Top Technology Solutions for Measuring Trade Show Traffic

Projections show that the global exhibition market size will reach a value of over $50 billion by 2025.

Organizing a trade show is a difficult task, but when it’s finished you’ll want to know how well everything has been implemented, and how to make improvements in the future.

There are several methods that you can use to monitor trade show traffic. For a rundown of some of the best technologies that make this possible, keep reading.

Smart Mats

Smart mats are a very flexible option. You can scale them to the size of the trade show and you can either lease them or purchase your own. They also provide the benefit of being very unobtrusive.

You can track the data from smart mats to determine which areas are getting the least/most traffic, then you can react in real-time.

You can use smart mats to track various trade show metrics such as:

  • Traffic flow
  • Wait times
  • Occupancy
  • Bottleneck areas
  • Rush hours

A potential disadvantage here is that any areas without mats cannot be tracked, giving gaps in your data.


Wearables, along with scanners, are a good way to monitor trade show traffic. Devices such as wristbands and medallions are widely used for this purpose as they are easy to implement and very effective.

You can brand these to match up to the theme of the event. The only downside is people might take them off or forget to wear them.

RFID technology can also be implemented into name tags to achieve the same results.


Beacons work as an extension of apps and wearables as they use these to function. Beacons emit a signal that is picked up by these devices to provide data. This will give details of the number of people in an area or within range of the beacon.

These don’t work alone so require everyone to have a smartphone or wearable to produce accurate results.

Badge Scanners and Gamification

You can set up kiosks at your event where attendees can scan their badges to check in. With this method, you can add a gamification element with leaderboards which will help drive traffic as people compete to be at the top.

This will give you an attendance count and an idea of who is visiting what areas. If there is too much traffic in one area you can control this by moving kiosks around.

One drawback is that you do need to rely on users to check-in themselves. Adding things like camera/selfie options to booths can help increase engagement.

360° Cameras

Spherical 360° cameras are a good option to capture a large area at once. You can capture images throughout the event which can then be analyzed for data on traffic.

For this to work you will need an image analyst along with the necessary software.


Drones can be used to take pictures similarly to a 360° camera giving a count of the number of people in a specified area. This is often called the “grid method” and is more suited to larger events.

It is more labor-intensive than other methods, so for a small event it is not the most efficient process. An ideal area is about 100 square feet for a single drone. This kind of measurement has found that a dense crowd has roughly one person per 4.5 square feet, and a light crowd roughly 1 person per 10 square feet.

Heat Mapping

Trade show booth analytics can be captured via heat mapping, which uses discrete sensors around the exhibit. Data can be tracked in real-time and analyzed after the event.

You will be able to determine if people are just walking through an area, or taking the time to interact with specific kiosks.

This is also possible with some high-end security cameras which display different colors to indicate the level of traffic (typically orange/red for high traffic and green/blue for little to no traffic).

Geofencing Through Mobile Marketing

This is a method used to deliberately drive traffic towards certain areas. You can set a virtual boundary around a physical area that will send messages to smartphones based on their location. This can be through text messages, push notifications, or alerts through social media.

By doing this you can get data on trade show KPIs such as impressions and click-through rates to analyze engagement.

One very effective way to boost engagement is to include some sort of offer if people mention at the booth that they got the smartphone notification. Ensure that your staff keep track of how many people do this so the data can be analyzed later.


Depending on the scale of your trade show, you could build a dedicated app for it. This can enable communication between event staff and visitors in real-time, sending push notifications to provide people with any relevant information.

Smaller exhibits can benefit from this as they can drive more traffic towards their booths that they might otherwise miss out on. Just note that these notifications should be tailored towards the attendees, and should provide a useful call-to-action that will drive them towards the intended booth.

The benefits of this method include:

  • Convenience
  • Improved engagement
  • Printing cost saving
  • Data gathering/ROI measurement
  • New sponsorship opportunities

Recharging Stations

Due to the increased use of mobile devices in people’s everyday lives, it’s not uncommon to see recharging stations dotted around at these events. An event without any recharging stations, however, presents an excellent opportunity.

At almost any event there are likely to be people who need to charge their phones and other devices. Strategically placing these can help drive traffic to desired areas. While their devices are charging, there are several things you can do to get their attention and increase exposure:

  • Offering snacks/beverages
  • Providing entertainment
  • Encouraging social media posts

Boosting and Measuring Trade Show Traffic

Making use of trade show technology to analyze traffic and improve engagement is key to providing a better experience with future events.

Auctus has 15 years of experience in managing events all over the US, so if you want to take your trade shows to the next level, we’ve got you covered.

To find out more about how we can help you click here to contact us today.

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