Virtual event KPIs to measure the success of online conferences

Virtual event KPIs to measure the success of online conferences

By Tanya Pinchuk, managing director of ExpoPlatform


With virtual shows opening doors to anyone with an internet connection, event KPIs have evolved from mere registration and attendance statistics to the real demonstrable value organisers can provide. 

The success of virtual conferences depends on aligning the event’s goals with the business goals of participating speakers, sponsors and attendees. Identifying the key performance indicators (KPIs) for event coordinators and organisers is a must to ensure real-time tracking of these goals and assessing the return on investment.

Here are some crucial metrics for organisers to measure their virtual conference’s success:


KPIs for audience engagement

Engagement has become a vital measurement in the virtual environment. A poorly structured conference with fatiguing content can be identified with lower time spent in each session, and lesser attendee participation in Q&A sessions, live polls and other activities like quizzes and competitions. Virtual success metrics like total chat volume and messages exchanged can also reflect the level of audience engagement and whether the content and conversations were appealing enough.

KPIs for brand visibility

Another major objective for the sponsors and companies at virtual conferences is brand visibility and awareness. Using social listening tools, organisers can track the overall social media engagement (shares, mentions, likes, retweets, follower count). Another indicator can be the total reach of branded and sponsored content like emailers, sessions and virtual gift coupons. Tracking web search and direct traffic numbers on sponsors’ profile pages, banners and video ads also gives a clear idea of brand outreach.

KPIs for lead generation

For potentially transactional conferences, quality leads are perhaps the clearest indicator of success. Key metrics to evaluate the success of lead-generation activities are the number of meetings or demo appointments requested, the average meeting time and the average rating of those meetings. The total number of people engaging with networking profiles, banner ads, and promotional content through clicks, bookmarks, messages, visits or video views also helps qualify better leads.

KPIs for knowledge sharing

High engagement with speakers and sponsors’ content is another key indicator of the virtual conference’s success. This can be determined by the number of visits to the content hub, total downloads of company brochures, media, information and publications, and attendee requests to access premium content. Organisers can also track how many attendees are registering for training sessions like webinars and live workshops or have requested access to digital libraries and continuing education stores.

KPIs for overall satisfaction

A simple way for organisers to gauge the success of their conference is to just ask the attendees, speakers, and sponsors through post-conference surveys and feedback. These satisfaction surveys can include questions about their experience with different sessions, virtual meetings, online navigation and whether the live stream worked smoothly. Based on their responses, organisers can come up with a Net Promoter Score (NPS), identifying which participants are most likely to return to the next edition of the conference and recommend it to their peers and colleagues.


The success of virtual conferences ultimately depends on how much ROI they generate for their speakers, audience and sponsors. Using the KPIs mentioned above, organisers can gather insight from the data to improve their events and help audiences derive greater value from their investment.

Stuart Wood is a news reporter across the Mash Media editorial portfolio. He writes for CMW alongside sister publications Conference News, Exhibition News, Access All Areas and Exhibition World.

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