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%).
Agenda Top Factor Influencing Willingness to Pay
Only 6% of virtual event attendees have paid to attend, although 61% have not paid but might for the right event. Almost all attendees (96%) say the overall agenda of a virtual event is an important factor affecting their willingness to attend, closely followed by specialized content tracks (92%).
Other popular factors affecting willingness to pay include having a lower cost than an in-person event (88%) and keynote speakers (85%). Three-quarters (75%) are also affected by having a preview of the show environment.
Materials Download Most Popular Activity
The most popular activity at a virtual event is downloading materials, with 77% of attendees engaging in this activity. More than seven in 10 attendees also participate in watching a live webcast (74%) and visiting a virtual booth (71%).
These three activities are significantly more popular than any other. There is a dropoff of almost 23% between virtual booth visits and the next-most-common activity, watching an on-demand webcast (55%), which is the only other activity with a participation rate of more than 50%.
Trade Shows Most Attended Virtual Events
Trade shows are the most attended type of virtual event, according to other survey data which 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%).
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.