October 8, 2021   |   Samantha Gilmore

3 Strategies For Using Audience Data to Increase Event ROI

Picture this—your event has just gone live. All of your blood-sweat-and tears have been poured into producing this bad boy. You’re practically cradling this baby like a virtual newborn. You are so utterly obsessed with your virtual event site that you can’t wait to share it with the world.


Hear that? That’s the sound of your event site when you’re not tracking attendee activity data. 

What’s attendee activity data you may ask? 

Attendee activity data, or as we like to call it, Attendee Intelligence, is a way for planners to see who has interacted (i.e. clicks, page views, session attendance) with their content or marketing materials. And the truth is, having this data at your disposal is critical to the success of your current and future events. 

Knowing how your audience interacts with your entire site—not just your sessions or engagement tools—is the first and most critical step towards creating real, in-depth personalization in your marketing and event portfolio.

So, what kind of information do you need to collect, and what do you do with it once you’ve captured it? We’re rounding up 3 great strategies for how to use the types of attendee data you can gather from your event. 

Before we dive in, let’s talk about your analytics platform

Chances are you’re using Google Analytics as the core component of your data-gathering tech stack, and that’s awesome. Google Analytics is king when it comes to understanding traffic to your event site as well as the 10,000-foot view of your audience activity. 

Unfortunately, just knowing clicks are happening isn’t quite enough—knowing who’s clicking is the only way to deep dive into how specific types of attendees, whether you segment them by title, role, industry, business size, or anything else, interact with your content.

Luckily, the Swoogo platform answers for providing that specific activity data with Swoogo Analytics, a built-in product that tracks the activity of specific attendees, as well as your overall click-volume and real-time audience engagement. 

Still, not all event management platforms can provide such specific metrics; we highly recommend making audience activity data a key part of your buying journey when you select your provider.

Now, on to the good stuff.

3 Strategies for using audience data to increase event ROI

Segment your audience for smarter marketing campaigns

Remember that phrase work smarter, not harder? Adopt that as your mantra when using attendee data. 

Your audience activity data provides a wealth of information when it comes to understanding the behaviors and interests of specific groups within your marketing contacts, and that segmentation allows you to target messaging to those groups through a variety of campaigns.

Creating and acting on that data, however, requires a little leg work on your end (but not nearly as much as sending out mass, generalized marketing emails to people who may or may not care.) Here’s how to get started:

Step 1: Decide how you’ll segment your audience

Knowing what groups you’re trying to create will allow you to put systems in place that capture the information you need to properly allocate audience members. Or, if you want to hear that in human talk—if you want to segment your audience by industry, for example, you’ll need to collect “industry” as a question on your reg form so you know what groups people belong in. 

Choosing how you’ll segment should be a conversation that’s deeply connected with your demand generation team’s efforts since they’re the ones who will put this information to good use in the end. If they target based on geographic location, you’ll need to collect it. If they target by business size, that’s the question you’ll need to ask.

Chances are they’re dividing your audience in multiple ways and combining those audiences in different configurations for different channels and campaigns. Some data points you’ll likely see come up include:

Demographics: like age, race, location, gender, or language

Behaviors: like their job, role, industry, or past purchase behavior

Interests: like their hobbies, fandoms, subscriptions, or just stuff they like to read about on Reddit

Psychographics: like their values, opinions, attitudes, etc.

While all of this data is valuable, your demand gen team likely focuses on the first two buckets, and that’s the case for a good reason. Most common paid media channels, like Google, YouTube, and Paid Social, use those categories as the buckets you can segment your audience by to deliver targeted ads; and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do here. Still, other information, like interests and psychographics, can help for other tactics, like content production and email marketing.

The cool news is, you can (or at least should be able to) collect all the data you need to match any campaign type through your reg form. Speaking of which… 

Step 2: Set up your registration process to support your segmentation

Now that you know your demand gen efforts rely on good geographic and industry information, for example, you’ll need to set up your registration process to ensure you’re collecting those data points.

We recommend collecting 3-5 of the most important data points on your registration form, keeping in mind you’ll also be asking lots of other questions (think name, email, phone, choosing sessions, etc.) and don’t want your form to become tediously long (trust us on this one, we’re kind of experts when it comes to event registration).

A great way to make forms feel less intimidating (while still collecting all the data you need) is using conditional logic to make some questions spawn other ones, ex. “Company” could spawn “Industry” as a dropdown. This makes the form look manageable upfront, even when you’re being sneaky and asking a cr@p ton of questions. 

Step 3: Put on a great event

And have fun doing it! Don’t worry—your audience is doing its thing, and if you’re working with an event management platform that tracks audience behavior, your data is rolling in.


Step 4: Match your audience behavior with your collected registrant data

This is where things really start heating up. Now you have your registrant information and their behavior, all sitting pretty in your event management platform. All that’s left to do is start drawing insights from all that great collected info!

For instance, you can identify insights like:

  • 72% of registrants with the title “Demand Generation Manager” watched our session on Attribution Modeling

  • 65% of registrants from the “Tech/Software” industry downloaded our Payment Gateway Security Guide

  • 80% of registrants from Denmark bounced from our session on Healthcare Costs in <4 minutes

Step 5: Put your data into action

Congrats! You’re rich! 

Ok, maybe not quite yet—but you’ll start driving revenue quickly when you apply your data to retargeting and new campaigns.

Now you know exactly what your audience is and isn’t interested in. If you know that most demand generation managers are interested in attribution modeling, you can send them emails focused on the piece of your product that helps them solve that pain. If you know the Danes don’t care about reducing healthcare costs, you can serve them ads focused on the benefits of your product that aren’t cost-related, like convenience or medical results. 

This type of targeting significantly increases your chances of converting those leads into customers. The Data & Marketing Association found that marketers see an average 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns—and we think you’ll agree, that’s not a number to turn your nose up at. 

It also reduces post-event costs— serving relevant ads with higher click rates reduces your overall spend on paid media campaigns. 


Deliver better content to your next audience

We know what you’re thinking—you probably already curated your next set of content based on what performed at your previous event. 

But when you say “performed,” we’re guessing you’re not seeing the whole picture (yes, you can come for us with pitchforks if we’re wrong.)

A lot of the time, we see content that “performed” as content that attracted a lot of registrants. If your reporting is more in-depth, you may go as far as to base your content recommendations off of the number of registrants who attended, attended live, or stayed for the duration of the session. 

Still, there’s more to capture here.

Using the segmentation laid out above, you can dive into which content performed for which piece of your audience. Then, you can align your event or event’s content around top-performing cohorts.

Basically, if you know your ICP is centered around tech companies, for example, and attendees from the tech industry were most attracted to content around data security (again, for example), you can design your next event to center on that topic—attracting more registrants within your ICP.

This kind of content curation increases your lead quality, which in turn increases your conversion rate from your next event—a metric that (we’re sure) is near and dear to the hearts of your marketing and sales leaders.

You can also boost your attendee engagement and event experience by amplifying personalization through curated content recommendations or, if we switch back to our human voices again, smart content tracks.

By organizing your content into “tracks,” or groups of sessions that appeal to the same audience (as identified by your audience activity date), you can point specific types of attendees to content they’ll like using conditional logic. While these successes can be difficult to attribute revenue to, we like to believe that a happier audience leads to a happier conversion rate— and that is backed by data. According to Small Business Rainmaker and personalized marketing research done by The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing, 82% of marketers who employ personalized marketing tactics using attendee activity data see a boost in their email open rates, and as much as a 56% boost in overall revenue. 

Increase value & ROI for event sponsors 

You know all that marketing power you generated for your team in strategy one? Fun fact—you can deliver the same segmentation data to your sponsors.

This kind of data is extremely valuable for marketing efforts, instantly increasing the overall value of sponsoring your event.

But wait—there’s more! Even if your sponsors’ marketing efforts aren’t sophisticated enough to properly employ your audience activity data, there’s another kernel here that adds significant value: click lists.

While you may already be reporting on the overall traffic that each sponsor page receives, by tracking specific attendees you can provide your sponsors with the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of every attendee who visited their booth (as long as you’re properly informing your audience about what you do with their data, of course.) This is instant fuel for their outbound SDR teams, and significantly increases the chance that their investment in your event will be ROI positive. And the holy cascade effect, Batman—also increases the chances that they’ll show back up to sponsor next year. 

Wrap up

 Here are the facts: Tracking attendee activity data allows marketers to build better events, deliver better content, and produce more targeted marketing materials.

 Plus, marketers can use audience data to make their event marketing smarter, deliver relevant messages across channels, and increase sponsor ROI, which in turn increases ROI for events. So what are you waiting for?

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