Planning a strategy around how you’re going to measure your goals should be an integral step of your trade show preparation. Don't make the mistake of waiting until after the show to figure out how you'll measure its success.

If you’re unsure of where to start, we put together a list of important metrics that will help you analyze the effectiveness of your trade show marketing efforts

1. Leads Gathered

If you’re using lead capture software, determining the total number of leads gathered will be simple.

Why this number is important: This number will help you determine other vital metrics, such as the cost per lead.

2. Cost per Lead

This metric provides the cost of each individual lead and is calculated by dividing the total trade show cost by the total number of leads generated at the trade show.

Why this number is important: You can use this metric to compare the cost-effectiveness of trade show participation in comparison to other marketing channels. Once you've participated in multiple trade shows, you can also use this metric to figure out which shows were more effective.

3. New Customers

If you have access to closed loop marketing tools, track the number of leads that converted into customers as a direct result of your trade show attendance.

Why this number is important: Measuring the number of net new customers you gained as a result of your trade show attendance can give you valuable insight on proving whether the juice was worth the squeeze, especially if your main objective is to sell your product or service. As you attend more trade shows, you'll be able to use this metric to figure out which trade shows offer you the most bang for your buck.

4. Average Sale

Calculate your average sale by dividing the dollar value of your total sales by the total number of sales.

Multiply your total number of sales times the dollar amount of your average sale to estimate your total sales.

Why this number is important: Your average sale at a trade show is a good metric to compare with your company’s average sale outside of trade shows. Is your team effectively upselling at trade shows? Educating the customer on all the products or services you offer? These are important factors to consider when comparing your average sales numbers.

5. Closure Rate

Knowing your average closure rate will allow you to estimate your number of sales. To find your closure rate, divide your number of closed sales by your number of leads, then multiply by 100 to find the percentage.

You can estimate your number of sales by multiplying your closure rate by the number of leads generated at the trade show.

Why this number is important: Closure rate tells you how frequently your sales team is closing the leads that are acquired through the trade show. This metric is useful when compared with your company’s average closure rate (outside of trade shows) so you can determine whether your trade show sales team is utilizing the opportunity to its full potential.

6. Social Media Reach and Engagement

Most all-in-one digital marketing platforms allow you to track your social media analytics. Pay close attention to each channel's reach, engagement, clicks, etc. before, during, and after your trade show.

Why this number is important: By determining which social channels experience spikes (and when those spikes happened), you can better understand which channels are a better investment for your time and resources, as well as what content and content formats were most effective in terms of trade show related content.

7. Website Traffic

Compare the average number of visitors before the show with the average number of visitors during and immediately after the show.

Why this number is important: By analyzing your website’s traffic, you’ll be able to delve into the demographics of your site’s visitors, such as visitor location, which can be useful for targeting and outreach purposes.

8. Return on Investment (ROI)

Your ROI is bound to change in the weeks and months following your trade show attendance as you generate more sales by converting the leads you generated. To calculate your ROI, divide the number of sales generated by your total trade show investment.

Why this number is important: Knowing your ROI will ultimately tell you whether participation at the trade show positively or negatively impacted your company’s bottom line. It will let you know whether you’re efforts were effective, or if they needed improvement.

9. Return on Objective (ROO)

While there is no mathematical formula to calculate ROO, there are various ways you can measure it based on your objectives. Was your primary goal to generate a certain number of leads? In this case, examine the quantity and quality of generated leads.

Or was the primary goal to increase brand awareness? Count the number of attendees that visited your booth, measure website traffic to see if there are any increases in direct or organic traffic, and check social media analytics for increases in follows or engagement. Whatever your objectives are, get creative and be rational when figuring out a way to measure your ROO.

Why this is important: For some companies, sales may not be your ultimate objective, so your total profit at a trade show won’t be how you determine your success. Depending on what your objectives are, ROO is a great metric for calculating trade show success in a more qualitative way.