Event planners are well aware of the significance of an event's return on investment (ROI). When explaining to stakeholders why they should finance your event, the ROI is crucial. It is also vital for your attendees. While virtual events can be measured using the same principles as in-person events, virtual events are a bit different.
In this article, we'll look at some of the methods for calculating, evaluating, and measuring virtual event ROI, as well as how stakeholders — from your company to participants and sponsors to exhibitors — view ROI in virtual events. You can build successful virtual event experiences by first recognizing your stakeholders' demands and determining what they genuinely want from your events.
5 Tips on How to Measure Virtual Event ROI
The success of an online event can be measured in a variety of ways. Here are five tips on how to measure virtual event ROI:
1. Identify Your Virtual Event Goals
Like any other campaign or effort, the first stage in planning an event is to figure out what you want to accomplish. These objectives will differ based on the kind of event you're planning, the intended audience, and the stakeholders involved.
Setting specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals is the best way to establish whether a marketer obtains the targeted ROI. Here are the top five most common event objectives:
- To increase brand recognition
- To increase the influence of ideas
- To create new demand
- To boost customer loyalty and retention
- To influence income targets.
2. Set Virtual Event KPIs
You must explicitly define your key performance indicators (KPIs) to determine the ROI. Virtual event KPIs are measurements that can be used to determine how well an event went. The ideal time to establish actionable KPIs is during the planning phase. You can work with all your key stakeholders to figure out what results you want to attain.
KPIs can be defined depending on critical considerations, such as monetary investment and projected results. When it comes to KPIs, all stakeholders must agree on what they should be. Each stakeholder's event ROI is different, so it's critical to have a broad picture of it. As such, we'll look at their various points of view, which will guide the data you'll need to gather and evaluate.
- Your Organization: Individuals within your organization will evaluate how much time, effort, and resources they devote on their end. They will compare this to the number of participants, engagement during the event, and input from their stakeholders. Pre-engagement and post-engagement metrics should also be considered by your organization.
- Attendees: It's essential to consider how an attendee will determine whether your event was a good value for their time and money. In general, many people perform a calculation based on how much time they will allot for you, how they purchased a ticket, and, if applicable, how competitively it was priced. Attendees will also want to know if they will view the content once the event is over. These factors are weighed against what they experienced and whether they formed new meaningful connections and/or reinforced old ones.
- Sponsors: Nearly every sponsor will be searching for 'virtual stage time,' which virtual events can provide. They'll almost certainly inquire about attendance numbers, but it shouldn't be the only factor they consider. This is when you may have to assist them in recognizing the different options open to them.
- Exhibitors: Numbers of appointments, downloads, and inquiries all will be used as significant performance indicators for virtual exhibitors. However, exhibitors also should consider post-event inquiries.
- Speakers: ROI indicators similar to those considered by attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors are also important to speakers. For instance, they will consider whether the effort spent putting together their presentation is worth the charge, the brand building, or the likely inquiries that will result.
3. Create Your Virtual Event Budget (and Track Expenses)
It's critical to have a broad perspective of your budget strategy and vision before diving into the details of costs and earnings. Determine your virtual trade show, conference, or event's financial performance and how to assess it. This will differ based on the event's goals and characteristics. To assist you in creating an outline for your budget, thoroughly investigate those from past events and current industry trends. Keep in mind that actual costs may differ from forecasts and that expenses may fluctuate over time.
Make use of a spreadsheet. Since it allows for computations and exact itemization, it is still the most straightforward and thorough tool for creating a budget. Make a list of every aspect of the event that could cost money. Make a more precise budget by factoring in all expenses, big and little. Here are some considerations to think about:
- Platform provider: The digital platform provider is an integral part of any virtual event. Ensure that the platform you chose is compatible with the goals you have for the event.
- Team costs: A virtual event's success or failure depends on the event planning team. At every stage of the process, a committed and knowledgeable manager can offer expert assistance. The costs of hiring someone to help with hands-on support and structure, as well as manage the event, are an essential and reasonable expense.
- Promotions and marketing: This will account for a significant portion of your expenses. One of the first tasks in event promotion is to create a registration and landing page. Your budget should allow for effective promotional activities, which can be done via social media platforms, relevant influencers, email marketing, and press releases, among other things.
4. Choose the Right Virtual Event Platform
There are a plethora of platforms for virtual events available. However, what appears to be a perfect option for one event may not be suitable for another. Here are some of the things you need to consider:
- End-to-end event management: On one hand, you'll need a system to keep track of invitations, registrations, agendas, and payments. On the other hand, you'll want one that lets you gather all of your attendees' information in one spot. So, investing in a solution that allows you to accomplish all of this and provide the virtual event platform stands to reason.
- Ease of use: You, as the organizer, want a straightforward platform to use and set up. Simultaneously, you want to ensure that it has a sleek, user-friendly design that makes things simple for your attendees.
- Customizability: There are numerous things to consider here, but branding is among the most significant aspects of customizing. Having your organization's identity and messaging integrated across the virtual event platform will allow your participants to have an experience that is more consistent.
- Support live and on-demand content delivery: It's essential that your virtual event platform lets you broadcast both pre-recorded and live material, such as keynotes, panel discussions, debates, and workshops. Additionally, having a platform that provides playback of all your live and pre-recorded material and making it accessible for on-demand viewing after the session or event has ended is also helpful. It increases the longevity of your material and makes it accessible to individuals who weren't able to attend.
- Audience engagement tools: When selecting the best platform for your event, be sure to inquire about the resources available to you to help engage your online guests. Consider features like Q&As, live polls, social sharing, and quizzes, as well as forums, chat rooms, and virtual breakout sessions.
- Data management and analytics: It's critical to understand what kind of data your virtual event platform can gather and generate and that the data is kept protected and secure.
To make comparisons between virtual event platforms easier, AMP has compiled a chart that allows you to see the differences between the most popular platforms available on the market.5. Analyze the Results of Your Virtual Event
Almost anything that happens in a virtual event can be recorded, evaluated, and reported. Being able to trace every motion, click, and action made by attendees within a virtual event platform may provide you with a wealth of data. Here are the common types of virtual event data and the insights you can glean from them:
- Demographics: Gathering this type of pre-event data will provide you with a plethora of data to enter into your CRM so you can segment your market more efficiently after the event.
Virtual Sessions and Content:
- Unique visitors: This indicator reflects how many people showed up for a specific session.
- Dwell time: This indicator measures how long a person stayed in a session.
- Average content and presenter ratings: You can get more genuine, real-time event feedback regarding whether the content is engaging or the speakers are effective by asking event participants to rate the content and the presenters during the session.
- Public chat: During sessions, keeping an eye on any aggregated data from public chat messages can reveal plenty of information on the themes that your audience is engaged in.
Virtual Attendee Engagement:
- Average session attendance: This number indicates how many unique visitors check into each session on average.
- Chat messages: Monitoring average chat messages per participant may reveal how engaged people were with your event as a whole.
- Social activity: To determine overall engagement, look at the number of messages left on your event's social wall.
Virtual Networking Activity:
- Networking session attendance: Look at the highest-attended networking sessions to see which ones were the most popular.
- Valuable connections: The overall number of one-on-one chat conversations and video calls that occur during your event may provide insight into how successful your networking matching is and whether or not you need to improve your networking questions.
How AMP Event Group Helps Ensure Virtual Event Success
To help you run a successful event, hire a virtual event producer with a proven track record of experience in online events. With the growing need for high-quality virtual productions that can transport a whole event to people's homes, AMP Event Group has the technical knowledge and skills your virtual events require. We have the necessary expertise to ensure your success, from virtual conferences to virtual trade shows and live streams.
For more tips on measuring virtual event ROI, contact the pros at AMP Event Group today.