R-O-Why? Understanding Your Event Analytics to Demonstrate ROI

ROI Metrics and Event Analytics

When we speak with clients during the planning phase of their event, we often get asked the question, “What kind of data does your analytics provide?”  While this is an incredibly valid question, and one that should be asked of any event technology provider, the conversation of event analytics cannot just be a checkbox on a list of required features.

Instead, the question should be, “How can I make sense of my event analytics?” and specifically, how this relates to demonstrating your return on investment and value provided to your organization, stakeholders, and attendees.

We wanted to share some of our favorite tips on why understanding your event analytics and being able to articulate and communicate them to your team is one of the most important aspects of your event technology experience.

Analyzing your event analytics isn’t just a “post-event” activity

One of the most common post-event wrap-up tasks is to jump into your event technology and take a look at your analytics. While this is definitely an important to-do, if it’s the first time you’re looking at your event analytics, you’re only understanding a portion of the whole story.

Analyzing your event analytics throughout the entire event journey is incredibly important to provide you with insights that can guide your event planning and execution. When taken advantage of throughout the event lifecycle, this data can be a great way to adjust, pivot, and make any changes regarding your promotion strategy as you become more informed.

Let’s consider the following example

You’ve just launched your event app and at the end of your event, you realize that the adoption numbers were lower than expected and that attendees didn’t utilize the many features within the app.

If you only analyze your analytics post-event, you may not realize that your adoption is lower than you expected until it’s too late. But if you had been monitoring your event analytics throughout the planning phase and post-launch of your event app, you would see that your adoption was trending low.

You would have had enough time to adjust your strategy and could have sent out another email or alert to drive up those event app download numbers. By being proactive in maximizing your event app adoption, you’re able to avoid having the awkward conversation about low adoption post-event.

You can also leverage a similar strategy when it comes to monitoring your sessions. Let’s say you have a breakout session with a room capacity of 100. Perhaps as you monitor your analytics as the event approaches, you see that this particular session has over 200 people who have favorited the session or added it to their schedule. You can adjust the rooms or account for additional seating before you reach “standing room only”, or worse yet, have to turn people away at the door.

In-depth analysis can provide you with actionable insights

The key metrics that are often used to report on the ROI of an event app are adoption and engagement. However, your event analytics will capture other valuable insights that can be used to inform actionable decisions for your future events.

Completing an in-depth analysis of your session and speaker analytics allows you the ability to determine the value of certain types of talks, subjects, and speakers. You get a sense of what worked well and what you might want to adjust the next time around.

The same goes for how many views or downloads speakers got for any content they made available to attendees through the event app. This gives you a sense of what topics you should consider adding to the agenda of your next event.

Recommended read: Learn more about how to measure your event analytics in 5 Ways to Use Data To Measure Event ROI

Differentiating event analytics: adoption rate, logged in rate, and engagement

We often get asked to explain the differences between adoption rate, logged in rate and how this relates to engagement on the event app. We’re going to break this down for you.

  • Adoption Rate:  The adoption rate is calculated as a measure of the number of people who have accessed the app divided by the total number of people who could have accessed the app. This is important to understand as it gives you insight into the number of people who utilized the event app’s functionality.
  • Logged In Rate:  Beyond the adoption rate, attendees have the option to log in. Logged in users utilized functionality such as messaging, gamification, note taking, and favoriting items. All of these actions show a higher degree of engagement.
  • Engagement: You can easily calculate your event engagement per user by taking your adoption rate and dividing it by the number of page views. This will give you an idea of how active your users were, on average, a good indication of the amount of content they consumed, and the value they saw in the event app.

Don’t exclude your event surveys

After your event, it’s easy to jump into the analytics section of your event app, export your files, and feel that you’ve collected all of the tangible insights from your event technology. However, you should be sure to also leverage feedback surveys. The information you collect from qualitative sources can be just as valuable as the quantitative data. They each provide additional insight into the other that may lead to insightful or surprising conclusions.

For example, you see that a small proportion of your attendees actually participated in your gamification challenge. This may lead you to think that the game was unsuccessful. However, suppose your event analytics show you that those who did participate were mostly prospects. They were extremely engaged and completed all the challenges, such as speaking to your sales team. Ans your feedback surveys showed that they really had fun and are not considering purchasing your product because they got to speak to your sales team. So, at first you might have thought the gamification results were poor, but digging a bit deeper showed that you might have earned new clients!

Tips on how to get the most out of your feedback surveys

When considering what questions are most important to ask on a feedback survey, you could consider asking the standard questions relating to session quality, venue, meals and overall feedback. But this is also your chance to include questions that really probe into the event experience as a whole and the lasting impact it has made on your attendees.

Consider the following when creating your next survey:

  • How likely are you to recommend our event to a friend or colleague? (use an interval scale) This question is sure to provide insight into whether your attendees are likely to promote your event and provide you with word-of-mouth advertising.
  • How much have your professional skills improved as a result of attending the event? Having an understanding of the impact the event made on your attendees is essential to communicating the value of the event.
  • Please tell us moreLeaving your survey with an open-ended question is sure to yield some interesting responses. While these may be harder to quantifiably measure, not giving your attendees this platform may result in lost insight.

R-O-Why?

So why does all of this matter? When it comes down to it, you have to own your event budget and be able to rationalize every decision that was made along the way. If you only have a surface level understanding of the event analytics options available to you, articulating the value of not only the event app but also the event itself becomes a bit more difficult.

We recommend determining what data you want to collect, identifying why it is important to achieving your event goals, and establishing at what points during the event lifecycle you are going to track your analytics (pre-event is essential). Once you’ve got the plan, monitor, pivot and prepare for your next great event!

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