One of the major benefits of online marketing versus the more traditional ways of promoting your event – handing out flyers, hanging posters in bars etc. – is that in the online world, everything is measured: every interaction a prospect has with your brand and your various marketing efforts is tracked, stored and can later be analysed to improve the way you run and market events.
In event marketing, this data can be a major asset, and can help you learn and optimise every part of your operations before, during and after events. Below we’ve prepared a quick guide which can be your entry point into the world of crunching event marketing data. Let’s jump right in!
Event marketing analytics refers to the variety of tools and techniques you use to extract insights from the data you collect while promoting an event online – such as attendee demographics, advertising costs, and the way fans interact with your social media profile or website.
Today there are plenty of tools that make it fairly easy to stay on top of your marketing data, and you don’t have to be a full-blown data analyst to reap the benefits of analytics. However, if you’re the kind of person who faints at the site of an Excel sheet, you’re going to need to adjust your mindset – you will need to start thinking in numbers and be willing to put in the time to learn some new terminology, and how to work with various marketing analytics tools.
Let’s start with the pressing questions of ‘what’s the point?’ and ‘why bother?’
Goals of Data Analytics for Event Marketers
Why even bother getting into all this data stuff when you’ve got events to run? Because the rewards are real: data can help you sell more tickets, run better events and make more money off of them. Here are just a few things you can accomplish by adopting a data-driven approach to your event marketing:
- Selling more tickets: Understanding your sales and marketing data can help you make decisions that directly impact the number of tickets you sell. This could mean basic steps such as lowering prices or launching a flash sale if you’re not managing to fill seats, to more complex processes such as identifying new target audiences to market to. We haven’t met many event organisers who wanted to sell less tickets, so this is obviously a big one.
- Less guesswork, more hard facts: Gut instincts and intuition shouldn’t be entirely disregarded (more on that later), but data can really help you focus and gain a clear understanding of what’s working and what isn’t. You’d be surprised to discover how many of the things we take for granted turn out to be inaccurate when they are actually measured.
- Make smarter decisions with your marketing budgets: The digital world offers you ample channels for promoting your events online – from handouts to social media to email. However, when you’re running campaigns on several of these channels at the same time, it’s important to keep track of the sources that are actually generating sales or awareness, and how much they’re costing you. Having this knowledge can help you decide where to increase or decrease your investment, both for the current event and for the next ones.
- Run better events by improving the experience for attendees: The insights you can get from data might be forward-facing, and help run a better festival or event next time. By tapping into data related to your audience – such as demographic information, interests and Spotify playlists – you can gain a deeper understanding of the performances and activities that they would enjoy, and introduce them at your next event.
Getting the Terminology Down
Now that you understand what event marketing analytics can do for you, hopefully you’re are at least somewhat excited to get started. The best place to begin is to understand a few common terms that will repeat across almost every channel and analytics tool you’ll be using:
- Impressions / reach: refers to a user being exposed to your ad or update. In Facebook, this could mean seeing one of your regular or sponsored posts appear; in Google, it means your website popped up in the search results. In both cases, an impression is tracked, regardless of whether the user actually clicked on your content or interacted with it in any way.
- Click: Refers to a user clicking on one of your ads or updates. This would usually lead to the user being sent to your website, a landing page, or your Facebook event page. The click-through ratio (CTR) is the number of clicks divided by the number of impressions, which shows the ratio of users who clicked on your content versus those who ignored it.
- Conversion: A conversion occurs when a user completes a predetermined goal. The classic type of conversion at events is purchasing a ticket, but in some cases you might want to be tracking other behaviours such as registering for an email list.
- Engagement: There are slight variations between different social networks, but generally engagement refers to a user interacting with one of your social media updates in any way – such as commenting, sharing, or opening a picture or video.
- CPC: Cost-per-click – how much you paid each time a user clicked on one of your ads or sponsored updates.
- CPM: Cost-per-thousand – how much you paid each time 1000 users were exposed to your content (1000 impressions). Most advertising platforms will charge you either for CPM or CPC, and often you will have the ability to determine which of these you prefer.
There are plenty of other marketing and analytics terms you might run into, but you should definitely make sure you’re familiar with the ones above because every campaign you’re going to run will be measured according to one or more of them.
For example, let’s say you’re running a paid advertising campaign on Facebook, wherein you’re selling last-minute tickets to your event to via sponsored timeline updates. The data you’ll be probably want to focus on would be ticket sales conversions, which you will want to increase, versus the CPC and total cost of the campaign, which you will want to keep to a minimum.
For another campaign, you might not be selling tickets quite yet but rather trying to build awareness and get people to follow your page for further updates. In that case, you’ll be focusing on engagement, reach and sign-up conversions; this type of campaign might be CPM, so you should focus on keeping that number down, and be able to compare it with the CPM of similar campaigns.
Analytics Tools You Should Get to Know
Now that you have some idea of the metrics you’ll be looking at, let’s talk about the platforms you’ll be using to do so. Unfortunately here there is no single tool that can manage all of your event marketing data, which will be dispersed between the various platforms you’re using to promote your event – Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc. The good news is that a lot of these platforms are pretty similar to each other, and once you’ve gotten the hang of one you should be able to quickly pick up the others as well.
(If you have a larger budget, you can look into some social media dashboard tools, but these types of solutions tend to be fairly expensive and complex from our experience – so unless you’re looking at agency-level campaigns in terms of scale, we wouldn’t bother)
These are the basic tools and platforms where you’ll be analyzing event marketing data:
- Google Analytics: If you have a WWW website (as opposed to just a Facebook page, for example), Google Analytics is going to be your friend. It’s a tool Google provides for free as long as you don’t have really massive amounts of traffic, and it’s a game-changer for understanding who visitors to your website are and how they interact with it: in Google Analytics you can see where traffic is coming from, how each source is performing, demographic information about visitors and more.
- Google Adwords: If you’re doing search engine or display advertising on Google, you’ll also want to get familiar with Adwords, which is Google’s advertising platform, and contains data related to paid ads you ran on Google search, the Google Display Network (banner ads on websites), and Youtube.
- Social media analytics: Each social network has its own reporting platform: Facebook / Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics. These will be limited to the way users on that particular social network are are interacting with the content you post on there, how many people are actually seeing your content, and how your paid advertising is performing.
- Audiencetools – Yeah, we’re recommending ourselves, but that’s because we give you really awesome data insights you can’t get anywhere else – including the tracks your attendees were listening to on Spotify, other events they’re attending and more. To learn more, check out our page on Audience Intelligence – the event marketing analytics platform by Audiencetools.
- Excel / Google Sheets: Some basic number-crunching in spreadsheets is likely to be unavoidable if you’re going a bit deeper data analysis – for example, if you’re comparing costs from Facebook vs costs from Twitter. These tools aren’t sexy but they get the job done, and there are plenty of tutorials and resources online for both of them in case you get stuck. Besides, being good at Excel is a useful skill to have in any business, and for life in general (e.g. to manage your personal finances).
We’re going to publish detailed articles about most of these, but for now you should keep in mind that these are the likely places you’re going to find and analyse your event marketing data. Depending on the types of events you run and the channels you use to promote them, you should start diving deeper into use these tools and learn how to answer questions about your data.
And speaking of questions, let’s look at what you might be asking about your data, and where you can find the answers.
Examples of Questions You Can Answer with Data
Which promotion channel is the most effective for selling tickets to my events?
This is often the most basic thing you’ll want to know if you’re promoting your event on multiple channels (and you almost always are). With data, you’ll be able to see how much you spent on each channel, and on the various campaigns you ran across these channels, as well as the number of sales conversions that were generated as a result.
You can use Google Analytics if you’re directing all traffic to a sales website; if you’re also selling directly on Facebook or elsewhere you should take that into account and compare this channel to the others based on the same metrics (Excel / Google Sheets can be helpful here).
How does my audience respond to various creatives?
If you’re running more than one type of promotion, the ability to see how many people are clicking on any certain ad, and how many of these people end up buying tickets, can teach you a lot about what your audience tends to respond to. This information will help you create more effective campaigns in the future.
You can use the Audiencetools Campaign Builder to tag traffic coming in from each campaign or ad. These tags will then be used to track these items Google Analytics, which in turn will let you easily compare the conversion and engagement metrics for your various creatives.
Which artists and other events are my fans interested in?
If you’re using Audience Intelligence and enable fans to sign up for pre-sales or book tickets using their Spotify accounts, you can collect valuable data insights in the process. The most exciting of these is to see aggregate data regarding attendee’s Spotify playlists (with their permission, of course).
This data can be a powerful tool to set your next line-up, give you visibility into trends and shifts in artists’ popularity, or just to understand who your audience is and how to advertise to them.
Thanks to the abundance of digital marketing tools currently available, using data to improve your event marketing has never been easier. It still takes some work to get to know all the various platforms and tools – but if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and get into the numbers, you’ll gain a major edge over other promoters.
We’ll be covering all of the topics we touched upon in this article much more in-depth in future articles, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check out these examples of event marketing done right.