By Vanessa Lovatt, chief evangelist at Glisser
Event success was once measured by attendee numbers rather than what attendees actually did once they were in the room. However, the transition from in-person to online events has created a wealth of new opportunities to track and measure attendees’ event behaviour and engagement, offering greater insight into how the event has performed. Many of these techniques can even translate back into the physical event environment, too.
So what’s the trick to gathering and interpreting this data?
The right tech for the job
First, you need to use an event tech platform that is fit-for-purpose. While basic video conferencing and screen-sharing tools have their function, they’re not effective when you want to wow thousands of attendees across a multi-day, multi-auditorium customer forum, conference or trade show.
Second, you need event tech that can track where your attendees are within the event – i.e. which sessions are they attending – and whether they’re active within those sessions. In the online events world, the exit is only ever a click away. Even if your attendees remain in the virtual auditorium, you don’t always know whether they’re paying attention to the session or whether they left their desk 20 minutes ago to make a coffee.
The right event platform will enable you to track the attendee journey throughout the event, measuring which sessions were well-populated, how long each attendee was present, and how active and engaged they were during the session.
Understanding audience engagement
Engaging your audience is by far the biggest challenge when delivering an online event. Without engagement and participant tools – such as quizzes, ranking questions, polling and social feed integration – there’s every chance you’ll get to the end of your event without any clear sense of what your audiences found helpful or informative.
The better the engagement levels, the better your ability to understand how each attendee experienced the event, indicating which aspects you might want to dial up or down next time. With some platforms, you can track absolutely everything each attendee does: the questions they answered, the comments and slides they ‘liked’, the feedback forms they completed, and much more. And if you’re using events tech capable of integrating with your existing marketing and CRM tools (e.g. Salesforce or Hubspot), you’ll be able to align all of these event insights with any attendees in your current registered customer base.
Unifying the event experience
It looks increasingly probable that the post-Covid events world will revolve around ‘blended’ events that comprise in-person, online and ‘in-between’ attendance. And while it’ll be great to see people attending physical events once more, as an event planner, you don’t want this to come at the expense of your newfound data capture capabilities.
That’s why the best event engagement tools unify the experience for all audiences – providing the navigation and signposting you need to get around the event, in-person or online, and providing a single set of engagement and participation tools irrespective of whether you’re in the room or at your desk.
Keeping your attendees (and their data) secure
Of course, the more data you’re capturing, the more critical it is to guarantee the security and privacy of that data. If your event tech provider is ISO27001 certified (or equivalent), you can be confident that sensitive event information and IP is being handled and stored appropriately.
Why the attendee journey matters
For many Covid-impacted organisations, events programmes are under the spotlight like never before. The ability to piece together disparate data points to map out each attendee’s unique event journey might be just what you need to paint a vivid picture of what a bustling, engaging event looks like, even when there’s no one physically present in the room.
Vanessa Lovatt is chief evangelist at Glisser, an award-winning tech platform powering unique company event experiences, anywhere.