On-site, consumer exit surveys provide insights into consumer impact immediately following the event experience. Sometimes, however, clients ask us to measure impact several months after an event. We typically recommend conducting post-event surveys.
Post-event surveys are an effective way to measure the impact of an experiential marketing campaign. Being able to say “X% of consumers actually purchased a product three months after experiencing our event” seems like you’ve won the proverbial golden ticket.
However, post-event research is not a universal approach that can, or should always apply to every experiential campaign’s measurement strategy. When you are wondering whether a post-event survey is appropriate for your campaign, consider four things:
- The size of your campaign
- Your ability to offer incentives
- The timeframe within which you expect to see an impact
- The length of time you expect the event to continue to have an impact
Size Matters with Surveys
Post-event survey response rates tend to be low. On average, we see a 4% to 6% response rate. For every 100 event participants we invite to respond, we expect only four to six actually will. For that reason, post-event surveys tend to be more effective when they are part of larger, on-going campaigns.
The most meaningful and successful post-event surveys we conduct are for national programs that last from 6 to 12 months. We conduct the on-site survey on a continual basis, which establishes a large pool of potential post-event respondents.
Incentives Go a Long Way with Surveys
We use incentives to boost response rates. Our response rates increase to as much as 5% to 8% when we offer incentives to respond. In a few cases, the rate jumps as high as 10%. Our standard practice is to enter post-event respondents into a drawing for an Amazon gift card. This type of incentive is practical in that it easily fits into most research budgets. It also communicates to consumers that we value their time.
Time is of the Essence with Surveys
Time can erode recall and reduce willingness to participate. We usually send post-event surveys to consumers anywhere from one to three months after their event experience. Response rates to dwindle if we extend beyond that timeframe. That doesn’t mean that the event hasn’t made an impact, but the farther consumers are removed from the event experience, the less likely they are to engage, regardless of how positive experience their experience was.
There are other ways to determine the event’s influence on perceptions and behaviors. In-depth interviews with consumers and sales data analyses are two viable options that work well for us, either as standalone research solutions or as complements to on-site surveys.