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Webinar ROI Calculator: How to Track the Return on Investment of Webinars

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Webinars are a great way to connect with a wide audience, educate customers, and generate leads. But are your webinars truly delivering the results you expect?

Calculating the ROI (return on investment) of hosting your webinar is the key to understanding if your efforts are paying off. Knowing how well your webinars are doing helps you make better use of your resources. You can see what needs to get better. 

In this article, we’re going to show you how to calculate the ROI of your webinar. We’ll cover all of the cost inputs and explain how you can measure the value of the webinar. We’ve also created a free webinar ROI calculator tool that you can make a copy of and use yourself.

Understanding the fundamentals of webinar ROI

Let's start by breaking down the basics of webinar ROI, or return on investment. In simple terms, ROI tells you how much value you gain for every dollar you invest.  A positive ROI means you're making more money or getting more value than what you're spending. That’s what you want.

However, webinars aren't just about making immediate conversions or sales. They’re also a powerful tool for growing your brand and establishing yourself as an expert. It’s more challenging to assign a dollar value to that. But it’s possible. We’ll show you how later on in this guide. 

Webinars also help you collect contact information of leads for potential future sales. Leads are valuable, and like brand awareness, we can assign a dollar value to them. Webinars can generate ROI in many ways.

Ultimately, calculating webinar ROI allows you to make data-driven decisions. It gives you a clear understanding of what’s working and what isn’t.

How to calculate webinar ROI

To find out if your webinar was a good investment, you need to check if the value you gained was worth what you spent. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Add up costs: Add up everything you spent on the webinar. 
  2. Measure value gained: Calculate how much money or value the webinar generated.
  3. Calculate ROI: Take your total gains and subtract your total costs. Then, divide this number by your total costs and multiply by 100 to get a percentage.

This is the basic webinar ROI formula:

Formula for calculating webinar ROI
Webinar ROI = (Value Gained - Cost) / Cost x 100%

For example, if you spent $500 on your webinar and generated $1,500 in revenue from it, your webinar ROI would be 200%

Calculating the true value of your webinar

Webinars offer huge potential and value to a company in several ways, but it can be tough to tell if they're driving the leads, sales, and brand awareness you want. It’s important to assess all those returns and come up with quantifiable metrics to gain a complete picture. Here are some of the key areas in which a webinar would normally deliver returns.

Direct sales impact

Webinars can be great bottom-of-funnel content and have the potential to drive sales. Measuring both immediate revenue generated from the webinar and any sales it might have influenced over time is a key factor to consider when calculating the ROI. 

To fully understand their impact on your sales pipeline, consider tracking these key metrics based on what applies best to your business model:

  • Immediate revenue:  Track the value of sales directly closed during or immediately after the webinar. This is a straightforward metric for those selling one-off products or services.
  • Influenced sales:  Don't underestimate the long-term impact of webinars. Track any sales closed over time where the webinar played a role in the lead nurturing process. Follow-up communication can be key to converting these leads.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV):  For subscription-based businesses or those with recurring revenue models,  CLV offers a comprehensive view as it helps to calculate the total revenue from a customer throughout their relationship with your business.
  • Average deal size: Understanding the average revenue per deal generated will help you gauge the median value of your sales and in turn help assess the quality of the leads obtained from the webinar. This metric is particularly relevant for SaaS companies.

Leads generated

In terms of new leads that a company might get from webinars, the key to understanding your webinar ROI lies in determining the value of those webinar leads.

To find your lead value, start by calculating your average deal size or average order value. Then, figure out your lead-to-customer conversion rate. That’s the percentage of leads that convert into customers. Once you have these numbers, multiply your average sales price by your conversion rate to get your estimated lead value. Finally, multiply that value by the number of leads that your webinar generated to get the total value of leads from your webinar. 

Example: If your average deal size is $10,000 and your lead-to-customer conversion rate is 10%, each lead is worth $1,000. Therefore, if your webinar generated 47 leads, it created $47,000 worth of leads.

Brand awareness

Webinars can significantly enhance your brand's reputation, positioning you as an expert in your field.  While assigning a precise dollar value to brand awareness can be tricky due to its intangible nature, there are some ways to estimate its impact:

  • Cost Per Lead (CPL) comparison:  Calculate how much it would typically cost to generate the same number of leads through paid advertising as your webinar did. If your webinar generated 200 leads and your average CPL through ads is $50, your webinar effectively generated $10,000 in value through enhanced brand awareness.
  • Social media value:  Assign a value to social media actions like shares, comments, and mentions generated by your webinar promotions and the event itself. Use your average engagement rates (cost-per-like, cost-per-share, etc.) on paid social media campaigns as benchmarks to estimate what this engagement would have cost if paid for outright instead.

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Cost inputs for webinar ROI calculation

To calculate your webinar ROI, you need to assess all the costs involved. It's easy to focus on the obvious expenses, but a thorough ROI analysis includes both direct and indirect costs to ensure you're getting a realistic picture of your webinar's financial impact.

Direct webinar costs

  • Software subscription: The cost of your webinar platform. To calculate the software cost of an individual webinar, take your monthly webinar software cost and divide it by the number of webinars you host per month. It’s important to find a webinar platform that balances functionality with cost. Unlike a lot of free webinar platforms that lock essential features behind a paywall, Contrast offers almost all of our features on our free plan. We do that to make webinars more accessible to everyone.
  • Content development: Costs associated with research, scriptwriting, slide design, and any video or audio production elements incorporated into your webinar. 
  • Personnel costs: Includes payment for presenters, moderators, technical support staff, and anyone involved in the promotion and execution of the webinar.
  • Promotion and advertising: Mainly consists of the budget spent on paid advertising to promote the webinar.

Indirect webinar costs

  • Staff hours: Factor in the time your team dedicates to planning, executing, and following up on the webinar. This includes the hours of salaried employees, calculated using their hourly compensation rate. You can use some rough estimates here. For instance, if a team member earning $80,000 annually spent roughly 17 hours on webinar-related tasks, their time investment represents a cost of approximately $653.82 ($80,000 / 2080 hours = $38.46 hourly rate x 17 hours).
  • Post-webinar editing or repurposing: Cost associated with repurposing your webinar and creating additional content from the webinar.
  • Content repromotion: Costs associated with promoting on-demand versions of your webinar through paid advertising or additional email campaigns.
  • Webinar testing: Account for any expenses related to technical rehearsals and dry runs, especially for larger or more complex webinars.
Contrast’s Backstage Studio feature
Backstage Studio on Contrast makes managing complex webinars a breeze 

By considering both direct and indirect costs, you'll gain the most accurate understanding of the total costs incurred to host your webinar. However, don't get too caught up in calculating every single expense since factors like staff time can be tricky to quantify and might be considered regular business overhead. If you prefer, focus primarily on direct costs for a streamlined ROI assessment.

Use our Free Webinar ROI Calculator

You might be feeling overwhelmed right now at the thought of calculating webinar ROI. Don’t be. We built this free webinar ROI calculator to make it easy for you. It gives you clear insights to help you make smart choices and improve your webinars.

The calculator is simple to use. It has everything set up for you. Just enter the costs of your webinar and the value it generated. The webinar ROI calculator will show you the return as a clear percentage.

Download our free Webinar ROI Calculator

Duplicate the Google sheet to use (File > Make a copy).
Contrast’s Webinar ROI Calculator - Free downloadable
Contrast’s webinar ROI calculator

To use the webinar ROI calculator, click “File” and then “Make a Copy”. That will create a Google Sheet that you can edit. 

Start by completing the value generated section on the left. In this section, you’ll add the direct revenue generated from your webinar or use the value of your leads. 

Then input all of the costs associated with your webinar. This includes software, personnel, advertising, and content. None of the fields are mandatory. If you don’t have certain costs, or if you don’t want to factor in the overhead costs of personnel, just leave those fields blank. 

Once you’ve finished inputting costs, click the link at the bottom left or navigate to the “Webinar ROI Results” tab. 

Webinar ROI calculator by Contrast - Free downloadable
Example of Contrast’s webinar ROI calculator in use

The results tab shows a summary of the total value and costs of your webinar. It will calculate the ROI of the webinar for you and show the return on ad spend (ROAS) if you ran any paid ad campaigns to promote the webinar. 

If you’re spending a lot on your webinar software, the tool will also show you how you might be able to save money by switching to Contrast. You can check out our pricing page for more details about that. 

You should use this webinar ROI calculator to see which webinars do best. It will help show what topics, styles, and promotion methods generate the highest ROI. 

Your webinar ROI data is powerful yet at the same time not a final grade. When compared over time they will highlight specific areas within your webinar strategy that might need refinement and reflect the results of the strategic improvements you make.

Embracing webinar ROI results for decision-making

Calculating your webinar ROI goes beyond simply understanding if a webinar was profitable.  By analyzing ROI figures, you can determine whether to scale your webinar efforts, explore new topics, or refine your approach for even greater success.

Tracking the ROI of individual webinars provides a nuanced understanding of what resonates with your audience.  This allows you to make smart decisions, focusing on the formats and subject matter that deliver the highest returns.

Here are some specific actions you might want to take after calculating webinar ROI:

  • Changing webinar length:  Experiment with different lengths like 30, 45, or 60 minutes, and carefully observe your engagement data to pinpoint where viewership starts to decline during longer webinars. This might indicate ideal places to break content into multiple shorter sessions. You can even ask your viewers what they prefer best using a live poll during the webinar.
  • Optimizing promotion: Track the channels that drive the most qualified leads to your webinars, whether it's social media, email, or paid advertising. Prioritize and invest additional resources in these channels. Experiment with different messages and visuals to see what gets people excited and choose webinar topics that help solve a problem your audience has for a better chance at engaging them.
  • Creating on-demand value: Webinars with a great ROI can be a long-term asset. You should continue to promote your on-demand webinar library through social media and strategic placement on your website. This turns your best webinars into a powerful lead-generation tool long after the live event.
On-demand webinars on Contrast
Example of on-demand webinars hosted using Contrast

By consistently tracking and analyzing ROI of your webinars you will know what's working best for your company. Use this information to make your webinars better each time. Repeat that process over and over. That’s as close as you’ll get to a “magic bullet” for webinars. 

Tips for maximizing the ROI of your webinar

You probably put a lot of time and effort into planning your webinars. Here are some quick tips for maximizing the ROI of your webinars.

Optimize your webinar setup

The very first part of every webinar is to set it up. Choose the best time and day to host your webinar (usually 12PM or 2PM in your audience's time, and thursdays are the best days). Check out the most recent 2024 webinar statistics for more detail on setting up the ideal webinar.

Promote your webinars as much as possible

It all starts with registrations. You need people to attend your webinar to generate any type of ROI from it. Build anticipation with social media teasers and email campaigns. Target your ideal audience through a mix of organic and paid promotion channels.  Partner with relevant brands or influencers to expand your reach.

Incorporate strong calls-to-action (CTAs) into your webinars

Have clear CTAs throughout your webinar, guiding attendees to the next desired step (download, demo, sale, etc.). For more details, check out this guide we wrote about using webinar CTAs.

Repurpose your webinars 

Turn your webinar into a content goldmine by repurposing the webinar into bite-sized videos, blog posts, emails, or even an eBook to attract new leads. Contrast's Repurpose Ai feature makes it easy to create engaging, shareable content from your webinar.

Contrast’s Repurpose Ai feature
Our Repurpose Ai feature can transform your webinars into other types of content

Continue to engage with the audience after the webinar

Post-webinar follow-ups are just as important as the main event. Keep leads warm with targeted follow-up emails that provide additional value, answer potential questions, or address objections to push them further down the pipeline closer to conversion.

Use the learnings to improve future webinars 

Use the results from the webinar ROI calculator and analyze that data alongside your webinar analytics. Analyze audience engagement, popular topics, and conversion rates to optimize your content and delivery for even greater impact.

Screenshot of Contrast’s analytics
Contrast’s free webinar analytics help measure webinar conversion rates 

Making the most of your ROI findings with Contrast

On top of providing deep insights into attendee behavior and ROI, Contrast has a full suite of features to help you run webinars that are more engaging. Our belief is that if you can engage your audience, you’re more likely to convert them. Running more engaging and interesting webinars is at the heart of improving your webinar ROI. 

Our platform makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to run webinars that are actually fun to attend. Almost all of our features are available for free, so you can try it out today by creating a free account

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