After your event has ended, and your attendees are raving about their experience on social media, there’s a sudden sense of accomplishment. You did it!

But personal satisfaction isn’t a true measure of success.

That’s where return on investment (ROI) comes in. It measures the return of an investment based on its cost. Here are five steps to accurately measure your event’s ROI.

Step #1: Learn how to calculate event ROI

For events aiming to turn a profit from their ticket or registration sales, calculating ROI is very straightforward.

Simply subtract the total cost of your event from the total sales revenue and then divide by total cost of the event. The result is expressed as a percentage, which you multiply by 100.

[(Total Sales Revenue – Total Cost of the Event) ÷ Total Cost of Event]  X 100 = ROI

This simple calculation is all you need to determine the profitability of your event. If your ROI is 100%, that means you doubled your investment (nice job!) But what if your event’s goal isn’t to generate revenue from ticket or registration sales?

Step #2: Identify the primary goal for your event

ROI is meant to measure revenue compared to cost. But for events that generate sales leads for a business or raise awareness for a cause, ROI can be adjusted to measure the net value of your efforts.

What is the ultimate goal of your event? To generate qualified leads? Attract new employees? To build awareness or launch a new product?

After making a list of all your goals, whittle down your answers to just one primary goal — the most important. The remaining goals are good to keep in mind, but won’t be what you measure your success against.

For example, if you’re organizing a fundraising event for a charity, your primary goal might be to raise funds, but a secondary goal could be increasing awareness for your cause.

Step #3: Set measurable objectives related to your goal

Once you have your primary goal set, you’ll need to outline the specific steps needed to achieve the desired outcome.

Let’s say your primary goal is building brand awareness. You’d want to measure things like the number of people attending your event and the amount of press and social media coverage you get. Your objectives might include attracting 2,000 attendees, attaining 1,000 social media followers, and securing 10 press mentions.

Even something as seemingly intangible as increasing community spirit can be measured by the right means. For instance, you could poll attendees about their community sentiment before and after the event, then look at the net difference. (Just be sure to use the same set of questions and seek quantitative feedback!)

Step #4: Gather data and track your progress

Whether you’re using a traditional revenue-based ROI model or measuring something else, now you need to choose how you’ll track your performance.

Start with the event technology you use to run your event, which already gathers an incredible amount of insight. Your event ticketing and registration partner, for example, should help you capture information like the number of tickets/registrations sold, your revenue from sales, the number of no-shows, and more.

From there, you can leverage a wide variety of tools to track your progress. Online surveys, for example, can help you measure attendee satisfaction. A CRM like Salesforce can track leads generated from your events. If you use Eventbrite, check out the 170+ integrations that let you easily gather and sync data with your events.

Step #5: Analyze and understand results

Once you’ve captured data related to your goal and objectives, it’s time to understand the results.

The data you gather will tell you quite a bit about your event’s success by itself, but working with that data can give you an even deeper insight into your ROI.

For example, let’s say your event captured 80 qualified sales leads and your target was 50. Now you know you exceeded your goal by 60%. Taken a step further, you can calculate the cost per lead by dividing the cost of putting on the event by the number of leads you got. In this example, your lead gen event had a positive return on your investment — even if you didn’t directly generate revenue.

When looking at your event expenditure, don’t forget to include the man hours you and your team put into it, even if you didn’t pay your staff extra for their involvement. This will give you a more accurate idea of the true cost.

Generate more revenue with your data

Ready to squeeze more profit out of your event? The Event ROI Calculator will help you evaluate your ticketing or registration technology so that you better understand how it affects your bottom line.

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