How to Use Data To Measure ROI At Your Next Event

For event hosts and sponsors, the most important takeaway from an event is their return on investment (ROI). ROI can be difficult to track, but with a bit of preparation you can easily measure your returns and associate a hard number with your event success.

Before you pull out your calculator, you’ll need to set clear objectives for how you want to measure your event success. What was the goal you were trying to reach by hosting this event? Was it to increase awareness, meet a hard sales goal, or increase your social media following by a certain percent? Try to choose a quantifiable objective as your main focus. Some common event objectives include:

  • Building brand awareness
  • Closing sales, signing contracts or generating RFPs
  • Achieving an ROI
  • Generating qualified sales prospects
  • Introducing a new product
  • Penetrating a new market

Once you know what your focus will be, you’ll need to determine what event aspects you need to track to measure your event success in a qualitative way. This step is crucial because, if you pick a goal without any tangible way to measure your performance, it’ll be hard to tell just how well you performed.  More importantly, it can obscure which event aspects helped or hindered your success, which can lead to you making the same poor decisions for future events.

Some objectives such as generating leads or signing contracts can be easy to measure because they are qualitative in and of themselves- you can literally count how many contracts were signed during and as a result of your event.  Alternatively, goals that don’t have a hard number associated with them (such as building brand awareness) can be difficult to track without assigning some sort of key performance indicator (KPI) to your goal.

After figuring out what aspects will be the best indicators for your success, you’ll need to figure out which tools or methods are needed to track them. Having proper measurement tools and the means to capture data is crucial, but it shouldn’t add too much more work on to your plate. For example, if your event goal is to gather new prospects and build brand awareness, you could potentially use the number of RSVPs and registrations you’re already capturing as your measurement tool.  Take stock of what information you’re already gathering and what tools you already have in place to see if any of this info can be used to measure your KPIs. Once you’ve determined your event goal, figured out your KPIs, and have an established way to track those KPIs, you’ll be in a great place to calculate your ROI after your event.

Depending on what you’re trying to track, the way to calculate your returns will vary. For example, if you’re objective focuses on building brand awareness or expanding into a new market, using social media tools such as Hootsuite, Google Alerts, and Mention can help you calculate how much buzz your event has generated before, during, and after your event. You can also use the data gathered by in-event surveys, gamification, and other attendee feedback to calculate your return based on the objectives you’ve set for yourself.

If your more focused on actual revenue or financial returns, the easiest way to do this is to take the total revenue generated by your event, subtract your event expenses, and divide the remaining about by your event expenses like so:

ROI = Event Revenue – Event Expense
                       Event Expense

This calculation will give you your ROI expressed as a percent. A negative percent means there was a loss on the investment, a 0 percent means you broke even, and a positive percent represents a profit. While there are many other ways to calculate ROI based on gross margins or the variable cost of goods sold, the basic formula above can give even the smallest of events a basic framework for their event performance.

If your objective was to build brand awareness, increase foot traffic, generate new customers, or expand into a new market, try one of our charging stations equipped with PeopleCounter! PeopleCounter uses a camera with tracking technology to provide valuable metrics such as age, emotion, gender, and the movement of people around your charging station over time. With this service, we’ll send you a report one week after the event so you can see exactly how valuable your investment was, and you can use this report to tie into any KPIs you’re already tracking.

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