There are a variety of event metrics you should track in order to sell more tickets and to ensure your event will be a success. Fortunately, with the right tools and ticketing software, you can collect and analyze large amounts of data related to the success of your event in a short amount of time. With this data, you can make critical decisions that directly affect ticket sales and more.
What Do You Want to Learn?
Before you can decide what data you need to access in order to calculate specific event metrics, you need to determine what you want to learn. However, for some event organizers, the question, “What do you want to learn?” creates a big obstacle. If you’re not a full time event organizer or haven’t been formally trained in event planning, then you might not know what you need to learn.
The easiest way to think about what you want to learn from the data that is available to you is to tie everything back to your ultimate goal. Ask yourself what your goal is for holding the event. Is it to make money, generate donations for a charity, build a list of sales leads (for a business event), or something else?
If your purpose for holding an event is simply to make people happy, that’s great. Your goal would be to break even (unless you’re okay with losing money on the event) and have happy attendees. You might even have a goal for people to talk about how much they loved the event online afterwards. For each of these goals, you’ll need to track a different set of metrics to see if you’re on the right path to achieving them as the event approaches as well as when it’s over.
10 Questions to Determine What Event Metrics to Analyze
Data and event metrics can help you before your event to make sure you’re on track to reach your goals. However, identifying specific metrics to analyze requires asking yourself some questions to determine what data would be most helpful in determining if you’re on or off track.
The 10 questions posed below will help you get started in identifying what data you need to collect and which event metrics you should analyze. With this data in hand, you’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments before it’s too late to ensure your event is successful.
1. Are we selling enough tickets?
If you need to make a profit from ticket sales or break even to cover your expenses, then you need to know if you’re selling enough tickets to reach your goal. This is the most basic and most important question.
2. Are we selling tickets fast enough?
If you need to make a certain amount of money back to recoup your investments by a specific date before your event (for example, to pay the venue, an expensive vendor, or the performer prior to the event), then you need to know that you’re selling an adequate number of tickets quickly enough to hit that target.
3. Are our marketing investments driving a positive return on investment (ROI)?
Event marketing is a critical investment for any event, but if you’re investing money into marketing initiatives that aren’t helping you reach your goals, then you’re wasting money. It’s essential that you track the ROI for all of your marketing investments as well as the ROI for every specific marketing investment – down to the smallest ad or email campaign.
4. Which marketing initiatives are driving the highest ROI?
Not only do you need to know if your marketing investments are driving a positive ROI, but you also need to learn which are driving the highest ROI. With this information, you can decide if you’re getting the results you need from each of your investments, tweak those that need improved performance, and cancel those that are not working.
5. Is awareness of your event increasing?
People won’t come to your event if they don’t know about it, so generating awareness is critical. You can track awareness by analyzing unique visitors to your event website and ticket sales page and increased social media mentions and engagement.
6. Are enough people visiting the ticket sales page?
Without traffic to your ticket sales page, people won’t buy tickets to your event. You must track traffic to your ticket sales page to find out.
7. Are enough people who visit your ticket sales page buying tickets?
In addition to tracking visits to your ticket sales page, you should track visitors’ behaviors after they land on your ticket sales page to identify opportunities to convince people to buy tickets who don’t do so immediately.
8. Do we have a pipeline in place to capture interested people?
Most people don’t buy tickets the first time they visit your ticket sales page, so you need to have automated marketing in place to remind them about your event and motivate them to buy tickets at a later date. You can do this with retargeting ads and remarketing, including abandoned cart email marketing campaigns.
9. Is sentiment of your event positive?
Audience sentiment reflects people’s experiences with your event and feelings about it. In the months, weeks, and days leading up to your event, this sentiment is affected by people’s exposure to your marketing messages, the user experience on your website and ticket sales page, and interactions with your customer service representatives. If sentiment is negative and spreads across social media, it will directly affect your ticket sales, so you need to identify problems and address them as quickly as possible.
10. Is word-of-mouth marketing increasing?
You want people to talk about your event, and you want this word-of-mouth marketing to increase as your event gets closer. By tracking social media conversations, shared content related to your event, liked content about your event, and comments on your own content, you can see trends in word-of-mouth and quickly launch marketing campaigns to jump start conversations and sharing if needed.
Event Metrics You Should Be Tracking to Answer the Above Questions
There are many event metrics you can track, but the ones introduced below are particularly helpful in answering the 10 questions discussed above. With these metrics, you’ll be able to determine if you’re on track to achieve your overall event goals.
Cost per Unsold Ticket
What is the opportunity cost that you’re giving up if you don’t sell a ticket to your event? You can calculate this amount by adding your base venue cost, the artist cost, other fixed costs like sound and lighting, and any other expenses. If you don’t sell a ticket, you still have to pay these costs.
Cost per Sold Ticket
To calculate your cost per sold ticket, add your advertising and marketing costs to your costs for ushers, your box office, and so on. If you use AttendStar to sell tickets to your event, you can use the Profit and Loss Statement built into the software to calculate the cost per ticket sold and your profit per sold ticket. You can see an example of the Profit and Loss Statement in the image below.
[INSERT PROFIT AND LOSS STATEMENT IMAGE]
Cost per Ad Result
When you invest money in advertising, you need to calculate your cost per ad result based on average ticket order revenue. If you use AttendStar for your online ticketing, you can connect the AttendStar software to Facebook using the Facebook pixel as well as to other paid search advertising platforms like AdRoll and Google AdWords to track your advertising performance and collect the data you need to calculate cost per ad result.
Sales by Ticket Type
If you sell multiple ticket types, such as general admission, reserved seating, VIP seating, and so on, at different price points and profit margins, then you need to track sales by ticket type in order to maximize your revenue.
For example, if most people are buying a ticket type with your lowest profit margin, you might want to make some changes to try to increase your profit per customer. You could do this by modifying prices or ticket types, creating new ticket bundles, adding drink or food vouchers to ticket purchase, or pre-selling merchandise with tickets. You can do all of this through AttendStar for as many ticket types as you want.
If you send email messages to prior event attendees, a mailing list, or reminder messages to people who have asked to be reminded about your event as it gets closer using AttendStar’s Remind Me feature (available for events ticketed through the AttendStar ticketing platform), then you should track the sales generated from those messages.
Since email marketing to people on your email list is considered a way to promote your event to “warm” leads, meaning they’re already interested or likely to become interested in your event, this is an area where testing and tweaking can make a significant difference in conversions. However, you need to be tracking results and working to improve those results to benefit from it.
Total Revenue and Total Cost
Calculating total revenue and total cost are essential to determine if your event is successful or not. In fact, you should calculate this on a weekly or daily basis as your event draws nearer to confirm that you’re meeting your revenue and profit goals.
Sales per Ticket Sales Page Visit
Do you know how many people buy tickets to your event the first time they visit your ticket sales page? How about the second time or third time they visit? With this information, you can estimate future sales, so you can adjust your ad spend and more effectively invest your marketing budget. When you use AttendStar as your ticketing provider, the software integrates with Google Analytics so you can get this data quickly and easily.
Event Comparison Metrics
Another useful analysis you can do is to measure your event against your past events or similar events in similar markets. Doing this type of comparison can tell you if you’re on pace to sell enough tickets. It can also tell you if your event isn’t selling as well as similar events, so you can dive deeper and determine what those events did differently to achieve better results.
If you use AttendStar to ticket your events, you can do this comparison with your past events and with other events directly within the AttendStar software. That’s because AttendStar has ticketed thousands of events and makes comparison data anonymously available to you for benchmarking purposes.
Social Media Event Awareness and Reach
To track event awareness, you need to be able to track social media buzz. This includes tracking mentions of your event, conversations about your event, shares of content related to your event (whether it’s content you or someone else originally published), social posts that use your event hashtag, and any other form of engagement related to your event that happens on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and so on.You can track social media buzz using tools like Hootsuite or SproutSocial.
Media Event Awareness and Reach
Every mention of your event by a member of the media, whether it’s in a printed publication or online, equates to extended reach of your event brand. To quantify media mentions as an event metric, track which publications mentioned your brand and what their audience reach is. Next, calculate what it would cost to advertise your event in each publication to put a dollar value to that reach.
Your Next Step with Event Metrics
Data is critical to event success because it gives you the opportunity to make changes before your event that practically guarantee its success. However, if you’re not tracking event metrics, you risk not maximizing your revenue and not meeting your goals.