Every event needs to provide value to your business. But how do you measure this value? By calculating the event return on investment – otherwise known as “measuring event ROI”.

A smart phone showing measurement data

Before you consider measuring your event ROI though, before you even begin initial concept and event planning, everyone needs to stop and think – what is the purpose of the event and what do you want it to achieve?

Let’s dive in.

What are your event goals?

When you want to measure the success of anything, you need to work out what you are trying to achieve by this event, otherwise, you have nothing to base your success on.

These goals not only give your organisation something to measure when the event is finished but offers so much more –

  • These goals help the team stay focused on what they want to achieve during and after the event, in fact, throughout every part of the event planning stages.
  • These goals can be the inspiration for some exciting ideas and strategies during the event planning stages.
  • These goals can bring the team together as they work collectively on the same objectives.

What are your event or business KPIs?

Your event goal could simply be a measure in profit – the difference between the revenue generated from attendee ticket sales less the total costs of the event.

Leading event managers and companies, drill-down and uncover other specific event goals –

  • Generate qualified leads. What is the definition of a qualified lead? How many qualified leads?
  • Make follow-up meetings with new prospects. How many follow up meetings? Will you be targeting an industry group, or appointments with C-suite level?
  • Give new product demonstrations. How many product demos will you complete?
  • Attract new employees. How many employees do you need, and what qualifications/merits do you want them to have?
  • Increase website traffic. When do you want this new website traffic? How much new website traffic do you want? What do you want visitors to do on the website?
  • To build brand awareness for your company or cause. How many people do you want to see your brand? Who do you want to see your brand?
  • Make sales. Sales of which products/services? How many sales do you want to generate?
Working on a laptop communicating with team on Slack
Event planning: get clear with your team on your goals & KPIs

The more specific you are, the easy it will be to measure and plan your event for success.

These goals should also be in alignment with your team or department key performance indicators (KPIs).

Check your high-level KPIs for the overall performance of your business or your department could have their own KPIs. Ensure your event goals support them all.

Prioritise your event goals

You may choose any number of goals you want your event to achieve. If you do, it is important to prioritise them, so that you can maximise your investment and the success of your event.

Pull one goal out as the main goal, and this will become the measure of event ROI. This will be what everyone will be aiming for as they plan and execute the event.

Make sure you communicate the event goals and their priorities to all key stakeholders, so everyone is on the same page and working towards them.

Check out our blog Top Apps To Help You Plan, Run & Analyse Your Event – you may find a beauty in there that may help!

How will you measure this event goal?

Once you have decided on the main goal, you can work out how you are going to calculate the return on investment of that goal.

Put some real numbers behind them. Making them measurable and achievable will be so much easier to plan and organise a successful event.

For example, if your goal is to make sales of a new product at the event – How many sales do you want to make? How will you measure the sales at the event?

Or perhaps, your goal is to increase website or social media followers. How much traffic/how many followers do you want? When do you want the traffic or followers (before, during or after the event)? What analytics will you use and how will you measure it?

You may also, want to look at your other top event goals, to see if you can put some measurements and targets behind them during this planning stage.

Male worker looks at analytical charts on a screen
Track and analyse progress towards your event goals

Measuring your event goals

Now that you have worked out your goals, prioritised them and put tangible figures on them, you need to ensure that you have the systems, analytics, metrics, plans and people in place to accurately collect and measure the data.

Example 1: Product Sales

If your event goal was new product sales, you need to be able to measure all the sales that occurred as a result of your event. Ensure that the sales invoicing system can isolate and identify the sales from the trade show.

Do you have the terminals at the event to enable sales to be made quickly and easily at the event? What payment methods will you provide? Will you need a cash float? If so, how much will be enough? Are all event staff trained on using these systems to process new sales at the event? There’s a lot to think about.

Example 2: Increase Website Traffic

If your goal was to increase traffic to the website, you will need to know what the existing traffic to your website is before the event. Are the systems in place to measure the traffic when event marketing campaigns kick-off?

You can go one step further and measure what this new increase in traffic did on your website – did they buy, did they spend a lot of time on your website, did they post to their social media? There are so many options to drill down.

Example 3: Raise Brand Awareness

Want more social media followers? How many do you have now, how many followers do you usually get per month prior to the event? How many followers do you want to have by the end of the event?

Go one step further and create a unique hashtag for the event. Now you can follow it on your social media listening dashboard (use Google alert or something more sophisticated like Hootsuite), to hear what people are saying about your event.

TIP – You may need to adopt or invest in new systems or tools to help you measure your event ROI. This will become evident as you run through your goal measurement plans.

How do you measure the success of an event?

The event is finished, you’ve had your post-event drinks to celebrate a fun, busy and entertaining event. Your guests have bragged what a great time they had, and management is pleased with the sentiment of the event.

On the surface, the event was a success, but now, it is time to get down to the nitty-gritty and crunch some numbers.

All the pre-planning to measure your event goals will come into action. It should be easy to collect the analytics from the relevant people and systems to get the data and divide these with the actual cost of the event.

For example, if your event goal was to make $45,000 in sales at the event and you sold $53,000, you have surpassed your goal by $8,000.

Another example, if your goal was to increase event registrations in the telecommunications industry turn to your event registration system, like the Sprintr event registration kiosks, to collect the data of all the attendees.

Measuring event ROI doesn’t end there. You need to add the cost of the event plus all related costs (yes, include everything, such as staff sustenance, POS equipment), let’s say this adds up to $18,000. The revenue generated by the event was $53,000 less the cost of the event $18,000 – so the event ROI was $35,000.

There are several event ROI calculators which may help – try this one from Eventbrite.

When your event is a success… 🙂

Benefits of calculating event ROI

Not only does calculating ROI show the real success of any event against your company’s goals, but it is also key in ensuring your event project management is thorough, efficient and gets the whole team working together in the same direction.

If your event goal was $X in sales of a new product during the event, you can make sure you have enough stock available at the event to cover these sales, the payment systems in place to capture them, as well as other logistics needed to make the sales.

Even after the event, you can continue to measure your investment, if carefully planned from the beginning. Event ROI not only gives you feedback on your success but also on how you could have improved it. And make the next event even better!

Still not sure how to measure your event ROI? Or you simply want to improve your metrics or analytics of your event goals?

With experience in the full technical production for thousands of conferences, roadshows and special events around Australia and overseas, AV1 can provide guidance as to some of the best methodologies we use to measure your event ROI.

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