How do you charge pay-per-click at events?

March 9, 2017 coyne

Ok so you can't (unless you're monetising your online profiles, for example), or maybe you can?

Inspired by Paul Woodwards recent blog (Is Disruption Coming) talking about pay per click, are events not the perfect medium to prove to it's investors that it can create & deliver return? 

Think about it.

  • Printed press relies on circulation numbers / subscribers and then multiples of 3.2 (on average) by the number of people expected to see it. But do they really know how many people read their magazines / papers? 
  • Online - Yes, you can measure how many impressions you may have had on an advert for example, but unless you click on it, impressions don't mean a great deal (ok, I'm generalizing, they can be worth a lot in building brand awareness etc.)...So you don't really know who has interacted with your brand?
  • Radio - They measure based on diaries - yes, diaries. If you're not aware, they effectively use a sample audience of an area, have them mark whenever they listen to a station and for how long (over a period of time) then work out demographics of the area to get an approximate number of listeners. They can say your advert was heard by X number of listeners...but do they really know? 

Of course I'm not knocking the above medias, they serve their purpose very well and I've utilised them all at some stage! I know there are more metrics in place than I've outlined above, but I want to show you how much more proof you have on your events, than you potentially realise.

There is a general myth, and often quite a debate, in our industry that exhibitions aren't as serious a contender for when it comes to big agencies spend. 


Events can prove exactly who has been to and interacted at your event. You can prove the level of seniority, the demographic, the purchasing power, you can prove with such great level of detail & insight that media companies that purchase other areas of advertising would be frothing over to get. The level of data our industry has is incredibly powerful, yet underused.

Is it because we don't sell it properly? 

No, I'm not suggesting you sell your data. I'm suggesting we sell beyond the standard 000's of visitors that attend our shows or the 00000's of products available to see. We've gotten used to breaking down our audience demogs to prove that say Senior Buyers attend the event. BUT, what about those that interacted? That's the real juicey information that helps you stand out above anyone else.

Some organizers are already doing this well and some are interacting with brands outside of their specific space for exposure pretty well. But what about the rest of us? Or..."it doesn't really apply to me, because I'm running a B2B event". No... your visitors (and exhibitors) are still consumers and fact is, you probably know more about your delegates than you would on a consumer event. 

Here's where your analytics & data gets seriously powerful.

Based on interactions on your show floor, you can tell exactly the types of companies, sectors, categories and areas of the show (for example) that your delegates have interacted with. You can see what's popular or not. You can see types of exhibitors that interact with certain types of visitors to their stands. Add on delegates dwell time and you'll be able to build a picture of "impressions" that a delegate has made as they walk around a show floor. 

Add on other exhibitor data that you should already know, such as spend, category etc., and you've got a tonne more insight into actual interactions than most of the other media outlets.  Essentially, you can PROVE to your existing customers, their interactions, the type of interactivity around your event, how long people hang around (dwell) and you can also prove to new exhibitors / sponsors the value of taking part in your event and where they should be located to get maximum exposure.

So are you using your data effectively? Have you got the right people in place to sift the useful from the useless? Have you utilised the latest software to help you make this a whole lot easier?!

And how does this relate to Pay Per Click? 

Well, if you know that X amount of traffic walks down aisle B and you know that "traffic" is made up of certain demographics, you can prove to a brand that they had X number of real people, walk within 1m of there brand. If you go as far to monitor dwell time in certain areas, you can even prove for how long they looked at it! Therefore...they saw your brand. Therefore... they're an impression. If they interacted... they're a click! You could, for example, start to charge sponsors based on expected /delivered impressions (walk by traffic) and exhibitors by the amount of leads they generate  - clicks (or both). 

You don't have to charge per square metre anymore...

Maybe we need our own PayPerClick. Is it PayPerWalk? PayPerView (been done before...) or maybe we just call it exhibiting, but we prove to everyone how good it really is for business! 

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