Recent research indicates that many marketers consider events to be of significant importance to their businesses, and that small businesses share that belief. According to a new study [download page] from the Virtual Edge Institute, attendance at physical and online events is on the rise, though that appears to be the case more for online events. Roughly two-thirds of online event products report that event attendance is trending up, with another 18% saying attendance is flat. For physical events, 42% say attendance is trending up, slightly more than the 39% who say it is flat. With many respondents offering both physical and online events, the researchers note that there is a “noticeable overlap in those reporting physical event attendance down as well as lower online attendance.”
Asked their goals for producing online events and hybrid extensions, respondents most commonly cited expansion of reach and audience (82.1%), followed by serving constituents by providing education to those who cannot make a physical event (58.2%) and making better use of event education by making it available online (also at 58.2%).
Notably, about 4 in 10 said that they aim to drive attendance to their next physical event. They seem to be having some success with those efforts: 35% said that at least 20% of past online attendees have attended a subsequent in-person event.
- About 1 in 4 respondents continuously market attendance for their online events, while another quarter start marketing one month from the event.
- 6 in 10 report having an ongoing marketing program to get exposure to the content captured during their event for later on-demand viewing.
About the Data: The Digital Event Benchmark Report data is based on a survey distributed to physical and online event producers via email and promoted through social media, which generated more than 200 responses.