How to Estimate the Dollar Value of Event Marketing Impressions

Written by PortMA

How to Estimate the Dollar Value of Event Marketing Impressions

We know impressions generated from event marketing have a value. If impressions didn’t have value, then the media publishing industry wouldn’t exist. The question is, what is the value of those event marketing impressions?

Ad Value Equivalence (AVE) Modeling

We start by assuming the value of any impression is equal to what it would have cost to buy that same impression via another media channel. We’re using what is known as an Ad Value Equivalence (AVE) modeling of media value. The AVE model allows us to include the value of impressions in an overall campaign’s return, and is a core part of any return-on-investment modeling exercise. The AVE is often a very small percentage of the overall campaign value, but if you found yourself in the news cycle or had a pop start caught holding the brand, it can quickly spike.

Using an Average CPM to Estimate Impression Value

At the heart of the AVE model is the cost of media buys. Media impressions are bought and sold as a CPM or “cost per thousand,” so we estimate the typical CPM for a brand team (or typical cost per 1,000 impressions purchased). Unless we receive direction otherwise, we estimate the average CPM for a brand at $12 or $0.012 per impression. We estimate this $12 based on a rough median for different types of media buys (i.e, $22 for in-store floor graphics, $3 for online banner ads, $15 for direct mail, $7 for FSI, etc.). We start with this estimate of a $12 CPM and adjust the model if the brand team provided any direction around a different average CPM.

Generating an Event Marketing Impression Value

It all comes together with relatively simple math. Let’s take, for example, a campaign that generated 10,000 impressions. To derive the dollar value of these impressions, we estimate what it would have cost to buy those 10,000 impressions targeting a similar demographic through print, TV, in-store, online, etc. (The goal is to choose a channel that the brand uses or an estimate across all channels.) Using an estimated $12 CPM allows us to estimate that those 10,000 impressions were worth $120 to the brand. Simply because that is what it would have cost to buy the same level of exposure through an alternative channel.

How this method is actionable

We were measuring a spring break event marketing campaign last year that was limping along. The event set was on the fringe of all the action, and things were moving along as expected. Impressions were coming in at a predictable and boring 10 to 15 thousand a week. Then MTV did a break-out piece that caught the event set branding in the background. The impression count quickly shot into the millions. At a value of $12,000 per million, this exposure quickly came into focus, and played a key role in the brand team’s planning for this year’s activation. Photo Source: