Cornell College open house on Fairwiz.
The Main Hall of Cornell College Open House on Fairwiz.

Shifting to virtual open days from physical events can bring about uncertainties, especially when it comes to the return on investment (ROI). 

(Also read: 10 reasons to organise virtual fairs to boost student recruitment)

Calculating your virtual open day’s return on investment can help you justify your budget and expenses. It also helps you determine if a virtual open day is worthy of investment.

While calculating the ROI of a virtual event can be tricky due to certain intangible benefits (e.g., brand awareness), it is not entirely impossible. You need to focus on these three questions first:

1. What do you wish to achieve through your virtual open day?

Whether it is brand awareness, increasing sales and revenue, or even getting new leads, setting goals gives you a better direction.

2. What are your KPIs and are you utilising the right trackable metrics?

For example, if your goal is to drive revenue, you should be tracking the ticket sales or number of new leads acquired by your virtual event. If your main goal is to increase brand awareness, monitor the social media engagements (Likes, Share, Follows), event registrations, and website traffic.

3. Do you have tools to help you track and monitor your goals & KPIs?

Having a tool to track your KPIs simplifies the process of compiling data and analysing your virtual event’s performance. Fairwiz provides real-time analytics for each virtual event’s dashboard. 

Report on Fairwiz dashboard.
Report of registered & attended users and sessions of a virtual event on Fairwiz.

This allows you to track, analyse and utilise data (registrations, audience attendance, engagement) to improve future virtual events.

Once you have answers to these questions, it is time to calculate your virtual event’s return on investment.

What do you need to calculate the ROI of your virtual event?

Let’s use the education industry as an example. Virtual open days/Virtual education fairs are part of the student recruitment strategy used by universities and colleges worldwide.

To measure the return on investment of a virtual event, you’ll need the following information:

  • Average tuition fees - On average, how much do students/parents pay for your programmes?
  • Number of enrolments - How many attendees enroled for your programme?
  • Total cost - How much do you plan to spend on your virtual event? 

You can start calculating your ROI with these three steps:

1) What is your total cost to host a virtual event? 

Take all expenses into consideration because they are crucial for your ROI calculation. This includes (but are not limited to):

  • Speaker fee
  • Marketing cost to generate registrations
  • Staff wages
  • Virtual event platform fee
  • Design fee for landing page, virtual booths & halls (if any)
  • Participant benefits (if any)

For example, the total cost is USD 20,000

2) What is the revenue of your virtual event?

How many attendees enrolled for your programmes? The number of attendees enrolled provides you the revenue. Make sure you have a tool that helps you collect this data as you need it for the ROI calculation.

Number of people enrolled x Average tuition fees = Revenue

For example:

20 x USD 25,000 = USD 500,000

Fairwiz allows users to view real-time analytics in the dashboard. From the number of registrants and login sessions to the attendance rate, you can easily filter and export the database of users, thus simplifying the process of  collecting data for your ROI calculation.

3) Calculate your ROI using the cost and revenue

Once you have your cost and revenue, determining your return on investment is simple:

Revenue - Cost = Return on investment (ROI)

For example:

USD 500,000 - USD 20,000 = USD 480,000

Do note that you should calculate your ROI at different stages post-event, such as after every 3, 6, 9 and 12 months because it takes time for students to enrol.

How to increase your ROI?

There are some things to consider when you want to increase your ROI:

Work on expanding your reach

One of the benefits of hosting virtual open days (VOD) is more reach. As these events no longer need a physical venue, more students and parents can easily attend your VODs, allowing you to reach out to a larger group of attendees. 

A larger group of attendees means a higher chance of getting more people to enrol in your virtual event programmes. You can improve reach with email marketing, web push notifications or listing your event on other websites to leverage their traffic. 

You can send reminder emails and push notifications to event registrants through Fairwiz.

Using Fairwiz, you can increase attendance rates by quickly creating and scheduling emails and push notifications. 

Work on your content

Your virtual open day should have content that answers your attendees’ questions. Make sure to research and choose noteworthy speakers who are experts in their trade. The right content and people to deliver that content will build your credibility.

The more quality content you put in your virtual events, the more satisfied your attendees will be. You’ll have a higher chance of gaining more student enrolments and increasing your investment return.

You can record talks and publish snippets on your website, social media accounts, and newsletters. These updates give your followers, email recipients and website visitors a gist of what to expect if & when they join your virtual event. You can also get visitors to submit their email addresses for video access and use the data for email marketing purposes.

Attendee engagement matters

There is a high possibility that your attendees may not engage as much as you expect. As the organiser, it is your role to keep the engagement going.

You can observe their interactions to check if they are active in chat rooms. If there is not much activity, you can step in to ask questions that prompt them to join the conversation.

For example, the live chat feature (text, voice, video) is now widely available within the virtual booths of multiple virtual event platforms. This feature allows counsellors, student recruiters and university representatives to reach out to students and parents during virtual open days.

You can also remind attendees about upcoming and ongoing talks in the Announcements section to drive engagement to virtual booths and talks.

Announce upcoming or ongoing events so your attendees can join them.

Using Fairwiz, you can easily manage your content and view attendance rate, analytics, and reports on the dashboard.

Do you want to host an effective online open day? This blog shows you how to do it right.

Host your virtual open days on Fairwiz. Book a demo with us today, or send us an email to learn more.