• Sonali Nair CMP, DES, HMCC, MIE

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

IT Software:

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

Email Marketing.

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.