Measuring event ROI - do you or don't you?

Do you calculate hard figures to know if your event has been a success or do you rely on more intangible, anecdotal feedback? I’d be interested to know how many planners really do measure the return on investment of their events - is ROI just a buzzword for corporates?

Tend to focus more on what worked and what didn’t so I can take learnings forward for the next time/other projects. Track everything wherever I can, adapt as I go e.g. on a digital campaign and follow up with visitor research for insight.

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I’ve been wondering the same thing. I find it more difficult to capture true ROI data for events. For me, I look at registration numbers, no show rate, feedback from event surveys, donations/fundraising, sponsorship, overall feedback from attendees, etc.


The majority of events I run are educational/training so I do follow up on ROI. I follow Kirkpatrick’ stages of learning so I’ll do an on the day online survey to check what their immediate reactions are and what they learnt and then about 3 months later I follow up to see what impact it’s had on their behaviour to then analyse the true results.


That’s a really interesting evaluation model (I’m sharing it for everyone’s benefit: I bet you’re in the minority, following up again so long after the event, but what a great way to know if your training really made a difference.

@MelissaJane @alclayt4 And do you have goals that you define at the outset to benchmark against, or do you compare figures from previous events to measure change?

Usually attendance targets are set by the client for advance and walk up both in terms of numbers and ££. Unless it’s a brand new event this is likely to be X% over the previous year so I would definitely refer back and start with the things that worked well so we can build on our successes. Withing the attendance target there might be specific audiences we want to improve on e.g. families, enthusiasts, HNWs.

Yep, I think it’s much easier to understand how you’re doing on repeat events. If an event has been held to “raise awareness” and this can’t necessarily be traced though to future sales are there still ways to measure ROI?

Just seen this which I thought people might find interesting

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Interesting blog. Thanks for posting.

Good article, thanks for sharing. After writing this post, I was actually inspired to write my own article on the topic:

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Thats a really constructive approach - I like it!
If you don’t mind me asking, how exactly do you measure each stage, particularly the last stage?


Great article! Like the reference to Kirkpatrick :slight_smile:

Hi Julianne

It’s a little tenuous as it’s very hard to scientifically measure ROI but for the four stages …

  1. reactions – ‘liking or feelings for a programme’ - the usual “happy sheet” which generally I do via survey monkey as the stats it comes out with are so easily reportable and saves time for me playing about in excel with the data. Also we’ve noticed a 15-20% increase in our response rate using survey monkey compared to a form via our website, not sure why as both are online but people like survey monkey! Questions are things like - did you feel there was enough of a mixture of theory and practical, did you like the venue, was the packs provided ok etc etc

  2. learning - ‘principles, facts etc absorbed’ - still using survey money and questions are usually something like - what 3 things did you learn that were most helpful, what stood out the most for you, which session was most helpful and why

  3. behaviour - ‘using learning on the job’ - again via survey monkey but I follow up around 3 months later saying 'remember you went on our course - have you done anything back in the workplace as a result of attending? What was it? If you didn’t what stopped you?.

  4. results - ‘increased production, reduced costs, etc’. - at the same time (3 months after event) I would ask about their opinion if the impact of things they have done, influenced by what they learnt at the workshop, has made their work quicker or more efficient - you could do this on a scale to quantify it so asking them on a scale of 1 to 5.

I also speak to others - not just those who attended the event. So somehow getting on contact with the organisations to see if they have noticed any difference. But I have links into this so it’s not cold calling it’s just part of the relationship management.

Hope that helps!


That’s great, thanks so much Hannah! I’m going to look into these 4 stages for a big event we’re holding in November - I think it’ll really show a good range of impact.

Thanks again for explaining to me :slight_smile:

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ROI is more of an art than a science - I don’t think it’s truly possible as it’s so much more complicated than “I did A and this in isolation made B happen” - but there are definitely some interesting stats and information that can be pulled out that can showcase what your event probably strongly helped.

I’d be really interested to know how your event evaluation works out if you use this format. Keep us updated!

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I start writing a post event report later this week and will be looking at these four stages. Thanks for sharing.

Let us know how the write up goes and what feedback you receive from the intended audience!

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I had an interesting conversation with someone on the topic of event ROI and the person I was speaking to suggested that it can’t be measured in isolation, but only in the context of the wider marketing campaign (if we’re talking about corporate events like a product launch) - would you agree?