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How to Measure Event Sponsorship ROI

Before you dive in, if you are interested in event sponsorship, check out these titles in our “sponsorship for events” series:

How to Find Corporate Sponsorship for an Event
How to Ask for Sponsorship for an Event
The Six Step Event Sponsorship Checklist
5 Things to Include in Your Event Sponsorship Proposal
Why Sponsorship is Important for Events: Using Sponsorship to Make Events Awesome
How to Get Event Sponsorship: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know
Sponsorship During Times of Crisis: Cancelled Events, Postponing and Refunds
Why Sponsorship Is Important for Events: Using Sponsorship to Make Events Awesome!
How to Display Sponsors at an Event (That People Will Actually See)
How to get Media Sponsorship for an Event: A Practical Guide

If you’ve only skimmed through the information in this guide (which, you really should take the time to read everything), then spend some time with this section at least. It’s a recap of all the steps needed for event sponsorship success.

The ROI formula is a very simple one, especially in marketing and sponsorship. Just take the sponsor’s growth (through sales, conversions, etc.) and subtract that from what they spent on the sponsorship, and you’ve got ROI.

That means you have to track metrics to determine the success of your sponsored event. Which metrics should you focus on?

Measure these event sponsorship metrics to calculate your sponsor’s ROI:

  • Net Promoter Score
  • Unique website visits
  • Email open rates
  • Website opt-ins
  • Leads generated
  • Sales numbers
  • Brand impressions

In today’s article, I’ll talk further about these metrics and why they matter. I’ll also provide some tips for getting the most value out of your sponsored event data, so make sure you check it out!

Was Your Sponsored Event a Success? 7 ROI Metrics to Track

Lots of people make the mistake of assuming that ROI is only about money. While sure, your sponsor undoubtedly wants more sales, there are other areas of value the sponsor will focus on as well.

For instance, does partnering with you help them outdo their competitors? Are they driving their brand forward or rebranding successfully? Can they unveil a new product or service to a receptive target audience? Can they grow their own target audience?

Keeping all that in mind, here are the 7 event sponsorship ROI metrics from the intro that you should begin measuring as soon as your event wraps up.

Net Promoter Score

A Net Promoter Score or NPS is a marketing metric that indicates how readily the average consumer would recommend a service, product, or company to someone else.

Unlike some surveys, in which you have to type in every response, the NPS requires you to simply rate the company, product, or service on a scale of 0 to 10.

A 0 is the lowest possible score and means the consumer would not recommend your sponsor to their friends, family, and colleagues. A 10 is a perfect score.

Based on the NPS scores you receive, you can categorize the respondents into one of three groups.

The first group is known as detractors. These people gave the sponsor an NPS score between 0 and 6. They probably didn’t enjoy your event very much, or they weren’t wowed by the activations or the sponsor’s presence at your event.

Detractors can harm brand image through their negative opinions, which will hinder the growth of the sponsor’s company. You want as few detractors as possible, as you can likely guess.

Those who score the sponsor between a 7 and 8 are known as passives. They’re okay with the sponsor and their products and services, but they’re not exactly over the moon either. If a competitor shows up with a better-looking product or cheaper prices, these consumers can be lured away rather easily.

The last group is called the promoters. These individuals ranked the sponsor company a 9 or 10. Remember, a 10 is a perfect score, so these customers are very pleased. They’re loyal, long-term customers of the sponsor and will happily recommend them to anyone they know.

Although not all the responses to the NPS will be promoters, you want as many of them as possible. It’s best to have more promoters than passives and detractors. At the very least, more passives than detractors is ideal, but you still have a lot of work to do in cleaning up the sponsor’s image in the eyes of your audience.

Unique Website Visits

Sponsorship doesn’t only drum up promotion for your business or organization, as the sponsor gets lots of free promotion as well. Each time you post about your event, the sponsor’s name will appear in the title of the event or somewhere on the graphic promoting the event.

This will naturally arouse curiosity in your audience, who will look up the sponsor to glean more information about them.

The sponsor should expect more unique hits on their website, so it’s good to know how many they received. You’ll need pre-event and post-event website data for this metric so you can measure how large of a traffic spike the sponsor received on their site.

If you can, you want the nitty-gritty details too, such as where the visitors came from, which pages they visited the most, and how long they spent on the page or the website.

The sponsor should have retooled their website, cleaning it up and upgrading its design so it’s ready and welcome for new visitors. If they didn’t have call to action buttons, opt-in forms, and exit pop-ups active before, they should have added them before the event.

This maximizes the potential for a website visit to be more than just a one-off. After all, it’s great to attract attention to your site, but it won’t last. If you don’t start the conversion process right away, then the traffic will dry up, and with nothing to show for it.

Email Open Rates

Your event sponsor was likely an established name who knows how to get consumers to open their emails. Even still, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, you always want to increase your email open rate.

After all, according to marketing resource Campaign Monitor, the average open rate is 17.6 percent as of the early 2020s.

Marketing and advertising emails have an open rate under 14 percent, education has a 23.90 percent open rate, nonprofits have a 22.50 percent open rate, and for retailers, it’s only 12.30 percent. Those are some low numbers for some industries!

For context, you’ll need to know your sponsor’s average email open rate before you two got involved. Then, as you did with website traffic, track the sponsor’s email open rates over a specific period, such as one month before your event and one month after.

The goal is to increase the email open rate for the sponsor by at least two percent. If you can up the rate by five percent, then you’ve done a phenomenal job.

Website Opt-Ins

Remember how earlier I mentioned that website traffic isn’t enough and that you have to capitalize when you have a lot of unique site visitors? Opt-in forms are the way to do it.

An opt-in form is a well-timed pop-up that appears on the sponsor’s website. Website visitors share their information, such as a name and email address, and are added to the sponsor’s email list.

The website visitor usually gets something in return, such as a few free chapters of an eBook, a checklist, a guide, a webinar transcript, you get the idea. The freebie should be valuable enough to entice the website visitor to subscribe.

Opt-ins are the beginning of the customer conversion process, so they’re a critical event sponsorship ROI metric to track.

The average opt-in rate is about 1.95 percent as of 2020. An opt-in rate increase of five percent would be incredible, but even if the rate is one or two percentage points higher than the sponsor’s current rate, they should be happy.

Leads Generated

This metric is huge! Leads can become eventual customers, so how many you can generate for the sponsor through your event matters big-time.

Whether it was the sponsor’s booth, your activations, promotions, or referrals, the more leads that went to the sponsor from your event, the more interested the sponsor could be in working with you again next season.

That said, I’d recommend taking this metric a step further. The thing with leads is that they can drop off the sponsor’s sales funnel at any time. If you’re a business and not a nonprofit, then you know this all too well.

Leads might forget about your company, or they find a competitor who suits them better. Maybe they thought they were interested, then decided they don’t need that product/service right now. Or the product/service could be too expensive for them at the moment.

With so many reasons why a lead drops off, you’ll never know the exact one, just that it happened. Now you’re down on leads, which is not a good position to be in.

So how can you take the leads generated metric even further? By tracking lead quality as well. In other words, how likely are the leads to opt into the sponsor’s email list? How likely are they to purchase a product or service?

Qualifying leads like this ensures a higher caliber of leads. The leads have more interest in the sponsor’s products and services, and they’re going into it knowing a bit about the sponsor as well. They’re likelier to buy.

A sponsor will be glad to have as many qualified leads as you can get them. After all, you can send 10,000 leads a sponsor’s way, but if only 1,000 of them buy, then your lead gen efforts were a waste of time.

If you have only 2,500 qualified leads but 1,900 of them buy, that’s far more valuable for the sponsor.

Sales Numbers

Metrics don’t always have to be complicated. You can and should measure how much money the sponsor made per month or per quarter against their earnings after their involvement with your event.

This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to showcase that you can pad the sponsor’s bottom line, which is one of the most important things they’re looking for at the end of the day.

Brand Impressions

Remember how earlier I mentioned that the sponsor will receive free promotion for being associated with your event? The rate of promotion is trackable too, and it’s known as brand impressions.

Brand impressions gather all the different mentions your sponsor gets, everything from interviews for the event, podcast appearances, radio and television spots, social media mentions, news coverage, and press releases.

The higher the number of brand impressions, the higher the rate of brand visibility. A very visible brand is one that’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Better brand awareness will result in more website hits and likely an influx of leads as well.

Tips for Tracking Event Sponsorship ROI

I want to wrap up by sharing some of my most valuable tips for calculating event sponsorship ROI. This advice will help you make the most of your data so you can present it attractively to your sponsor!

Know Your Sponsor’s Most Important Assets Early and Make It a Point to Track Them

Do you know what the most important metric is in event sponsorship ROI? It’s whatever the sponsor deems the most important.

Yes, I know that sounds vague, but it’s true. Before your event, you must have a conversation with the sponsor to understand what they value. Even if you think you know what the sponsor’s most valuable asset is, it’s always best to confirm it. Assumptions have no place in sponsorship.

Ideally, you want to know the key metrics the sponsor cares most about after you sign a deal with them but before you start coming up with activation ideas. This is the ideal time to ensure their most desired assets are incorporated into the activation opportunities.

Always Deliver and Overdeliver If Possible

Contractually, you’re obligated to at least deliver on the promises you make to the sponsor. That means getting your ducks in a row to ensure that as few things go wrong for your event as possible.

No event is perfect, and I’m not saying yours has to be. However, if you promise the sponsor that you’ll do X or make Y happen, then you have to do those things. Only acts of God or other severe occurrences should stop you.

I always recommend promising the sponsor only what you can reasonably do. For instance, if making Y happen means bringing an anaconda to the event hall for one of your activations, but you have no idea where to get a snake that big, don’t mention it in the first place.

Start with promises you know you can keep, then work as hard as you can to overachieve on those promises. This makes you look like an awesome partner, and the chances are better you’ll hit the sponsor’s ROI targets.

Compile Your Data Into an Easily Digestible Format

I just wrote a great post about sponsorship fulfillment reports, also known as post-event reports. This is your chance to pull together all the metrics you worked so hard to calculate. You can show the sponsor how well you did so they’ll hopefully be chomping at the bit to resign another event for next year.

You don’t want to give the sponsor one list of numbers after another to look at in your fulfillment report. Their eyes will glaze over quick.

Instead, make the formatting attractive with graphs, charts, and tables. The sponsor will clearly be able to see what their numbers were like before working with you compared to after.


Measuring event sponsorship ROI proves your event was a success in the eyes of the sponsor. The metrics I provided today are great ones to track, but always ask your sponsor which metrics they want you to keep an eye on and defer to those. Good luck!


Chris Baylis is the President and CEO of The Sponsorship Collective and a self-confessed sponsorship geek.

After several years as a sponsor (that’s right, the one investing the money!) Chris decided to cross over to the sponsorship sales side where he has personally closed tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. Chris has been on the front lines of multi-million dollar sponsorship agreements and has built and coached teams to do the same.

Chris now spends his time working with clients to value their assets and build strategies that drive sales. An accomplished speaker and international consultant, Chris has helped his clients raise millions in sponsorship dollars.