How to calculate ROI for marketing events

Marketing events offer plenty of benefits for your business. But to find out their true value, you have to work out their ROI. Here's how to do just that.

How to calculate ROI for marketing events
Written by Hannah Wilson
Events, ROI  |   4 minute read

Putting on a marketing event is a stressful experience. Finding a venue, inviting the right guests, preparing the activities… the list goes on. Often, they're worth the stress because of the opportunities you get from them.

But you need to make sure you get everything you can out of them. What's the best way to do so? Calculating their return on investment (ROI), of course!

 

The KPIs you should track

If you're a marketer, everything you do needs to be measured with key performance indicators (KPIs), and your events are no different. 

But with so many KPIs to track, both tangible and intangible, the ROI for your marketing events can be hard to determine. In fact, Bizzabo found that more than half (54%) of marketers expressed difficulty proving their ROI. 

The ROI for your marketing event is the money you've made from the event after the costs for things like content production, paid social spend, event designs and even staff costs. 

But it goes deeper than that. What about the opportunities created via the event? The post-even conversations that lead to you doing business together — all of that counts, too.

We've talked a lot about calculating ROI in the past, from measuring video ROI to email marketing to content marketing. Event marketing is another thing you should consider as part of your overall marketing strategy. 

Here are some of the things you should keep an eye on for your marketing events:

 

Registrations

This is a pretty obvious one that you're bound to keep an eye on anyway, but it's worth mentioning now. You need to track how many people register for your event. 

How you measure this depends on how you get your attendees to register, whether through sites like Eventbrite or a form on your website.

 

Website traffic

You may not get everyone registering for your event, but monitoring your website traffic can indicate the amount of interest it's generating. If you’re getting a lot of website traffic but a low registration rate, you know there’s something on the page you need to change. 

Maybe experiment with your CTA or add more to your registration offer. Just optimising your landing page could make all the difference.

 

The number of returning attendees

If you've held an event before, tracking the number of people who register and attend your next one is a great way to see the overall success of your event strategy. If people aren’t coming back, you likely need to make a change. 

 

Social media engagement

Not only should you track how many shares, views and likes your event posts are getting, but creating your own event hashtag has been wildly successful for many event marketers. 

For example, London Pride uses the hashtag #prideinlondon every year on both Instagram and Twitter. The hashtag links every post about your event together makes your content more discoverable on social media, and allows you to see how your attendees engage with the event. 

 

New leads and sales

Typically, marketing events aim to increase your sales, generate new leads and/or raise money. So, tracking any new ones that come through is a given for calculating your marketing event ROI. 

 

Post-event surveys 

Those post-event surveys are one of the all-important aspects of hosting your event. Getting feedback on what worked and what didn't is an invaluable part of the event marketing process. 

In the same study, Bizzabo found that 37% of respondents primarily measured attendee engagement and satisfaction as a KPI for event success.

Through survey tools like SurveyMonkey, send a post-event questionnaire with questions around how much attendees enjoyed the event, how long they spent there, which topics they liked and what they wish you covered more.

The data you gain will help inform your future marketing events and show you're engaged in their enjoyment; the more likely your attendees are to convert into leads. 

You also need to take into account your net promoter score (NPS). Your NPS is how likely your attendees would recommend your event/company/product/service to a friend or colleague. 

Without monitoring your attendee satisfaction and NPS, it becomes difficult to see which areas of the event were successful and enjoyable and which ones need some more improvement. 

 

A few tools to help you track and measure your data

Marketing events are a great way to get your name out there and generate new leads, but there’s a lot to keep an eye on before, during and after. 

You should already use many of these for your day-to-day marketing activities, but there are a few essential tools to help you keep track of your event KPIs. 

Google Analytics is the industry standard for tracking website traffic. Still, you can also track critical call-to-action buttons to know when visitors click to find out about your event and when they purchase or register for a ticket. 

For social media, there are hundreds of different apps that promise to track and analyse your metrics. Some of the ones we recommend include Later, Rival IQ and, if you're using HubSpot as your CRM, you can create and filter social reports for all platforms.  

A CRM like HubSpot will also track your new leads and sales as well as cost per acquisition and gross revenue, so you don’t need to do everything manually. 

 

What our own event taught us

Every year, minus the past two lockdown years, Digital 22 has run LOVE INBOUND, an event bringing together leading experts in the marketing industry.

In the past, we've had talks from people like Terrance Kwok from Vidyard, who talked about the importance of video and where marketers should use it. We also hosted our own panels like Mark's talk on stepping out of your comfort zone and Paul's on blog length vs user experience

Our breakfast and lunch networking sessions allowed everyone to chat with the speakers and other attendees. 

Not only did we get to chat with other experts about the industry, but we also were able to share our brand and solidify ourselves as experts at what we do. That kind of brand awareness is priceless. 

And the ability to capture the data of those who attended the event for further marketing and collaboration opportunities made the event all the more valuable. 

You can check out the talks from LOVE INBOUND here.



Try our conversion calculator 

Calculating your ROI involves several different KPIs, and they can be a little hard to stay on top of. Why not use our free Conversion Calculator and we'll do the working out for you?

Try our Conversion Calculator for free by clicking the link below. 

ACCESS CONVERSION CALCULATOR HERE