Event ROI: Understanding the Basics
Evaluating the success of your event is crucial for your Event Strategy. That’s the only way to learn what you need to refine for future events, what worked and what didn’t work.
KPI’s are Key Performance Indicators. These are the attributes or behavior measurement tools tracked over a period of time against your goals to calculate if you achieved the desired event results or not. Event ROI refers to return on investment. It basically means if the revenue earned through various Event teams exceeded the cost spent to produce
the event. Event ROI is a way to determine your Event’s financial success. Though KPIs and ROI are two sides of a coin, they are highly correlated. KPI’s can prove to be instrumental in improving the Event ROI.
Examples of Event KPI’s
• Number of Registrations
• Attendee Engagement
• Leads Generated
• Event Advertisements Engagement
• Cost: Revenue Ratio
• Sponsor Engagement
• Customer Acquisition Cost
• Gross revenue
• Total number of Community Members: Before & During the Event
• Total number of event check-ins compared to registrations
• Live event app polling
• Social Media Engagement: Social media posts, likes, retweets, and shares pertaining to the event, Event hashtag trends, and mentions
• Individual sponsor engagement on the event website
• Number of repeat attendees (for recurring events)
• Number of new customers acquired
• Email Marketing Roll-out: open rates, click-through rate
Four Steps on how to Identify, Analyze, Measure and Apply KPI’s for improved
Event ROI. To understand the correlation and impact of KPI’s on Event ROI, we’ll
apply these 4 steps to 3 organizations and understand how each of them
identified, analyzed, measured, and applied their KPI’s to achieve their
desired Event ROI.
Step 1 Identify:
Market Research company: One of the Market Research company I was
working with, was facing a huge drop in their sponsor partnerships. With
their upcoming user conference, they wanted to increase their gross
revenue over 12 months (since this was an annual event).
IT Software: On the other side was an IT firm who wanted to increase the
growth of their Social Media followers since that would help them identify
the consumer engagement on their new products & service over a period
of 3 months.
Step 2 Analyze:
Market Research company: Since increasing revenue is a perfect KPI to
calculate Event ROI, it also involves 2-3 additional KPIs to deliver desired
results. For ex- total number of registrations, sponsorships, cost of goods
& services sold (cogs), etc. These KPIs will help you calculate the cash
flow to your company earned through events.
IT Software: The combination of 3 KPI’s we picked in order to calculate
the Social media engagement growth. Number of followers, Post reach,
Average Engagement Rate.
Step 3 Measure:
Market Research company: In order to use these KPIs and analyze their
performance against your goals, you first need to understand how to
measure these metrics individually.
Total Number of Registrations: Keep a close check on the registrations
happening each month since the announcement. Which month got you the
most registrations, through which platform? The more specific information
you get the more you can leverage it to increase sales.
Sponsorships: Print placements, Mobile App Banner Sponsorships etc
Cost of Goods & Services Sold: Sales before, during and after event
Audience Growth Rate = New followers/ Total followers X 100
Post reach = Post views / Total Followers X 100 = Post Reach %
Average Engagement Rate = Likes + Shares+ Comments/Followers X
100 = Average Engagement Rate Percentage
Step 4 Apply:
Market Research Company: Keeping the metrics in mind, we investigated
a bit on the event’s historical data and noticed 2 major things. One was
the registration form was too long, with a lot of questions and it also made
sense to see a huge number of incomplete forms from the previous events.
So the team made some drastic changes to the form and made it shorter,
added multiple payment options, funneled registration fees by way of
Early Bird promo and integrated their event registration software with
The second was the image quality and dimensions of sponsorship
placements. An extensive feedback survey was sent to Sponsors and
partners to know about their opinion on the placements. The response
helped identify that the sponsorship placements on print material were
lacking diversification based on the sponsored amount, the image
dimensions were too small to identify the sponsor name and the Mobile
App banner time was way too less for an attendee to engage. Feedback
was applied and helped the company reach its revenue goal but also noticed
showing relevant banner ads on mobile app increased audience
IT Software: Once we identified the metrics to keep an eye on, it was time
to act on it. The company was able to increase its reach and followers
strength by end of the second month by launching a Raffles Marathon. Every
Tuesday and Friday at 11 am, they posted a little quiz about their product, and by end of the day, 1 follower was awarded complimentary Event registration through one of their posts. This helped them not just increase post views but also increase customer engagement on their posts and product.
The important thing is to understand here is every organization, its goal, and
event set up is different. It really doesn’t matter if choose one of the above
KPIs or not, however, identify those indicators that actually will help derive
the results you want.