It has never been easier to gather data on attendees, including how many were present, what sessions they attended, and whether or not they have a gluten allergy. But there's nothing that beats actually hearing their opinions and experiences. That only happens by gathering insights right from the attendees, and that requires a touch more work.
To help event planners decide which method to use for their next event, check out these common ways of gathering audience feedback and the pros and cons of each.
1. Paper Surveys
The traditional paper survey lives on, and that's in part because it's still one of the easiest types of surveys to set up. They're also entirely anonymous and can be left conspicuously in several locations to remind attendees to fill them out.
However, paper surveys will take a lot of work post-event to type out and collate, and you'll have created hundreds of pages of paper waste.
Pro: Simple and familiar
Con: Manual data entry
2. Digital Surveys
Moving into the paperless side, digital surveys are quick to set up, can be accessed anytime, and will collect and sort data for you. There are many different tools on the market, including stand-alone tech like Survey Monkey and systems built into your existing event app like QuickMobile.
As a caveat, this does require attendees to have access to laptops or smartphones and an Internet connection.
Pros: Convenient and scalable
Cons: Requires tech access
3. Social Media
Reaching out over your event's official Twitter, Facebook, or other social media platforms, is an instantaneous way to get feedback. This method doesn't require additional resources, and it can be a great opportunity to connect with the community.
But remember, social media is a public forum. And social platforms are typically not built to retrieve data, so it may also be difficult to keep track of all the responses.
Pros: Fast and low-cost
Cons: Logistical and privacy concerns
4. In-Person Interviews
This is a good way to get in-depth. There's nothing better than hearing it straight from the attendee's mouth, and you'll have lots of opportunities to ask follow-up questions.
Unfortunately, this can be time and resource consuming, and you won't be able to reach as many people as with some of the other options.
Pros: Flexible and in-depth
Cons: Inefficient, shallow reach
Audience feedback is crucial, and the information helps us make better decisions for future events. Different methods have different advantages and disadvantages. It all just depends on what works best for you and your audience.