Measuring Event Success? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions

By Angie Jackson, courtesy of ITA Group

When it comes to measuring the success of an event, it’s imperative to plan ahead.

If the purpose of your event is to increase product knowledge, you can’t determine whether it was successful or not if you don’t gauge product knowledge before the event.

Not only will effective event measurement demonstrate achievement of goals and objectives, it will also give you invaluable insight as you begin to strategize the design of your next event.

That is, of course, only if you’re measuring the right success factors. Ask yourself these questions to identify the true metrics that guide your event toward success and prove event impact.

1. What event objectives are you planning to measure?

The objectives you’re planning to measure should directly relate to the overall goal of your event.

If the purpose of your event is to launch a new product, you’ll want to measure objectives related to brand exposure and product knowledge. Or if the purpose is to motivate your sales team, you’ll want to measure objectives related to event engagement and feelings of inspiration.

Here’s a list of potential key event success metrics to keep in mind—before, during and after:

  • Unique registrations
  • Qualified marketing and sales leads
  • Registrant conversion rate
  • Attendee conversion rate
  • Participant satisfaction
  • Training scores
  • Incremental sales
  • Online metrics (website visits, shares, likes, etc.)

2. What tools and systems can you leverage to support your event measurement plan?

Sales are the backbone of every business. And sales are also involved in many strategic events. That’s why it’s more important than ever to tie your customer relationship management software (CRM) to support your measurement plan. A CRM or marketing automation software will prove invaluable in securing the data your event needs.

But data is gathered through more places than just marketing and sales. Tech-centric tools and features, such as apps, RFID tracking, interactive attractions or other immersive experiences can not only give your participants an incredible experience but collect valuable data about their preferences that can be used to optimize the event.

3. When and how often are you going to measure event impact?

If you just measure progress once, you’re missing out on some incredible data. To best collect that data, make measurements at periodic intervals, rather than just once.

Whatever intervals you choose—three months out, two months out, a month out or weekly—make sure they’re standardized from event to event. This will provide more accurate benchmarks for the future.

4. How will you learn about what your event attendees liked?

You can’t just guess what it is about your event that your attendees really enjoyed. You have to really figure it out.

And the best way to do that? Just ask. Don’t underestimate the power of polling. Create a quick email survey and ask your attendees what they thought. Example questions include:

  • How satisfied were you with the event?
  • How useful did you find the information presented at the event?
  • Would you recommend it to a friend?
  • Are you likely to attend in the future?
  • How much have your professional skills improved because of this event?
  • How would you rate this event’s organization?
  • Was the event better, worse, or about what you expected?
  • What sponsors do you recall seeing at the event? (This question helps quantify and justify sponsor participation)

Survey and simply ask your attendees what they thought. What worked? What didn’t? You’ll be surprised at what you find out.

5. How will you repeat event success in the future?

Whatever you do, make your event measurement a cyclical process. Planning for after the event can feel like miles down the road, but be ready to act upon what you’ve learned.

After you’ve identified your goals and measured throughout the event, don’t let those results rot away in an Excel document. It’s time to take action with them.

How? There are two major avenues:

  • If you’re lucky enough to avert problems while on site, alter elements before they become a problem. (Do your attendees think the coffee tastes gross on the first morning? Swap it out for something better on day two.)
  • If you catch problems after your event is over, use what you learned to guide the strategy of your next event. (Do your attendees dislike/like the keynote speaker? Take their feedback and find someone new next time.


For the past 15 years, Angie Jackson has helped clients execute and analyze initiatives. As manager of the analytics and decision support team at ITA Group, Angie helps develop meaningful strategies and provides insight into the impact of customer engagement and incentives. You can find her on the tennis court, gardening, reading or at the lake with her family.