The £200,000 CPM event

RASMUS BECH HANSEN, FOUNDER & CEO.

The end of January is a time where 2500 of the world’s movers and shakers meet in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum (WEF). This is as premium as an event gets. So for event organizers and sponsors this is an interesting benchmark for what the potential for sponsorship and ticket pricing is if you are, as WEF, top of your league.

So what is actually the price of sponsoring WEF and how does it compare to other event sponsorships? The WEF sponsorship price obviously depends on the package. A simple membership is around £22,000, but to be a top corporate strategic member of which there are around 100 the price is accordingly up to £1M. In total the revenue of WEF is almost approx. £170M. So let’s just conservatively assume an average sponsorship ticket price of £500,000. With 2500 attendees this is £200 per attendee.

No event standard

How this compares to other events is harder to say, since there isn’t a commonly agreed standardized way to price sponsorships — which is a pain point, we at Airfinity hope our data driven approach to event marketing can help address. But for now let’s take clues from the world of digital advertising, where the concept of CPM, the cost of 1000 impression, has become the standard for how to measure and compare the cost of advertising slots. A non-premium display ad bought on programmatic exchanges might cost $3, video might be a bit more and targeted emails or premium ads can go as high as $20. For really premium b2b marketing it can go to £100–200 but this is very very rare.

By CPM standards the price of WEF is £200 000, a factor 1000 times higher than the most premium advertising out there. Obviously a strategic partnership cannot be compared to a pure ad display, but still the difference is staggering. Based on Airfinity’s data, a rule of thumb is that a well-organized premium event with 200 people with right sponsors can charge approx. £2000 per sponsor. This is still 20 times lower than Davos.

Events can be priceless

So there is something to aim for. The important lesson from this is that the right events with the right people are almost priceless to the right corporate sponsors. Another lesson is that the more unique and tailored an organizer makes their event, the higher the sponsorship price. The idyllic staging of the event in a Swiss Alp village, the sophisticated partnership programs that include high level content creation and the broad media coverage surely helps beef up the value of the WEF sponsorship.

Of course not all events can and should go for WEF levels. But for a smart ambitious event organiser that wants to command significant sponsorship pricing, there is much to learn from the event at Davos. Few events have as professional a sponsorship offering as they do.