You’ve added a virtual component to your live event. Now what?
The technology to execute virtual and hybrid events has been around for quite some time. But the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the widespread adoption of this practice. Prior to the pandemic, hybrid events were still relatively new and uncommon. The pandemic forced many event planners to switch to a hybrid format in order to continue hosting events safely and responsibly.
Over three years in, it is clear the pandemic has had a positive impact on the quality and sophistication of virtual events. Event planners have learned how to create engaging and interactive experiences for both in-person and virtual attendees. Now it is commonplace for live events, both big and small, to have some kind of virtual component.
Now that the events environment has become increasingly technology fluid, organizations putting on events must look across virtual, hybrid and in-person channels to understand what their attendees are doing, and where. To meet this need, innovative firms are offering meetings analytics and insights to improve the value events for host organizations and their event attendees.
“The benefit of this integration is it puts the event organizer first, and thus puts engagement for their attendees first,” says Joe Colangelo, Co-Founder and CEO of Bear Analytics which provides an analytics platform for live, hybrid and virtual events. “The value for everyone is in comprehensive understanding of user engagement, however subtly, to set up stronger retention, more direct value for sponsors, more trust in the host organization, and driving more growth overall.”
The Bear IQ platform is designed to find actionable data-backed suggestions for pivots, content strategies, and marketing messaging. The entire focus is how to grow an event audience and engagement with that audience. “What we’re tracking very closely where attendees are gathering and how is that generating revenue. Everyone is trying to maximize the financial performance their events are having, and that means ensuring that they have a that deeper understanding of what their audience demographic is, what is engaging them, and which event platforms are generating the greatest level of audience retention,” Colangelo said.
Organizations on a tight budget can measure the effectiveness of their hybrid events, by tracking these key performance indicators (KPIs):
Registration and attendance rates: How many people registered for the event, both in-person and virtually? How many people actually attended?
Engagement rate: How engaged were attendees with the event content and activities? This can be measured by tracking metrics such as session attendance, chat activity, and social media engagement.
Attendee satisfaction: How satisfied were attendees with the overall event experience? This can be measured through surveys and feedback forms.
Event conversions: Did attendees take the desired actions after the event, such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading a white paper, or making a purchase?
In addition to these general KPIs, you may also want to track specific metrics that are relevant to your event’s goals. For example, if your goal is to generate leads, you may want to track the number of leads generated from the event. Or, if your goal is to educate attendees, you may want to track the percentage of attendees who passed a post-event quiz. Once you have identified the KPIs that are most important to your event, you can use a variety of tools and technologies to track them. For example, you can use your event registration platform to track registration and attendance rates. You can use your virtual event platform to track engagement metrics such as session attendance and chat activity. And you can use surveys and feedback forms to track attendee satisfaction and event conversions.
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