How To Measure and Manage Cost per Engagement (S1-E018-01)

Written by PortMA

How To Measure and Manage Cost per Engagement (S1-E018-01)

The main purpose of collecting data from your experiential marketing and event marketing activities is to make you smarter, to make you a better marketer. A few blogs ago, we promised to tell you how to achieve exactly that. Hand on heart, we haven’t delivered on that promise – yet.

Instead, what we have done is prepared the groundwork to start fulfilling that promise. In this two-part blog, we will share our insights on how to measure cost per engagement.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Laying the Groundwork – A Quick Recap

Successful data crunching starts with a clear end in mind. Knowing what you need to achieve hinges on finding answers to three questions:

  • How often am I reaching the right kind of customer?
  • Am I creating a new impact on that customer?
  • In which circumstances does this experiential marketing activity create a positive return on investment (ROI)?

Measuring and managing cost per engagement in event marketing deals with the first part of the first question.

In our previous blogs, we covered the importance of field staff and the metrics they are collecting. For this blog, five of those metrics are important:

  • Days of event marketing activity
  • Hours of activity per day
  • Number of field staff on-site per day
  • Engagement count per day
  • Budget

(You can listen to the full episode of the podcast below.)

Why Measuring Cost per Engagement Matters

Measuring cost per engagement helps marketers standardize the outcome of experiential marketing campaigns. As a result, you have all the information you need to compare event marketing to other activities you could choose. You are starting to compare apples to apples.

Understanding engagement hours is the key to meaningful results. Looking at event days is part of that, but it doesn’t give you the full picture. For example, if you ran an event for 30 days with one person working four hours per day, you had 120 engagement hours. Running the same event with two people would give you 240 engagement hours. This makes it clear that the number of days alone is not enough.

Next, you are adding the number of engagements into the equation. Get a sense of how many people you are engaging per day, and then divide your budget by that number of engagements.

Within a few easy steps, you have gained a much better understanding of the cost per engagement compared to simply looking at event days.

Segmenting Experiential Marketing by Venue

As every event marketer knows, your choice of venue can make or break the entire event.

Segmenting your cost per engagement by the venue you chose for your activation is equally critical to your campaign measurement. Therefore, as a campaign manager, you have control over the venue you choose and the activities of your field team. Naturally, different venues require different budgets, so you should expect some variation in costs and customer volume.

Still, by segmenting your data by venue you will gain actionable results. In the second part of this blog, we compare the cost per engagement between a retail venue and an athletic event. Do you want to guess which one is higher?

Additional Resources


  • Experiential Measurement Blueprint
  • Event Impression Calculator
  • Experiential ROI Benchmarking Reports
  • Event Measurement Video Tutorials
Click for Additional Resources