When it comes to event planning and marketing, big data is critical to proving ROI and justifying expenses to upper management. Keep in mind, that’s not the only benefit of using data. You can use it to plan better and more profitable events.

How? Here are a few ideas for you to explore.

Go Big or Go Home- Using Big Data to Plan Better Events (Final) (1)

Leverage attendee geographic data.

Attendee geography is beneficial in a couple of ways. First, you can see where attendees come from and how far they’re willing to travel to come to an event. Second, you can use the geographic data to plan event expansions into other regions. If, for instance, a majority of your attendees drive two-plus hours to come to an event, you know have ample demand waiting to be filled and choose your next location accordingly.

With Localist Metrics, you can glean additional insights into attendees and their interests. For example, you can see how people discover your events and which channels drive more results. By augmenting this information with geographic data, you can drive higher attendance at future events.

Localist Metrics Maps

Before making the final decision about growing your event offerings, look at the “popular events” metrics, which highlights the events and topics people like most. You should use the information to inform your event planning so that you’re sure to draw a crowd when adding an event in a new region.    

Tap into social media listening.

Social listening through tools like TweetDeck and Mention is necessary to real-time data collection. You should always have a team dedicated to monitoring and collecting hashtags, keywords, and your brand for the lifecycle of any and all events. During the event, your team should respond to attendees’ questions, complaints and compliments.

After your event ends, you’ll want to mine the social media data for areas where you did well and ones in need of improvement. Use the intelligence gained from the analysis to inform and plan better, future events.

Track social media activity around your events. 

Localist’s social media reports show which events spark the most social activity. You can use the first piece of information as leverage; you now know what types of events and information people gravitate towards.

Keep this information in mind when you’re planning your next event and give people want they want. You’ll see registrations soar!

Use gamification to learn more about attendees.

Gamification is a tactic, not a metric, but the results it produces do give you greater insight into your attendees and their event experience. Apps like Scavify or MapDash, for instance, allow you to gather data via a scavenger hunt. As attendees accomplish different tasks, you gain a clearer picture of what’s working, what’s not, and what’s of most interest to attendees. If they all flock to one assignment such as a workshop or keynote, you know they’re attracted to the speaker and/or the subject matter. You can then use that information to inform current and upcoming events.

Collect post-event data.

Finally, you should collect post-event data through surveys. This information, particularly when combined with other metrics, lets you get a bird’s eye view of your event and assess its strengths and weaknesses. For example, if people comment that sessions were too long or they wanted more time to get to know other attendees, you know to have shorter sessions and more networking opportunities at your next event.  

Big data is integral to determining ROI, but don’t miss out on its other perks. It gives you a greater understanding of your audience’s geography and interests, allowing you to develop more relevant offerings. Real-time data acts as a customer service and feedback tool. You should use it to answer attendees’ queries and to improve your next event. Finally, post-event data provides an opportunity to pause your event schedule for a moment, to take a closer look at it, and to use the information to plan better and better events going forward.

Want to capture more ROI from your events? Check out our “10 Ways to Increase Your Event ROI” guide today!