The majority of event owners and marketers promote their events using digital advertising, email marketing, and content marketing but have trouble keeping track of key performance indexes for the event. Additional research from the Post COVID-19 Event Outlook Report shows that this trend holds for both virtual and in-person events.

With so many moving parts and various stakeholders involved in the event planning and management process, how can you make sure that you are measuring and proving your event success? This question is the very reason why defining event success metrics should be a high priority task.

Whether your main objective is to increase brand awareness, maximize revenue, or delight attendees, this list will help you start defining your specific version of event success.

1. Event Presence

A key metric that directly indicates the number of attendees who have checked in at the event. Comparing the number of event check-ins with the total number of registrations is an important statistic. If there is an unusual discrepancy between the two numbers, this would be something worth looking into—why are you losing people between registration and check-in? Make sure the check-in number is accurate for each day of your event so that you can compare this number against other metrics.

2. Average Event Session Time

The most immediate way you will know if attendees enjoyed the event is by viewing the time they have spent at the event website. Survey responses are also helpful in understanding attendee satisfaction and ensuring that future events exceed their expectations. Be very specific with your data analysis to get expunge the irrelevant data from bounce rates and others.

3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Though this KPI also falls under the “attendee satisfaction survey”, the NPS is important enough to deserve its own spot on this list. This score asks the simple question: On a scale of 1-10, how likely is it that you would recommend this event to friends? Scores of 9-10 are considered “promoters” who will act as loyal enthusiasts for your event brand. Scores of 7-8 are “passives” who are satisfied attendees but are still vulnerable to competitive offerings. Finally, scores between 0-6 are considered “detractors” and run the risk of damaging your event brand through negative reviews. The NPS is then calculated as follows: % promoters – % detractors

This score is a key indicator of how much value your event brought to attendees, which is something all major stakeholders will want to know.

4. Number of Networking Activities

Among the many other ways, one can measure activity within the event community, looking at the number of posts and messages sent among groups or members will prove if the platform is being utilized as an effective networking tool. Developing relationships is one of the key components of any event and measuring this particular metric will prove if the app is helpful in facilitating connections.

5. Speaker Engagement

Though there may be much anticipation for a particular speaker to take the stage, a speaker’s performance is ultimately determined by the audience. One way to gauge interest in speakers is by measuring the number of profile views they receive within the app. Additionally, make sure to provide ways in which attendees can interact and respond to the speaker’s performance, such as live polling or survey responses after the speech

6. Engagement Tools Response Rate

With the right online event solution, you can have attendees vote in live polls, ask questions, chat, reply quizzes, and others during an event session. This response rate will indicate the attendees’ engagement levels and help event organizers understand which sessions were most successful.

7. Social Media Engagement

Slightly different from mentions, social media engagement is when a user reacts to a post, usually as a like, share, or retweet. This metric also is an accurate indicator of how deeply certain sessions, speakers, and the event itself resonated with attendees. Make sure you have enough social media content for attendees to react to!

8. Total Registrations

Surely a metric that is already top of mind, the total number of registrations is one of the most immediate ways to measure event success. It is also important to track registrations on a monthly basis to have a clearer understanding of sales performance over time. Which month had the highest registrations? Why so? The more detailed you can become with this metric, the more clarity it will provide when evaluating your event.

9. Gross Revenue

Many would argue this is the main KPI for event success. It is an important metric to measure against your initial revenue goals and the difference between the two will indicate how realistic or idealistic you were about the benchmarks set. Gross revenue is also an important barometer for the demand of your type of event within the industry.

10. Direct Cost to Revenue Ratio

Gross revenue is not an insightful metric unless it is compared with the total cost of the event. This ratio is important in understanding how much profit (or loss) your event has generated and how you could continue to improve this ratio for future events. This a KPI that stakeholders such as sponsors and investors would want to see.

11. Sponsorship Satisfaction  

Because sponsors are largely responsible for the financial backing of your event, ensuring their satisfaction is a key metric for event success as well as a way to gauge the likelihood of future sponsorships. There are numerous ways to measure this value such as through surveys or post-event debrief meetings. Whichever method you choose, make sure to record this data to understand what worked for the sponsors and what didn’t.

12. Number of Returning Attendees

Chances are that your team organizes recurring events, whether that be monthly, annually, or even bi-annually. An interesting stat to keep a record of would be the number of repeat attendees who come to subsequent events. This will show whether your event content is resonating with the targeted audience and will give you an idea of the value that you are creating for them. A high number of returning attendees is an indicator that you’ve found the right formula.

13. Number of Qualified Sales Leads

If your event is meant to generate prospects for your sales team, measuring the number of qualified leads is a key indicator of event success. The definition of a qualified lead will be specific to your company so make sure you have detailed criteria before measuring this KPI. A qualified lead may be from a certain industry, be in a managerial position within his/her company, or demonstrate a clear need for your company’s service/product.

14. Customers Acquired

After collecting qualified leads from the event, the logical next step would be to measure the number of customers that are acquired. Here you have to make sure the event marketing attribution is clean and that these customers were indeed acquired as a result of the event. There are multiple channels through which a lead can become a customer so it is important that for this metric, you identify the lead source as the event itself. Having the right event data integration set-up will go a long way to helping you out. 

15. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

This metric is most relevant for companies that sell a specific product and are organizing events in hopes to acquire more customers. Though the number of acquired customers is a key metric, arguably a more important KPI is the cost per customer acquisition. Being aware of the amount of time and budget that is required to close an event-sourced deal is an important indicator of your event’s impact on the bottom line.