How to Calculate Event ROI - A Cheat Sheet

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How to Calculate Event ROI - A Cheat Sheet

Marketing & Sales Intern
6 minutes read
June 25, 2018

How do you determine if your event was successful? By the number of attendees, sales generated or connections that you built? Or you may bring up the concept of ROI. Unlike ROI for a portfolio or real estate investment, event ROI is a bit more complicated as there are many intangible assets that you may want to take into consideration. We all know that you have put a lot of effort into your events. So in order to see if your hard work has paid off, we definitely need to understand event ROI and the calculation behind the concept.

"What is ROI?"
ROI stands for return on investment. It measures and evaluates the efficiency of an investment (in this case, an event). There are several ways to calculate the ROI. We will discuss each way later in details.

Objectives of Events

Different kinds of events have their own objectives. Before calculating the ROI, there should be a clear picture of the purpose and goal of the event. Ideally, there should be one primary objective and several secondary objectives. For example, if your event's purpose is to introduce the new product of your firm, then the primary objective might be to generate media awareness. The secondary objectives can be to increase website traffic and build connections.

Event management

Tracking Marketing Attribution

There are six marketing attribution models that can help you figure out your event’s ROI. Three of them are single source attribution and the other three are under the multi-source attribution category.

Single Source Attribution

First Touch Model

The First Touch Model attributes all the credit to the first marketing channel that drives someone to your website or to have some interaction with your company. For example, If someone reads a post about your event on Facebook and checks out your website, then the post is considered as the first touch. It is simple to understand in theory but can be biased.

Lead Conversion Touch Model

The Lead Conversion Touch Model gives all the credit to the first marketing channel that generates the lead. We continue with the previous example, after visiting your website, the person decides to attend your event. Then your website is considered as the lead conversion touch. This model is easy to track and implement. However, it ignores all the actions that happened before the lead was generated.

Final Touch Model

The Final Touch Model gives all the credit to the last marketing channel before the final sale. For example, if the customer purchased your product right after talking to the sales representative, then sales representative is considered as the final touch point. This model is probably the easiest model to implement since we are finding the last action that takes place before one becomes a customer. However, like the previous models, it ignores what happen during the rest of the marketing process and is therefore biased.

Multi-Source Attribution

W-shaped model

The W-shaped model gives credits to all marketing channels. The distribution depends on the marketers, but usually the three key points: the first touch, lead conversion, and last touch each receive 30% credit, and the remaining 10% is divided among the marketing channels that occurred between the first touch and the last touch.

U-shaped model

The U-shaped model gives credits to the first touch, the lead conversion touch, and every channel in between. The first touch and lead conversion touch each receive 40%, and the other channels share 10%.

Linear Attribution Model

The Linear Attribution is the simplest multi-source attribution model. It gives equal weight to every marketing channel. Although it is easy to implement, it ignores the fact that different touch points might have varying impact.

Calculating Event ROI

There are three ways in calculating Event ROI.

event ROI

Let’s look closer at the equation. One way to calculate revenue that is generated directly from the event is to use the number of leads likelihood of closing average size of the deal. However, event revenue does not only include the money a firm makes from an event. The followings should also be taken into consideration: pipeline value, media coverage, attendees, connections, sponsorships, data collected, and brand image building.

The event expenses include but are not limited to travel expense of organizer's team, paid promotion (social media campaigns, PPCs, KOL marketing), venue, labor, refreshments, stationery, and event-related technology.

event ROI

We can also find the event ROI by first calculating the event profit, which equals to event revenue minus event expenses. Then we divide the event profit by event expenses to get the ROI.

event ROIe

We can use gross margin instead of event revenue to calculate the event ROI. Gross margin is found by subtracting the cost of goods sold from event revenue. Cost of goods (services) sold is the direct cost of producing goods or providing services.

Event ROI with Glue Up

So, where does Glue Up fit into your event ROI equation?

In order to calculate the ROI, you would need tools to collect and analyze data. Glue Up helps here as we have an integrated P&L calculator that automatically records revenue from the sold tickets and you can also add any kind of cost and revenue in the platform. Moreover, sponsorship value can be added on a proportional basis (e.g. using only 10% of the annual sponsorship for one of your events). With a strong CRM system, the Glue Up platform allows you to keep track of attendees and assess the marketing attribution base on the model you choose to use.


Glue Up helps to increase your ROI by both reducing expenses and increasing revenue. The platform has multiple promotional tools such as professional invitations, automated reminders, and notifications, QR codes for social media sharing and more. These features help event organizers to attract more attendees, increase brand profile and generate more revenue.

professional template, event ROI

With features such as online registration and payments and mobile check-ins, the Glue Up platform helps to deliver smooth event management experiences and saves organizations a lot of time. As a result, you can hire less people to help out at the events and reduce expenses.

mobile check-in

Last but not least, Glue Up integrates multiple tools into one platform, thus eliminating the need to employ (and pay) for other tools and platforms for email marketing, CRM, payments, invoicing, and attendees tracking. What's more, Glue Up comes with two free event apps built-in, one mobile app for you to manage events from anywhere and one for your attendees for easy check-ins and maximum engagement before, during, and after the event. All in all, Glue Up is a multi-functional platform that not only helps you to keep track of data to calculate ROI, but also boosts your event ROI at the same time.


Are you looking for a solution that could help increase your Event ROI? Book a demo today and learn how you can reach sustainability and ROI with Glue Up.

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