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Measuring Exhibition Stand ROI

Focal Exhibitions / Measuring Exhibition Stand ROI
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Working out the ROI on your exhibition stand is vital to its continued success

Exhibiting your stand at events, conferences and seminars is an incredibly exciting experience, and it’s often very easy to get caught up in all of the processes both pre and post conference to take some time and work out how ROI is going to be calculated for your stand.

This is something we regularly assist our clients with in terms of mapping out ROI metrics, what a visit and a qualified lead looks like on the day of the exhibition, and how to maximise ROI on a stand once the event is over.

Throughout this guide you will find tips and tricks that will help you to realise the serious potential of exhibition stands, particularly when paired with a ROI-lead strategy for maximising leads and ultimately revenue from the event.

7 Steps For Measuring Exhibition ROI


1. Establish what a qualified lead means for your business

A ‘lead’ is what you want it to be, so do not limit leads to just the visitors who then went on to provide their details, or even those who made a sale if you’re exhibiting a product at the event.

Because of the massive amount of foot traffic that will be coming in and out of your stand, leads need to be split into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ categories, so that you can further understand the effectiveness of the exhibition and outline improvements for future events.

For example, to be qualified as a lead for a medical supplies company, the exhibitor would at least need to interact with the visitor and capture or provide data. This would then be categorised as a ‘cold’ lead, such as providing the visitor with a business card or receiving their data which then must be followed-up after the event is finished.

A ‘hot’ lead would be where the visitor directly enquires about the products or services of the exhibitor, with the clear intent of purchasing or signing a contract for services at a later date.

2. Define personas of the target visitors who will be coming to your stand

This process should heavily influence the initial design and build process of your stand, as you need to outline how your target visitors will interact with the stand once they visit.

When creating personas, we recommend that you go as in-depth as possible, to really understand why an attendee would visit your stand, who your target attendee is and more importantly what it would take that attendee to go from a casual visitor to the hot and cold lead stage of the exhibiting lead funnel.

Primary points to consider include:

  • Age: What is the average age of a visitor that will be coming to your stand? If they are above a certain age bracket, will some of the technological integrations of your stand be lost on them? If so, how can you make the integration process easier with physical marketing material such as business cards and brochures?
  • Income: Do the services or products you’re exhibiting fit within the correct price range for your visitors? For example, if you’re exhibiting at a gaming convention, would your visitors be able to afford a premium games console or would they be looking for cheaper options?
  • Business/Industry: What type of business are they in? Does the language, design and presentation of your stand reflect the visitors area of business, and what they would expect to see. This is one of the vital differences between business to business and business to customer exhibiting events. Will your visitor understand the material and services provided within the stand? Can you assume prior knowledge of services and jargon of your industry or will the visitor need a simplified breakdown of your business to fully understand your services?

3. Capture as much data as possible

The capturing of data in the exhibition sense refers to both online and offline data. Capturing online data is referenced throughout this guide, so for the purpose of this section we will be looking at how you can accurately capture metrics such as footfall and engagement during the event:

Measuring Footfall: add the tools bit in about tracking footfall (luke to send links)

Engagement via Brochures & Business Materials: The simplest way to track this type of engagement is for all members of staff present at the stand to outline, prior to the event, how many pieces of marketing material they have to give out (alongside marketing materials at strategic points of the stand itself). Once the event, staff members will simply be able to subtract the number of materials personally given out to visitors based on the initial amount.

4. Set benchmarks on all metrics prior to the event

This is part of calculating ROI is often overlooked, and cannot be backtracked if missed prior to the event. ROI does not just have to be focused on sales and leads.

It may be that your exhibition stand is part of a wider awareness campaign for your business, and that ROI is based on the amount of exposure your business receives off the back of the exhibition event. Factors to consider along the benchmarking process should include:

  • Newsletter Signups: Ensure the amount of subscribers to your newsletter list is benchmarked prior to the event starting. Most modern stands involve iPad and touch screen integration to make signing up to a newsletter as easy as possible for visitors.
  • Website Traffic: Benchmark the monthly traffic over the last 3-6 months prior to the event, ensuring to gather data for organic, paid, referral and direct traffic. Traffic spikes can then be compared going forward, and your team will have an idea of the amount of traffic that should be expected in the following period based on the prior period analysis. `
  • Website Coverage: links, features off the back of the event if you happen to speak to industry journalists or website owners blogging about the event. It is not uncommon for industry news websites and even bloggers for the industry to attend exhibition events. Many websites will also cover businesses as part of overall coverage on the day, therefore it may be likely that your business will receive coverage across industry sites and social platforms. We recommend benchmarking the following website attributes prior to the event to accurately attribute coverage growth following the event:
    • Backlinks
    • Brand Mentions (Hashtags and Media Mentions)
  • Social Media: Benchmark the number of likes and average social media mentions your business receives across all primary platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

5. Use simple formulas to calculate a baseline ROI

It’s incredibly easy to get overwhelmed with formulas and numbers when calculating the return on investment of any marketing efforts.

When working with clients we’ve found that the below, simple formulas work very well to get a broader picture of ROI, and the formulas can also be used to narrow ROI down to specific point such as marketing ROI for website engagement, or projected revenue from ‘hot’ leads that are engaging with your team:

Simple ROI Calculations

Calculating an Average Cost Per Lead

6. Create a sales process to define the success of visits at each stage of the funnel

All of this technology is fantastic as part of a stand, and is almost expected as modern stands continue to push the boundaries with integrated VR and state-of-the-art tracking systems. But, how can you accurately measure engagement to maximise ROI?

Utilising free tools such as Google Tag Manager will enable any tech integrations to track such things as scroll depths and the average time a user spends on a certain part of a form, so that your business can understand where users are interacting and, more importantly, parts that they’re not.

Many integrated systems will also come with built-in tracking software to ensure that your business will be able to analyse data to as granular a level as possible.

7. Quantify the reason your business has chosen to exhibit at an event

This point may sound obvious but will certainly make both justifying an exhibition stand and quantifying results a lot easier following the event. As a business, ask your team the following questions to ascertain exactly why you’re investing in an exhibition stand and what the desired outcome of exhibiting is:

  • How will an exhibition stand takes sales from ‘X’ to ‘Y’?
  • How does an exhibition stand fit into the quarterly and yearly growth figures for the business?
  • What will investing in an exhibition stand achieve for your business?
  • Is the stand a brand awareness exercise or a tool for sales and business growth?

8. Consider all costs when defining the overall marketing spend on an exhibition stand

At Focal Exhibitions, we offer full-service exhibition stand and design building packages which will commonly include logistical operations as standard, along with stand storage services to ensure your investment stays safe when not in use.

Many companies may not consider these added costs, and often incur larger fees later along the line when relying on a stand builder who does not offer integrated services.

If this is the case, be sure to add these additional costs to the overall spend for the stand.

Additional Points To Consider

When creating any stand we encourage our clients to think like their target visitor.

Factors such as how the design of your stand ‘flows’, the logical structure of your standard and vital touch points at each point of the stand all add value to how your target audience will view and respond to not only the stand, but also your brand.

Want to share our tips for maximising and calculating the ROI for your exhibition stand? Take a look at the handy infographic below!

Alternatively, get in touch with our team of exhibition design professionals to discuss a bespoke exhibition stand for your business.


Simple ROI Calculation #1:

(Sales Growth – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI

Simple ROI Calculation #2:

(Sales Growth – Average Organic Sales Growth – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = ROI

Simple ROI Calculation #3:

Marketing Spend \ No. of Leads = Cost Per Lead

Calculating Exhibition Stand ROI Infographic: