Due to the rise of digital technologies in the event industry, it is easier than ever to track and gain insights from attendees’ behaviour. Today, successful events are built on the creative use of event management analytics.
According to an article on Inc., more than 87% of consumers’ purchases are influenced by events. This motivates the events industry to collect customer data to analyze event data further and understand customer behaviours and preferences.
Having all those data would be pointless if you cannot analyze it and gain insights from it – this is when event management analytics comes into play.
Event planners and managers currently use multiple tools to manage events, but integrating them into a single platform is a huge challenge.
According to Verizon Connect, data is only useful when analyzed and applied. Even though integrating and leveraging data can be challenging, it’s not impossible.
What is data tracking?
Data tracking refers to collecting, identifying, and categorizing data points throughout the pipeline for event data analysis. Tracking event data includes the tools companies use to organize their data and the ethics framework they use to ensure user privacy and security.
Here are a few ways event data analysis has opened up a new horizon for understanding consumer behaviours and preferences:
Personalized invitations go much further than putting attendees’ names on them. With the help of event data analysis, marketers and event organizers can now create highly targeted and segmented campaigns.
Event invites are boosted by user-generated content, and getting a relevant message across to users is what creates buzz. With the help of data derived from their online preferences, planners are now able to market your event on Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
Using data-driven personalized messaging correctly can increase public engagement and awareness without spending much money. Pre-event data analysis can also provide actionable information – for instance, who read the invites and what actions they took on-site aside from registering?
Data points such as these can provide valuable and actionable insights.
Gen Z and millennial consumers value experiences above material wealth. However, quantitative data – the number of attendees and how long they stay – have traditionally been used in event planning and management.
In recent years, technology has made it possible to track attendee experience and gain insights into it. Event managers can use this to personalize experiences like broadcasting to nearby devices and connecting users through geolocation-based apps.
As your attendees go through your event, you can see their engagement level and emotional responses in a 3D profile.
Event data analysis is also used to control crowd flow at big events and is a powerful tool for maximizing attendance. Various technologies, such as Bluetooth tags, RFID wristbands, and interactive apps, enhance event attendees’ experiences.
It can also affect how you manage it in a long-term event, such as extending booth or event hours or pushing sponsored content at peak periods.
This data can also be used to manage staff and support personnel stations based on crowd density. For example, a popular bar stall can be manned by another bartender if the wait time is too long. Crowd-shaping applications ensure that patrons have a great time without being overtly influenced.
Tailoring Experiential Marketing
Consumers have become increasingly attracted to brands they have interacted with at events. Hence, event management and planners often use data collected from social media conversations to tailor experiential designs.
Data aggregation and analytics often reveal the influencers (even micro-influencers) that resonate with customers.
One emerging trend in experiential marketing is that some brands support social causes in their target markets, such as gender equality or animal rights. This way, event planners and marketers can provide customers with experiences that create deeper connections.
Improved Future Insights
The event industry thrives on feedback. Event data analytics makes discovery and post-event surveys on Facebook and other social channels more personalized than ever. A lot of data is generated during the whole event cycle, which can be used to provide insights into future events.
Data generated from the whole event cycle can provide insight into future events. Knowing your audience’s expectations and discovering new pain points can help you improve your event.
Online Events Data Collection
A data service provider can help you source or analyze your data based on the size of your event and budget. The following suggestions can also be used to generate data on your own.
Use Data Scraping Services
Online data is scattered all over the place. They can be found in emails, tweets, posts, images, forum discussions, and more. You can find the data you need anywhere prospective attendees, competitors, and sponsors post online.
Thus, you can collect data across a wide range of websites, social media sites, and online discussion forums by using data scraping services.
Organize a Webinar
A webinar can create interest around a larger event, and you can sample opinions through live polling and Q&A. Data centres are disguised as Q&A sections. Participants’ questions can guide you in determining your bigger event’s direction.
Maximize Data Acquisition on Registration Systems
Participants can provide more information during the event registration process. You can gain personalized information such as addresses, locations, contact details, industry type, job title, etc. You can also ask additional questions to identify their priorities.
Use Surveys and Polling
For data collection, surveys and polls are essential tools. They can be used before, during, and after events. Pre-event surveys are an effective way to find out which topics and speakers are most popular among your former attendees.
Live polls can gather feedback on the event experience or survey event partners during the event. You can also measure the impact of your event by sending post-event surveys to all stakeholders and participants.
Virtual Event Platforms and Mobile Apps
Virtual event platforms enable real-time tracking and reporting of event analytics. Participation in Q&A, session selections, session attendance, interactions, content views, and purchases are all included. There are also dedicated mobile event apps available on some platforms for tracking activities within the apps.
Use Data Sharing Platforms
Third-party agencies can provide access to shared data from event management software providers. This might be a good option if it’s your first event and you don’t have any existing clients.
Create a Discussion Forum on a Virtual Event Platform
Discussion forums allow people to raise topics and expect other participants to respond. This is not part of the event plan but a part of the event platform that participants can access before, during, and after. You can use the information from such a forum to guide your plans by providing data for FAQs.
Levering Data Analytics For Better Events
Focus on what matters when using data analytics for event planning. By analyzing these statistics, you will be able to determine who is most engaged with your brand, where you are striking a chord, and what you can do to improve.
Basic attendee information
Make sure you collect basic attendance statistics for future use.
Track returning versus new attendees to keep an eye on the big picture. When your return rates are low, what causes them to lose interest? What can you do to entice them back? How can you attract new attendees if you have many returning attendees?
Consider whether new attendees already know about your company or if they are discovering you. Are they familiar with other events you’ve hosted? Have you made any purchases? Have you contacted us or asked a question?
Consider changing the theme, venue, or marketing strategy if attendance declines.
Registration and attendance trends
Explore the number of tickets sold versus redeemed using your event check-in statistics. Do you see a discrepancy?
Are attendees missing the check-in area at the event? Adjusting registration locations or adding additional check-in stations may be a clue.
Registrations are being made, but people are not attending. Send out reminder emails before the event. Follow up with absent registrants to find out why they didn’t show up.
Take a look at when, how, and where attendees registered or purchased tickets. Did certain pricing strategies boost sales? Did a price increase deter attendees? Pricing should be adjusted as necessary, and promotions should be targeted where attendees are most likely to respond.
Attendee satisfaction is the best barometer of success for any event, whether a meeting, incentive trip, fundraising dinner, or industry conference. Often, happy attendees are repeat attendees, and repeat attendees are your brand’s ambassadors.
Consider all aspects of the event when gauging attendee satisfaction, including:
- Venue: How convenient, accessible, Instagrammable, and large was the venue?
- Location: Is there a hotel or restaurant nearby? Are there any nearby attractions?
- Transportation: Are there airports or train stations nearby for out-of-town attendees? Is there ample parking and public transportation available?
- Food: Did the catering meet your expectations? Did you enjoy your dining experience? Would an extra coffee break have helped attendees whose energy levels dipped after lunch?
- Sessions, activities, and schedule: What kept attendees engaged, interested, and entertained? Or did the agenda fall flat?
- Overall satisfaction: Did satisfaction remain high even if participants missed their shuttle or weren’t thrilled with the lunch options? Take a look at the whole picture as well as the pieces.
Tools and strategies to assess attendee satisfaction:
- Live polling apps allow you to rate speakers, sessions, and unexpectedly popular offerings throughout the day. Engaging in polls can also boost engagement levels due to their interactivity.
- Compare social feeds with check-in statistics. What were the most popular sessions? What events didn’t have as many attendees as expected? Social media chatter matched attendance statistics, right?
- Surveys can be used to gauge satisfaction after an event. Obtain information about the event and follow up with unhappy attendees to improve the experience.
- You can find more information on social media feeds by exploring them. Attendees may prefer to post about their experiences rather than fill out a survey. Chances are they’ll also post about their fun on social media.
- Net Promoter Score
Happy attendees are more likely to recommend your events to colleagues and friends. You can determine your attendees’ Net Promoter Score (NPS) with a survey. The question can be as simple as: How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend? Alternatively, you can send out a detailed questionnaire that explores specific aspects of the event.
Answer options range from 0 to 10. Calculate the percentage of responses between 9 and 10 and subtract those between 6 and below to find your promoters. Except for calculating your percentages, ignore responses 7 and 8. This figure represents your NPS.
Engagement reflects the experience your attendees had and can affect word-of-mouth advertising and long-term buzz. Monitor your brand hashtags across social profiles, looking for retweets, check-ins, and @ mentions. Make sure there is content available for people to find and share.
Engagement can also be measured by the number of visitors to your profile and event pages. As the event approaches, they’ll naturally rise, but an increase or decrease won’t indicate a problem.
Is the information people need getting to them? You may need to update your website or consider developing content that addresses event-specific questions.
Attendee engagement can be determined by looking at exhibitors. Did visitors drop off or skip booths due to overcrowding? How did they rate interest levels, engagement, and satisfaction? Solicit feedback from exhibitors who have experienced many trade show floors.
There may not be fewer twists and turns in an event, but event data analysis can reduce uncertainty and identify potential issues to give you more flexibility. With the right tools, you can also look into the future, gaining insights into audience preferences and emerging trends.
The data you capture during an event may only give you ten leads, but it will improve your next sales cycle tenfold.
The event industry will continue to be disrupted and innovate as more tools and use cases develop. Event planners and managers can maximize the event cycle by leveraging event data.