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Posted on March 20, 2023

Performance Marketing and Event Marketing: Strategies for Maximizing Return on Investment

Do you know why events are such a potent marketing tool? The answer lies in their power to bring optimal return on investment. 

A look at statistics reveals some interesting insights. 41% of marketers consider event marketing one of the most crucial channels. 

71% of event marketers continue to invest in virtual events. As of 2020, the global event industry had a market share of $890 billion. The CAGR projection for the end of 2028 is 13.48%. 

In the cluttered business environment, event marketers must find ways to be more creative. It is no longer enough to put together an event and expect people to attend. And therein lies the power of performance marketing. 

Our article explores performance marketing and event marketing. We go further into looking at strategies for maximizing return on investment.

What Is Performance Marketing?

Performance marketing has its basis in digital marketing. As a brand, you will only pay for services if the performance marketer meets the agreed-upon scope of work.

With such a business model, it becomes easy to see client benefits. The most significant is cost savings. Remember, you only hire performance marketers based on a specific action you want to achieve. That means you can keep a tight watch on your budget and only use it when necessary. 

Also, if they don’t give you the results you agreed upon, you do not fork out any payment. This is quite different from hiring an agency you put on a retainer. You are still obligated to make the monthly payments, even if the work is incomplete. 

Performance marketing also gives measurable and trackable results. You get instant insights into performance and can make necessary changes as you push along. That is a critical ingredient for ensuring success for all your campaigns. 

What is Event Marketing?

Event marketing utilizes the power of experiences to promote brands, products or services. There is the option of virtual, hybrid, or in-person events. 

There are many different types of events, including exhibitions, speaking events, and sponsorships. The benefit of event marketing is the ability to personalize connections with audiences. It is also excellent for brand building, lead generation, audience engagement, and education. 

Events are also fantastic for launching new products or keeping audiences up-to-date with what you’re doing. 

So how does performance marketing tie in with event marketing? And how can you ensure that you get maximum return on investment? It all comes down to getting the basics right, as we will show you. 

1. Define Your Event Marketing Goals

Calculating ROI will be difficult if you do not have goals you’re working to achieve. At the same time, you must devise KPIs to measure success. 

Examples of goals and metrics include the following. 

  • Generating brand awareness requires tracking metrics like social media engagement, event registration, and website traffic.
  • Audience education that you measure with metrics like session attendance and engagement levels
  • Lead generation or conversions
  • Revenue earning comes from the number of tickets sold, new customers, or sponsorships. 

Performance marketing can help with critical areas like lead generation, engagement, and increasing website traffic. 

The performance marketers will use strategies like:-

  • Cost-per-click (CPC) that pays for clicks. It is a powerful strategy that can generate high conversions. Create a sense of urgency with the ads to show that only a few event tickets are left. 
  • Cost for sale where the performance marketers encourage specific actions in target audiences like buying the event tickets. 
  • Cost per action means you only pay for expected action. Such could include the number of people who visit your landing page or subscribe to the event.

We could summarize measurable KPIs as follows:-

  • The number of event attendees
  • The number of leads you manage to collect
  • How many sales opportunities you’re able to qualify
  • The number of registrations
  • Social media mentions or likes
  • Survey responses
  • Email clicks and opens
  • Search ad impressions and clicks, to mention a few. You must agree with the performance marketers on actual figures you expect them to achieve. 

2. Promote the Event to Generate Awareness

The performance marketers will help promote the event so that audiences know it is happening. They will use various marketing channels, including:-

  • A dedicated event website to provide relevant details to people.
  • Social media, newsletters, and email marketing to reach the target audience. 
  • Native advertising: the placing of sponsored posts in social media or articles. Performance marketers must ensure the development of quality content that emphasizes the event. They will also use smart distribution tactics like getting the right publishers to publish the content. 
  • Sponsored content is another powerful performance marketing channel. What you get is high traffic to the website. Make sure you have a specific event page for whatever you want to host.
  • Social media advertising is fantastic for content sharing. Use the same to encourage people to attend events. Performance marketers use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They also use relevant social media marketing tools to increase reach.
  • Search engine marketing promotes page visibility, thus, higher rankings on the search engines. Performance marketing uses these tactics to increase traffic to websites and encourage conversions.
  • Affiliate marketing takes advantage of bloggers and influencers to promote the event. Performance marketers will pay when someone clicks on the link or buys the event tickets or products. 

Performance marketing will keep a close watch for brand mentions. That is a clear indication that the brand awareness strategies are working. Indeed, it is a critical metric that you must include for measuring the performance of your event marketing initiatives. 

3. Lead generation

Every event attendee is a potential lead for the company. That is why it is essential to have lead collection tactics in place. Performance marketers use things like online registration pages to capture relevant information. The same applies to sign-ups and website downloads. They will collate all this information into a CRM to make it easy for the sales teams to follow up. 

Lead retrieval for online events is pretty simple. This is because everyone registered for the event through one platform. With the right CRM tools, tracking engagement and buyer intent becomes easy. The sales team can immediately follow up on potential leads. That helps avoid losing the window of opportunity that comes immediately after the event. 

When hosting events, it is vital to carry out follow-up surveys. The feedback comprising both open and closed questions will give you valuable insights. Insights that you can use to improve the next event. 

You may even find knowledge gaps among attendees. It gives you a fantastic opportunity to educate or further engage with audiences. Taking such action can boost conversion rates with little effort on your part.

You must also keep a close watch on social engagement or brand interactions.

4. Automate the Event Marketing

Thanks to technology, you don’t have to do event marketing using manual methods. Various tools can help reach target audiences. And, most importantly, personalize the outreach. Some examples include:-

  • Ad retargeting to reach audiences who may have come to your website pages. It is a fantastic way to share information, ensuring you remain top-of-mind.
  • Email streams utilize trigger activities to send out a series of emails. Once the recipients complete specific actions like registering for the event, the emails stop. 
  • Geofencing will send ads to people who may have attended previous events or even similar ones to the one you want to host. 

Calculating the Event ROI

To calculate the event ROI, start with the total budget. From this, compare the event outcome with the metrics you established above. For instance, how many engagements, leads, conversions, or impressions were you able to achieve? 

You will realize a vast cost difference between physical events and virtual events. The latter can be quite minimal, especially if you use in-house facilities. 

Physical events are expensive because you must cater for venue and facility costs. You may also need to hire people to assist with the event logistics. 

To get more money from the event, consider charging attendees. You must, however, be able to justify what value you will be giving them. A good option is to go for well-known, highly sought-after speakers within your industry. 

Also, consider different tiers as a way to increase ticket sales. The guests have more freedom to choose what fits within their budget and area of interest.

Calculating ROI is a numbers game. This is because you look at the baseline data vs. what you obtain after the event. You must also factor in any actual or total costs of hosting. 

Final thoughts

Take your event marketing a notch higher with performance marketing. You get a budget-friendly method because you only pay for the services that achieve your desired results. 


  1.  Is there a difference between digital and performance marketing?

Performance marketing is a critical subset of digital marketing. The only difference is that the performance marketers will only use channels that give ROI that they can measure. This is because it is a type of pay-for-results-only form of marketing.

  1. How effective is performance marketing?

There are many benefits to using performance marketing service providers. It is budget-friendly, and you can be sure of monitoring ROI for your investment. You can easily track progress, and performance marketing provides a way to reach audiences. 

It is low-risk and flexible for you as a client. 

  1. How can performance marketing help with event marketing?

Performance marketing can help increase awareness and bridge the gap to your target audiences. The marketers will also use cost-effective methods to generate awareness of the event. 

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