Event marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to drive sales and enable them to connect with their target audience. As the budget for marketing has increased overall, it has become imperative to measure and calculate the ROI.

But what is event ROI? It indicates the net value an event marketer generates from an event for the cost of organizing it. It is important to understand how to measure event ROI to ensure the effectiveness and impact of the event and set targets for future events.

Benefits of measuring event marketing ROI:

  • Understand the costs incurred
  • Revenue generated from each attendee
  • Indicate the efficiency of the event marketing strategy
  • Contribute to revenue growth
  • Justify event marketing to management

The stats show that the marketing budget accounts for 9.5% of companies’ revenue. So if you are an event marketer, measuring ROI is your top priority to make the investment worth it.

In this guide, we’ll be discussing:

  1. To help you get a better idea of what KPIs you can set for your event, here’s a list of important KPIs you might consider
  2. How will technology be useful in your event?
  3. Understanding ROI Calculation Formula
  4. Analyzing Sales Before, During, and After Events 
  5. There are four key steps of benchmarking for events
  6. Follow these steps for conducting competitor analysis and market research

8 Easy Steps & Tactics to Measure Event Marketing ROI and Performance

As the world of event marketing continues to evolve and grow, measuring event success can help you gauge engagement, lead generation, opportunities, and brand awareness.

If you have trouble measuring event ROI, follow these eight steps and tactics to track essential details.

1. Setting Clear Objectives for Event Marketing

Setting clear goals and objectives stand as the first critical step for event marketers. Outlining the objectives and actions that require to be done to reach those goes help navigate the event easily.

Based on whether you are organizing conferences, tradeshows, or product launch events, you need to understand the context, challenges, and objectives of your event won’t be the same. Therefore, setting SMART objectives that align with the overall marketing strategy can help you achieve the purpose.

For example:

If the objective is to build brand awareness, the event goals will be to increase event registration, social media engagement, and website traffic. And the ROI metrics will be the number of registrations, social media impressions, and website visits.

If the objective is to drive event engagement, the goals will be to increase session engagement, event app usage, and social media engagement. 

And the ROI metrics will be the number of questions asked in each session, interaction in live polls, the response from the community, the number of app downloads, and the use of event hashtags.

2. Identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Events

Were you able to achieve your objectives? That’s the question you ask after the event is over. Whether you want to measure the success of virtual events or in-person events, defining KPIs will help event marketers monitor the objectives and determine ROI for events.

What are KPIs? KPIs are quantifiable measures to assess the success of overall event objectives and performance. KPIs are the key indicators to define whether your event went successful or not, based on the ROI.

To help you get a better idea of what KPIs you can set for your event, here’s a list of important KPIs you might consider:

  • Attendance and Registrations 
  • Lead Generation and Conversion Rates 
  • Social Media Engagement 
  • Brand Awareness and Reach 
  • Customer Satisfaction and Feedback

3. Data Collection and Measurement Tools

Data collection and measurement are vital to the event marketing guide that event marketers must know. Whether using a traditional ROI-based model or something else, you need to track your event’s important data and progress.

How will technology be useful in your event?

  • Tracking Attendee Behavior: A 360-degree understanding of attendees is critical to event success. The technology for tracking attendee behavior is increasing, and the data is can collected with devices such as beacons, Bluetooth low-energy devices, RFID, NFC, BLE fingerprinting, WiFi monitoring, floor sensors, and drones.
  • Utilizing Event Management Software: No matter what stage of the event you’re in, efficient event management software will allow you to plan, promote, engage, and follow up with real-time analytics, CRM integration, and reporting tools.
  • Leveraging Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems: It helps event marketers track event performance and focus on improving it continuously. It is evident that a CRM improves event ROI and targets the right audience to communicate effectively.

4. Calculating Event Marketing ROI

Events are designed with financial goals. Therefore, event marketers need to measure event ROI

Understanding ROI Calculation Formula

The ROI calculation formula is simple. All you have to do is subtract the total cost of your event from the total revenue generated from sales divided by the total cost of the event. As a result, you will get a percentage.

ROI = Results / Costs

Also, remember a typical ROI from an event ranges between 25-34% depending on your industry.

Assigning Costs and Expenses

When planning an event, you must assess the budget and identify items representing expenses.

One of the critical challenges is to measure the costs and expenses accurately. Every event has certain fixed and variable costs that event marketers must bear while using software or tools. For example, food and beverage costs are variable, while venue rental and entertainment costs are fixed.

Some of the most common expenses for an event include food and beverage, audiovisual, décor, travel, marketing/promotion, entertainment, venue rental, and accommodation.

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Quantifying Event Revenue and Returns

Quantifying event revenue and returns are measuring and evaluating the financial outcomes generated from an event. It includes the revenue generated from ticket sales, sponsorships, exhibitor fees, and other sources of income identified for the event.

Follow these steps to understand how to quantify event revenue and returns:

  • Identify all sources of income
  • Track and record financial data
  • Evaluate sponsorship revenue
  • Analyze exhibitor fees
  • Calculate total event expense
  • Calculate event ROI

Make guided decisions based on insights gained from the results of these steps, and make budget adjustments. Also, you can maximize future financial outcomes for your events.

5. Assessing the Impact of Event Marketing on Sales

Event marketing has a profound impact on sales if done rightly!

An event helps you increase your brand awareness, reach, and visibility and grows your sales, revenue, and customer acquisition.

Attribution Modeling for Event-Generated Sales 

As an essential feature in your event marketing checklist, event-generated sales can help you understand the impact of event marketing. Generally, event marketers use four basic attribution model types to analyze event ROI better.

  1. First touch model: It gives 100% credit to the event marketing/promotion strategy that led a potential attendee to interact with the brand and convert into sales.
  2. Lead-touch model: It gives all the credit to lead conversions, focusing on the funnel-marketing aspects.
  3. Last-touch model: It gives credit to potential attendees’ actions before converting as a sales opportunity.
  4. W-shaped model: The most comprehensive model credits marketing initiatives that make the customer interact, become a potential lead, and convert into sales.

However, the fundamental event marketing pathways take to convert a customer during a campaign are explained below:

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Analyzing Sales Before, During, and After Events 

Want to achieve your sales goals for the event? Then you have to kick back your intuition and get on the ground to work.

Follow these simple steps to analyze sales before, during, and after events:

  • Identify key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Analyze key trends before the event
  • Monitor sales during the event
  • Compare sales before and during the event
  • Determine the impact on sales after the event
  • Assess attendee feedback
  • Analyze sales patterns throughout
  • Calculate ROI for the event

Tracking Customer Conversion Pathways

Tracking customer conversion pathways includes assessing the steps the potential attendee takes from the initial stage to reach the bottom of the marketing funnel. 

Throughout the pathways, the potential attendee goes through key touch points such as websites, emails, social media posts, and forms. It enables them to make decisions and purchase event tickets.

By analyzing and understanding the pathways, event marketers can track the right point where they can maximize communication to ensure customers convert.

6. Measuring Event Engagement and Brand Experience

An expert event marketing consultant can help you create a mesmerizing brand experience at your event for your attendee that can captivate your audience and increase your sales. However, as an event marketer, you must measure the event engagement and experience post-event.

Here are some ways to consider:

  • Capturing Attendee Feedback
  • Analyze your website traffic
  • Sponsors willing to give your brand an opportunity
  • Conducting Surveys and Post-Event Analysis
  • Analyzing Social Media Sentiment
  • Compare initial figures to the drop-out rate

7. Comparing Event Performance against Benchmarks

To promote your event better, you must compare performance against benchmarks. It is essential to improve your event marketing strategy and look for unique activation ideas for events that set you apart from the competition.

Industry Standards and Best Practices

Event marketing has significantly evolved. For each industry, there are set standards and best practices that event marketers need to follow. However, the basics remain the same.

Follow the 4 points below to elevate your event experience:

  • Understand the goals and set budget
  • Create a comprehensive event marketing plan
  • Use discounts and sponsorships to increase attendees
  • Set KPIs to measure event success

Benchmarking with Past Events

Benchmarking is an important aspect that allows event marketers to analyze the data and eliminate areas for continued growth and success of future events. It also allows the marketer to scale the event visibility and business growth.

There are four key steps of benchmarking for events:

  • Current event assessment 
  • Set your benchmark criteria
  • Comparative analysis
  • Strategic prognosis
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Competitors Analysis and Market Research

Competitor analysis and market research allow event marketers to spot opportunities and innovative ways to promote events. It helps you understand what others are doing, how they are doing, and what different you can do to make your event stand out in the industry.

Follow these steps for conducting competitor analysis and market research:

  • Figure out competitors
  • Perform thorough research
  • Gather comparative market information
  • Analyze the information critically
  • Determine your competitive position

8. Adapting Strategies for Improved Event Marketing Performance

It’s almost cliché to write about strategies for event marketing, as the market landscape is changing so fast, it becomes overwhelming for marketers to keep up the pace.

But if event marketers fail to maintain the standards and trends, it will lead to poor event performance. Therefore, the search to adapt strategies for improving events must never end.

Here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Identifying success and areas of improvement
  • Create a benchmark for future events
  • Unlock new technology-based opportunities
  • Making data-driven decisions
  • Optimizing event ROI for future campaigns

Most Important Event Metrics to Measure the Event Marketing Performance

When organizing events, businesses spend a lot of time and money. Keeping track of everything that goes into hosting a stellar event is extremely crucial. The performance of any virtual or physical event is measured through certain metrics.

Every goal of your event will have a different set of metrics. Let’s look at some essential metrics for different event goals that’ll help you measure the performance of any event.

1. Measuring brand awareness

Hosting events is a great way to create brand awareness. It’s a great way to let prospective customers know what your business is all about and what it stands for. Creating brand awareness falls at the top of the marketing funnel. In marketing, TOFU, or the top of the funnel, is a phase where you create awareness about your brand.  
The goals of the awareness phase include:

  1. Event sign-ups and registrations
  2. Local media coverage
  3. Website traffic
  4. Social media presence

To measure the performance of the brand awareness goal of your event, you’ll need to keep track of the following metrics.

  • The total number of event registrations
  • The total reach of your event on social media
  • The number of mentions your event earned online
  • The number of website visitors your event pulled in
  • The number of people who engaged with your event on social media

2. Measuring performance during an event

You may have managed to get a lot of people to show up at your company event, but how can you find out if they’re having a good time? How will you figure out if your attendees are learning about your business and why it is better than all the other options? 

The learning and engaging phase falls at the middle of the funnel (MOFU). This is where your prospecting customers have become aware of your brand and will ask questions to gauge how it stands apart from the rest. This is why it is important to measure your event’s performance while it’s happening. During an event, you’ll want your attendees to engage with you. You’ll want them to talk about your event and share pictures online. 

Metrics for measuring event engagement include:

  • The number of responses on your live poll
  • The number of questions asked during your Q&A sessions
  • The number of mentions and hashtags your event gained on social media

These metrics are crucial to measuring the performance of an event. It’ll help you break down the number of attendees who had a good time at your event. It’ll also help you reflect upon your shortcomings so you may improve your upcoming event. 

3. Measuring customer acquisition

The reason why people sign up for virtual or physical events is that they want to learn something new. It could be a new skill or a product that they didn’t know much about. Customer acquisition falls at the bottom of the marketing funnel (BOFU). It is the final stage where a lead turns into a paying customer. 

The primary goal of events is to make prospecting customers aware of your products and get them to purchase them. The event goals for customer acquisition include customer satisfaction and customer retention. The metrics for measuring customer acquisition include;

  • Product purchases
  • Free trials and demos
  • In-event product surveys
  • Post-event product survey

These metrics are designed to measure the performance of different stages of an event. Using these metrics, you can measure the performance:

  • Before
  • After
  • And during your event

What Tools Do You Need To Measure Event Marketing Results?

As we mentioned earlier, measuring event performance and ROI has gotten a lot easier nowadays thanks to different advanced tracking and analytical tools. Speaking of which, here are 5 event performance and ROI measuring tools that every marketer should use.

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can provide you with valuable insights into your event marketing efforts. 

Here’s what Google Analytics can help event marketers with:

  • Track the demographics of people who visited your event website
  • Track which channels your visitors are using to registrations for your event
  • Which pages did your attendees visit on your event website
  • Which event content on your website was the most or least popular
  • Conversion rates of your event goals, such as registrations, downloads, or purchases
  • At what stage are people abandoning the event registration journey

Google Analytics is really easy to set up. All it takes is just installing a tracking code on your website. After that, Google will be able to provide you with real-time analytics of your event. 

2. Social Listening

Social listening is a great way of figuring out what people are talking about your event on social channels. It can help you gauge the engagement before, during, and after your event. 

You can use social listening to measure:

  • The number of times your event hashtag got used
  • The number of times your company got mentioned on social media
  • The number of times your event name got mentioned on social media

Social listening is not only used for post-event analysis but can also be used during your event, especially when it comes to promoting content on LinkedIn. During an event, you can keep track of the number of mentions your event gets in real time. If you notice the level of engagement dying down, you can share insightful or inspirational quotes from your event speakers to entice people to retweet them or share them on other social platforms.

Another benefit of social listening is that it can help you build a repository of user-generated content (UGC) so that you can, after your event, stay engaged with your attendees. 

Some of the best social listening tools that you can use to track the performance of your event are:

  • Sprout Social
  • Falcon.io
  • Buffer
  • TweetReach
  • BuzzSumo
  • Hootsuite

3. HotJar

Similar to Google Analytics, Hotjar is behaviour analytics and user feedback software. It can help you understand why visitors are or are not taking certain actions on your event site.

It can also help you essentially gather the voice of the customer (VoC) feedback. With HotJar, you can track product experience, visitor clicks, visitor scrolls, and even mouse movement through heatmaps. But that is not it. HotJar can help you perform even more in-depth analysis by recording users’ browsing sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I track and measure attendee behavior at events?

6 best ways to track and measure attendee behavior at events:

  1. Beacons and Bluetooth low energy
  2. Radiofrequency identification (RFID)
  3. Near field communication (NFC)
  4. Mobile event apps with analytics capabilities
  5. Video analytics and facial recognition systems
  6. Social media monitoring and engagement tracking

How can I measure the impact of event marketing on sales?

5 ways to measure the impact of event marketing on sales:

  • Sales revenue generated during and after the event
  • Number of qualified leads generated
  • Increase in conversion rates
  • Value added to the brand
  • Customer retention and repeat purchases

What are some methods for measuring event engagement and brand experience?

Methods for measuring event engagement and brand experience include:

  • Attendee feedback surveys
  • Social media Impressions and engagement
  • Website Traffic
  • Post-event evaluations and testimonials 
  • Polls and contests with participation metrics
  • Net promoter score

Final Words

Understanding how to measure event ROI and performance is critical for the event’s effectiveness. 

It involves determining the ROI and tracking the key metrics such as revenue generated, cost per attendee, and sales lead generated. Tools like ticketing systems, event tracker software, and web analytics can also give a clear picture.

By analyzing the data and calculating ROI, event marketers can prepare themselves for future events, eliminating errors and mistakes to make the next event a bigger success.