A Roadmap to Prove User Conference Experience ROI

Anna Boggs
Anna Boggs

user conference attendees scanning their name badges

Do you have data? You undoubtedly do. And I’d bet others in your organization do, too. There are so many sources and places for data to be generatedincluding registration, apps, marketing campaigns, CRMs and more. 

While your organization likely has analysts looking at some data, are they looking at all of it through your event lens? From what I continue to see and hear, they do not. And that’s a shame. There’s data-rich information to be leveraged such as actual event registrations, expo floor traffic patterns and on-site engagement, to name just a few.

What does it mean to your organization when you align all of this data together? An event ROI story that is truly powerful and meaningful to all leadership levels.

Focus on the moments that matter. Make the most impactful experience from a series of ROI-worthy moments.

First, think about your event objectives. How you want your user conference to resonate with attendees? Align your team? What motivates your audience? What behaviors do you want to grow or change as a result of attendees coming to your event? Ultimately, you need to decide the question(s) you want answered. For example, “What can we do [at the event] to drive sales?”

Once you prioritize, try and understand the correlation between attendee behavior and your ideal outcome. What moments, combination of experiences, or other factors are most likely to provide the ideal outcome? What deeper insights can be gleaned from the data?

While I can't tell the future, I do dig into data to read existing clues. There is so much to learn! Data can inform what the event planning team should do going forward, including content changes or areas to adjust investment. Make intelligent changes with confidence based on data—and continue this iterative process for more improved results.

Digging into the data is an iterative process; something we’re going to keep doing—over and over and over again. We’re not going to just do it once, make a few changes then forget it.

Throughout the course of your user conference, which engagement momentsincluding things like content, communications, activations or experienceshad the most impact on your ideal outcome? Which ones had zero? For example: Did 90% of a specific breakout session’s audience end up having a successful sale within a year? That’s the needle in a haystack we’re trying to find.  

A data assessment identifies these impactful moments, and it also informs how to maximize resources. Prove to your c-suite current and potential event ROI. And then plan future content, budget and event experience for even more substantial outcomes. We do this through manual analysis and machine learning to apply the data to make sure the full eventincluding ancillary events and other related componentsis the most effective.  

When desired outcomes are analyzed through the lens of the entire user conference experience,  you can start to see patterns of what moments have more value and which ones don’t; what to invest in and what to discard or modify.

Still feeling a bit overwhelmed by an ocean of data? Hear more below about shrinking your data into a pond. Check out the recording below in which I share more about why getting all your data talking together is so important.


Analytics Approach to Measuring Event Engagement | ITA Group from ITA Group on Vimeo.

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Anna Boggs

Anna Boggs

Anna graduated from Purdue and has 13 years of experience in the industry. Seven of those years have been with ITA Group split between Event Operations and the last four on the Analytics and Decisions Support team. Using data as a way to see trends and check the pulse of specific programs and organizations is what makes her tick. Her operational background gives her unique insight into identifying key metrics for different types of programs, understanding the participant and seeing the full cycle of engagement programs. She’s passionate about creating new things—currently making pasta from scratch and upcycling the Goodwill pile into new clothes for her almost three year-old daughter are top of the list.