Event ROI: maximize the revenue of your event [+ free ROI calculator]

Phil Henken
Phil Henken
Updated March 2 2023
Event ROI
Phil Henken
Phil Henken
Updated March 2 2023

To maximize your event ROI, you might need a little help. Or maybe you’re new to events and still learning about event ROI. Here’s a tip: remember, when investing in events, whether virtual or in-person, your ultimate goals are revenue-driven, it’s only a matter of whether you want a short-term return or have a longer-term strategy. Keep reading for the full lowdown on event ROI, what it is, what it means to you, and how to make the most of it. Ready to calculate your next event’s ROI? Try our free ROI calculator, below!


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What is event ROI?

Event ROI is a spin on the investment/finance initialism for the expression “return on investment.” In the simplest terms, it is the measure of the returns an investment (in this case in an in-person or virtual event) based on its cost–it’s a somewhat flexible term indicating the overall value a marketer gets related to the net cost to produce an event. Generally, this is considered in terms of revenue, however, “value” can relate to other things such as partnerships or sponsorships, sales leads added, expanded contacts and recognition, data from engagement, and more.

event roi


Why is Event ROI important for event planning?

Ultimately, ROI is about being able to extract maximum profit from your event, the key variable is whether you are thinking about profit strictly in the short term or have a more expansive definition of profit and value. Further on, we’ll speak to some alternate ways an event might be considered to have ROI outside of just cash in hand.


If for no other reason, event ROI will be important for your planning because it will help you set your goals. Understanding what “value” is going to mean for your event, as we point out above, should influence all aspects of the event plan. While you prepare an event, you should identify key performance indicators (KPIs) that will give you a clear picture of how to understand ROI in the context of the experience you’re providing.


Ready to calculate ROI for your upcoming event? Clicking the button below will take you directly to our event calculator Google Spreadsheet. Read the instructions, save a copy to your computer, and then hit the Events ROI calculator tab at the bottom to start inserting your event values. The final results will be calculated as a percentage in the blue area at the bottom. Good luck!

Estimate the ROI from your upcoming event with Kaltura’s free event ROI calculator.

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Event ROI: key metrics and methods

The most important metrics for determining event ROI might well vary with your overall goals. We’re going to outline some potential alternative ways to consider value and returns in the next section below. However, here are some general models for considering ROI in a financial sense. Remember, the measure of your event’s success will be complex, not usually boiling down to one individual metric or KPI. It’s likely that it will take multiple parts to put together a complete ROI story.


First, there are three very simple models for calculating event ROI:


Return/Investment – This is the most basic way to calculate ROI. How much did the event cost? How much revenue did you receive? If the revenue number is larger than the expense number, your event successfully gave ROI.

Incremental Revenue – Rather than looking purely at “Was there a profit over expenses?” this is a closer calculation. This means considering the yield of your event as a function of revenue minus event expenses.

Incremental Margin – This is accounting for a gross margin, not just event revenue. A more complex breakdown, it involves finding the revenue as above while also subtracting the cost of goods sold (COGS). This varies by type of event and can involve line items such as giveaways.


All of these, however, focus only on immediate revenue. There are also some generalized metrics that can be tracked to give a fuller picture of what you’ll gain from the event. These are some of the major metrics that high-performing events and event professionals track:


Demand Generation- New leads generated, target accounts engaged, pipeline created from event, and similar considerations.

Spend Efficiency- Cost per attendee, cost per lead.

Attendance Quality- Decision-maker attendees, new contacts, number of attendees, time spent at the event, and similar.

Funnel Influence- Pipeline generated from the event, funnel velocity and/or acceleration, and other factors relevant to the sales funnel.

Customer Performance- New leads from customers, opportunities, generated expansion, customer satisfaction benchmarks, and other metrics of customer loyalty and promotion.


event roi


How to measure Event ROI

An incredibly simple formula that’s been put forth for ROI is:


value of (business won – amount spent) / amount spent


We’d like to go into more depth than that, though, because ROI for your event could be calculated in terms beyond “business won” ONLY. In fact, even the idea of business might extend from simply tickets, purchases, or sign-ups in the short term to creating the potential for future business development.


With that in mind, here are some key points on setting metrics to measure your event ROI. Remember, the overall non-monetary goal of your event experience could prove to be just as important as immediate profits.


●     Set a goal for the event

What’s the ultimate goal for your event? Attracting new customers and generating leads? Launching a new product? Or possibly just building awareness. When you can pare down to your single most important goal, you know what to measure success against.

●     Select measurable metrics, based on the event goal

From here, there should be some specific steps toward the desired result. This is also the place to set metrics. As we’ve mentioned elsewhere a metric can be as simple as getting all your attendees to fill out a survey form or as ambitious as registering 100K event participants. If a goal isn’t as easily quantified, you can use engagement data and polls to gather the sentiment of your audience.

●     Gather and analyze data

The event technology you’re using to run the event will be your go-to (more about that further down), You can easily gather data like tickets or registrations sold, sales revenue, and press mentions. You’ll be able to easily quantify an influx of followers on your social media. Additionally, tech tools will be able to measure your success in other areas: CRMs can track leads generated, online surveys can gauge audience satisfaction, and platforms with versatile software integrations will allow you to gather and sync event data. It’s worth pointing out here that having a high-quality event platform is going to make a significant difference in accurately tracking returns on your event.


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Tips and strategies for maximizing Event ROI

While an in-depth guide on specifically maximizing returns for virtual and hybrid event marketing could be a second entire post, there are definitely best practices to use as a starting point. The advice we’ve laid out above will get you started on firm ground. Some other pro tips for considering ROI in event planning include:


  • Plan and research in advance: First, put our above advice into action and make sure your main goal and achievable metrics and KPIs have been laid out clearly, and are being built into your overall event plan from the start. Understand how you’ll be able to measure success even if there is significant spend.


Beyond that, make sure you’ve done your customer research and be certain you’re making the pitch to your ideal audience. Marketing to people unlikely to attend will start you off on the wrong foot.


  • Leverage opportunities for free advertising: Any free advertising opportunities are a way to boost your reach without spending money. You’re cutting expenses right there, enough said!


  • Automate your marketing: Targeting your marketing with technology is a way to reach the right people and personalize outreach. It can also provide some space to refocus your active attention on areas that need it.


  • Attract event sponsors: Sponsors can offer direct financial support, assist with event publicity, and increase attendance with their brand presence.


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Kaltura Solutions: event technology and Event ROI

Virtual and hybrid events have a clear leg up for measuring event ROI. We’d be remiss not to recommend Kaltura Virtual Events as an enterprise solution with a high-quality suite of features to help you plan and measure the success of your events. An all-in-one event solution makes it possible to gather data at the next level, but it also helps you understand your event’s success in a holistic way.


Kaltura offers a fully customizable, industry-leading events platform with a full range of video technology to power any event of any size. Kaltura Virtual Events has a full tech stack to support multi-day or multi-track events including live keynotes, webinars, lectures, workshops, 1:1 chat, and virtual sponsor booths. We can also offer real-time analytics that provide the data you need to determine if you’re hitting the mark on KPIs, and to optimize the attendee experience. Networking and interactivity features can also keep virtual and hybrid attendees fully connected and engaged before, during, and after the event.


We’ll enable you to take a deep dive (or dives!) into granular event data and find actionable insights on live audience engagement and quality of service.





In short, being able to measure and improve your event ROI can be complicated but it’s well worth the effort. The right tools will also go a long way towards making the return on event less difficult to measure and understand. When you build ROI metrics into your event planning, it will help in achieving your goals whether they are revenue-only or non-monetary.