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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Lee

Getting Started with KPIs for B2B Event Marketing

When it comes to B2B marketing, there are countless options. Quiz funnels, ABM, hybrid webinars plus in-person events, digital marketing, SEO. The list is endless. But no matter how much online advertising takes over in the modern world, events and event marketing still remain a tried-and-true solution for B2B marketers. It continues to be a strategy that is growing more popular each and every year.

Hosting an event is a great way to improve your company's name recognition and get people interested in what your products and services. In-person and virtual events allow you to meet many potential clients in a short amount of time, as well as offer a personable, in-depth, and interactive experience for your existing and prospective customers. However, events are often one of the more expensive marketing channels, and therefore it is imperative to measure the real impact of these initiatives and maximize ROI.

According to Event MB, out of the event planners surveyed, 85% used registration software, 61% used marketing tools, and 54% used survey tools. Though this may sound promising, technology stacks can often lead to unclear attribution that do not accurately track the true value of events. You have to look at multiple metrics and determine the proper set of KPIs.

What Type of Event Are You Hosting?

Before you figure out how to measure the success of your event, you need to keep in mind the objective of your event. Depending on the event's purpose and format (online or in-person), there will be a variety of metrics and outcomes collected.

Here's a quick primer on event types...


Conferences are usually company-specific marketing events that gather attendees for the purposes of delivering information. These conferences tend to be larger in size and are often organized for either training or educational purposes. Hosting a successful user conference will help strengthen your customer base and heighten your competitive advantage in the industry.

Trade Shows

Trade shows are events where businesses in a specific field assemble to promote their products, share knowledge with one another, and network. In agreement with Markletic, when planning your trade show booth, you must make sure it fits with your overall branding strategy. On all platforms, be sure that visitors can identify the company location, product, or service you are touting.

Lunch or Dinner Events

These promotional events are smaller, more targeted, and intimate when compared to larger corporate gatherings. They are apt to get higher-level exposure and provide executives with a private setting for networking purposes. On the other hand, large-scale events can establish thought leadership and visibility.

Training Sessions

Training sessions are a useful way to gain qualified leads. Workshops and training sessions are a great way to demonstrate the value of your product in a real-time setting. A small sampling of employees can benefit from facilitation and leadership roles during these events, while also building their brand.


Webinars are presentations, discussions, or workshops that are conducted online. They can happen in real-time or on-demand and generally last 30 to 60 minutes. Real-time webinars allow for interactive discussions among attendees and presenters, and enable live Q&A sessions.

Basic Event Metrics

In general, the types of KPIs you select will be based on the type of events we just discussed. We'll cover those event-type-specific metrics in a bit. There are some metrics that are widely applicable no matter the event type. Below is an overview.

# Registrations

This is the number of different people that have registered. If you don't capture this metric, it's going to be very difficult to make a case for the success of your event.

This is calculated by taking the number of people that have registered and subtracting out cancellations (people who signed up, but did not attend).

Tracking registrations is useful because it gives you insight into the level of interest or "demand" your event generated. If you don't capture this metric, it's going to be very difficult to make a case for the success of your event.

Attendance Rate and Drop-off Rate

The attendance rate is the percentage of people that registered for your event who show up. It is calculated by taking the number of people that registered and dividing it by the number of people that attended. The drop-off rate is the percentage of people that registered for your event and ultimately did not show up. This is measured by taking the number of people that registered and adding it to the number of people who changed their status from attending to not attending. Then, you divide this number by the total attendees (which includes those that did not attend).

Keep in mind that the right attendee rate might be different based on the size of the event. According to ON24, the benchmark for attendance rate is 51% for webinars with 100-199 registrants, but drops to 18% for webinars with 200-299 attendees. Spotme states that the average drop-off rate for webinars is 46%.

This information could be useful when a company wants to know how well they are doing in terms of getting their leads to actually come out and participate in the events that they have been invited to.


CPL, or "Cost-Per-Lead," is the average cost to get someone to show up at your event. It is calculated by taking the total cost of your event and dividing it the total number of attendees. Calculating this metric is significant because it shows how effective your marketing efforts were and whether or not it was worth holding the event.


ROI, aka "Return-on-Investment," is the amount of money your company earns compared to the cost of holding the event. According to Eventbrite, ROI is measured by taking the total amount of money earned from your event and dividing it by the total cost.

Knowing your ROI is a great way to show the effectiveness of different marketing strategies, and you can use it to compare events in order to find the most effective ones.

Post-Event Survey Sentiment

A post-event survey will ask your attendees how well they liked the event, what could have been better and whether or not they would be willing to attend another one, providing the attendee the opportunity to provide feedback on what worked and what didn't quite hit home. The results are a great indicator of your marketing success because they will show you exactly which topics, engagement methods, speakers, and more, worked best for your audience.

Align your Metrics to the type of Event

While the KPIs listed above apply to most events, to truly measure the success of your particular event, you'll want to take into account the actual format and type of event you are hosting. Here are some great metrics to include grouped by event type.


Engagement Rate (# of questions in the Q&A, live poll participation, etc.)

Engagement rates can be measured by determining the percentage of attendees who participated in any capacity. This is necessary for gauging how engaging your webinar was for those who were actually there. The more engagement you get, the better chance you have to convert people into customers.


Session Popularity

What percentage of registrants were in your session and more importantly, how many people are interested in what you have to say? "Popular" sessions are measured by the number or ratio of attendees per speaker (if you're presenting with co-panelists) for each time slot.

Booth Visits

The goal is to get as many people stopping at your booth and talking to you. This is important because it gives you the opportunity to talk with and pitch your company's services or products to a large segment of a community.

1st-Party Hosted Conferences

Event App Adoption Rate

Measuring the number of unique people to download an event app is crucial because you want your attendees to download the event application to stay up to date with announcements, time changes and locate their favorite sessions in an instant. According to Cvent, the average rate is 63%.


Number of Participants who Completed the Hands-on Exercise

Keeping track of this metric is important because you can measure how effective your training exercises were, how well the hands-on portion of your trainings were delivered, and see if you need to tone it up or tone it down and helps identify the most highly-qualified prospects for your company.

Align Metrics to your Business Goals

Before making any calculations

whatsoever, we have to first determine what the goals and objectives of the event are. Your goals can be split into objective and subjective results. Objective results are the tangible, numeric success of your campaign, how well it performed in terms of task completion, and its results on the company's revenue (either lead generation, pipeline, or customer satisfaction and enablement). Subjective results are less tangible, yet important metrics that still add to your ROI, such as brand recognition and customer engagement.

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is vital for every company because it is the first step towards developing a relationship with your customer.

Event Registrations

This is one of the leading KPIs to monitor how well your event is doing. Just as Bizzabo expresses, comparing total registrations to total check-ins is a key metric because you will not have 100% of the people who register for your event attend it. If there is a significant discrepancy between registered and checked-in guests, the marketing manager should try to identify what may be causing the drop. Was it simply poor promotion or speakers not catching people’s attention?

The benchmark will vary by the type and size of your event. A company that has a large customer base such as Google or Microsoft may have a higher benchmark due to its mass appeal. If you are promoting an event for 10,000+ people using social media, then a 20% registration rate could be considered strong. If the event only has a few hundred people, then a registration rate of 30% - 40% may be excellent. In the end, knowing your benchmark will help you know if a drop in registrations is due to poor promotion or other factors that can be remedied and not an indicator of weakness or failure of the event.

Social Engagement

It is important to analyze reach on social media, and engage with event mentions, hashtags, shares, live poll responses or questions asked to evaluate how attendees are enjoying the event. This will help you figure out what works well and how to improve your event in the future.

Some social media listening tools that your business can use are Awario, Agorapulse, Tweetdeck, Keyhole, and Mention. These tools help businesses stay ahead of their competition, gain insights into consumer opinion about a certain product or service, or find out what people are talking about in order to hone public relations efforts.


Prospecting plays a pivotal role at the start of your sales process, as it helps to uncover potential clients and sustain customer retention and satisfaction.

Lead Generation

How many net new leads did you create from this event? You want to know how many new leads you have generated for the month, quarter or year from this event alone to determine how effective this event was and whether it helped establish a good lead quality rate for the future.

Event Feedback/Survey Results

In agreement with EMarketingStars, conducting a survey and asking attendees for feedback on their experience can be a great way to ensure that the goals of your event have been met. It also allows you to see if you have provided a good customer experience, how you can improve, and what you can do to maintain customer satisfaction and retention.

Pipeline Creation

It is important to ask how many of those leads have turned into sales meetings and then sales qualified opportunities? Pipeline creation is critical because it's not just about how many leads you have generated, but the quality of those leads and if they are going to result in closed business.

User or Customer Enablement/Satisfaction

User or customer enablement/satisfaction refers to any processes designed to improve customer experience. In doing so, you can make sure buyers are satisfied and become loyal customers.

Customer satisfaction is vital when it comes to nurturing leads into opportunities. It is important to make sure you have a way of properly communicating with customers and prospects across all touch points. This communication should not just feel like the companies are invested in solely their product or service, but the success of their customer's business.

Renewal Rate or Upsells/Expansion

A renewal rate is the percentage of customers that keep purchasing from you. Upselling describes selling additional products or services to existing customers, whereas an expansion sale is selling more in a series of purchases than what was expected. These metrics are significant because they tell if your customers are comfortable buying more from you when presented with the opportunity live and in color.

COVID-19 and Virtual Events

With the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2019, virtual events have not only become an important part of event marketing, but have become an absolute necessity. According to Forbes, the annual growth rate of the value of virtual events is expected to be 23.2% from 2020-2027.

Virtual event platforms allow for a wider reach and are more cost-effective. Saving money on logistics, merchandise and catering enable event organizers to invest in higher quality content while increasing the quality of their keynote speakers. These events are also a great opportunity to connect with niche audiences that are already highly interested in what you have to say.


B2B event marketing provides so many opportunities for your company to gain brand awareness, build relationships with potential customers, and close sales. A great deal of time, energy, and money are needed to create an event, and measuring event engagement throughout the entire event will ensure that you will receive a return on your investment. Therefore, developing a solid event plan outlining your goals, objectives, target audience, and metrics is necessary to make your event successful.

Pro-tip: Creating a report or dashboard is useful in determining how well your event performed. Automating analytics via charts, graphs, KPIs, and tables, allows you to set benchmarks for the future and helps with analyzing past events, as you can compare metrics from previous data to see what worked and what did not.

Your dashboard should include the following:

  • An overview of the effectiveness and budget for unique marketing channels

  • Include the date, time, and description of each marketing activity.

  • Survey results

  • Primary KPIs

  • Operational metrics

  • Trends overtime

  • Ability to drill down by event type, geography, audience, etc.

If you need support building this dashboard, Optimax can help combine your campaign CRM data, survey data, and attribution modeling into one 360-degree view of your event performance. Reach out to us to schedule a free consult!

Join the conversation: What event type are you having the most success with? What metrics are you focused on most? How are you measuring the success of your events? Let us know in the comments section!

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