Tracking data online has been made easy by the use of metrics and tools like tracking pixels, but many companies despair of getting similar results in real-world settings. After all, how do you track a real-world sales funnel unless a customer provides you with data by filling out a survey, for example? In this era of nearly unfettered technological advances, there is a solution for event hosts that want to act as a fly on the wall, so to speak, and follow attendees during their time at the event: session tracking.
Much like online metrics allow you to follow customers from the moment they click through an ad to your website so you can measure time spent on site, pages visited, bounce rates, purchase activity, return visits, and more, you can use session tracking technologies to see where event attendees go and what they do, to an extent, during your event. This is made possible by radio frequency identification (RFID) technology being embedded in every badge issued for your event.
When guests check in and receive their badges, they’ll have to wear them to gain entry to the event venue, as well as activities like exhibit halls, panels, receptions, and so on. This provides you with the opportunity to track their movements in real time, seeing which guests show up for sessions and social events, how long they stay, where they go in an exhibit hall (i.e. which booths they visit), and so on.
From an event management standpoint, this provides an incredible amount of useful data. At the very least, it’s a quick and easy way to track and report attendance for continuing education credits. Of course, you’ll also have plenty of data for later analysis and insight into what appealed most to attendees.
Working with an event company like American Meetings, Inc. (AMI), you can not only gain access to the technologies needed to track attendees, but also the strategies to use them to your best advantage, as well as opportunities for follow-up. How can the information you gather help to improve your future events? Here are a few reasons why session tracking is so important to event planning.
For any meeting or event, you have a target demographic (or several) in mind. Are they the right audience? Is your content having an impact on them? Or is your failure to meet goals the result of choosing the wrong audience or approaching them in the wrong way?
The data you collect via session tracking can help to give you a more complete understanding of attendees, their preferences, and their action, especially when paired with data gathered during registration and in follow-up measures like surveys and polls. It may turn out that attendees simply aren’t the right audience, in which case you and your event company can work on a strategy to target more suitable guests in the future.
For any event, the entertainment and activities are often the biggest draws, and they comprise the most important part of your event management strategy. Without content, attendees have no reason to be there, after all.
If you’ve done everything possible to get the right people to attend your event and your efforts are still falling flat, the problem could be that your content is lackluster. Session tracking can help you to determine which content is hitting home with an audience and which is failing to engage. Whether attendees leave a session early en masse or they linger long after to discuss the content with speakers and fellow guests, you’ll gain insight into the effectiveness and value of specific content.
Tracking where event attendees go can give you all kinds of information about what you and your event planning partner need to work on for future events. You can pinpoint disconnects with content, find out if certain exhibit booths or activities get considerably more or less attention, and determine if greater security is needed, just for example.
Says VP, Account Management at AMI, Chelsea Litos, “The beauty of session tracking is how much data it can provide as attendees move through your event. Knowing how to interpret and use that data can help you to address problem areas and tweak strategies for ever-greater successes at future events.”
When it comes to event management, session tracking may be an afterthought, with all the other balls you’re juggling. However, if you want to accomplish goals, the data gathered through session tracking is indispensable. When you partner with an expert event company like AMI, you’ll have the tools and experience to implement tracking methods and ultimately evaluate the overall success of every event.