Webinars and other forms of “virtual” events existed before the pandemic, but this past year clearly brought virtual events, virtual conferences, and virtual meetings to the forefront. The days of the “one-way webinar” forever changed in 2020 with more focus on video, interactive sessions, breakouts, and other sessions that connected each person attending in fresh ways. As a result, it is important than ever to measure the effectiveness of virtual events, with people attending online rather than gathering in person. While there are a wide range of types of questions to ask event attendees about the content, speakers and event, I want to focus here on post-event questions that specifically address virtual event elements. Here are five survey questions every virtual event assessment must ask!

How accessible or easy to navigate was the virtual event platform? 

Understanding how easy to use (hopefully) your platform was during your virtual event is critical. If you learn from survey responses, it was hard for respondents to get on your virtual platform or if they had difficulty figuring out how to navigate to a specific speaker session or breakout, it might be time to look for a new option for future virtual events.

What were your favorite features of the virtual event platform? 

Since each virtual event platform has different options and tools, understanding which features resonated with participants is an important aspect of gauging the attendee experience. One easy option for a survey follow-up question is to provide a list of various platform features and allowing people to rate them, rather than asking an open-ended question.

How was your experience interacting with other virtual attendees? 

Whether it was interacting informally during a virtual happy hour or during formal sessions, a key part of the virtual event experience is to understand how each event attendee felt about their ability to connect and engage with other virtual attendees. You also need to determine if attendees found a way to interact with a speaker or presenter after a session, since they can’t just walk up to them. Clearly determining if their expectations were met (and hopefully exceeded) through survey responses, will provide valuable input for the planning process for future virtual events.

How was your experience with the virtual sponsors and/or exhibitors? 

Just like in person events, sponsors and exhibitors often make your virtual event a possibility. Ensuring that each sponsor and exhibitor is recognized in the event program is easy for in person events and can also be incorporated in virtual events. In some ways, it may even be easier to create spots for virtual sponsors or exhibitors in the event program, allowing them to have the attention of the attendees to talk about their tools or offerings for a brief period. It is important to share survey responses with sponsors and exhibitors about your online event for their benefit, and as event organizers, determine how to make improvements for future events.

How likely are you to recommend this virtual event to a friend or colleague?

Although the questions discussed up to this point have been specific to virtual events, this question, the Net Promoter Score (NPS), provides valuable feedback for any event survey. A score is derived based on a 0-10 scale with those answering 9 or 10 promoters, 7-8 passives, and those scoring 0-6 detractors. The NPS is calculated by subtracting the detractors from the promoters. One can also follow this question with an open-ended question that asks why the respondent for a response as to why they gave their rating. Some people believe that this question can replace an entire survey. While it can provide invaluable insight, I believe that it is important to use this follow up question with other actionable questions about virtual events, such as the questions discussed above.

I hope these five “must ask” virtual event survey questions help event professionals glean usable feedback to further business goals through a post event survey. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that as part of the process you should craft a response to attendees and each speaker about your post event survey findings to show them that you listened to their constructive feedback and plan to incorporate it into future events. Virtual events will remain part of the new normal even after the pandemic ends, so incorporating a feedback survey in your event planning process remains paramount to success.

To learn more about how to collect stakeholder feedback, check out our book Feedback Rules!, available on Amazon.

Looking for a great virtual event experience for your organization to jump into virtual volunteering? Check out what my friends at MATTER are doing in this space by reading this blog post.