How to use virtual event data analysis to drive engagement


Rachel Rose

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What do you do with the data you gather at virtual events?

Do you study it for learnings for future events? Do you use it to make changes mid-event? Or do you share it with your exhibitors and partners?

Accelevents recently discussed event data management at a virtual BizBash event (launched on our own Accelevents platform, of course.) We were able to contribute to some intriguing conversations around how virtual event experiences are innovating.

We had many takeaways from this conversation. Specifically, the main takeaway is the reminder that the information you collect from an event is malleable and fundamental in building lasting attendee relationships. This data can be creatively and cleverly captured.

In the mainstage panel discussion ‘The Power of Event Management Data,’ Ashton Pike (Editorial Director of BizBash) led a panel discussion with Denise Hibbard (Manager, Events Marketing at Zapier), Melissa Park (Founder & CEO at Melissa Park Events), and our very own Accelevents CEO Jon Kazarian on the topic of event data management.

How do you define event engagement?

Denise Hibbard with Zapier jumps in with an eloquent summary: “At face value, it's really about holding the user's attention, getting them to participate, and take part in the experience that you're creating.”

She outlines the importance of communication pre-event, during the event, and how to nurture the community afterward. Jon Kazarian agrees, adding that passive-watching is something that all virtual and hybrid event experience creators want to avoid.

What takes an engagement strategy from good to great?

Jon Kazarian with Accelevents offers the experience he’s gained over the past few years within the virtual event space. ‘‘There’s a lot that goes into the psychology and study of event design, and what’s basically happened over the past year and a half is we’ve just learned a whole new way to evaluate the virtual event experience that frankly was never really accessible with an in-person experience.”

Jon then elaborates on the value of real-time event insight; that is, data that helped organizers tweak elements of their events during the event itself. The Accelevents’ gamification feature does just this, offering a no-code opportunity to encourage your attendees to explore the sometimes ‘overused or mundane’ expo feature.

Using gamification can take your attendees from dutiful networking to intrigued engagement. We have seen so many participants get very competitive (in a fun way) by visiting booths they might not have visited before in order to earn points for that iPad or AirPods prize.

Jon also highlights the fact that a robust expo booth creates unique sponsorship opportunities as well as untapped lead capturing capabilities. Accelevents’ exhibitor tool has the detailed framework you need to really dig in and sell your product.

Has there been a success story or learning experience in using data to drive engagement?

Melissa Park with Melissa Park Events, in analyzing event data with her clients post-event, explains how she was able to create a spinoff event based on data from her retail-tech client’s first event that they hosted.

They did this spin-off event by gathering attendee preferences on specific topics in their registration form and had attendees rate the speakers and sessions. She also had them launch polls to collect data on sub-topics in which they were most interested. She advises using this data with clients so that they make data-focused choices with their other events.

How were you able to harness data from your most recent event hosted on Accelevents?

Melissa Park tells the group that she looks at the ability to see attendance trends based on session type and also monitors the ebb and flow of chat and q&a engagement according to the time of day.

This is an excellent example of data that would be much more difficult to obtain in an in-person event. Having that log of just how much engagement happened and when is invaluable to organizers who want to keep attendees coming back.

She offers a shout-out to Accelevents’ analytics tool, mentioning that it is well-structured for visual learners. She elaborates, saying, “Seeing that (data) holistically, I started to ask some questions: how does this differ, perhaps for one of my target markets? Do I see trends that are different from the entire group as a whole? Did a specific session or a few sessions increase the usage of our product or get one of our users to upgrade?”

These are perfect questions to ask both during and after your event. You will probably go into every event you plan with a certain set of assumptions and expectations about how different sessions will perform. But it really isn’t until you get the facts in front of you that the real adjustments can be made. We love fact-based solutions!  

Denise and Melissa agree that trial and error is still the name of the game!

What is the most popular engagement strategy for the year ahead?

Melissa points out first that we “shouldn’t force engagement for engagement’s sake.” She says that strategy is the most important thing so that you don’t overwhelm your attendees. Pick what works best for your event. Denise agrees that an engagement strategy stretched out over a more extended period of time can nurture and encourage engagement.

At the end of the day, the power of virtual and hybrid event data management is all about using data to make wise decisions about every aspect of our events, whether for future events or live-time. It’s about finding tools that provide engagement and actually quantifying that engagement. And it’s about empowering exhibitors and sponsors to best understand how their leads perceived their conversations, offerings, and assets.

So what do you do with your event data? Let the experts at Accelevents help you come up with a virtual and or hybrid event strategy that allows you to collect all the data points you need to begin a virtual event campaign that is effective, engaging, and built off of empirical data that can't be ignored.

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