08 Apr 2015

Return on investment (ROI) can be a hard metric to calculate at the best of times, but at events – with existing clients visiting the stand, difficulties in calculating the lifetime value of a lead and long lead times from enquiry to sale – garnering an effective sense of ROI can be especially hard. Luckily, new technology entering the marketplace is helping to make the measurement of campaign effectiveness a lot easier; the same is true of event campaigns.

We came across a useful article on the Event Industry News website with insights from Jennifer Hawkins of DoubleDutch as to how technology is helping to change the way event ROI is measured for the better which resonated with us because we’ve created a piece of software – brandWallet which is designed to help exhibitors better calculate their ROI from an event by having more visibility of each visitor’s interactions.

Event ROI is basically “a quantitative way to measure event success”, and success is determined by whether the outcome of the event measures up to the original goal or goals of hosting an event. For example, if the goal of an event is to make money from product sales, then ROI would be measured by how much it cost to participate in the event vs. the revenue generated at the end. But, as stated, the nature of events can make it hard to gather this information succinctly – and if ROI is to be measured by a less quantitative metric, it can get even harder.

Hawkins suggested there are generally four key areas for brand and event managers to measure if they want a good sense of ROI: registration; attendance; engagement and satisfaction.

Until recently, registration and attendance have been the most visible markers of the success of a show but we think the recession really started to shift the focus of brand managers from the number of people attending an event to the quality, and this is where tech really comes to the fore. Systems like brandWallet give detailed metrics on every interaction a visitor made on a particular stand – so you can see how long they spent looking at what information, and what they looked at next and you can also see if they emailed themselves the information which gives a much greater indication of engagement than previous technologies like lightpens which only collect a visitors details.

Understanding and measuring ROI is important in the modern world as it can help event professionals to understand what is working on their stand in real-time and respond accordingly, thus maximising their impact.  From talking with brands and agencies, we’ve been surprised at how little analysis is done on ROI at events.  Do you measure your ROI from participating in events and if so how do you do this?  What challenges do you face in calculating your ROI?  Do you use any technologies to help collect and manage leads at shows?

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