Virtual events can be as much of a boon to your organization as in-person events, bringing with them added benefits like wider reach and cost savings. Plus, with online events, there’s no need to limit attendance to how many people can fit in a location—or even to pay for that location.
But to feel like your virtual event was a success and know it was a success are different things—and can make all the difference to key stakeholders. As soon as you turn off your computer, the pressure’s on to demonstrate a positive impact before you plan your next event.
Once you’ve pitched, planned, and launched your webinar or online conference, how do you evaluate virtual events to know if you’ve got a home run? Read on to learn how to measure the success of your virtual events.
Evaluate progress through KPIs
To measure virtual event success, you’ll need data to measure that success against. So decide your overarching goals and event strategy from the outset. Know what a win would look like for your team. Then, choose key performance indicators (KPIs) to serve as bite-sized targets to help realize your bigger goals. Clear, relevant KPIs—like a specific number of registrants or a percentage of attendees that request product demos—can help you track useful virtual event analytics to report after the event.
So how do you measure KPIs for virtual events in the most efficient way? Customer Engagement Platforms (CEPs) consolidate user data from diverse sources to give you a holistic view of customers’ interests and decisions, making it easy to:
- Track virtual event engagement statistics
- Measure KPIs
- Gauge event success
CEPs also let you send customized marketing messages after an event to encourage a customer’s continued relationship with your brand.
Why do I need to report on the success of my event?
A successful virtual event goes beyond grins and giggles. While you want your audience to enjoy themselves, your event also serves an end goal like:
- Selling a product or service
- Increasing engagement with your brand
- Generating new revenue streams
Virtual event analytics help determine whether your event achieved its goal. When you track engagement, you learn which parts of your event garnered audience attention, which moments fell flat, and which initiatives led directly to conversions or revenue.
Statistical analysis not only helps to justify your event’s relevance but also teaches your organization more about its audience, which can improve future event planning and optimize ROI.
Given all there is to gain from virtual event success measurement, let’s take a closer look at 5 example metrics—and why these make an ideal addition to your KPI report.
1. Compare registration with attendance
Just because someone signs up for your webinar doesn’t mean they’ll attend. The difference between these numbers can tell you a lot about the success of your event marketing.
For instance, if only a third of the registrants attend your event, adjust how you market future events. Conversely, if 75% of those who’ve signed up log in, your marketing is likely effective. Either way, this is valuable information as you plan future events.
Another useful number to note is how many event attendees are newcomers versus how many are returning customers. This can help you segment your audiences for more effective email outreach post-event.
2. Track attendee engagement
Engaged audiences mean higher conversion rates and brand loyalty—and all around more successful events.
So how is virtual event engagement measured? You might guess that because in-person attendees can be easier to observe, it’s also easier to track their engagement.
But this isn’t necessarily true, and here’s why: while in-person events allow coordinators to observe attendees superficially, coordinators can’t track attendees’ every move and know exactly how they spend their time—or how far they traveled down the sales funnel.
CEPs, on the other hand, can record virtual event engagement statistics on all attendees in real time to give event coordinators complete, detailed data they couldn’t get from an in-person event.
Virtual event engagement statistics that CEPs commonly track include:
- Live stream views
- Recorded views
- Chat participation
- Live polls
- Networking sessions
- Meeting bookings
- Session attendance
- Session duration
- Drop-off rates
- Event app visits
- Social media mentions
CEPs also track metrics like website traffic, email open and click rates, and email sign-ups, enabling marketers to measure a virtual event’s success long after the event.
3. Tally website and app visits
The number of website and app visits leading up to, during, and after the event also says a lot about your virtual event’s success.
A spike in traffic during the event signals interest, while an elevation in the weeks following the event suggests a marketing effort payoff. UTM parameters offer one way to learn the sources of your traffic, so you can understand how your virtual event drives page visits better.
You can also create an event-specific app or landing page that drives traffic to your organization’s main site. This effort lets you measure how your virtual event impacts web traffic, and perhaps more importantly, provides a dedicated space to offer event attendees relevant information. From the event-specific page, you can guide attendees to discover more about your brand or organization.
4. Evaluate conversion rates
Lead generation is a popular virtual event KPI, and it makes sense why: you want to spark interest in your brand and convert attendees into customers.
But how many of your leads qualify as prospects? For your event to yield revenue or build brand loyalty, it has to generate qualified leads. Virtual events that stop short of genuine interest and action can be a waste of time and money.
To attract and measure qualified leads, create experience-specific calls to action, nurture leads through targeted email campaigns, or provide personalized content during the event that helps to build authentic relationships with attendees. These smart tactics connect audiences with your brand.
5. Calculate revenue
Virtual events afford opportunities to engage audiences and increase sales for your organization. So if you see a jump in revenue during and after your event, it’s a great sign your event was a success.
Along with ticket sales, ad revenue, and sponsorship numbers, your organization’s customer relationship management software can provide a detailed view into sales conversions that were a direct result of your event.
And if revenue wasn’t as high as you hoped, you can dig deeper into your virtual event analytics to determine how to improve marketing efforts and conversions for future events.
Finally, don’t forget: after your event, send surveys to attendees and ask for their feedback. This data can provide further insight into how your event resonated with participants.
Capture virtual event reporting metrics with Twilio SendGrid
Twilio SendGrid offers an efficient way to connect with all your attendees before, during, and long after your event. With our Email API, you can design and test messages, segment audiences, ensure deliverability, and capture analytics that demonstrate marketing effectiveness.
The right tools to capture virtual event engagement statistics make it easier to report metrics to key stakeholders interested in your event’s success, like your organization’s sales team, management, and sponsors. These stakeholders can then understand how your event contributed to the organization’s success and offer support or recommendations for future events.
Just remember that not all virtual events are a triumph. So if yours didn’t meet or exceed expectations, take time to review the best practices in our virtual event planning guide. Regardless of success, as long as you capture virtual event analytics, you have a chance to learn from mistakes and refine your strategy over time.
Flexibility, creativity, and resilience go a long way in the world of event marketing. And we’re here to help every step along the way, so don’t delay—get started for free today.