Understanding Event Return on Investment (ROI)

When it comes to eventing, calculating event return on investment (ROI) can be complicated. It’s understandable that today’s event planners are increasingly being asked about ROI by their clients and team leaders, but it seems there’s no one clear way to track it, and many event planners don’t know where to start – or, in fact, what event ROI even means.
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What is event ROI?

Simply put, event ROI refers to the net value that an event marketer gets from their event for the net cost that went into producing it in the first place. And while the idea of ‘money in vs money out’ might seem like the most obvious and easiest way to track ROI, it’s important to note that value is a much more complicated term than just event revenue. That’s because there isn’t only one way to track an event’s ROI – sure, value could include the money made through ticket prices, but it can also include sponsorships and partnerships, attendee satisfaction, brand awareness created, new leads, and so much more. If your event made money but every single attendee left with a newfound hatred for your brand, would you really have made a good return on the investment?

We’ve spoken extensively about how important it is to establish your event goals and objectives, and this is just as imperative when you’re solidifying your event ROI goals. Your first step should be to clarify what you want your event to achieve, and from there you can decide how to measure your events metrics.

Start with your business goal and then build from there:

Business Goal – Event Goal – ROI Metric – ROI Tools

A good example is if your business goal is ‘To build brand awareness’ and your event goal is ‘To increase brand social media presence’ then the best ROI metrics available to you would be the number of social media impressions, mentions, follows, likes etc. that come from the event. And with a social media analysis as your ROI tool, you’ll be able to create a clear view of exactly what value came from your event.

Each event is different and will have a different way to track ROI. But with a clear event ROI goal, a solid plan for tracking progress, and a reliable way to measure your success after the event, you’ll be able to use your ROI to shape your future events, helping you improve with every new task you take on.

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