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pcma-incentives-to-attend-virtual-event-aug11.gifAn overwhelming 97% of event marketers and professionals say compelling content is an important factor in determining whether a virtual event will be worthwhile to attend, according to [pdf] a study conducted in May 2011 by The Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), UBM Studios, and the Virtual Edge Institute (VEI). Data from “Business Motivations and Social Behaviors for In-Person and Online Events” indicates 90% cite both ease of using the virtual environment and being able to ask questions and participate actively.

The other two factors a vast majority of respondents cited as important to a virtual event are eliminating travel costs and hassles (88%) and minimizing or eliminating time away from one’s office and/or family (87%).

Meeting Speakers, Customers Draw Attendees to In-person Events

Meanwhile, 68% of respondents say meeting speakers/experts/colleagues is a primary reason for attending an in-person event instead of an online one, while another 56% cite meeting customers and prospects and 52% say collaborating more effectively.

Seeing What’s New Draws Virtual Exhibit Attendees

virtualedge-virtualevent-motivation-aug-2011.JPGWhen asked for main motivations in visiting the exhibit halls of in-person events (more than one answer allowed), the highest percentage of respondents (55%) said seeing what’s new will motivate them.

This was about 22% higher than the 45% of respondents who said seeing a demo or product will motivate them. These were closely followed by talking to someone with expertise in a subject (40%), and either getting company, product or solution information or seeing what a company does (39% each).

Extending Reach Motivates Virtual Event Producers

virtualedge-virtual-producers-aug-2011.JPGAlmost nine in 10 (88%) virtual event producers say extending reach was a contributing factor to their decision to produce a virtual event. The similar answer of having an audience that couldn’t travel to a physical event closely followed (84%).

Other popular responses included having activities that didn’t require or warrant a physical event (71%), having content best delivered online (64%) and generating new revenue streams (63%).

MarketingProfs: Email Top Virtual Event Driver

Email is overwhelmingly the top driver of virtual event registration, according to an August 2011 survey from MarketingProfs and Trendline Interactive, sponsored by ON24. Data from “The Practicalities of Virtual Events” indicates 83% of virtual event attendees have heard about an event through email.

Only 23% have heard about a virtual event through the next-most-popular channel, social media, meaning email is almost four times as popular an attendance driver. Within the social media channel, LinkedIn (10%) and Twitter (9%) are both more than twice as popular as Facebook (4%).

About the Data: The survey was conducted amongst 479 North American respondents during May 2011, with two iPads as an incentive. Before commencing the survey, respondents reviewed the definition of a virtual engagement in written form and had the option of viewing a short video demonstrating several examples of virtual environments.

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