How to effectively measure your event sponsorship ROI

How to effectively measure your event sponsorship ROI

Digital technology has made it infinitely easier for businesses to reach and engage with their customers (and vice-versa). However, in a time of great technological innovation, consumers are still very much after the personal touch.

A survey of over 1000 consumers in Australia and New Zealand found more than 70% of respondents said that speaking to a human is still a preferred mode of business engagement, followed closely by visiting a branch in-person (64%).

That’s why exhibitions, trade shows and other live events – which foster in-person connections – remain one of the most powerful methods for brands to achieve a myriad of goals in an increasingly digital world.

There are several benefits to sponsoring an event, and a well-chosen package can help your marketing dollars go a long way. But in order to tell whether your investment has been worthwhile, you’ll need to be able to accurately measure how well you’ve achieved your objectives in any event you sponsor.

So, what goals and metrics should you use to accurately measure how well you’re reaching your sponsorship goals?

Event sponsorship ROI and metrics – the key difference

Often, metrics and ROI are thought to be the same thing. They’re not.

Metrics are specific measurements, like click-through-rates, SQLs and email signups. You can use various types of metrics to determine performance on any marketing campaign.  

When you’re determining event sponsorship ROI however, you’re looking to understand the value you’re getting for what you’ve spent in total.

While this could be a figure derived by calculating how much you’ve gotten back for every dollar you’ve spent, it could also include the leads you get, the conversations you’ve started, press mentions and more. It all depends on what you define as value.

So before looking at the type of metrics you need to measure for event sponsorships, you first need to determine your:

  • objectives: what outcome are you trying to achieve with the sponsorship?
  • goals: what targets can you set against your desired outcomes as key performance indicators (KPIs)?

Once you’ve defined these, you can then move on to the right metrics – what you should be calculating or measuring to determine the success of your sponsorship.

With that in mind, let’s look at a few examples of what goals to set for the outcomes you want to achieve with an event sponsorship, and what metrics to measure them with.

Sponsorship objective: building brand awareness

Events often generate attention from media sources such as TV, newspapers and magazines. Depending on the level of your sponsorship, your brand name could also be featured as part of the event promotion.

All this exposure increases the visibility your brand gets, and you’ll also benefit from media coverage that could otherwise be prohibitively expensive.

The CeBIT Australia 2017 event for example, had 145 media personnel present, which resulted in a published total of 680 articles, TV and radio segments. Cumulatively, the event had a reach of 11.6m at a value of $5.9m.

A few goals you can set against hitting a brand awareness objective could include obtaining media coverage, improving your brand’s social media presence and increasing your website’s traffic.

And here’s what metrics you can use to track how you’re achieving those goals:  

  Example Goals Metrics


Obtaining media coverage

  • # of press mentions
  • # of TV segment features
  • # of on-site press interviews


Improving your brand’s social media presence

  • # of times your event hashtag was used
  • % increase in visits to your brand’s social media pages
  • Traffic to your social media pages from the event landing page.


Increasing your website’s traffic

  • Traffic to your brand’s website from the event landing page


Sponsorship objective: driving sales revenue

One of the biggest reasons event sponsorships are so powerful is that they provide direct access to your target market. You can pretty much count on the fact that event attendees are interested in the industry you’re in, and that they’re also likely to be very receptive to your products and services.

Sponsoring an event affords you a higher chance to attain stronger and more qualified leads, compared to marketing to a general crowd that may not be ready to buy.

The goals you set for driving revenue generation with event sponsorships can include deals closed on-the-spot and money-in-hand if you’re transacting on-site. It’s also a good idea to set goals around future sales opportunities, for example:

  Example Goals Metrics


Generating leads

  • # of business cards obtained
  • # of signups to a mailing list
  • # of conversations with identified purchase intent


Building a sales pipeline

  • # of sales appointments arranged through booth interactions


Generating new business

  • # of conversations with new prospects
  • value of deals closed on-the-spot with new customers


If driving sales revenue is your main objective for sponsoring an event, it’s important to get out of your booth and find ways to engage the crowd – it’s the ability to interact with your audience in-person that differentiates live events from other forms of marketing after all.

You’ll also need a fuss-free way to capture lead data on the day, so you can effectively follow up with the prospects you’ve chatted to post-event.

Sponsorship objective: highlighting a product or service offering

Sponsoring an event gives you exposure to new customers and businesses that have all come together for similar reasons.

This reach to new and existing audiences is further enhanced by the event organiser’s own promotion on online and offline channels, such as social media, emails, newspapers etc., making a sponsored booth an effective way to highlight a product or service offering.

Here are some relevant goals to set against that objective, and what metrics to use as KPIS:

  Example Goals Metrics


Driving awareness of a new product or service

  • # of trials started
  • # of requested demos
  • Traffic to relevant web content (e.g. product landing pages)
  • # of press mentions about the new product or service launch


Increasing adoption

  • # of purchased licenses attained during or post-event
  • % of coupon code use (if you’ve created coupons or discount cards as a promotional tactic)
  • # of referrals from existing customers


CeBIT Australia 2017’s reach across social media was 16.4 million in total, and the event trended on Twitter with 68% of interactions happening outside of the country – that kind of exposure could do wonders for a product or service launch.  

Measure against the goals you want to achieve

When measuring your event sponsorship ROI, you’ll need to consider things such as the partners you work with, what’s included in your package, and how you’re exhibiting your booth.

Our free ebook Exhibition sponsorship: Creative ways to secure a solid ROI has some great ideas on how to make an impact with your brand at an event, along with some expert tips on what to look for in your next sponsorship agreement.

Ultimately, the right event ROI metrics depend on the goals you are trying to achieve with a sponsorship. Just remember to focus on the metrics that really matter – the ones that tie back to your brand’s goals and desired business results.

That way, you’ll spend time looking at numbers that actually help you make better decisions about event sponsorships in the future.

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