Events are a staple in B2B marketing, with 95% of marketers believing that in-person events can help achieve business goals. And as they come to life once more you may be planning your company’s next big event. But measuring the success of your event may prove trickier than you first thought. Suddenly there are lots of metrics and KPIs and it's unclear what information tells you how successful your efforts were. This article tackles some commonly used KPIs for B2B events marketing and how they relate to your goals.

We break down the KPIs by:

Establishing goals for your B2B marketing events
B2B marketing events are the perfect opportunity to network and generate leads. But how do you set up the right goals for your event and monitor success?

Costs

Ticket revenue and average price point

The ticket revenue is the total amount paid to attend your event. If you divide this total by the number of paid attendees then you can get the average price paid by attendees. This can give you information on the affordability of your event - or let you know if most attendees had discounted tickets. This data can be used to adjust the ticket price accordingly for your next event.

Marketing cost per attendee

Divide the total marketing cost by the number of attendees (paid and free, but not speakers or sponsors). This will allow you to see roughly how much you spent to get one attendee at the event. This can show you if your marketing efforts should be optimized to reduce costs or if you could actually afford to spend more to gain more attendees next time.

Cost per attendee vs revenue per attendee

Cost per attendee includes all costs associated with the event divided by the number of attendees. Revenue per attendee includes all revenue generated by the event including sales divided by the number of attendees. These metrics individually can tell you about the costs and revenue of the event - but they’re much more useful together. By comparing these metrics, you can measure the success of your event in terms of profits. Now let’s not get carried away - profits aren’t everything - but having some indication of monetary success may be helpful in justifying another similar event.

Free/paid ratio

Free attendees still have costs associated with them so the ratio of free-paid attendees allows you to ensure you’re optimizing the revenue from paid attendees so that they cover the costs of free attendees. It may also show that you are offering too many free places to your event and this can easily be adjusted for next time.

Looking into the ratio of different types of tickets purchased may also be helpful. For example how many VIP tickets sold compared to how many standard tickets sold. This information could show how valuable your VIP package is to attendees or allow you to adjust the prices of these tiers in the future.

Attendees

Attendance rate per target audience

This metric relates to the quality of the leads at your event. How many people from the groups you’re targeting are in attendance? And, more importantly, what is the ratio of target customers to non-target customers in attendance? To calculate this metric divide the number of attendees with the number of target audience attendees. This will allow you to understand the quality of leads in attendance and can help to predict the success of your event in creating new leads or upselling to current customers. Non-targeted attendees may bring in additional publicity, but they may not be as valuable in terms of ROI.

Retention rate

How many previous attendees of your events have attended the current event? This is calculated as number of returned attendees divided by total attendees at the previous event. This can show you how effective your events are at retaining the interest of customers. On the other hand, the opposite metric could show you how many new leads/customers attended the event. The relevance of this metric depends on your goals; if your goal is to engage with your customers and upsell, this may be relevant, but if your aim is to generate new leads, then the inverse metric may be more informative.

Conversion rate

This metric refers to attendees that have since become customers. This metric will take some time to be usable (due to the length of the B2B sales cycle) but will show you how successful your events are in turning leads into customers. It may be handy to update this stat every few months with how many past attendees are now customers. This could also be compared to the total number of attendees for a sense of scale.

Conversions could also refer to upselling to existing customers - so make sure to record how many existing customers in attendance upgraded or bought an additional product or service from you after the event.

User experience

It sounds obvious, but any feedback you've received from attendees can be useful in improving your event - after all, they were there too! Feedback should be pulled from your customer survey, feedback from phone calls, emails, or via social media. Both positive and negative feedback should be noted and analyzed. The ratio of positive to negative feedback might be a good start in understanding what people thought of your event - but take that with a pinch of salt. Not everyone who enjoyed it will respond and some responses may be overly harsh!

Looking more deeply at what is said (and how often!) can sometimes be much more helpful than numbers in determining user experience.

How to build engagement for virtual and hybrid events
It’s hard to engage an event audience in an online environment. But don’t panic, this article will provide you with some engagement-building activities that you can use to prevent your audience from gazing into space at your next virtual/hybrid event.

Publicity

Performance of marketing channels

Track how all your marketing channels performed when promoting the event. This includes everything from your website to PPC ads and all social media platforms. Where did you get the most reach? The most conversions? The most engagement? These data points can help to improve your marketing campaigns in the future and understand how people discover your event.

It may also be useful to know how much you spent on each of your efforts (cost) and if it paid off in revenue, attendance, reach, or engagement. This can ensure you make use of your marketing budget as effectively as possible.

Press mentions/buzz

Mentions in the media can increase the awareness of your event and potentially increase the interest not only in your future events but also for your products or services! This could drive more leads your way as non-attendees become aware of your company and offerings. And with 70% of marketers saying that media exposure is crucial in predicting event ROI, you might wanna track when your event is mentioned in publications.

Attendees may also share their experience at your event on their own social media channels. This is also a chance for extra publicity, so tracking your social media mentions might also be a great metric to analyze. Maybe your next event needs a few more shareable moments to increase social media mentions. You might get lucky and go viral!

Final thoughts

Regardless of your event’s success in accordance with the most relevant metrics, there is something to learn from every event. If your event is successful then you understand what your audience expects from your events better - but if it wasn't so successful you can learn from that too! By listening to your customers and taking note of some of these metrics you can understand where you fell short and change them for next time.

But most importantly - do track everything and keep it handy. Comparing events to each other may show patterns, leading to improvements that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise!


What do you find to be the best KPI for your marketing events? Let us know on the B2B Marketing Alliance Community Slack channel!