Clever Carly on How to Be an Effective Event Analyst

Hello, Planners! Clever Carly here. 

As meeting planners, our inherent social and organizational skills drew us to this industry in the first place. But despite our perfectly choreographed music and lighting, delicious food and beverage displays, and a sea of smiles from our attendees and colleagues, it can be difficult to quantify those good vibes. 

There’s an old business proverb, the origins of which are now fuzzy, that says, “What gets measured gets managed.” When it comes to meetings, the statement couldn’t be truer. For all the hard work that goes into preparing for and executing top-notch events, you must also dedicate time to setting up some performance metrics and tools that allow you to evaluate your event from a more rigorous standpoint. Here, I outline some of the best ways to measure (and sometimes predict) your event’s success.  

Embrace email 

According to a recent blog post from EverThere, while data consistently suggests that email is one of the best marketing strategies for drawing attendees, it’s not used nearly enough by planners. Email analytics provide excellent insight into what’s working, what’s not and how potential guests are reacting to your content and message. 

You’re calculating your delivery rate, right? You know––the marketing metric that’s found by dividing the number of emails you send minus the bounces you get back. If not, that’s probably something you and your team should be addressing ASAP. If that delivery rate is less than 98 percent, it’s probably time to go back to the basics. Is your list of recipients up to date? Alternatively, are you sending too many emails? (You definitely don’t want to appear as spam.) Switch to a permission-based inbound marketing strategy and give recipients an easy out with an unsubscribe option.

Check out the check-in 

Although you’ll easily be able to count the number of guests in attendance, be sure to compare that to the number of guests who registered. A large discrepancy between the two figures might signal that individuals are losing interest in the days leading up to the event. If that’s the case, consider ramping up promotion in the days leading up to the event with social media teases. 

Additionally, how many guests have attended meetings similar to this at your venue in the past? Have they attended multiple? If there are several returnees, this would help to validate that you’ve found the right formula for guest satisfaction and are targeting the right audience. 

Tap into apps 

Prior to the event, consider investing in an app specific to your agenda to collect real-time analytics and store data in an easy-to-use interface. Sched offers a bounty of email marketing and analytics tools for event planners, in addition to tips for boosting attendee engagement and logging profiles. If you’re looking to make an app specific to your client’s needs, Attendify allows users to create branded, personalized apps that suggest engagement and promotion enhancements in real time. With Bizzabo, planners can use in-app polls to measure attendee sentiment and opinion during the meeting. You can also check out EventMobi, an app that integrates registration, gamification, analytics and surveys in one place, or MeetingPlay, which is best suited for large-scale conferences with lots of networking. 

Think beyond the hashtag 

Although social media is paramount in driving (and measuring) your event’s success, tracking a hashtag on Twitter should truly be the bare minimum. According to an article from BizBash, geofencing––a term that describes a virtual boundary around a venue or location that can identify and track all posts on Twitter––should be your go-to when the time comes to measure retweets, likes and mentions. Through social analytics tools like Ampsy, users can identify and count the phrases people are talking about in relation to a given topic, not just your chosen hashtag. 

Don’t fear old-school sample surveys

For event planners, there’s a plethora of ways to reach past attendees through sample surveys (i.e. feedback forms or written data that helps measure overall sentiment from your event), be it in person, over the phone or via email. In deciding which medium to interview, keep your audience in mind. Was your guest list particularly tight-knit, or do you have a close relationship with any of the attendees? An in-person interview would probably show the most respect. If a large-scale conference was held, email surveys would likely be the most feasible. 

Regardless of which type of survey you choose, if you’re taking a temperature check of how your team is doing, five questions should suffice. With longer surveys, you’ll be capturing a much more holistic snapshot of the event’s success (and challenges). 

And if you’re sending an email survey, opt for an open-ended form. Despite the analytical wonders that technology can bring to event planners, there’s still something to be said for open, honest communication between you and your guests.  

Be sure to check back in another two weeks for more helpful tips and insight, and follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. 

Always your analytical guide,

Clever Carly