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How to Measure ROI and Demonstrate Your Event’s Value


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Events have a lot of benefits, both tangible and intangible. And while there's nothing wrong with results like brand awareness or getting the word out, when it comes time to show your event’s value to your boss, it helps to have some concrete results. You put a lot of time, effort and money into creating an amazing experience, so do yourself a favor and make a plan to demonstrate exactly how valuable your event is to your company. Here are the basic steps you need to take to prove your event’s ROI. 

Understand your goals

As with most aspects of event planning, measuring ROI begins with goal-setting. What are your goals? To generate leads? Build awareness for a new product launch? Measure employee engagement? In any case, write a clear list and then prioritize them. Keep in mind that some goals will call for specifics. Calculating ticket sale revenue is straightforward, though, measuring new product awareness will require setting clear metrics and values upfront.

Identify your KPIs

KPIs (key performance indicators) isn’t just a fancy term to throw around loosely. They’re the metrics you want to focus on; the metrics that reflect your meeting goals. Every meeting has its own important data points, but here are a few common metrics to get you started:

  • Website traffic

  • Registrations

  • Number of returning attendees

  • Social media engagement

  • Social media mentions

  • Brand awareness

  • Event check-ins

  • Messages sent in the app

  • Networking Connections

  • Meetings Scheduled

  • Speaker engagement

  • New leads

  • New sales

  • Education around a new product launch

  • Attendee satisfaction

  • Net promoter score (how likely they are to recommend the event)

  • Polling and survey response rate

  • Gross revenue

  • Cost to revenue

  • Revenue by source or promo code

  • Cost per acquisition

Create your budget

Manage BudgetPutting on a great event is an expensive undertaking, both in terms of hours worked, technology and production costs. And that’s ok! Any marketing effort worth focusing on is going to be an investment. The whole point here is to demonstrate exactly how and why your event was worth this investment. When putting together your event budget, make sure you include all of the expenses for an event — including costs from your team’s hours worked, and expenditures that might go across multiple events.


Get the right tools in place

To measure success, you need data. Lots and lots of data. You don’t have to use all of it, but it’s a best practice to set up tracking on as many aspects as possible, because you never know what you might want to review and understand later on. At the very least, track and measure the data points associated with your KPIs.

Make sure you have web analytics on your website. Google Analytics is a good start. Track important call to action buttons throughout your registration flow, from visit to signup to purchase. You want to understand your conversion rate, so you can test ways to improve your copy, design, pricing and strategy in the future.

Crazy Egg is another simple and useful tool for web analytics. You can easily set up heat maps and click maps to understand exactly how people view and interact with your page.

For social media, create a hashtag so you can monitor what people are saying. Social engagement is a great indicator of interest, and it’s always good to have a few concrete posts and tweets from excited attendees to share in the event wrap up.

Mobile Check InOnce attendees register, an event app is huge for measuring engagement. With an app, you can understand how people sign up for sessions, match with other attendees and interact with any gamification features. You can also use the app to send polls and surveys, which will give you more insight than you can get otherwise.

Calculating ROI

There are many ways to calculate ROI, and yours should be unique to your event. But ultimately, ROI is a simple formula: revenue over cost. That’s why certain KPIs will make the calculation easier — metrics like leads, revenue, and cost per acquisition.

Determine what exactly is most important to you and your company. Then set about dividing the costs in your budget by the revenue and other KPIs. When deciding which numbers to highlight, remember that you’re telling a story about your event. A story that shows that all the hard work your team put into this paid off, and that this event is worth investing in year after year.

Analyze your results

Feedback and AnalyticsHopefully, your ROI picture looks rosy. If not, that’s okay too. Take some time to analyze your data and survey results. Where is there room for improvement? Will different topics or speakers better serve your event next time? Could your app be improved? How did the time, location and venue pan out? Do any of these factors need to be reconsidered? As long as you can pin down areas of improvement, you’ll be able to build on your successes and present a road map to greater ROI in the future. If you’re looking for more ways to add value to your event, check out our article 10 Reasons Why Your Customers Should Invest in Events.


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