With so many event professionals being forced to shift from a physical event to a virtual one, the landscape can feel new and uncertain. But, collecting participant feedback can give you valuable insight into what worked best and what, if anything, fell flat.
One of the only ways to tell if you’ve just hosted a successful virtual event—with the promise of more future lead generation and sales—is to ask.
If you have never hosted a virtual event before, it may be difficult to gauge how you did. While it isn’t easy and can sting a little, be sure to ask your virtual attendees and sponsors for feedback, without reservation, regarding their experience of the event.
Gathering this information is the only way to improve future offerings and to create a virtual event that people are clamoring to attend.
To help you compile this survey and get the data you need, we’ve compiled a few tips for writing post-event surveys and details of some of the most important questions that you need to ask.
Here’s what you need to know about post virtual event surveys:
Tips for Crafting Your Post Virtual Event Survey
The post-event survey is one of the most effective tools available for measuring attendee experience and gaining valuable insights into your virtual event as a whole.
But before you start randomly lobbing questions at participants, we have a few tips that will help you improve the process.
- Be Brief. At the end of an event, no matter how wonderful the experience, attendees do not want to fill out a pages-long survey. The max number of questions should be 10, but 3-5 questions are more than enough. Focus on the event technology and event platform used, the virtual attendee experience, and the event content. Pay particular attention to the areas in which you most desire the feedback.
- Ask a general question first. By starting with a general question, you can gather important data right from the hop. Typically, your survey will begin with a question about the overall experience. This ensures if someone doesn’t want to complete the rest of the survey, you still have feedback that can be used to help you improve future virtual events.
- Minimize open-ended questions. Open-ended questions require thoughtful responses. In other words, they take work and effort. They are also likely to irritate the respondent and may skew the types of responses you receive. If they are frustrated by the survey, it will reflect poorly on their perception of your event.
- Ask NPS questions early. The net promoter score (NPS) is one of the key metrics in determining the value of your content to the attendees. The question is typically asked like so: On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this event to a friend/family member/colleague? It is important to ask these questions early because research has found that the later this question appears, the lower the score will be. For more information on how to use these responses to calculate your net promoter score, check out our post on the 9 Key Metrics for Tracking Event Success.
Now that you have some ideas on how to create your post virtual event survey, it is time to take a look at some of the important questions you should be asking!
Important Post Virtual Event Survey Questions to Ask Attendees
If you would like to entice people to attend a future event, you need to have a clear understanding of what worked and what did not work. The best way to do this is through an attendee survey.
Here is what you should be asking attendees after the conclusion of your online event:
1. How would you rate this event?
This is a nice, easy, and general question. This is a question type that does well at the beginning of your survey. You can phrase it as a multiple-choice question or have people rate the event on a scale of 1-10.
2. How likely are you to recommend this event?
This is your NPS question. The previous question will give you basic information about whether or not people enjoyed your event, while this will take you a little deeper into that response.
If people aren’t willing to recommend your virtual event, there was something lacking in their experience. They may have enjoyed themselves but something was missing.
3. What did you like most about this event?
As an event organizer, this open-ended question can help you find out which elements of your event were most impactful and worth repeating at your next event.
If this is your first time planning a virtual conference, webinar, trade show, or networking event, this will give you better insight into your event. Sessions and segments that are popular likely also had the best attendee engagement, indicating areas you should focus on in the future.
4. How did you first hear about this event?
This is an important question as it will help you evaluate your marketing efforts. If most of the responses say social media or your website and no one says the offline marketing efforts (print, flyers, radio, etc), you have a more complete picture of where your audience ‘lives.’
For the next event, this leaves you with a few options. You can either put more money and effort into growing your offline marketing, OR, you could spend your time creating an even bigger social media and digital marketing campaign. Don’t make your target audience work to find you — they won’t. Make it super easy.
5. What, if anything, did you dislike about this event?
This is a tough question for many event professionals. Criticism hurts but it is also the only way you will grow.
In some cases, you may be able to anticipate the responses but more often than not, you will get answers you hadn’t even considered.
Maybe the registration process presented problems for people. Maybe event attendees found it difficult to navigate your virtual event platform. This feedback can help you avoid repeating these issues in the future.
6. What did you hope to take away from this event?
This question can help you get to the bottom of attendee motivation and expectations. Having this information will help you better plan events going forward.
If, for example, most of your attendees say “networking opportunities,” you know that is something that is important to your target audience and you should, perhaps, provide more of those opportunities in the future.
Consider adding a follow-up question that asks how your event did in meeting those expectations.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience?
Ask this as a multiple-choice question or as a sliding numerical scale. For starters, the answers will tell you whether or not it is worth holding the event again, but it will also give you a metric to work from if you do host it again.
Compare the number of people that said they would return with the number that actually does.
Important Post Virtual Event Survey Questions to Ask Sponsors
Virtual attendees are not the only people you should be reaching out to for feedback post-event. Your event sponsors will have a lot to offer as well.
Here is what you should be asking:
1. Please rate your overall thoughts on this event.
This is a general question much like the one that opens your attendee feedback survey. Again, it can be multiple choice or a sliding numerical scale. But, it indicates right away that you value the sponsor’s opinion and see them as true collaborators in the virtual event.
2. Did this virtual event meet your expectations?
Sponsors come to events with their own set of goals. You may know these goals in advance, you may not. Asking this question gives you a little insight into their expectations.
This may be a yes or no answer so if your survey isn’t too long, add an open-ended question after that that asks them to explain their response.
3. How likely are you to recommend this event as a sponsorship opportunity?
Like the similar question on your attendee survey, this question will help you gauge the value of the event to your sponsors. It can help to qualify the answers to the previous two questions. A true sign that your event has met or exceeded expectations is people’s willingness to tell someone else about the opportunity to participate.
4. Do you see this event as being positive for your business?
Again, this is a qualifying answer. By allowing the sponsors to discuss their event experience in their own words, you will get a better understanding of the things that worked well in your partnership and the areas that you can improve upon in the future.
5. Is there anything we could have done to make your experience easier?
This question will help you identify any pain points for the sponsors. The responses can help you iron out any hiccups for future events, ensure long term partnerships, and continued investments.
6. What, if anything, did you dislike about this event?
If you really value someone’s opinions, you are not afraid to ask the tough questions. Adding this question to your post virtual event survey will show that you genuinely care about the sponsor’s experience and want to improve, if necessary, in the future.
7. Can we expect to see you again next year?
All this question needs is a “yes” or “no” and it can help you gauge whether or not the respondent is willing or interesting in partnering with you in the future.
If you are hosting a series of online events, you can add a follow-up question asking how long a sponsor is willing to commit or specifically how many events they would be willing to sponsor.
Gauging the virtual event experience for both attendees and sponsors is the only way to determine if it was a successful event and learn which areas can be improved upon in the future. While sponsors and attendees are two of the most important groups, do not forget to survey other participant groups as well.
Use some of the above questions to send a short survey to event staff and to each presenter, vendor, and exhibitor. This will give you a better picture of the event overall and, again, indicate areas that can be improved in the future.