How analytics is driving a new era of smart hybrid events
While the pandemic might have forced events to go virtual, convenience, accessibility, and the creative ways technology has made virtual events deeply engaging have created a wholly new way for people to connect. No longer are attendees simply passively experiencing content as part of the audience but instead, actively connected to the hosts, speakers, and each other. We believe that these analytics are transforming human connection as powerfully as streaming content and social media.
What are Hybrid Events?
Hybrid events combine both physical and virtual locations and offer both to attendees as options. While many people are looking forward to attending in-person events after quarantine, COVID-variants make in-person events still a risky proposition. Not only are they expensive to host, but they may actually risk a company’s reputation if they inadvertently become a superspreader event. Virtual events offer a solid insurance policy that the show will go on regardless of what the future brings, and will be accessible to everyone.
For event organisers, this digital transformation in events has delivered a windfall of analytics that are enabling them to personalise experiences for hybrid events. For attendees, event experiences are becoming more irresistibly tailored to their interests and therefore, more engaging.
What we see now is the rebirth of the events industry with a reimagined model. That model combines both physical and online events, which has become commonly known as a hybrid event. There are many benefits of hosting a hybrid event, such as enabling anyone anywhere to attend without having to leave the comfort of their home or offices. But even more valuable is the data and insights generated from event analytics.
Traditionally, the success of physical events was measured through event attendees, the number of vendors exhibiting, or through post-event feedback surveys. Now, hybrid event analytics are playing a crucial role in turning huge volumes of attendee data into understandable and often actionable insights that help demonstrate ROI and attendee engagement. Over time, event planners and organisers continuously improve in-event marketing tactics to match the preferences of returning attendees.
Gathering data-driven insights from across hybrid events
To truly understand the success of a hybrid event, organisers need access to data from multiple touchpoints. This will provide them with granular details, allowing them to understand how different elements of the event perform rather than knowing something isn’t working as it could be but being unable to pinpoint exactly what it is.
The areas a hybrid events platform draws data from include the number of logins and a breakdown of new users and active users. It also covers sessions, providing metrics on the number of total unique views, video replays, total unique replays, how many users liked each session, and how many made notes per session. It records how many registrations each session has, how many chats engagements took place, and how many impressions the Q&As delivered.
Networking is another element of the event where additional useful insights can be gathered. Organisers can measure success through breakdowns of attendee interests and the industries they come from. The volume of messages exchanged, and meetings taking place can also be valuable.
The success and appeal of event speakers can also be measured so organisers know whether they should book them again. This can be analysed using data on average speaker ratings, the downloads per file the speaker shares, and how many attendees took most notes during the speech.
Other areas where data-driven metrics can help measure the event’s success include the number of activities taking place on the feed panel, how many virtual business card exchanges and other activities took place in virtual booths, and how many sessions took place in each room, and how long they took place for.
Data from all of these touchpoints have become increasingly valuable as organisers hold more events on the platform. It might require two events to be hosted on the same platform before the data begins to provide any concrete findings, but once organisers have surpassed this point, they will be able to make smart, informed decisions about each new event based on their findings from the previous events.
The future of hybrid event analytics
The hybrid events space is still in its infancy, but it has come a long way in a short amount of time. The fast pace of innovation in this space is unlikely to slow any time soon, and the methods used to analyse the success of each event and provide granular insights will continue to evolve. We can expect to see exciting technologies such as facial recognition, sentiment analytics, attendee-specific personalisation, gamification and engagement between virtual and physical attendees, synchronization of the social media platforms to the event, and more play an interesting role in event analytics in the not-so-distant future.
Already, hybrid event platforms that provide detailed analytics are enabling organisers to continually improve and refine their events to deliver maximum engagement from attendees and better ROI for them. Organisers over the last year have already experienced, understood, and acknowledged the fact that analytics today is definitely the key component to understanding the success of every event, offline, online, or in a hybrid format.