19 virtual event success metrics you should be measuring

Virtual event success metrics shown on desktop and app

Virtual event success metrics give you detailed insights into what your event has achieved. With the rise of virtual events and the tech that comes with them, we can now gather and analyze more event metrics than we ever thought possible.

Gone are the days when in-person events were a free-for-all with nothing but attendee numbers and a few email addresses.

With today’s virtual event platforms and their built-in analytics, we can use event metrics to track almost every interaction between attendees, speakers, and vendors. This increased level of data not only helps event planners improve their event’s messaging, effectiveness, and user experience, but it also helps them quantify both their event and business’ success.

The question is how to measure event success. In this article, we’re offering you insights into the 19 virtual event success metrics to track at your next event.

Set clear event KPIs to accurately measure virtual event success metrics

First things first! 

Before deciding on which virtual event success metrics to measure, you need to clearly define your goals. Also known as virtual event KPIs (key performance indicators). This should happen early on in the event planning stage.

Virtual event KPIs help you understand how to measure your event success. For example, one of the most common virtual event KPIs is the number of registrations compared to the number of people who attended your event.

If your KPI is to increase the use of your event app, you can track event metrics including sign-ins, engagements, time spent on the app, and frequency of use.

Whereas, if your KPI is to boost engagement, use the event metrics live polling response rate and the number of chat messages exchanged.

Once you know your goals, you can determine what virtual event success metrics will help you track them. Knowing what event KPIs you need to analyze will also help you determine which event tech and software you need to help you gather the event metrics you want. 

Virtual event success metrics growth chart

Virtual event success metrics to track before your event

Event metric #1) Number of registrations

One of the easiest virtual event success metrics to track is the number of people who sign up for your event. It’s a great way to understand how effective your landing page and marketing campaigns are.

Plus, you can use this event metric to track lead generation. Those who sign up for your event become leads for your business. Even if they don’t make it to your event, you can still nurture them down your marketing funnel.

Another way to use this virtual event success metric is to understand how much interest people are showing in your topic. If the number of people who have registered is lower than expected, perhaps this isn’t a topic that appeals to your target audience. And so it may be a topic to avoid in the future. On the other hand, if the number of people who have registered is higher than expected, your topic could be one that you need to include more in your future content and event planning.

It’s always important to compare registration numbers to attendance numbers. More often than not, you’ll have a higher number of people registering than attending. But this event metric really shows how well you managed to intrigue your audience and persuade them to attend.

If you’re a life science company looking for the metrics you should be tracking at your pharma events, check out HCP engagement: emerging trends, success metrics, and omnichannel strategies.

Event metric #2) Email open and click-through rate (CTR)

Email marketing is the most important tool for driving registrations for your event. But do you know how to measure event success with it? Simply track email open and click-through rates (CTR).

Email open rates show you when a recipient has opened their email. CTR tracks how many people clicked on a link within that email.

For instance, you sent 1,000 event registration emails, of which 400 were opened. Within those 400 emails opened, 200 people clicked on the event registration link. Of those 200 links clicked, 100 people actually registered for your event.

This event metric tells you that you have 900 people who will need another reminder email so they can click the registration link and register for your event.

Knowing which people opened your email and registered is a crucial virtual event success metric to monitor so you can boost registration rates. Luckily, email open and CTR are standard features on most email marketing automation platforms.

Pro Tip: Don’t be shy when it comes to sending reminder emails. Sending 4 to 5 reminder emails might seem like a lot, but emails are easily buried and overlooked.

Looking for more ways to solidify your event’s success? Check out 5 Ways to Maximize Your Webinar ROI [+ Key Metrics to Evaluate]

Event metric #3) Accounts influenced (for B2B Marketers)

Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, your event KPI is most likely to attract either new customers or higher-ups at companies (for new accounts) that you’d like to do business with.

That means that a virtual event success metric to monitor is the source of your attendees. An easy way of determining this is by asking them on your registration page. Add questions such as “What company do you work for?” and “What’s your role in the company?” 

If there’s a vendor, company, or person that attended your event that you want to work with in the future, take notice and use their attendance as a talking point for further engagement.

Pro Tip: You can also check email registration lists to see if attendees used their company’s email address to determine where they work.

Event metric #4) Social media engagement

Social media is one of the most effective channels to reach people. But, it’s also a great source of virtual event success metrics to understand how effective your event communication is. You can easily look at social media analytics from your company page.

Check how many people start following you once you advertise your event. This could indicate an increase in interest. And monitor how many people are liking, tagging, sharing, and reposting your posts about your upcoming event.

Although these event metrics are useful indicators, it’s also key to focus on what people are writing about your event in their comments. They will give you qualitative data you can use to make some changes to your upcoming event or improve future events.

You can even create an event hashtag before your event to increase its reach and engagement on social media. This way, you can track how many people are using the event hashtag too.

Virtual event success metrics to track during your event

Event Metric #5) Event attendance

A virtual event success metric that every event marketer should track is how many people attended the event. These data, when combined with other event metrics, like check-ins, follow-ups, sales, and others mentioned in this list, give you a clear picture of how successful your event was.

Event attendance tracking also helps you determine your event’s return on investment (ROI). For instance, calculate the expenses of your event and divide it by the number of people who attended to give you a rough estimate of how much you spent on each person.

Using event attendance as a virtual event success metric also helps you gauge how effective your marketing and communication efforts were in spreading the word to your audience.

Many virtual event apps feature built-in registration pages and check-in pages that automatically populate a spreadsheet filled with user data, so you have an accurate attendance count.

Event metric #6) Returning participants

If you see participants that you’ve seen before at your events, this can only be fantastic news! That means they like your content and the event experiences you give them. You’ve clearly given them something valuable in the past that they want to get more of.

This is an important virtual event success metric to track if you are trying to increase your brand loyalty.

Gather data and analyze this list of participants to understand your target audience better. And build your future events based on these event metrics.

These participants are already making their way through your marketing funnel. So, if you create events that continue to please them and keep them coming back for more, the likelihood of them converting gets higher and higher.

Seaching for event marketing strategies for your next virtual event? See 12 virtual event marketing strategies you need to succeed.

Event metric #7) Engagement rate

Attendees who are participating and interacting with each other are actively engaged, and it’s a clear indicator that your event is going great. So this is a key virtual event success metric to track. Especially if your virtual event KPI is to boost engagement.

By tracking different forms of engagement, you can narrow down specifically what your guests liked and didn’t like during your event, which will help you refine your events going forward and possibly your product or service.

Tracking engagement can involve many different sets of data and event metrics. For example, you can track speaker engagement by viewing how much “applause” or survey/poll responses each speaker got. Speakers who resonate most with your audience will garner the most praise, interactions, and attendance. 

You can track user engagements to determine which attendees were the most active during your event. Tracking the number of posts and comments a user left on a live feed, the amount of time spent on the app, or the number of sessions viewed helps you understand what captured their attention, and what didn’t.

These virtual event success metrics are useful for your salespeople who are contacting leads after the event. If they know a guest spent a lot of time participating, they’ll probably be more receptive to your sales offers.

Pro Tip: Take it one step further and analyze your live webinar call to action (CTA) click-through rate. If it was high, take note of what you did right. If it was low, how could you improve setting up your CTA or offer included in it?

Person monitoring virtual event success metrics on mobile

Event metric #8) Live polling response rate

Speakers should poll their audience frequently during a virtual event. Why? Because it’s easier for guests at home to get distracted and become unengaged. Maybe instead of watching the session, the attendee is watching Netflix or checking social media.

However, by polling the audience regularly, the speaker creates a back-and-forth conversation, gathering feedback that makes the guest feel important, and understood, and also steers the speaker in a positive direction that will create further engagement.

This virtual event success metric helps event hosts and planners understand how interesting their speakers are, and how interested their guests are.

Pro Tip: Session speakers should poll their audience at least every 20 minutes to reduce attendee “drop off”.

Event metric #9) Number of chat messages

We’ve all watched live streams on YouTube with chat messages appearing every few seconds. We know it’s a sign of high engagement. So, make sure you monitor this event metric at your virtual events. It’s easy to see how many people are interacting within your chat. 

Clearly, if participants are sending a lot of messages, that’s a positive thing. If people are talking about the event while it’s happening and seeing other people’s comments pop up, they will more likely stay engaged for a longer period of time.

This is another vital virtual event success metric to measure if your event KPI is to increase engagement.

Pro tip: If participants bring up a subject that you don’t cover in your event, it could be great content to use in the future. Especially if more than one participant mentions it. So, make a note and keep it somewhere safe.

Event metric #10) Session popularity and analytics

You’ll want to know what your most popular and least popular sessions were so you can understand what topics and formats resonated the most with your audience, and which fell flat. These virtual event success metrics help you continually improve your event’s messaging and scheduling, so you can repeat your successes and avoid irrelevant topics.

Common session KPIs include the number of people who watched the event, the time spent watching, and the number of page views.

As we mentioned before, another virtual event success metrics to track is which attendees watched each session. This helps you better understand each guest’s preferences and interests. Knowing what your attendees’ interests are will help you sell to them later.

Event metric #11) Event app adoption rate

Event apps have become indispensable tools for hosting virtual, hybrid, and traditional events. For virtual events, these apps become the actual venue itself, replacing the physical space.

Event apps allow your guests to attend and participate from anywhere with access to the internet and a computer, tablet, or smartphone, which improves your event attendance.

These apps also act as the central hub for your event. This allows a quick and easy way to notify guests of upcoming agenda changes, send reminders, add promotions, fill out surveys, and offer more engagement and messaging options.

For these reasons, a crucial virtual event success metric to track is your event’s app adoption rate. This can include bonus event metrics such as sign-ins, engagements, time spent on the app, frequency of use, etc.

Virtual event success metrics to track after your event

Event metric #12) Website traffic

By analyzing your website traffic after your event, you may see how effective your event was. If you notice an increase in website visits, it may indicate people are searching for you after your event. Especially from people searching for your brand keywords and the non-branded keywords you used at your event.

It’s better to use UTMs to track website traffic that comes directly from your event. Of course, that prevents any assumptions and you’re able to see the immediate impact of your event.

To help boost this virtual event success metric, make sure you have a detailed event page that includes your keywords and information about your topics, speakers, and more. Give the participants who choose to visit your website after the event the value they’re looking for.

Event metric #13) Net Promoter Score (NPS)

You’ve often seen this question on a survey, “How likely are you to recommend this event to your friends and colleagues on a scale of 1 to 10?”

Ideally, you’ll want to receive a 9 or 10. Anything less than that is an indicator that your attendee wasn’t sufficiently engaged during your event. A 7 or 8 rating is neutral and isn’t considered when calculating your Net Promoter Score. Any rating between 1-6 is negative.

To determine your Net Promoter Score, take the percentage of positive responses (9s and 10s) and subtract the percentage of negative responses (1-6s). Again, ignore the percentage of neutral ratings (the 7s and 8s).

This is a simple virtual event success metric to track numerically. Although, we also recommend asking your participants for written answers to understand why they would or wouldn’t recommend your event. This qualitative event metric gives you more information to help you improve future events.

Pro Tip: With virtual event platforms, gathering this event metric can easily be done in the form of a survey.

Looking for a new virtual event platform? Check out our virtual event platform comparison chart to read about some of the best solutions out there.

Event metric #14) Attendee to sales qualified lead (SQL) conversion

How many of your attendees are actually interested in purchasing your products and services? How many aren’t? Knowing what makes a lead qualified or not is necessary to improve revenue and attract the right attendees to your event.

Simply put, sales qualified leads (SQL) are people who attended your event and are “sales-ready.”

These people checked all the right boxes of desired traits and actions that seem to be a good fit for your sales team to reach out to – they attended the event, participated, watched several sessions, and filled out many surveys. Odds are, they want what you’re selling.

However, if your attendees don’t participate, don’t watch sessions, and only log in once, they aren’t highly qualified, and probably won’t be interested in further engagement from your company. 

Tracking user engagement rates will help you determine your lead quality for higher attendee-to-SQL conversion. Therefore, this is another important virtual event success metric to measure.

Check out Sales and Marketing Alignment: How To Bring Them Together In Your Virtual Event Strategy to ensure both teams are on the same page for all of your events.

Event metric #15) Cost per attendee/customer acquisition

You can’t calculate your event’s ROI without understanding your cost per attendee or cost per customer acquisition.

Simply put, how much money did you spend on planning, marketing, and running the event, versus the amount you got back from new sales or new impressions/attendees?

Tracking this virtual event success metric is simple: calculate the amount spent on the event and divide that by the number of people who attended.

However, when it comes to tracking customers, it gets a bit trickier. Did your guest turn into a customer during the event, immediately after, or did they become a customer months after attending? Tracking event attendance can help answer these questions to give you a more accurate ratio.

Pro Tip: Always ask for a referral source when making your sale with a new customer. Perhaps they attended your event last year or heard about your event from a colleague who attended. You can use this information to update your cost-per-customer acquisition ratio.

Someone calculating event ROI using a set of scales

Event metric #16) Live webinar drop-off rate

The longer people watch your webinar, the more interested they are. If they watched the entire presentation, they’re probably very interested! 

On average, most live webinars receive a 46% drop-off rate, meaning that slightly under half the people that tune in end up leaving before the webinar has finished. 

Many virtual platforms’ analytics allow you to see how long visitors spent on your webinar and the precise moment when they dropped off. 

With enough user data, you can pinpoint the specific topics and reasons why people began dropping off. Using these virtual event success metrics, you can craft a new webinar that avoids the pitfalls of your previous one to lower drop-off rates and improve your conversion rates.

Event metric #17) Post-event surveys 

Post-event surveys help you track your event and brand’s sentiment – how attendees actually feel about your event and your company. Sentiment should not be overlooked, even if it isn’t a virtual event success metric that neatly converts into a monetary value.

Post-event surveys are a good opportunity to determine your Net Promoter Score and gather feedback that will help improve your event and its marketing efforts moving forward.

Event metric #18) On-demand content engagement

Turning your live event content into on-demand content is a simple way to allow those who couldn’t attend to engage with your event. This will boost your brand’s reputation as one that is mindful of people’s time.

If the number of on-demand viewers is high, this is a virtual event success metric that proves your event was a success. Especially if the number of applause people give while watching the event increases.

You may also add downloadable content from your event to your on-demand content hub. And here, you can monitor the number of downloads people carry out to understand the content’s value for consumers. 

Event metric #19) Revenue made

You’ll have started out planning your event with a budget and with a financial objective. In the end, a lot of events are about engaging audiences much as possible but are also about making a profit in some way. So, this is a virtual event success metric that is crucial to calculate.

To assess how much revenue you managed to make, you could add up the number of tickets you sold and the money you got from sponsorships. 

How to measure event success

Measure your virtual event success metrics with a data-driven marketing events management solution

SpotMe is an interactivity-rich virtual event platform with a built-in analytics tool to give you all the event metrics your team will need to measure your next event’s success. Tracking user engagement activity with SpotMe is simple.

Our analytics dashboard provides quick access to important high-level analytics for virtual event KPIs such as event attendance, user engagement, polling responses, session popularity, drop-off rates, and more!

Analyzing these virtual event success metrics helps you better understand your users’ behaviors and learn how popular your sponsors, speakers, and content were so that you can continuously improve your events and delivery methods. Plus, these event metrics can help you improve your year-over-year event growth and business success.

Ready to take the next step in capitalizing on your event’s success? Be sure to read our guide to Building a Lead Generation System in 2021 – Incorporating Webinars and Other Virtual Events.

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