5 DO’s and DON’Ts of Effective Event Measurement


Effective event measurement is about understanding what drives business value – and collecting reliable data to objectively deliver that value.

Consider these five DOs and DON'Ts for measuring your event effectiveness.

DO: Define Goals and Objectives

There are opportunities to collect event measurement data everywhere. Effective event measurement isn’t about the quantity of data collected – it’s about the quality.

Instead of measuring the obvious, ask “What do we want to accomplish and what does success look like?” The more specific you are in setting goals and objectives, the better your ability to select metrics that align with these goals to track event performance.

DO: Make a Plan for Data Collection

As you set strategy, concurrently plan how to collect effective event measurement data. For example, if a goal is to improve session attendance, determine how you’ll measure this goal (i.e. through RFID tracking).

The most popular ways to collect measurement data include:

  • On-site intercept surveys
  • Post-event online surveys
  • Staff surveys
  • Inquiries and lead analysis
  • Session polls
  • Ancillary event-specific surveys
  • Partner/sponsor surveys
  • On-site observation
  • Social media listening

Once your plan is in place, assign team members to collect information and ensure data integrity.

DON’T: Only Measure
What Happened

Total attendance, number of leads, social media buzz and website traffic only provide insight into what happened – and not what these numbers might mean to the business.

Focus and measure the four metrics that matter to protect – or grow – your event budget.

Pipeline Opportunity
: Measure the potential sales opportunities generated for the products, services, and/or solutions visitors were exposed to at the event. Evaluate opportunity by asking whether the event impacted the likelihood to purchase new/additional products. Opportunity can also be quantified by multiplying the number of qualified leads by the amount of your average sale.

Brand Affinity
: Understand the impact of an event on your brand. This may include a measure of awareness, loyalty and/or satisfaction with the brand – which is usually quantified by attendees’ willingness to recommend a brand.

Relationship Strength
: Event marketers know live experiences are the most effective way to build and strengthen relationships. Measure the quality and strength relationships – particularly with existing customers – as a result of participation in your event by asking attendees to rate how the experience impacted their behaviors, feelings and perceptions.

Experience Quality
: Measure attendees’ perception of the quality of their experience – from demonstrations and the exhibit/event design to the value of information received and the ability to accomplish their goals through attending the event.

Capturing experience quality data is critical to identifying improvements to make in areas like content, staff, design or other elements. Quantify by asking questions such as:

  • How would you rate the quality of the interaction with event staff?
  • How would you rate the clarity of the exhibit signage?
  • How would you rate the relevance of session content?

DON’T: Forget to Measure Return on Opportunity (ROO)

Events contribute to sales – or at least accelerate movement through the sales funnel. However, as a financial calculation, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to say Return on Investment (ROI), or a specific sale, resulted from attendance at an event.

For a more holistic view, measure ROO. ROO quantifies the extent to which your events are instrumental in:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Accelerating anticipated timeframe for purchase
  • Improving customer loyalty and likelihood to recommend

DON’T: Just Set it and Forget it

Once the event is over, create a post-event report and analyze the total event impact across pipeline opportunity, brand affinity, relationship quality and experience quality. Translate those results into insights, and turn those insights into recommendations for future improvements.

Companies that put data at the center of their marketing and sales decisions experience a 15-20 percent increase in Marketing Return on Investment (MROI).

Remember: you aren’t collecting data because it’s interesting. You’re collecting data to prove you’ve made a business impact and gain insights to make an even bigger impact next time.