You spend time and money promoting your events.

But are you sure which channels are actually driving attendance to those events?

Do you know how effective your online marketing efforts are in delivering traffic to your event site?

Now there’s a way to find out: We’ve added Google Analytics to our Event Marketing product.

What is Google Analytics?

If you don’t know, Google Analytics is a free web-based analytics technology that can provide you with rich insights into who is visiting your website, event site, or blog. The data from Google Analytics can help you to evaluate what sources (search engines, Facebook/Twitter, other websites, etc.) are driving traffic your way so you know what’s working and not working. Your primary goal with Google Analytics will be to make sense of all of this inbound traffic in order to maximize your online marketing efforts.

How can you use the results?

When I host an event, I promote it using my email newsletter and by posting a link to my Facebook Page. From my email newsletter, I typically achieve very high open rates (30%–40%). Because email marketing does such a great job in terms of reporting, I just assumed that most of my traffic was coming from my emails. I was wrong! As it turns out, more than 50% of the traffic to my event site came from Facebook.

Based on my experience, here are some suggestions to help you turn your Google Analytics results into actionable intelligence.

  • Where is your audience located? I had no idea that my audience is spread across 10 different states. Within my local state, the distribution is quite wide as well. You will see these results using the Google Analytics’ map overlay. If your audience is widely distributed geographically, and as a result, some of the invited guests will need to travel to your event, I would recommend promoting your events in advance by an additional few weeks.
  • Are people taking action? Google Analytics provides you with a metric called Bounce Rates. Bounce rates help you determine the percentage of people who come to your site but never click through to the next step. You can think of this metric as a measure of visitor quality. For my first event using Google Analytics, the bounce rate was 60%. This means that 60% of all traffic would visit my event homepage, but would never take the next step to register. To solve the problem, I added a “Register Now” button to the top and bottom of my event homepage. This gave my audience an obvious visual clue about the next steps I wanted them to take, which increased registrations and decreased bounce rates.
  • Where are your visitors coming from? Google Analytics also provides you with a metric called Referring Sites. If people are reaching your event site directly from your website, or via your email newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, or somewhere else, this metric will provide you with those details. I was stunned to see that more than 50% of my audience was reaching my event homepage from Facebook. Clearly, I needed to put more effort into my Facebook Page, because it’s an important asset when it comes to my event promotion.

Now you can make smarter decisions

As you start to look through your Google Analytics data, it’s important to be patient and give yourself time to play around with the various results. There will be many ways to view this data. Google Analytics is a robust tool that can provide you with invaluable information about how well your online marketing initiatives are impacting your events.

Till next time …

Are you using Google Analytics to improve your event marketing efforts? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.