- Measuring Success
Measuring Effectiveness in Experiential Campaigns
You already know everything experiential marketing can do for your brand, and why it’s appealing to your customers: They want to be entertained, to have fun, and to feel connected to your brand. Immersing participants in an experience unique to your brand accomplishes all of those ends. But none of those are easily measurable outcomes — they’re feelings and experiences rather than hard numbers. Here are some steps toward measuring your experiential marketing return on investment, so you can tell whether your brand’s story is resonating with consumers.
1. Define Success
Know what your goals are from the earliest planning stages of your experiential marketing event. Are you looking to boost sales, increase brand awareness, generate leads? Decide what success looks like for your specific goals, and work from there to determine the best way to assess it.
For example, if you want to increase brand awareness, surveys and similar tools can help determine how well your target audience knows you pre- and post-event.
If you aim to grow sales and will sell products on-site, review not only sales figures from the event, but also sales that happen afterward. Leading bone broth brand Kettle & Fire recently hosted an immersive event in New York City where participants were handed coupons as a way to track future sales.
Create a landing page specifically for attendees on your website, then distribute a unique QR code or shortlink at the event; by tracking unique pageviews on that landing page, you’ll find out how many participants were motivated to check you out post-event.
2. Measure Goals Using KPIs
While it’s important to track the number of visitors, total purchases, and number of emails captured, these numbers “won’t by themselves give you a terribly clear idea of how successful your event really was,” says Zen Media.
Sheer attendance numbers alone won’t tell you everything, because they don’t necessarily correspond to sales or awareness. Instead, expand your variety and number of measurements. Here are examples of metrics that can help you dig deeper:
Conversion ratio: On the web, conversions are typically defined in terms of sales — a user “converts” when they make a purchase — but with experiential marketing, it’s crucial to define conversions in a way that makes sense for your brand and the event. For example, you might keep track of how many people move through or walk up to your event versus how many provide their email addresses, try a product sample, or engage firsthand in some other way.
This is a great way to measure how well the event connected with attendees, and if you collect this data across multiple marketing events, you’ll develop a sense of what works and what doesn’t.
Engagements per brand rep: Have your brand reps or street team members track engagements throughout the event, and make sure they measure and identify them according to the same criteria so you can accurately compare results.
Brand sentiment and awareness pre- and post-event: Want to know how people feel about your brand? Use surveys and interviews to find out whether your event generated positive buzz or changed attendees’ brand awareness.
Social media brand awareness: Track how many people used your branded hashtag, how many liked, followed, or shared your channel, and how many mentions appeared online.
Sales: The key here is to add depth by tracking how many sales you saw before, during, and after the activation, as well as how many were made by new customers vs. returning customers. It’s common for events to drive sharply increased sales at the event, followed by higher-than-normal sales in the days, weeks, and months that follow. How long after the event you keep tracking will depend on the type of product or service you offer, so there’s no right answer here, but figuring out how long to track, and tracking sales consistently from event to event, will improve the accuracy of your numbers.
Sampling: Keep track of samples distributed during the pop-up or activation. If possible, have your street team record attendees’ reactions to your product.
Engagement: If your experience includes interactive elements, track how many visitors actually interact. For example, if visitors need to push a button to engage with your immersive environment, track how many times it’s pushed.
3. Get Staff Engaged
Collecting data on experiential marketing efforts requires buy-in and enthusiastic participation from your street team and others who’ll be staffing the event. Make sure, for example, that staff charged with handing out samples are tracking how many they hand out. Give tally counters or install some other means of counting both the number of attendees and the number of people who interact with your team. If you’re collecting emails, remember that that’s data you can use to measure success. If you’re doing a tech-driven product demonstration, consider requiring an email to unlock it.
What about tracking brand awareness and perception? Those are subjective measures, but “if you ask staff to pay attention to how people are interacting with them and what they’re saying about the brand, you can get a good idea of — at least — whether people feel more positive about your brand after the activation, or more negative,” says Zen Media.
Test awareness and perception by training your street team to write down any particularly strong reactions — positive or negative — from participants. Consider hosting a taste test like the competitive blind taste test employed by Meati, maker of a mushroom-based meat alternative. Meati created a mobile focus group at a New York City food truck; participants tasted real chicken, Meati, and two competing meat alternatives, then chose their favorites. Meati came in first, beating out even real chicken as the participants’ overall favorite.
The event was a winner for Meati on three fronts:
- increased brand awareness
- produced a strong selling point for future marketing efforts
- collected valuable feedback from hundreds of participants — information that influenced decisions on future product development
4. Think ROO, Not Just ROI
Experiential marketing is about creating a relationship — a connection — with consumers. How do you measure that? Look at the goals you established early on, and look at return on objectives, in addition to (or instead of) return on investment.
How you do this will depend on your brand and the nature of the activation or pop-up; there are no hard and fast recommendations here. “Certain KPIs will carry greater weight than others, but by looking at all of them together, you’ll gain a clear picture of just how successful your experiential campaign really was,” explains Zen Media. You’ll also uncover valuable insights that will make your next event even more successful.
Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.