Virtual Events: The New Metric
By Christine Kiesling, VP Customer Experience –
As we have all experienced in the last six months, our world has drastically changed, with very few industries impacted as greatly as the live events industry.
In order to adapt to this “new normal” we are living in, meetings, events, exhibitions, and conferences have moved to an entirely virtual or hybrid format. We all experienced that reactive measure to pivot from a physical event, and now we see more thoughtful strategies and planning for effectively using hybrid experiences as part of an integrated portfolio into the future.
We, as marketers and events professionals, need to find a new way to measure the successfulness of our events. As such, it’s time to define the ‘Future Normal,’ as we have named it at Hargrove, and set our objectives against a new, more powerful value index, as one thing is for sure: things will never go back to exactly how they were.
Hargrove strategically supports our clients to set KPIs and measure their live events. And, faced with the same challenges as our clients, we recently wanted to test our some of our theories and the opportunities we see ahead for brands. We decided to “walk the walk” with our own brand opportunity: a virtual booth in the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition.
Trade shows have typically had some standardized metrics; a measure of success might be the number of people who drop by our booth and get scanned or join a speaking opportunity, or it could be how many conversations we had or how many business cards we collected are in the proverbial fishbowl. With our world being virtual, we looked at our KPIs with fresh eyes.
Approximately five thousand people typically attend the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition. An unexpected benefit to the event being moved online is this year: over fourteen thousand people attended virtually! An amazing success story in its own right.
For the Hargrove virtual booth, we looked at how to measure success in this new format. Our content within the booth experience featured a rich set of clickable content, from MeetSAFE™ videos to our full-service capabilities deck and a video welcome message from our President, Tara Higgins.
We planned to track the following metrics:
- Number of visitors to the booth
- Conversation topics
- Amount of time in our virtual environment and what actions they took
- How many came back
- Lead generation
- Topics people interacted with the most
These metrics are ones that you can’t track—at least not easily or as accurately—in the live environment. The analytics available in the digital world allow for data we could never have in such detail.
We had over one thousand qualified leads come from our participation, that required four levels of follow-up action to support their various needs. We generated over 30 highly qualified leads, where conversations for future partnerships already have begun.
Many participants spent well over 15 minutes in our booth, allowing us to track what they did and what content they downloaded. This compares to an industry average of seven minutes spent within a live tradeshow booth.
To learn more about this “new value index” and how it can be applied to manage your events, contact us HERE.