If you found this blog, chances are you’re in the business of planning events. Even further, you may have already planned and executed a great event that you’re now trying to measure the success of. That’s where we can help! In this blog we’ll cover how to properly evaluate an event, whether it was in-person, virtual, or hybrid.
Event evaluation is the process of measuring how an event turned out. This not only includes the event day itself, but the entire process of planning leading up to that event as well as after. It involves recognizing all of your event successes as well as what areas you could improve in while measuring up how closely you hit your event goals. Event evaluation can include things like sending out post-event surveys and checking the analytics of your event. Making note of all of these aspects can only help improve the chances of your next event being even more successful.
Event evaluation is important for a number of reasons, and is something every business that holds any type of event should involve in their event process.
One of the most important reasons why any business should evaluate the entirety of their previous event is to improve their next event. Measuring where one area of your event could have been better will give you insight on what to focus on during your next event preparation. This leads to keeping both your company and attendees happy as you improve the experience for everyone involved for events to come!
By completing certain objectives involved in the event evaluation process like post-event surveys, you can first hand see how attendees felt about the event - and in turn, your brand. Your event is a direct reflection of your company, so by knowing how attendees felt about the event you’ll know exactly how they feel about your brand as the host. There are a number of informative questions you can ask attendees in your post-survey that will give you answers to how they feel about your brand as a whole from hosting the event.
Another important reason for undergoing the event evaluation process is to see how closely you hit your goals (or not). Did you hit the number of ticket registrations you hoped for? Or did the team go a little outside of the event marketing budget during the promotional phase? All of these things you can find out by doing an in-depth event evaluation once the event is over.
Having different phases to an event means that there are different times to evaluate each - not just once the event is over. We’ll cover each phase and how to go about evaluating each one.
The pre-event phase is the time when you complete all the tasks necessary to put together your event. This primarily includes planning all the details including venues or platforms, speakers, ticket prices and more. Evaluating in this phase looks like checking your planning budget and seeing if you were able to stay within that budget or had to move outside of it. You can also ask your audience what their preferences are, including what they’d like to see or hear from your event as well the type of format they’d like (virtual, hybrid, or in-person).
The big day has finally arrived, and you’re all in. This is the perfect time to keep note of what is working for your event and what isn’t. Are your speakers a big hit with your attendees, but your company branding a little lackluster? These are important things you should note as you go throughout the event. Having a method on hand that you can use to monitor everything that’s going on will help you take care of any mishap in the moment and all events going forward.
The dust has finally settled after the pre-event and mid-event craziness. Now, it’s time to take a comprehensive look at your event and how it performed overall. This includes checking how the allotted budget did for each event aspect, including marketing and any travel expenses if needed. Spend this evaluation also checking how your marketing campaigns did in terms of ROI and attendance.
When evaluating how your event performed, there are two different types of evaluation: qualitative and quantitative. We’ll go over each one and how they relate to the evaluation process.
Qualitative feedback deals with the kind of feedback that isn’t necessarily data, but more so opinions and personal accounts of how the event went from your attendees. This is where sending out a survey with valuable questions is important so you can collect what everyone thought of the event and what to improve on. See what people thought first hand about the certain speakers you had, how the ticket process went, and if they’d recommend your event to their peers. You can then share this data to the other teams so you can all work together to improve future event experiences. There are two different types of qualitative feedback:
This type of survey is one that has been popular due to its convenience; attendees can complete it anytime, anywhere. These types of online surveys can be embedded into an email you send out to guests or as a QR code they can easily scan and complete. There are a number of software platforms that may even offer online survey templates that’ll save you time on creating them yourself.
Offline surveys present a different type of experience for guests compared to online ones. At the event itself, you can equip staff with any sort of tablet that has the post-event survey and ask the attendees the questions themselves. Then, when they’ve collected a number of answers, they can fill out the surveys themselves.
Different from qualitative evaluations, quantitative evaluations deal with numbers and data from an event. Having hard data-driven results can be helpful when reviewing your goals and give clear evidence if something is working or not. There are different types of quantitative data you can get from each event phase, and we’ll go over each one!
Quantitative data that you can evaluate during this stage includes things like the number of tickets that sold and registrations you received. See how they measured up with your goals and note if anything fell short.
Similar to pre-event evaluations, it’s important to note certain factors as you go through the event itself; this includes reviewing the registration data from the pre-event evaluation and measuring the amount of guests who followed through and showed up. This will let you know if there’s a discrepancy between the registration phase and event day itself where more efforts may need to be taken to encourage follow through.
There’s plenty of quantitative data when it comes to evaluating your post event results. You can evaluate your total ROI (return on investment) by calculating the difference between the money your company put into the event and how much revenue the event brought in. This will give you a great overall evaluation to see if your event was truly profitable!
While every company is different when it comes to evaluating their events, there are a few key tips that are beneficial when going through your evaluation process.
The concept of SMART goals have been around for a while, and there’s a reason why. Each letter stands for a key aspect when evaluating the goals for your event. SMART stands for:
A great way to measure the success of your event is to see how your event measured up with competitors. To do this, choose an event of theirs that was as close to yours as possible - a similar format, a similar event type, or a similar industry so you can closely measure how your event performed in comparison.
The close attention you paid to details during the pre-event planning process should still be utilized during the event day itself. Observe if guests are having a good time and if your team was well prepared for any mishaps to occur. Writing down these observations will also help you remember when you look back at the great and not so great parts on the event day!
The best way to know how attendees are feeling about your event? Ask them! During your event, don’t be afraid to include staff to go around and ask how attendees are liking their experience. Record what they say so you can go back and review all the feedback you got.
A great post-event tactic to use to collect feedback about your event is to send out surveys. Surveys are a great way to get honest opinions and answers on what attendees liked and disliked during the event. There’s a number of great questions you can ask attendees based on things like branding, ease of registration, and so much more.
A great way to measure the success of your event is to base it off of others opinions, and what better form of reviews than from reputable media sources! This can be done by tracking any social media mentions about your event, or setting up a Google alert around any mentionings about your event.
Social media is a great tool to measure success with any topic, but especially events. Have your marketing team trained in social media analytics so they can track different metrics available, including likes, shares, comments, follows, and more.
As simple as it may seem, some event planners may forget to track how many people actually attended their event. This is where choosing a great ticketing platform can help - many softwares have the capability to track registrations and ticket sales effortlessly.
Another no-brainer in measuring event success that many successful event planners utilize is tracking your budget. With the event budget in mind, calculate how much your event made your company in revenue - any surplus in revenue compared to your budget is a great measurement of success!
As you evaluate all the numbers and data from your event, another crucial aspect in evaluating is asking the people who helped create it- your team! Ask what they think went really well and what could be improved for future events. This will give you an even better comprehension of how it went by getting your team’s take on the event.
And there you have it- our complete guide on event evaluation! It’s important to make an analysis of everything that occurred during an event to not only see how your company performed, but to also get insight on what to improve for your future events. Getting a clear and concise overview of how an event turned out from registrations to guest experiences can make such a difference for future events. With the help of our evaluation tips, you’re on your way to having the best events around!