Event Analytics: Use Your Inner Sherlock to Get the Most from Your Data
You’ve likely heard the stat that 90 percent of the world’s data was created in the past two years, but did you know that saying has been more or less true for about a decade? We are generating data at an exponential rate and finding new ways to refine the data that already exists.
Yet, merely accumulating and reviewing massive amounts of data does you no good if that information exists in a vacuum. All data tells a story. You have to understand that story to comprehend your analytics fully, which means you may have to slap on your investigator’s hat.
For example, let’s say that after people complete their registration form and are signed up for your event, you make the event’s app available for download. Yet the data shows low download rates after registration.
The good news is that the data alerted you about a problem: you want people to download your app immediately, and they are not. But that’s all it did. Now, you have to determine what this information is saying.
Do people dislike event apps? That’s probably not the case. Do they specifically dislike your event app? I guess that’s a little more possible, but also fairly unlikely. Alright, those are two big picture possibilities that have been ruled out. Time to drill down a little deeper.
Is it a problem of communication? Are registrants unaware that it is possible to download the app? Maybe they are aware, but they don’t see any benefit to downloading at that time? What you will likely have to do is go through the registration process yourself to discover where the disconnect exists. It may be an issue with the design, that the link to download the app is too small or blends into the background. Or you may need to rewrite your messaging, be clearer when promoting the benefits of an immediate app download.
Using data is essential to getting the big picture of your event and your attendee’s journey. However, only through careful analysis of that data will the true story of your event emerge.
What You Can Measure
Really, the answer to, “What types of event data can I measure?” is “Anything.” You can drill down as deeply as you like. However, there are a few areas where every event planner should be gathering data.
You can keep track of the app’s download rate down to the second, so you know when people are most likely to download and which platforms they prefer. As noted, you can also discover if the app is not being downloaded and research why this is the case.
In addition to the app’s download rate, you can also keep track of engagement. If you are reaching out to people through the app, you can check to see how many people viewed your message, if they responded, and whether they forwarded the communication. Also, if you are encouraging networking through the app, you can gauge the success of these efforts.
Similar to communications, if you are sending push notifications through the app, you can break down the effectiveness of each. You can discover how many people read your notifications and when. This can help you determine the types of messaging that does well and when is the best time to deliver those messages.
Often the right speakers can make or break an event. But while your speakers may draw a crowd, how can you be sure that the content is resonating with your audience? Monitoring social media can give you a good idea. If people are tweeting and streaming moments from the session, it was likely a hit (make sure to encourage the use of your event’s hashtag – also, be sure to create an event hashtag). You can also send out a brief questionnaire immediately after the session to capture an attendee’s immediate feedback.
Gathering and understanding this data is essential if you hope to gain and retain high-value event sponsors. You can see, in real time, how effective your sponsor’s links are on your website, how many clicks they receive, and when they occur. You will gain an understanding of the types of sponsors that appeal to your specific audience and the kind of promotions they respond to. This will help you refine the sponsors you pitch and the varieties of packages you offer.
Are you attempting to build engagement through gamification? Since the game will likely be run through your event app, you will be able to review your efforts from multiple angles.
How many people took part in the game? Did they complete it (whatever that means to you)? What did they respond to best and what did they avoid? Did people react favorably to your promotions of the game? Did they share their experiences with others? All of these data points (and more) can be utilized to refine your gamification approach.
Combining the Data to Understand the Story
The topics above provide you with part of your event’s picture, but you can also combine portions of all this data to create a bigger image of the things that are important to you and your attendees.
By combing through the data and understanding the story it is telling, you can get an impression of how emotionally engaged your attendees were with your event.
The vast majority of the data you collect revolves around your attendees. They’re engagement with your app, response to your alerts, reception of your speakers, relationships with the sponsors, and participation with the games are all a reflection of their engagement and emotional involvement with the event.
A great deal of activity with your event’s app and on social media is typically a positive indicator (for an example of when it is not, look to the Fyre Festival). But this is just a start. What were the things that registered the most? What content was most engaging? Did they make use of note taking? Did they return surveys, and what were the responses?
Carefully reviewing this data will let you know what’s working for attendees and how you can improve their investment.
Research by imago and Loughborough University School of Business and Economics found that 97 percent of attendees choose face-to-face meetings as their preferred form of communication, with small groups being the ideal setting.
Networking is essential to your event attendees. Are you giving them what they need? Did you deliver enough breakout sessions? Were you able to utilize your data to categorize people and group them correctly? Did people make connections they still employed months later?
All of this information is available in your event data. Look deeply, and you will be able to create the ideal networking environment for each event you host. This means that your attendees will receive the best experience possible, and you will guarantee some return visits due to the atmosphere you provide.
Once you realize that event data is not just a series of numbers but all about the emotional connection of your attendees, the ability to decode a clear picture of your event becomes easier. It will still require some investigation on your part, but it’s easier now that you have a sense of the image it can create. And don’t forget that you have partners who can help. For any questions about data and your event’s big picture, give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.