and hosted several informational panels, compare the number and demographics of attendees across panels to identify what types of content are most interesting to your target audience.

3. Event engagement metrics

Alongside financial and attendance metrics, event engagement metrics provide unique insight into the impact of your event. Unlike the aforementioned metrics, however, event engagement is less of a quantitative measure and more qualitative, making it difficult to measure. To better quantify your event engagement, examine these metrics:

  • Conversions: Assess how many attendees continue to engage with the organization after the event. Continued engagement might mean that they subscribe to your email newsletter, or that they become a customer or member.
  • Satisfaction: Ask your supporters to rate their overall satisfaction and satisfaction with various event aspects and activities to get a general understanding of how engaged and happy they were with the event.

One of the best ways to evaluate how engaged attendees were with your event is to ask them for their opinion. At the event’s close, send an email thanking attendees for their participation, and include a survey that they can take to provide their feedback. Stress to them that this information will help you create a better event experience in the future.

HOW TO GET BETTER FEEDBACK: Click here to learn how Alex Temple, Senior Corporate Relations Manager at Explori designs feedback loops for B2B Events.

Driving impact with your event: 3 tips

Now that you know what metrics to examine, use the following tips to improve your event and drive conversions.

1. Set a clear goal

When planning your event, start by determining its purpose. Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish by gathering your attendees together and how that will benefit your organization in the long run. For example, if you’re an advocacy group, bringing attendees together can help you spread awareness about your cause. Or, if you’re a business promoting a new product, your event’s purpose might be to lead more people down the marketing funnel.

When setting your goal, keep in mind that it should be specific, measurable, and relevant to your organization’s overall objectives. Ensure that it’s attainable, and align all parts of your event with it, including event format and target audience.

2. Promote your event

To boost attendee turnout, you’ll need to market and promote your event well in advance. Build anticipation and give guests the time to clear their schedules and make preparations for attending by creating and sending promotional materials through these channels:

  • Your website
  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • Text
  • Social media
  • Flyers

To reach the largest number of interested individuals, use multiple marketing channels. Choose channels that your target audience frequents. For example, if your organization has an active Instagram account with many followers, post an image inviting them to attend your next bikeathon.

3. Incorporate technology to enhance the experience

Incorporating technology into your organization’s event can result in a more engaged audience and an improved guest experience. You can make attendees’ lives more convenient by allowing mobile check-in and sending them text reminders in the days leading up to your event. If your event is convention-style, consider creating a mobile app that attendees can download to easily track the schedule and activities they’re interested in.

Aside from making processes more convenient for attendees, you can also use technology to augment your activities. For example, if you’re hosting a Q&A session with industry professionals, have a screen displaying real-time social media engagement and encourage attendees to post questions that the professionals can answer. Additionally, use live streaming technology to organize hybrid and virtual events, increasing participation from individuals that may not be able to attend in person.

Maximizing your event’s impact begins with assessing your existing data. Consider what insights that information gives you, and use it to alter and improve upon your future events. After every event, sit down with the rest of your team and discuss key takeaways and improvements. Learn what type of events best fit specific purposes, and you’ll see the desired impact in your organization’s events.

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