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How going virtual boosts marketing ROI

by Kristy Castleton
Mona Lisa mask

In marketing, there are three letters that can justify market spend or pull the plug on a project. Three letters that can put a value on marketing efficiency and hold marketing companies to account. Three letters that receive a boost when given the virtual treatment. You know what they are: they’re in the title. 


Calculating online ROI

Return on Investment (ROI) should be at the forefront of every marketers’ mind. Not only does it prevent all stakeholders from frittering away money unnecessarily, but it also allows brands to spot what works and what doesn’t. 

The problem is, measuring marketing ROI is not always clear-cut. Almost 75% of CMOs say proving ROI and marketing effectiveness are their most pressing event challenges as for all the easily measurable hard ROI figures on sales, customers and profits, there are soft ROI numbers on brand loyalty, customer experience and brand strength. However, online marketing gives the softer ROI measures a little more backbone. 

Intrinsically entwined with data, all virtual experiences can be evaluated in hard terms of views, shares and mentions. Marketers can set parameters, such as the number of registrants versus the number of attendees or website traffic after the event, weigh them according to preference and then let software do all the hard graft. Marketers can also gauge engagement more easily as online audiences are more likely to respond to measurement tools, such as live voting and post-experience digital surveys. 

Take a webinar, for example. You’ve already enhanced the ROI by removing the physical venue, audience refreshment and invitation costs, but was the webinar a hit? In our books, it’s a simple equation: a higher retention rate than exit rate. If your audience stays until the end of the party then you know they’ve found value in the content, so marketers need to create magic from behind the screen that entices and enthralls and gives the audience a compelling reason to stay tuned. 


ROI’s online advantages 

Simple ROI measurement allows brands to know where and how they should be marketing online, but should they even bother in the first place? It’s a big yes from us. In fact, there are so many ROI advantages to creating virtual experiences, they require the mighty bullet point treatment:

  • Cheaper – Without the need to hire a physical space, refreshments and staff for an event, brands have more budget to inject into spellbinding creative amplifications.  
  • More variety – Events are no longer constrained by ‘reality’. Brands can pick and choose the platforms they want, when they want it; platforms that can be customized in real-time during an event.  
  • Expanded audience – With guests no longer needing an airline ticket to reach an event, brands can cast their marketing net wider. Take Salesforce, for example. The tech innovator turned its World Tour Sydney into a virtual event during lockdown, boosting attendance from 11,000 to 80,000.  
  • Special effects – Digital opens up a realm of possibilities allowing brands to connect with audiences through multiple virtual touchpoints. Want a series of interactive competitions hosted by talking elephants? Well, now you can.  
  • Champion inclusivity. Virtual events allow brands to reach those who wouldn’t normally be able to attend for financial or logistical reasons. For example, when Coachella live streamed Beyoncé’s performance in 2018, it opened up the experience to all those that couldn’t be there in-person (458,000 people took up the offer).  
  • Minimal upfront costs – Virtual experiences eliminate the risk of lost profits from event postponement or cancellation. A huge benefit in these virus-infused times.  
  • Heightened engagement – A captive audience with a keyboard at their fingertips responds better to engagement apps, such as Mural’s digital workspace and Mentimeter’s interactive presentations, than distracted guests scattered across an event space.  
  • Sharing the love – Digital experiences allow consumers to ‘share’ their experiences and spread the word with ease, which gives brands an extra reason to make them as ‘shareable’ [definition: magical, intoxicating, jaw-dropping] as possible. 


Remember, remember, the return on investment 

Put simply, the better consumers remember an event, the better the return on investment. 

At Rebel & Soul, we apply our proprietary neuroscience methodology INVOLVE® across our range of experiences to create memories for brands and maximise ROI. For example, our award-winning Origins of Luxury event for HSBC Jade contributed to over 38% annual growth revenue and built a campaign that delivered an ROI of 79.5 times the dollars spent. In addition, we curated 11 money-can’t-buy experiences across five days for Glenfiddich’s Global Grand Cru Launch resulting in 6,000 x increase in engagement YoY and designed a fluoro festival experience for Mastercard, which reached 2.6m Singaporeans and delivered 466,597 unique engagements from more than 18 million brand impressions.

So, if you’re a CMO or Brand Manager wondering what to do with this year’s budget, download our Definitive Guide to Creating the most Memorable Virtual Experience and come and make some memories with us.


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