So, did your event blow the roof? Or did it collapse under its own weight and plummet into the basement in some heinous echo of that classic 80s comedy The Money Pit?
Obvious indicators like a packed out conference centre, or a queue of disgruntled attendees, can give you a general feeling and guide, but you’re going to need more than that to work out if there’s legs in your event past year one. People in event management can develop a preternatural feel for an event’s success, or lack thereof, but there are definitely more tangible ways you can measure your event’s ROI.
On the technical side of things you need to keep a close eye on your event website. By using Google Analytics you can track all manner of details relating to interest in your event and where that interest is coming from. It will give you hard numbers that can give a good indicator of the wider reach of your event. Likewise, there are tools that will allow you to perform the same functions on the various social media platforms that are integral to your event management strategy.
Don’t just view social media and your website as a way to get some impressive statistics to shove under management’s noses either. Feedback left on forums or via social networking platforms can have a massive effect on your event, and if people are talking about your event and sharing it with others, then it can raise the profile immeasurably. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth in influencing people to fork out their hard-earned cash to be involved in your event.
Having an event that is rammed to bursting has to be a good thing, but remember it isn’t just overall attendance that is an indicator of success and ROI. What you’re looking for is the quality of the attendees. If the bulk of your audience are mere browsers, instead of genuine business/lead potential then it makes no difference if you have five people in the event of five thousand. But if the majority of attendees could result in sales or genuine lead generation, then that will give you a true measure of your ROI.
One of the top measurements of an event’s ROI is its financial performance. That sounds brutal but let’s be honest about this, if your event failed to reach or exceed its target in this area odds are something was amiss. It’s important to set a target beforehand and then measure the final figures against it when the dust has settled.
What it comes down to is this: if you can’t demonstrate that your event has been a success and yielded a good ROI then you can guarantee it’s going to be a hard sell next time round. With facts and figures at your fingertips you can analyse what worked, what didn’t and put together a compelling pitch for the next event. Measuring ROI needs to be an integral part of your approach to event management, not simply an afterthought.