Want to create live events that have maximum attendance, minimal operational inefficiencies, and are on point with the latest trends? While data alone cannot promise that you will orchestrate the perfect event, it is one tool that can help make it better. When it comes to event management, collecting relevant data and analyzing it in the correct way can improve your event immensely. If you feel like you are not using data to your full advantage don’t worry, only about 16% of event planners said in a survey last year that they feel like they are on top of their data reporting and analysis.
Today, thanks to advanced event management software, more data is available than ever before. Historically, ticket sales were the main source of information. This is a simple data point that can demonstrate the success of an event if sales volume met expectations. While this information is important, it provides no insight into what worked well and how success can be achieved again in the future. Collecting and analyzing data from various sources is essential to event management and marketing. Data allows for event organizers to measure the value of their event, optimize their marketing strategy, and plan future outstanding events. Investing in analytics can also pay off in a $13.01 return on investment for every dollar spent according to a study done by Nucleus Research.
Why Data is Important
Live event producers, brands, and event agencies can leverage data and analytics to create the best events they can. Knowing key information about your audience can allow you to optimize your event marketing strategy, prove an events value, and allow you to engineer better events in the future.
An event can prove how valuable it is in numerous ways. Overall ticket sales and revenue is one measure of value. Social media engagement and overall brand recognition are another. For sponsors, they want to know if they are getting their return on investment (ROI). In a survey done by eventsforce 74% of event planners collect data in order to determine ROI. Data from activation attendance and social media engagement can be used to calculate the ROI of a specific sponsorship. Even if an event is a failure, the data collected from it can prove to be valuable.
Data is helpful regardless of the success of an event because it can help with future events. Knowing what worked well, what audience it worked well with, and what can be changed for next time is important knowledge. It can be as simple as helping you to decide where and when to have your next event or as advanced as predicting what will be popular in the future. Predictive analytics can help you gain insights into trends so that you can stay one step ahead of your audience.
Event marketers need data in order to determine if their strategy is effective. Since companies spend $565 billion a year globally on marketing live events, it is important to make sure those dollars are being used in the right way. Knowing how to reach your audience is just as important as knowing what they want. Social media platforms provide an immense amount of data. Analyzing that data before an event takes place can be extremely useful. Ensuring that the correct message is reaching the right audience is essential to a successful marketing plan. By looking at who your audience is you can help to make sure your messaging is on track and make adjustments if needed. Posting at the right time and using the best channel is also essential when it comes to marketing your event. Evaluating engagement of different posts across different platforms can inform you if you are effectively connecting with your audience.
What Data Points are Most Useful, and How to Use Them
There are two kinds of data that can be collected: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative data can come in the form of feedback survey responses and reactions on social media. Quantitative data can come from ticket sales, event attendance, and online engagement. Both are important to the live events industry. Data can be collected using various methods before, during, and after the event. Event technology has massively improved data collection, making it easier than ever before to gather statistics. The key is to find what works best for your event. Today, data points gained from ticket sales, social media, event registration, online websites, mobile applications, conversations, and event management programs can provide an immense amount of beneficial information.
Ticket sales can give insight into whether the event is on track or not. This simple data point provides a quick “status report” of the event. More importantly, the information collected at the point of sale can prove to be very beneficial. Getting to know your attendees can help with the planning and marketing of the event. You can get to know your audience through ticket sales, event registration, and social media. Many social platforms have many tools to give you insights into who is engaging with your content. You can determine your audience from demographic information such as age, gender, occupation, or location. These raw numbers can provide information on popularity by group that can be used to compile various “personas” (e.g. millennials, baby boomers, young moms, retirees, etc.). Building a picture of the audience allows marketers to ensure they are targeting their efforts in the right way.
If sales aren’t tracking with what is expected, utilizing this information can help pivot the marketing strategy in the right direction. It is essential to make sure that your social media presence is targeting the correct audience and conveying the right message. With Facebook at 2.2 billion monthly active users, Instagram at 800 million monthly active users, and Twitter at 330 million monthly active users, there is a wealth of information that can be obtained. This can be achieved by studying the groups that your content engages with on various platforms. Also knowing when they are online and whether or not their response is positive or negative, can help you ensure you are using the right channels properly. Information from other mediums like online traffic and email blasts should be looked at as well. Lining up the data from several channels against each other can help determine what messaging is most effective.
A mobile application can also provide insight into what will be popular at the event. By allowing attendees to create their own schedule inside the app, organizers can get a preview into what will be heavily trafficked during the event. This allows you to plan for any capacity issues that may occur or give you a look at what needs more promotion beforehand. Comparing information provided by the app with actual attendance numbers at various sets can also reveal trends. Using iBeacon technology, these apps can track more data than ever before. iBeacon utilizes Bluetooth technology to allow apps to interact and track audiences. In the entertainment industry, popular music festivals like Bonnaroo have used this to gather information like average length of time spent in VIP, the most popular stage, or where people go immediately upon entry. They found that patrons spend 102.15 minutes in VIP, the most popular stage was the WHAT stage, and that 20% of app installs utilized the beacons. This information can supply you with event management solutions that can help improve operations and avoid headaches caused by long lines and other logistical issues.
Information can also be gathered from a webpage. Google Analytics is a free platform that allows you to gather useful data from your event’s online site. You can track who’s visiting the page, where are they visiting it from, how long they are staying on the page, whether they are purchasing an event ticket, and how they got to your page. How many people visit the page versus how many buy a ticket is known as a conversion rate. Utilizing data about those who click but don’t commit can help you target that demographic. By learning what platform is driving traffic to your site, you can focus your efforts on the right channel. For example, if you see that Facebook posts with videos are attracting more viewers to click on your page then you can alter your marketing spend to concentrate on that kind of posts. The data could also reveal that many are checking out the page via mobile. Another simple change could be adopting a mobile-optimized checkout process that makes it easier for users on a smartphone. This could help increase those who register by up to 50%.
Surveys are a tried and true method of collecting data during and after an event. This can capture what stood out to attendees by asking them what they remember, what was most enjoyable, what aspects they would change, and other questions. Surveys can be done using event technology or through human interaction. Conversations are a qualitative source that is often overlooked. Recording what feedback people have to give in person can provide you with valuable information. It can be as simple as asking attendees if they would return next year. In event sponsorship, the survey can be especially beneficial in determining how likely participants are to buy a product. Surveys are essential to maintaining and improving successful events. Event management software like Eventbrite even has a feature to automatically send surveys to attendees after the event, giving you one less item on your to-do list.
At the event, wearable technology is helping to revolutionize data collection. This is being achieved with the introduction of “smart” wristbands and badges using RFID (radio frequency identification). Gone are the days of manual tracking. With a simple flick of the wrist or flash of a badge, an attendee can provide valuable information to an event organizer. This can demonstrate which sponsorships, booths, or acts got the most traffic. Knowing what is popular can help with the planning of the event and it can also be used as leverage to attract more sponsorship dollars.
Data and Sponsorships
One of the most popular ways to use data is to provide sponsors with information as to the success of a brand activation. Participation at these activations can be measured in a number of ways. At the event, RFID can be used to quickly count the number of participants. If that is not available the traditional method of collecting information on tablets or sign up sheets can be used. From this data, reports can be created that demonstrate to sponsors the value of the activation.
You can also measure how your audience is reacting to your partnerships by observing data from sponsored posts, giveaways, and other interactions on social media. Engagement can also be derived from a sponsored hashtag. Setting up a social photo booth at the event is another way to collect data. A mobile app is another way to measure audience engagement. If a sponsor chooses to advertise in the event’s mobile app data such as clicks within the app, sign-ups on the app, and overall mobile app interaction can provide an insight into how the brand connected with the audience.
Surveys are another important source when it comes to providing the sponsorship with a measure of how beneficial the event was for them. Feedback on how likely brand recognition, engagement, and intent to purchase can all be derived from a survey. This data can be used to prove value to a sponsor and discover ways to improve for the next event.
How to Leverage Data for Future Events
Using predictive analytics can be immensely helpful for the execution of future events. Surveys are one the easiest ways to get direct feedback as to how attendees would like to see the event improved. Analyzing information from attendees like geographical information can indicate where to hold future events. This information can indicate what new markets would be most advantageous to break into by indicating where your audience already is. This can allow to plan more events or know where is best to hold your flagship event.
Another key data point that is helpful for the creation of future events is those who did not attend your event. Tools like Google Analytics can help you track who was interested but did not purchase a ticket. Social media posts during and after the event can also reveal the makeup of those who did not attend. Not only can you find out who, but you can also find out why by paying attention to what they are saying. This information is helpful so that you can know what market you need to target for your next event or make changes that will attract them. For example, if University students chose not to attend due to ticket prices then perhaps a student discount would be advantageous for attracting that market to your next event.
Predictive analytics can also help you decide what will be popular in the future. Historical data on platforms like Spotify or Soundcloud can be a good indicator of what musicians are rising in popularity. Analyzing past lineups of other popular events is another way that those in the entertainment industry can predict which artists might be best to include. By using data and analytics to stay one step ahead of your audience you can create memorable events that will have everyone talking.
Live event managers can leverage data and analytics in many ways. Collecting meaningful data and analyzing is important when it comes to proving an events worth, curating an event to the correct audience, promoting an event in the right way, and improving future events.