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Maximizing ROI: How to Measure the Success of Your Festival Sponsorship 

by | January 30, 2024

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

Your festival sponsorship has just wrapped, which means a cessation of months of hard work and effort. Well, almost. You can’t put this festival to bed without understanding what made it a success and where you could have improved.

What are some festival sponsorship ROI metrics to track? Don’t miss these KPIs when measuring your festival sponsorship success:

  • Ticket sales
  • Attendance
  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Brand impressions
  • Customer lifetime value 
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Press coverage
  • Email signups

There are more than a dozen KPIs I want to cover in today’s in-depth guide. Put these metrics into a chart, table, or graph format in your post-event fulfillment report to help the sponsor see how working together positively impacted both parties. 

16 Major Metrics to Measure to Make Your Festival Sponsorship More Profitable 

Ticket Sales

A sponsor is as eager to learn about your ticket sales as you are in your role of festival organizer or host, perhaps even more so. After all, a healthy turnout indicates a large target audience attending your event who can convert into customers. 

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If your festival is in its first year, the sky is the limit as far as ticket sales are concerned. You have no reliable baseline, which makes predicting your tickets sold difficult. I would recommend using other events like yours as the benchmark for how many you should sell.

For festivals with a history, you should strive to sell at least as many tickets as you do on average, if not more so now that you’ve begun working with more sponsors. 

Keep in mind that the number of tickets sold does not equate to attendance. People will always buy a ticket and not show up, whether yours is a high-profile music festival or a smaller community arts fest. 

People get their dates mixed up, get sick, or have other obligations come up.


The real yardstick to measure is attendance. Like your sponsor wants you to sell many tickets for your festival, they want healthy attendance. They’re banking on it, quite literally, as they gave you tens of thousands or perhaps millions of dollars to work together. 

You can use the number of tickets sold as a good guess for how many people will attend, especially for first-time festivals that don’t have a litmus test for comparison. Just remember there will be a disparity.

Past years of attendance should otherwise act as a good indicator for this year’s turnout. The goal is to continually grow your festival so you can keep moving to larger areas, attract more talent and vendors, and bring on bigger and more lucrative sponsors. 

Your sponsor wants to see a positive uptick in attendance, especially if you two are in talks about a multiyear deal.

Email Opens

The next KPI is email open rate, a measure of how much your audience reads your emails. You can’t build a strong business presence without a good open rate, but the number you aspire to needn’t be astronomically large.

In this post about sponsorship ROI metrics, I went industry by industry, outlining the base email open rate for each. 

On average, a healthy email open rate is 21.33 percent in 2023, says marketing resource Mailmunch. That’s not specific to any industry. 

If your sponsor struggled with email before working with you, you should anticipate a healthy uptick in their open rate numbers. This ensures the messages they send moving forward don’t fall upon deaf ears.

Email Click-Through Rate

Closely related to the email open rate is the click-through rate or CTR. It’s one thing to open an email and another thing entirely to engage with its contents, clicking links to a website, landing page, or product/service page. 

That’s what a CTR measures. A high open rate but low or moderate CTR does no favors. It’s easy to open an email accidentally or open it to report the recipient for sending spam. You need that accompanying CTR to prove engagement.

I recommend you check out the blog post in the paragraphs above to glimpse at the expected CTRs by industry. According to multi-channel marketing resource Emma, a general CTR in 2023 is 2.5 percent.

Social Media Engagement 

Posting on social media can sometimes be like shouting into the void. Low social media engagement can affect festival turnout, so you must have a healthy presence as your event gets closer.

Your assets and activations ensured your sponsor has a stronger social media presence. You must measure their metrics like a hawk, looking for a higher overall engagement rate.

Engagement includes how many people see and interact with the post by views, likes, comments, and shares.

Social Media Followers

With more social media engagement comes an influx of social media followers. These engaged users like the content they’ve seen, so they hit the follow button to stay connected and see more. 

A higher rate of social media followers can increase website traffic, blog readership, email subscribers, and even conversions and sales. However, sharing high-value social media content is key.

Then, once the follower visits your site, you must have opt-ins and lead magnets ready to get them on your email list, where you can then begin working your conversion magic.

Website Traffic

Festival hosts and sponsors alike should expect an influx in website traffic. As the festival organizer or host, you should anticipate a traffic increase in the lead-up to your event, then during the event, and for a while after.

A sponsor might have more traffic in the same period before theirs stabilizes.

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Website traffic is a good KPI to pay attention to, but it doesn’t hold much merit on its own. It’s a short-term burst that will return to pre-event levels eventually. 

Use the above marketing measures to capitalize on the increased web visitors, getting them on your email list and into the sales funnel. That’s the only way traffic increases mean much.

Lead Gen Increase

Businesses of all sizes must have lead generation strategies in place to ensure new customers are always available. Older customers drop out of the sales funnel for many reasons, whether they can’t afford to keep paying for service or their needs change. Lead gen measures replace customer gaps.

Ultimately, lead generation is a small goal for many companies, but your sponsor will appreciate assets and activations with built-in lead gen. Any type of activation that lures your attendees to them will suffice, but remember, a good activation must also fulfill an audience need, so create something engaging and exciting, especially for a festival!


Yes, we’re finally onto one of the biggest ROI KPIs: conversion rate. The goal of festival sponsorship is to drive up conversions. Sponsors likely have other goals, but they always want a high conversion rate. 

There is only so much you can do to support that. You will provide the audience, and you might even give the sponsor a setting to sell products or services. Perhaps they have an activation where attendees can try a free sample or win a sponsor’s product as a prize by submitting their email address to enter a contest.

The creative, thoughtful survey questions you asked your attendees and the high degree of niching down your audience data into small, ultra-specific segments gave your sponsor enough intel about your attendees to predict a realistic conversion rate.  

Follow through to ensure they got their desired outcome.

Sales Rate

That brings us to arguably the most important metric, and certainly the one that drives ROI: sales. 

What are the sponsor’s sales like relative to working with you? They should have increased thanks to their presence at your festival. 

That said, sales changes don’t always happen overnight. It’s one thing if the sponsor sold their products or services at your festival. However, if all they did was solicit email list signups, these new leads must move through the sales funnel further before they buy. 

It might happen faster than usual because the leads are warm (i.e., more informed about the sponsor’s products and services thanks to their booth at your festival), but it’s still going to take days to weeks to close the deal.

Customer Lifetime Value

Once you know the sponsor’s sales figures, you can calculate the Customer Lifetime Value or CLV. The CLV tells you how much revenue you can expect from a customer during their average time in the sales funnel.

Measuring CLV requires multiplying the average sales value by the number of customers. While this metric is just an estimation, you can use it to justify to the sponsor how working together can help them increase their bottom line and customer purchasing power.

Net Promoter Score 

Customer satisfaction is at the core of any business. Your sponsor won’t keep the customers they convert if they’re unhappy, which is why it helps to know the Net Promoter Score of their audience.

Net Promoter Score is determined by asking one question: how likely are you to recommend us on a scale of 1 to 10?

Calculate the responses you get, putting them in a chart labeled 0 through 10. Customers who are the least likely to recommend you score between 0 and 6. These customers are detractors.

Detractors are the most damaging for any business because they have negative thoughts and a willingness to share their opinions with others. They can hurt your business and dampen your reputation.

Customers who score between 6 and 7 are in the middle ground. They don’t have much of a strong opinion one way or another but can be swayed.

The customers who strongly recommend your service, ranking between 8 and 10, are supporters. These are the most loyal, longest-term attendees and the ones you should do your best to retain.

Lead Quality

Besides the number of leads the the sponsor acquired through their association with your festival, you should also measure their quality. 

You can gauge lead quality in many ways, including by lead source. You can also devise a lead measurement scale. If the leads came from your festival, the sponsor should trust the quality is higher than average. These are warm leads ready to drive conversions.

Press Coverage

Sponsorship should be a big deal when executed correctly, attracting a lot of attention, including from the media. The rate of press you and the sponsor receive should increase as the big event draws nearer, reaching a fever pitch in the days leading up to the start of the festival.

Expect heavy coverage during your event, then plenty of news reports and writeups about your festival in the days to come. However, as weeks go by, the press coverage will dry up as the media goes off to cover the latest hot topic.

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Email Signups

Monitoring email signups is especially paramount if your sponsor has striven to improve their email list quality or number. This is still an important metric in other respects, as joining an email list is often the first step to conversion.

The sponsor can engage with their new subscribers via email, providing more product information to nurture and guide them toward a purchasing decision. 

Email signups might matter less if your sponsor plans to sell their product or service on your festival grounds, as that speeds up the conversion process.

Brand Awareness

Although brand awareness is often the metric sponsors chase the least enthusiastically, it still helps to measure how this awareness has increased for the sponsor by working with your festival. 

You can do that by surveying general audiences about the sponsor’s brand, measuring branded search volume, tracking website traffic and conversions, reviewing social media mentions and engagement, and measuring referral traffic and the rate of backlinks. 

The Road to Festival Sponsorship Success

As you can see, you have many ways to quantify the success of a festival sponsorship property. Measuring these metrics bulks up your sponsorship fulfillment report with valuable data and can encourage a sponsor to consider an extended deal.