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How to Measure the Success of an Event !

December 6, 2017

If You Can’t Measure It, Then It Doesn’t Exist!

Measuring the success of an event is one of the most challenging yet important tasks that meeting planners need to complete in order to determine if there is an actual return on event investment.

A Sample Event ROI Framework

To get a comprehensive picture of your event ROI, you’ll need to calculate more than just the value of new leads or business from the event.  Calculating the intangible pound value of an event is just as important, so here’s a simple framework that you can use to help:

CategoryKPI £ Value
Intangible ValueOperational ExcellenceOn time performance£ saved vs Plan
 Actual Spend vs Plan
 Brand AwarenessSocial SharesPaid £CPM value
 PR Mentions
 Overall Participant SatisfactionNet promoter Score£ value per satisfied response
 VIP Praises
Tangible ValueExisting Business Relationship StrengthenedCustomers£ value of leads / actual renewals
 New Opportunities CreatedEarly & late StageCost per lead £ value or new deal revenue value
 Revenue EarnedSponsorship revenuetotal revenue
 Attendee Revenue
Total Value  Total tangible value + Total intangible value – Total Cost

Operational Excellence

Running your event on time pays dividends.  It means that you may not have to pay for costly hours that are usually spent on setting up or breaking down the space with your venue.  A extra hour past your allotted time could mean thousands of pounds out of your pocket.

Brand Awareness

Social shares, PR mentions, and general word of mouth create amazing intangible benefits, but are often the hardest to determine value in actual dollar terms.  Luckily, there’s solid benchmarks you can leverage from EventBrite for the dollar value of social activity. In addition, for any type of earned media mentions that drive additional traffic to your company or event website, you can calculate the equivalent cost for display ads to get that same traffic (here’s a recent advertising CPM estimator you can use) to better determine your intangible dollars earned.  Lastly, by getting your event publicized in the media, it could boost your chances of securing sponsorships for future events, which have a dollar value as well.

Overall Participant Satisfaction

Sending participants a post-event survey is one of the easiest ways to evaluate the success of your event and to gather data to improve your next one.  For the best results, be sure to send your post-event survey immediately after the end of the event (same day or day after at the latest).  Examples of questions to insert in your survey should include a Net Promoter Score-esque question along the lines of, “How likely are you to recommend this event to a colleague?”   The value of each “Highly Satisfied” or “Extremely Statisfied” answer can be calculated by dividing the total number of these very satisfied responses by the total cost of the event.  If your cost per happy attendee is lower than in previous years, than you can take the difference and add that into your valued added in dollar terms.

Existing Business Relationships Strengthened

If there is anyone that you should make sure you take care of (no matter what) during the event, it’s each one of your existing business relationships (i.e. customers, partners, sponsors, influencers).  They’ve already helped you keep the lights on for this long, so if you’re able to strengthen these bonds even further at your events, then you’re able to solidify long-term revenue opportunities that will have much higher lifetime value than any other channel.  Calculating how much these relationships are worth can be done by looking at how long you expect them to do business with you and what the contract value of that period of time will be.

New Opportunities Created

New leads and opportunities are the pot of gold for most event planners.  Whether these folks are early stage or late stage prospects, they should carry a pound value to them.  The easiest way to calculate these is by leveraging your existing funnel.  How much does it cost marketing now to generate one lead?  What percentage of the time does that lead convert into a proposal or contract?  How much is an average contract worth?  By using these as benchmarks and applying them to your event leads, you can hopefully place a pretty sizable value to your newest relationships.

Revenue Earned

Last but not least, don’t forget to properly count all your hard earned pounds. Every sponsorship pound, attendee ticket fees, and also the new signed contracts after the event should all be tallied up!

Putting It All Together

Now that you’ve been able to put a value to both the intangible accomplishments as well as tangible ones, it’s time to add of these up and subtract your total event costs.  Is it negative?  Avoid doing the same event in the same way next time.  Is it positive?  Congratulations, you’re doing something right. Is it off the charts amazing?  Well then you should apply to work at Cavendish 😉


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