How Virtual Events Can Deliver Explosive ROI


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

For many business leaders, hosting or attending an in-person event is a great way to generate high quality leads for their organization. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has put the likelihood of in-person events on hold for some time.

Article 4 Minutes
How Virtual Events Can Deliver Explosive ROI

Thankfully, technology means you don’t need to wait until physical venues open their doors again to start networking and securing lead conversions. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, virtual events were the second most important avenue for securing leads for B2B marketers. With in-person events indefinitely on hold, business leaders should be prioritizing virtual events as the primary option for demand generation.

Virtual events, especially elite summits with high level decision makers, are more likely to generate enterprise B2B deals quickly than other types of lead generation. This was evidenced by a recent Gartner 2020 Benchmark study, which found that hosted events are 2.3x more likely to have a conversion rate of more than 40% ( compared with other lead generation activities).

This is, in part, because the audience at virtual events is made up of senior decision makers who are brought together by shared problems to listen to the solutions offered by credible experts. The purpose-driven nature of the audiences at virtual events means you can connect with a community with a dedicated focus, making it easy to identify the leads that might work for you.

By sponsoring part, or all, of one of these events, you can cut through the noise to reach the people that matter and convince them of your value in a shorter amount of time. This will speed up conversions and enable you to close deals faster.

Coupled with the relatively low costs associated with hosting, attending or sponsoring virtual events (as opposed to in-person summits), you can deliver an explosive ROI on your marketing and sales investments.

You may need to convince key figures within your organization of the pipeline ROI that virtual events can help you to deliver, which means being able to measure the direct return of any virtual events you host or attend.

Here are some crucial tips on how to measure event ROI:

Set your objectives

Firstly, you’ll want to set your event objectives. Make these ambitious but achievable, and have specific benefits in mind, such as the expected number of new leads/conversions or an increase in brand profile. It’s vitally important to make your objectives quantifiable in numbers, whether it’s in money, percentages or scores.

Establish KPIs – and how you’re going to measure them

Once you’ve established your targets, you’ll want to establish some KPIs and identify how you’re going to measure them. This guide table, developed by Markety, is a useful resource for categorizing the KPI metrics you’re going to use and the tools you’ll need in order to measure the success of these targets. It’s not an exhaustive graph, but it does demonstrate the importance of a focused and functional measurement system in achieving your virtual event goals and measuring pipeline ROI.

Do the math – the benefit of dashboards

It might seem obvious, but you need to do the math in order to measure the ROI on your event. One of the most effective ways to do this is to develop a dashboard. There’s a bit of work behind this, yes, but it’s a highly effective method of consolidating your figures, and the key information and data analysis that underpins them.

Your bosses or colleagues will love it because it makes it easy to run pre- and post-event-ROI exercises and visualize the potential benefits. As with KPIs, ROI-calculation must come together with collaborative input from sales, marketing and finance leaders within your organization.

Analyze and adjust

Crucial to attaining the best possible ROI from your virtual event activities is the ability to analyze and adjust based on successes and failures. All of the above, from targets and KPIs to pipeline ROI measurement, will give you a solid foundation from which to adjust your strategy as needed.

As a result of their relatively inexpensive cost and a much broader (but more dedicated) and engaged audience, virtual events can help your lead conversion skyrocket, but the process must be a circular one. The analysis and adjustment phase will enable you to best formulate the objectives for your next virtual event.

It’s vital not to skip on this final step, and as with any ROI measurement, should focus on sticking to what works and identifying which aspects of the process have the potential for optimization. Maybe that means attending events instead of hosting them (or vice versa), or increasing your presence in a certain industry forum within an event.

Whatever it is, you’ll want to get your virtual event strategy just right. In the current marketplace, with virtual events the priority for B2B marketers and the best way for businesses to connect with potential leads, it could mean the difference between a very good year and a very bad one.

The Gartner survey mentioned previously backs this up. Hosting, sponsoring or attending webinars and virtual events will lead to better quality leads and a higher conversion rate, provided you go into them with the right strategy.

While many of us miss the social aspect of in-person events, the COVID-19 interruption doesn’t have to mean hitting pause on your event ROI as well. Take advantage of the benefits offered by virtual events to boost brand awareness and revenue.

Marketing Insights for Professionals

Insights for Professionals provide free access to the latest thought leadership from global brands. We deliver subscriber value by creating and gathering specialist content for senior professionals



Join the conversation...