With the rising hype around virtual events, it’s quite expectable for any event organizer to be craving for a true measure of virtual events success. And that’s exactly where event marketing ROI comes in. In fact, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to measure the results and engagement of your virtual events. Virtual event data is still data after all, and it’s still the best way to demonstrate event success.

We’ve already spelled out how lead capture tech can help you measure your event ROI, but now we intend to dig deeper into this topic, since virtual events are a relatively new scenario for much of the events industry. After all, event organizers that didn’t stay still had no choice but to allocate their budgets to online event platforms. Let’s try to figure out how event ROI can be tracked on those platforms.

1. Event ROI Meaning

We may refer to ROI (Return on Investment) as the most commonly used financial ratio to calculate the return generated on an investment relative to the amount of budget allocated. It happens that many event organizations are poorly or not aligned with this term, but with virtual events bringing crudely technology to the fore it’s time to meet success with no more excuses.

ROI Calculation (%) = Net Income / Cost of Investment x 100
As you can see, the result is expressed as a percentage of increase or decrease in the amount invested.

When it comes to calculating return on events, it could be extremely challenging or pretty straightforward. For events that are specifically designed to generate direct revenue, either through ticket sales, paid sponsorships or sale of products or services, the approach to calculating return is quite easy. However, most events are yet related to brand awareness and little focused on revenue.

Get to know our customized editions, where the beamian solution can deliver a powerful online experience:

  • Job & Career Fairs  – Deliver the perfect opportunity for companies & job seekers to connect in a highly interactive way, through a comprehensive job board, meeting rooms for interviews, filtering features, and more;
  • Fairs & Venues – Host trade shows completely focused on closing deal opportunities & lead generation, by driving visitors to fully-branded virtual stands and product pages. Also create engaging moments for attendees with video meeting rooms and real-time chat;
  • Corporate & Brand Events – Improve brand awareness, stream your company positioning, maximize your event experience and establish the ground to gather valuable event data.

2. Event ROI Variables

Have you realized that with the emergence of online events, we’re gaining a new opportunity to set clear and specific objectives within virtual event solutions that can easily deliver event insights? 

Better software and increasingly powerful event management platforms now allow you to examine and measure how well you’re meeting certain KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). And it’s through these KPIs that we can begin to understand how to set clear expectations and goals.

Common examples:

  • Year-over-year attendance growth
  • Attendee satisfaction rating or NPS
  • Exhibitor satisfaction rating
  • Increased employee engagement
  • Budget adherence
  • Direct revenue (from ticket sales, sponsorships, and so on)
  • Number of leads generated
  • Value of attributed sales pipeline
  • Increased product adoption

Once you get clear about the variables you want to bring out to the equation, you’ll need to understand where the data will come from to determine each one of your KPIs. For basic KPIs like Year-over-Year Attendance Growth, you should have direct access and control over this data (you can indeed start by analyzing previous data from your live or virtual events, in order to demonstrate growth and prove that your efforts have not been in vain). For other KPIs, however, you will likely need to have an integrated event management platform that allows you to gather all event data in one place, without having to access other systems or to require data from other sources.

Tip: Perhaps you don’t have a lot of experience in measuring success for virtual events, so start with basic KPIs. Over time, move on to more advanced KPIs and start using historical data wherever possible.

3. Event ROI Goals

Event success is often evaluated based on attendance rates, engagement, attendee and exhibitor satisfaction or other coming indicators under budget. But if we think of B2B events – just like tradeshows, product training and business or channel partner events – we start to approach more tangible metrics, such as the number of leads generated or the number of deals closed within the commercial follow-up actions in a post event scenario.

Since not all events are created equal, event ROI goals should fit each event type.

So, meeting the right goals and expectations for event performance generally aim at commercial growth, and to a lesser extent, opportunities for skill development and professional growth. That’s why goal setting and event types must go hand in hand if you want to calculate a ROI that will keep you on course. Learn more about measuring event ROI and what reports & analytics can you get from your event.

Common examples:

  • Creating awareness
  • Driving lead generation
  • Improving product adoption
  • Educating on a new product
  • Boosting employee morale

4. Event Technology & ROI

Digitizing your event through lead capture technology is probably the best way to measure your event ROI, in particularly for live and hybrid events. You’ll need to take advantage from event technology tools to create effective data touch points at all types of in-person events, in order to generate qualified leads, capture relevant information and quantify your event success. This can be done through different innovative ways, being the most known ones RFID technology, QR Codes or mobile event apps.

5. Best Tools To Evaluate Event ROI

Once you understand the different goals behind certain events, as well as the applicability of event variables across each type of event, you’ll gain a helpful knowledge for capturing and measuring event ROI. So, the next step should be finding the best tools in today’s data-driven environment that can deliver effective dashboards to communicate relevant insights about your event, from operational and analytical to strategic aspects.

Get to know the best lead capture tools for live, hybrid & virtual events that the beamian solution has to offer.

6. Why Improving Attendee Engagement Is Crucial For Event ROI

Engagement is at the core of event ROI, either for virtual, hybrid or live events. Because even if you’re equipped with the right tools, keeping a pulse on your event from start to finish and being able to have a real-time impact on the experience will only work if your attendees don’t dismiss their wide rage of interaction opportunities. That’s why improving attendee experience & engagement is still the most challenging commitment of any event organizer.

Without a significative engagement rate, your data won’t be reliable and you won’t be able to use valuable feedback to measure your event ROI or to improve future event planning.

If you’re running virtual events, get to know how to keep your attendees engaged.

Talk to us! We’ll show you how to create a successful event that have real impact on your business, from increased revenue to heightened brand awareness.