How to Track Engagement for Live Online Events

January 12, 2022

As any course creator or community manager has likely experienced, creating engaging virtual events is hard. Getting members to show up, interact, and share feedback can sometimes feel like pulling teeth, not to mention ensuring members have a great time and really learn something! 

Sadly, there’s no silver bullet here. Putting on effective live online events requires diligent effort and iteration.

In order to improve, it’s essential to collect important data points early and often. But what data is necessary to track? And more importantly, how can you go about collecting it without a ton of extra manual work? After all, putting on these events is already enough work as it is, why add more tasks to the to do list? 

We share our answers to these questions below. And don’t worry - it is possible to leverage data to improve event engagement without a ton of extra work! Read on to learn how. 

What are important engagement metrics to track? 

Number of registered guests: This represents the number of people interested in attending your event. An event with high registration and low turnout could mean that the event topic or speaker was really interesting, but the schedule wasn’t great or the event reminders weren’t sufficient. 

Number of attendees: Tracking attendance is essential to understand whether your event was of interest to your members and whether the event itself was accessible. It’s especially instructive when compared to registration or RSVP numbers. 

Number of on-time: For members to attend an event on time, a lot of your event management efforts need to have gone right. The topic needs to be interesting, the timing needs to work, attendees need to have the event saved on their calendar and get reminded in the right places ahead of the event. If you host an event with a high number of on-time attendees, it means you did everything possible to overcome barriers to attendance. Good for you! 

Number of late participants: Tracking late participants is important because it can signal how accessible your event really was. Maybe members wanted to attend, but couldn’t find the right Zoom link at join time. Or maybe they were doing deep work and didn’t get a reminder to join. Even if your event topic is great, these small things can affect your participant numbers as well as the attendee experience overall. 

Qualitative feedback: The numbers tell one story, but getting juicy qualitative feedback about your events is one of the best tools to help you iterate and improve on your live online event offerings. The best way to collect this feedback is by sending surveys right after your event while event details are still fresh in participants’ minds. 

Speaking of data, learn how you can leverage data to find course-market fit here.

How can you collect all this data?

The Hard Way: 

Spreadsheets: You can track all of the data above in a spreadsheet. Copy and paste registrants, manually take attendance and manually send out feedback forms to add to your spreadsheet. The upside? You can structure it any way you want! The downside? This can be pretty time consuming and susceptible to human error. 

Zoom reports: You can access attendance data straight from Zoom. The upside? It’ll include when members joined and left an event. The downside? You’ll often need to manually match ‘Sarah’s iphone’ with the right email after the fact. Not to mention that you’ll still need to send out feedback surveys on your own if you'd like to collect qualitative data as well. 

Check out these attendance tracking options in detail here.

The Easy Way: 

Virtually: Virtually’s Event Management Platform lets you automate the collection of all the data points mentioned above for all of your live online events. What’s more, after an event ends, you can see all your event analytics (registration, attendance and feedback) right on Virtually or easily export it to your tool of choice. 

Want more tips for engaging event attendees? Join our upcoming webinar “3 Ways to Boost Engagement for Live Online Events” on Tuesday, January 25th @ 1pm EST. Register here

Read Next: Why Live Events are Essential for Online Communities

Laura Marks

Laura Marks is Head of Customer Experience at Virtually