Trade shows are the most attended type of virtual event, according to an August 2011 survey from MarketingProfs and Trendline Interactive, sponsored by ON24. Data from “The Practicalities of Virtual Events” indicates 50% of virtual event attendees surveyed said they have attended a virtual trade show.
Virtual trade shows have a comfortable margin of popularity, with a 25% higher rate of attendance than the next-most-attended type of virtual event, marketplaces (40%). These two events are also roughly twice as popular as number three virtual internal training (23%). Other community-focused virtual events ranking in the top six most-attended types of events include annual conferences and community-building events (18% each) and partner events (12%).
8 in 10 Attendees Visit Vendor Site
More than eight in 10 (84%) virtual event attendees have taken some action as a direct result of attending a virtual event, and 61% have taken two or more actions. The most popular post-virtual event action is visiting a vendor’s site for more information (59%), followed by using a search engine to get more information about a vendor (49%) and revisiting the same event on demand (49%).
Spreading virtual event information to others is less popular than getting more information for yourself, as activities such as forwarding registration pages (37%) and on-demand links (34%) have lower rates of participation.
Success is in the Numbers
Currently, 61% of show producers have formally adopted success metrics. The most popular is the tried and true method of counting the number of attendees (68%), closely followed by attendee engagement (65%). Somewhat less popular as a metric is the number of qualified leads (55%), with four in10 or more producers also focusing on number of new leads (45%) and leads provided to sponsors (42%).
Interestingly, only about three in 10 virtual event producers (29%) measure success by direct revenue, perhaps reflecting the relative newness of the virtual event channel.
Outside Financing Most Popular
The single most popular financing method for virtual methods is the outside method of event sponsorship (45%), which is 25% more popular than the number two method event marketing budget (36%). Other marketing budgets rank third with 30% of producers financing virtual events through this method.
Fewer than one in five virtual event producers turn to funding sources such as specific line item budgets (17%) or sales and/or training budgets (11%).
CMO Council: New Media Consumables Less Popular
New media consumables prove far less popular than traditional printed marketing consumables, according to data released in August 2011 by the CMO Council. About one-third of marketers (32%) use/seek web content, while 17% use/seek digital documents and only 13% use/seek third-party reviews. Software demos score even lower (7%). Also factoring in the low use rate of DVDs/audio files/memory sticks (8%), it appears that traditional printed consumables are still the leading consumables used by most marketers.
About the Data: This research study was conducted from December 2010 to March 2011 by Trendline Interactive in cooperation with MarketingProfs and ON24. It began with 12 phone interviews (six event producers and six event attendees) conducted between December 28, 2010 and January 14, 2011. Subsequent survey data was collected between March 1, 2011 and March 28, 2011 from a total of 297 respondents.