Necessity is the mother of invention. When event management platforms were created, one of the biggest reasons was the need to give experiential marketers the ability to measure returns on their event marketing investments.
After all, there’s an old adage that you cannot manage what you cannot measure. This is especially important if you, just like 41% of businesses, are planning to invest in event marketing as your primary marketing channel.
So, what’s equally as dangerous — or probably more dangerous — than not measuring event marketing performance?
It’s measuring the wrong things.
Imagine thinking that you’re doing the right thing because you have the numbers to prove it, not knowing that you’re blind to what’s happening in reality.
Welcome to the dangers of vanity metrics.
Vanity is a Deadly Sin in Event Marketing
Why are vanity metrics dangerous?
- It can cause a disconnect between what upper management is looking for versus what the marketing department is delivering
- It results in resource wastage since marketers will continue to invest money and time into campaigns they think are working but are not really moving the needle in terms of meeting business objectives
In reality, not paying attention to vanity metrics is easier said than done, especially because of how attention-grabbing they are. Who wouldn’t pay attention to 1,000,000 page views on your event registration page, right?
Here’s a quick caveat. These vanity metrics will never go away, also because they serve a purpose to some extent and complement other success indicators. However, there are other metrics that provide more actionable insights in terms of moving your event marketing campaigns in a positive direction.
What are the vanity metrics that you need to pay less attention to and what should you measuring in their place instead?
Vanity Metric #1: Number of Event Attendees
Of course, the main goal of your event is to drive registrations and ultimately, attendees. While you don’t want your events to appear like empty ghost towns, having a tsunami of attendees is also not the pinnacle of the event marketing metrics that you should be tracking.
Consider this metric as the closest equivalent of the number of page views that your websites get. It doesn’t matter if you’re getting thousands of visitors per day if they’re the wrong people and if your website is not converting.
What You Should Be Measuring More: Quality of Attendee Engagement
With today’s advanced event technology, there is really no excuse for you to not be able to measure what’s happening during your event. Some engagement metrics that you can now measure in real-time include:
- Most visited booths
- Length of time spent in each booth/event attraction/session/event content, etc.
- Number of networks formed among event participants
Paying more attention to engagement metrics instead focusing 100% on driving up the number of event attendees will give you a better idea of what steps to do in your next event. Plus, the more you figure out how to increase engagement, the more you will improve in increasing event registration, attendance, and participation.
Vanity Metric #2: Number of Facebook Event Fans
Social media marketing is important in the promotion of any event. It’s not uncommon for businesses to create a dedicated Facebook Page for every event they create. However, it is easy to get tangled into trying to get Facebook likes, not realizing that this is not as important as it was a few years ago.
It’s because Facebook engagement has been rapidly declining, about 20% on the average year after year. Of course, Facebook marketing is still an important aspect of promoting your events. However, Facebook Likes has become a vanity metric that you shouldn’t be focusing heavily on.
What You Should Be Measuring More: Event App Downloads
If you’re still not using event apps, you are missing a lot of opportunities to engage your audience before, during, and after the event. You’re unable to get valuable event data and you’re also robbing your event attendees of the best possible event experience.
Instead of focusing on getting more Facebook Likes for your event page, consider strategies to get registrants to download your mobile event app and use it during the event. If you can use Facebook as a platform to achieve this goal, that would be great. However, getting more Facebook Likes should no longer be the end-goal of any of your event marketing strategies.
Know Your Numbers, Grow Your Numbers
At the end of the day, measuring experiential marketing success is at the core of any successful experiential campaign. It’s the only way to prove to key stakeholders, leaders, and decision makers that experiential marketing could be a revenue driver for your business. There is, indeed, power in numbers. However, given the existence of vanity metrics and how easy it is to be consumed by them, this old adage could very well be revised so it reads there is power in the right numbers.