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Event Evaluation

Event evaluation is one of the toughest parts of event management. On the surface, it’s a simple question. Did the participants or attendees enjoy themselves? If yes, win. If no, do better next time. However, like everything in the event planning industry, it is much more complicated to properly evaluate an event than it may initially seem.

This page will hopefully show you the methods you can use to evaluate an event.

Post event evaluation

Measuring the success of any undertaking usually means comparing what happened to the original stated goals. This will be a mix of intangibles and tangibles and it’s your job to make sense of what you find and be honest about the outcome. This page will show you some of the ways you can perform event evaluation to deliver the data you need to judge it a success, or not.

Why you need to evaluate your event

Event evaluation is a lot of work and involves a lot of data, so why bother? As long as the sponsor is happy and everyone had a good time, that’s all that matters right?

Benefits for you

Post event evaluation allows you to assess how accurate your projections were across the board. It provides both tangible and intangible feedback you can take forward to your next event and can provide justification for your current sponsor to want to work with you again.

Benefits for the sponsor

Knowing exactly how successful an event was is equally important to the event sponsor. They need to have made a return on their investment. They need to have increased brand recognition, enhanced their brand profile, delivered on the event promises and created positive PR as a result. They may need to justify further events and event evaluation gives them the data to do that.

Learn more about the importance of event evaluation with our FREE Event Management Guide
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How to evaluate an event

You can evaluate an event in a number of ways. Each can deliver measurable KPIs as well as intangible feedback you can report on. Most corporate event attendees and those at trade shows expect some kind of feedback request when they attend. That will be either a live survey during the event, a post-event feedback form, a questionnaire within the event app or something else.

Non-corporate event attendees are not so used to this so it pays to warn them in advance that they may be asked for feedback. Again, you can use the event app, questionnaires, email questions, social media polls, live surveys or something else to gather data.

Here are some ways to collect data for use in post event evaluation.

Attendee feedback

Attendee feedback is a critical measure of the success of any event. Asking the people who attended will give you their impressions and feelings towards the event. You can collect this information using post-event surveys, questions over social media, email followups or something else.

Just be careful to phrase your questions carefully and compose the feedback so it can be quantified. For example, using a 1-10 scale for questions gives you measurable feedback you can use in reporting. Rather than ‘How did you feel the event went?’, ask ‘On a scale of 1 to 10, how successful do you think the event was?’ This makes it more measurable and is easier for participants to complete.

Social media activity

With the correct social media management tools, you can provide a range of measures depending on the criteria you set. For example, you can see how many times the name of the event or sponsor was tweeted or retweeted, how many people use social media check-ins, how many times your event hashtag was used, how many messages were sent mentioning the event name or sponsor and so many more.

You could take it further and use social media to give you the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is an important measure and can be used as part of attendee feedback or used separately. It is comprised of a single question ‘How likely on a scale of 1-10 are you to recommend this event to friends?’ Responses can be measured and used as part of your KPIs.

Profit and loss

For ticketed events, the amount of revenue generated versus the cost and projections is a tangible measure to use in event evaluation. It’s a black and white mathematical calculation of how well the event performed financially. While a one-dimensional measure, it is an essential one.

You should be looking at the projected costs versus actual costs, projected revenue versus actual revenue and actual costs versus actual revenue. You can take this a lot further but those three measures will give you an idea of how well your event performed.

Registrations and check-ins

Attendance numbers are a critical measure of the success of an event. The number of those that registered an interest, who bought tickets and who actually turned up will give you a good idea of just how well the event did. We mentioned social media check-ins earlier but in this context, this is physical check-ins at the gate or entrance.

This is a concrete measure of how many people turned up. The difference between the numbers of people who registered an interest versus those who attended and projected attendance versus actual attendance are both worth assessing.

Media mentions

Media attention is always good news for an event and measuring just how many times the event or sponsor was mentioned across all media channels can help with event evaluation. Tools such as Mention allow you to track digital media while offline and print media will have to be done by hand.

Knowing how far the word spread can tell you how effective your event marketing was and highlight any shortcomings for next time.

Want to find out more? Download our FREE Event Management Guide
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