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How analytics help make smarter virtual and hybrid events

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Key takeaways

  1. Skift Meeting’s Virtual Event Tech Guide 2022 rightly points out that “uncertainty continues to be present in all corners of the event industry [and] no one is quite sure what the event industry will look like in the future.”

  2. At their core, a successful event generates measurable results and ensures that investments are paying off.

  3. Evaluating the metrics of your event based on where they stand against your event goals, gives you an accurate measurement of how successful your event actually was.

  4. Dexper guides you in putting your data to work for you in pre-event promotion, live event engagement, and post-event content strategies.

Analytics are allowing virtual event organizers to gain a deeper understanding of their attendees’ activity and preferences. But which metrics are most important?

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions.” So said Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper (1906 – 1992), a pioneering computer scientist who helped invent COBOL, one of the most widely used programming languages in history. And her words certainly ring true today in the world of virtual events.

In the space of just two years, the events industry has undergone a profound transformation. Organizers are now utilizing virtual and hybrid event platforms to create before unimaginable content experiences for their global audiences. At the same time, audiences have become much more discerning, and they expect digital event content that is personalized, easily consumable, and accessible. They also expect digital event platforms to enable them to network with other like-minded professionals.

Skift Meeting’s Virtual Event Tech Guide 2022 rightly points out that “uncertainty continues to be present in all corners of the event industry [and] no one is quite sure what the event industry will look like in the future.” Even so, the digital event space continues to expand. With a projected CAGR of 21.1%, the market is expected to reach $617.33 billion by 2030. As this growth continues, and the industry is rapidly evolving thanks to new technologies, it is essential for event professionals to discover new strategies to help them make the most of virtual events and drive valuable engagement from attendees. One way they’re doing this is by using analytics data to make smarter decisions, including how they design virtual events, deliver content and engage audience members. Because if the goal of your virtual event is to educate, entertain and inspire your audience, you need to evaluate what’s working and optimize accordingly.

Key considerations for measuring the success of virtual events

Analytics have become a must in the world of virtual and hybrid meetings. At their core, a successful event generates measurable results and ensures that investments are paying off. With this in mind, here are three key considerations to bear in mind when planning to analyse your next virtual or hybrid event:

Don’t try to collect every piece of information. Virtual and hybrid events generate a valuable pool of data, and it’s tempting to collect everything; however, consider the difference between “data” and “information”. While it might be tempting to collect every piece of information you can on your attendees, this won’t give you the results you want. Aim for high-value metrics, like the number of successful registrations versus abandoned registrations, and think about how to drive more of the former.

Measuring attendees’ interactions with your content. A key part of the virtual event experience is content engagement. It’s essential that you understand how attendees are engaging with your content and whether they’re finding it useful or not. Look at numbers like average session time, as well as metrics like the number of web pages attendees visit during your event.

Glean actionable insights. The real value of measuring the success of your hybrid or virtual event lies in being able to use this data to plug into CRMs, analytics dashboards or marketing automation tools. You can then use the insights to shape your future virtual events and deliver impactful results.

Besides, there is an overarching need to remain mindful of the data privacy concerns of your audience. When organizing global events, you will have to work with global legislation. Most importantly, this includes ensuring your data collection is compliant with GDPR legislation.

How to connect your metrics to your high-level event goals

It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of event planning and lose sight of the bigger picture. First and foremost, data-driven event managers know that every metric needs to be directly connected with the high-level goals of their virtual event and enterprise goals, whether it’s increasing brand awareness or generating leads. Without this connection, it can be difficult to evaluate the success of an event. So how do you ensure that your metrics are aligned with your goals?

Selecting the right metrics to measure

Pre-event promotion

Tracking pre-event metrics helps you gauge the level of interest and anticipation for your event and can be useful for promoting popular sessions or giving particular sessions a boost. Some common pre-event metrics include registrations, profiles created or profile completions, schedules created, and visits on schedule and speakers’ pages. You may also want to track custom pre-event metrics like pre-event forms completion rate. Tracking all of this information will give you a clear picture of what attendees are most interested in, so you can fine-tune your event experience and speaker lineup more effectively.

Live event engagement

Making your virtual event smarter is all about understanding your audience and giving them what they want. During event metrics such as session ratings and survey responses can help you understand what attendees thought of specific sessions and whether they found the overall event valuable. Event engagement metrics can give you a sense of how engaged attendees were with the overall event. Page metrics can help you understand which pages were most popular. And live video metrics can help you understand which videos people were watching and from which countries. This will give you a good idea of the type and level of content that your audience is looking for.

Asynchronous post-event attendance

The future of event content is on demand. Making sure event content is available after your event will allow your audience to attend at a moment of their choosing. And you can make smarter use of your event metrics by analyzing on-demand viewing hours, post-event platform engagement, and post-event CTA engagements. By analyzing where your asynchronous audience comes from, you gain not only a better understanding of them but also the ability to follow up with strategic marketing efforts. Also, if the data is showing a particular session as particularly popular, you can re-package it on your video on demand platform, or utilise snippets of the content for your blog, social media or podcasts. This way, you can extend the reach of your post-event content and continue engaging your global audience.

Working towards your next event

It’s important not to let the data sit there and collect digital dust. Once you have your results, it’s time to use them – in planning for your next event. There are a lot of different metrics that can be used to measure the success of your event. Page metrics, live video metrics, sponsor metrics, and meetup metrics can all give valuable insights into how the event has performed. And choosing to reflect deeply on one set of metrics after the event can help you fine-tune your future efforts to ensure each successive event continues to generate ROI. For instance, looking at visits to your sponsors’ pages, downloads to their content, or CTA button clicks help you with the positioning of your sponsors in your virtual or hybrid event platform.

Final thoughts

As virtual events become an increasingly normalized way for enterprises to engage with their global audiences, it’s important that event planners leverage the analytics of these online experiences. By using data to understand your global audience’s behavior and interactions with your content, you can make sure that the event is successful in achieving the high-level goals that you’ve set for it.

Dexper provides you the guidance and support you need to make your virtual and hybrid events smarter. With real-time data collection and easy-to-understand visuals, our platform empowers event planners to make data-driven decisions before, during, and after virtual and hybrid events. And our team is there to guide you along the way, make sense of the data and support you in integrating the data streams into the tools you are familiar with.

With Dexper, you can put your data to work for you in event marketing, on-site operations, and post-event analysis. Whether you need to understand your attendee preferences, track audience behavior and engagement, or assess the ROI of your event, Dexper allows you to take full advantage of all your event data to create the most successful events possible.

Talk to us! We are really keen to learn how we can help you utilise your data and make informed decisions for your upcoming virtual and hybrid events!