Event Marketing ROI: What It Is & How To Measure It

Time for a fast flashback to Business 101! Return on investment (ROI) is a key metric businesses use to evaluate an investment or project’s financial performance. Divide the net profit it generates by its cost, multiply by 100 to get a percentage, and voila—you’ve calculated ROI.

An event venue manager uses a stylus with a tablet computer to measure event marketing ROI.

When you’re an event venue, performances and other ticketed events are your main investments and projects. 

A key aspect of determining event ROI is determining event marketing ROI. In other words: How much money do those stand-up comics, jazz combos, and art exhibits bring in compared to how much you spend promoting them?

Knowing how to measure event ROI overall and event marketing ROI in particular takes the guesswork out of your promotional efforts. It lets you quantify what tactics work to turn potential customers into paying customers. It also lets you make informed decisions about what events to book in the future, and how to best promote them.

Using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to Measure ROI

In event marketing, as in other fields, key performance indicators (KPIs) measure your efforts’ effectiveness. KPIs are quantifiable metrics organizations use to evaluate progress toward specific goals. 

Here are some KPIs your venue should look at to help determine your event marketing ROI:

Ticket Sales

Your venue puts on shows of one kind or another. One basic question, then, is: How many tickets to a given show did you sell? 

Granted, your marketing isn’t the only factor affecting ticket sales. Pricing and venue accessibility, as well as factors beyond your control like the weather or the economic climate, have an impact. But sluggish ticket sales may mean you’re not spending your marketing dollars as well as you could be.


How many people who bought tickets showed up? Comparing actual attendance numbers to initial goals or projections can also yield insights into your marketing’s performance. 

Successful event marketing showcases the unique experience attendees can expect. It builds excitement and anticipation, and reduces the chances that ticket-buyers turn into no-shows. 

Tracking attendance trends over time can also provide valuable perspectives into which of your marketing strategies work best. Which events on your venue’s calendar drove ticket sales and audience engagement the most? Did you market those events differently than you did events that didn’t produce similar results?

Audience Engagement

We mentioned “audience engagement” above. Audience engagement is anything your audience does to interact with your venue and its events. 

Attendance is one way to measure it. Other metrics are:

  • Website traffic
  • Email open rates
  • Survey or poll responses
  • Usage of your venue’s app
  • Volume of social media followers and interactions

All of these metrics can help you determine which aspects of your event marketing resonate most with your target audience, because audiences are most likely to interact with a venue they perceive positively.

Customer Retention and Satisfaction

By tracking your customer retention rates and satisfaction scores, you can determine how your marketing efforts affect customer loyalty. 

Customer LTV (lifetime value) is a major KPI for assessing retention and satisfaction. Calculate and analyze the average revenue each customer generates over the course of their relationship with your venue—buying not only event tickets but also food and beverages, merchandise, and any other services your venue offers. The higher the LTV, the more loyal and satisfied the customer.

This information can help you identify your most valuable customers, tailor marketing strategies designed to retain them, and focus on acquiring new customers with similar characteristics.

You Can’t Measure Event ROI Without Knowing Your Target Market

Club owner sits at bar the day after an event, reviewing ticket sales, attendance, and other data to determine his venue’s event marketing ROI.

If you’ve been paying attention—and you have been, right?—you’ve noticed that one thing all these ways to measure event ROI have in common is a knowledge of your target market.

Your target market is the demographic your venue wants to reach. They’re the people you want buying your tickets and filling your seats. If you haven’t accurately defined your target market, you’re going to have a tough time assessing your event marketing ROI. So how do you figure that out?

We at Seat Engine can help. 

We do more than power your online ticketing. We also help you figure out who’s most likely to buy those tickets, and how you can focus and fine-tune your marketing efforts to reach them most efficiently and effectively.

Want to see how?
Request a free Seat Engine demo today. See for yourself how we can provide your venue a customized Marketing Insights Report, based on quantifiable KPIs, that will give you unparalleled clarity about how to optimize your event ROI.