6 Trade Show Attendance KPI’s Exhibitors Need to Know

When you’re looking at trade show attendance, you’re looking at two things: who attends, and who exhibits?

The attendees, your audience, should always be your number one consideration. Don’t just look at total numbers, but who is in the crowd? Is a large enough percentage of the audience part of your target market? In other words, are these the people who can potentially buy your product? And more importantly, are they the decision makers with purchasing authority?

The second thing you need to watch for is who else is exhibiting at the show. Do your competitors usually show up? It’s not a simple matter of if they’re there, you should be too—their reasons for exhibiting might not match up with your marketing plan. You also might want to consider the potential value of exhibiting at a show that your competition has skipped. If the other deciding factors (like industry, timing, history and location) show potential, that could mean a serious advantage for you.

When you’re researching, watch for some of the following terms and use this information to help you rate the shows you’re considering attending.

The percentage of attendees planning to buy, within the year, one or more of the products or services exhibited at the show. Anything over 50% is considered pretty good.

The percentage of attendees who have buying or decision making authority. You want this number to be about 80% or more.

This is a complicated number! It’s based on many different factors, but essentially tells you how “busy” a show is. The goldilocks zone here is less than 5 and more than 1.5. Anything above 5 visitors per 100 sq. ft. is just too busy, and below 1.5 is not busy enough.

The average time attendees spent actively viewing exhibits on the show floor. This is a tricky number, affected by a variety of outside factors, but you’ll want to watch for shows with a higher value, around 9 hours.

The percentage of attendees who haven’t been to this show before. Since you probably want exposure to new leads, as well as seasoned buyers, you want a show that has about 35% First Timers.

This can be a more difficult number to track, but if you can, find out what geographical areas your audience represents. Are they local, regional, or international? You want to make sure those numbers match up with your marketing plan!

  • Check out the stats on the show’s website, or contact the show organizer directly.
  • Talk to previous exhibitors and find out what their experience was like.
  • Attend the show as a visitor this year, and make notes on your tablet or smartphone that can help you decide on whether or not to exhibit next year.

Show attendance is arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing your trade shows, but the timinghistory, and location can also be very important—and we’ll be covering those topics in our next posts.

Hopefully you have (or have started) a trade show exhibiting strategy that you can use to help guide you through the process of selecting the right trade shows for your business.

After you’ve researched the shows, taken note of stats and anecdotal information, you’ll want to compare that information with your overall trade show strategy or plan. Knowing what your exhibiting goals are will help you choose the shows that best meet those goals. 

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