49% of marketers told Markletic that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to a successful event. Therefore, you must ensure that participants enjoy your events and are likely to engage with your future events. Event feedback is how you determine this.
When hosting a CPD event, the planning doesn’t end during and after the event. While the event’s still ongoing, and after it’s ended, you can monitor feedback to gauge its success. One of your aims should be that your next event will only carry over the positive aspects of this event, and any problems don’t plague your attendees again.
So, if you organise CPD events, conferences, workshops etc. for your members, read the below article for 3 strategies to measure and learn from event feedback.
Before you use such strategies, you need to ensure that your event has a number of SMART objectives. Without these, your event feedback will just be a collection of numbers and words that doesn’t necessarily define how successful your event is compared to how successful it needed to be.
Once you’ve figured out what these SMART objectives will be, you can look at applying them to the 3 event feedback techniques below.
1. Viewing Time
One basic way of garnering how successful an event is, is by measuring how long participants spend in certain sessions, and how popular different sessions are. This is quite difficult to do systematically at in-person events, but we’re guessing that all or most of your 2022 events will be virtual, or at least hybrid with some virtual elements. Therefore, you can easily measure the viewing time of certain sessions/videos in your event, as a form of unconscious event feedback.
We’ve mentioned before that one of the key benefits of video content is that analytics can show which content users are viewing for longer. They might also show which one is being abandoned before being watched to the end. The same principle can apply to your online event sessions. You can view which sessions are being attended and for how long; the ITA Group even suggests that you can use analytics to see which questions were asked by your attendees.
If a certain session’s consistently attended and watched to the end, this might suggest that it’s very popular and users aren’t getting bored; after all, online events are very easy for users to tab out of. Conversely, if a certain session’s either being abandoned, or rewatched an excessive amount, it may mean that audience members are finding it difficult to concentrate on. This may mean that that knowledge retention – one of your potential objectives – is difficult for this session. This can help you focus on it as an area that needs to be improved at your next event.
2. Social Listening
During the event, you can get a more detailed picture of exactly what’s working or not working at your sessions. You can do this via social media, which 38% of event planners use for event feedback.
By searching for your event hashtag (preferably one that includes the year of the event, if it’s held annually), someone on your team can monitor what people are saying about your event. Are people using your hashtag to compliment certain sessions, or are they complaining about certain factors? Are there commonalities in what people are saying? And do they continue to share their thoughts in the weeks after your event? Social listening is a tool you can use during, and even after, your event.
You could also use social media to do more active social listening – by hosting a Q&A or social media hangout. This can serve as an “afterparty” to your event, whereby you can casually ask your attendees what they thought of the event, and politely ask them to provide some feedback about what they liked and didn’t like about the event. Wild Apricot found that the most successful engagement technique for virtual events was hosting a live hangout before or after the event, followed by sending out a survey or poll. Therefore, you’re bound to receive fruitful event feedback with this strategy.
3. Exit Surveys and Polling
We’ll now go into more detail about post-event surveys and polls. Whova suggest that “unlikely or likely” questions work well. For instance, you might wish to ask:
“Are you more or less likely to recommend our training courses to friends in your industry?”
“How likely are you to attend our next event?”
Whova also say that you should provide a response box after these questions, so participants can explain their reasoning. This way, you can identify any common weak points. For instance, if people who said that the sessions were too long were commonly also those that stated a low likelihood of attending your next event, you can pinpoint this is a key area to improve on.
However, don’t make all the questions the same structure, or participants will get bored and abandon the survey. HubSpot suggests other interesting post-event survey questions you could ask, namely:
“Did the event meet your expectations?”
“What was your favourite moment of the event?”
“What could have made this event better?”
“How satisfied were you with the opportunities to network at the event?”
Such surveys are quite common to send out, and attendees may expect and ignore them – 90% of virtual event organisers use surveys to measure attendee satisfaction, according to Markletic.
But how do you send surveys to your audience after your event? And most importantly, how do you make your surveys engaging enough to get respondents?
The most engaging strategy we’ve seen is done via event chatbots. These can encourage a higher survey uptake by using push notifications to communicate with your event attendees. To achieve this, you’ll have had to gather attendees’ Messenger details before the event, so this requires an extra level of pre-planning, but the benefits are more than worth it, as we’ve displayed in our article about the use of chatbots.
When gathering post-event feedback, don’t forget the importance of getting the full picture. Just because “x number of attendees gave positive feedback, and this was a good number” doesn’t necessarily tell you if the event was effective enough. What percentage of the attendees was this, and does this match your objectives? Retain this information to investigate at your next event – e.g. did the factors you fixed actually result in higher attendee satisfaction, and did the attendees who said they’d go to your next event, actually do this?
Event feedback is a long term process, and requires you to check for overall patterns. Its goal is to see if any feedback’s unique to certain topics, session types or audience personas.
To increase your positive event feedback, why don’t you get CPD Online to livestream your event for online viewing? Our high quality, bespoke livestream will help put your event in the best possible light for your audience. Tell us about your event via this form, and we’ll get in touch to offer you a FREE quote for our services.