As we have all experienced in the last six months, our world has drastically changed, with very few industries impacted as greatly as the live events industry. To adapt to the “new normal” we are living in, meetings, events, exhibitions, and conferences have moved to an entirely virtual or hybrid format. As a result, we have all experienced a reactive measure to pivot from a physical event. We now see more thoughtful strategies for effective planning that use hybrid experiences as part of an integrated portfolio of events. Virtual experiences are also providing us with event metrics we haven’t had before. We, as marketers and events professionals, need to find new and consistent ways to measure the success of our virtual and hybrid events. As such, it’s time to define the ‘Future Normal,’ as we have named it at Hargrove, and set our objectives against a new, more powerful value index, as one thing is for sure: things will never go back to exactly how they were.
KPIs for Live Events and Virtual
Hargrove strategically supports our clients to set KPIs and measure their live events. Faced with the same challenges as our clients, we recently wanted to test out our theories as well as the opportunities that we see for brands going forward. We decided to “walk the walk” with our own brand opportunity: a virtual booth in the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Virtual Annual Meeting & Exposition.
Traditionally, trade shows have typically had some standardized metrics. Those metrics include the number of people who drop by our booth, have their badges scanned, or join a speaking opportunity. Other metrics include how many conversations we have or how many business cards we collect in the proverbial fishbowl. With our event going virtual, we took a look at our KPIs with fresh eyes.
Approximately five thousand people typically attend the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition. An unexpected benefit to this year’s event being moved online: over fourteen thousand people attended virtually! An amazing success story in its own right.
For the Hargrove virtual booth, we looked at how to measure success in this new format. Our content within the booth experience featured a rich set of clickable content, from MeetSAFE™ videos to our full-service capabilities deck as well as a video welcome message from our President, Tara Higgins.
Virtual Event Metrics in the ‘Future Normal’
For the event, we planned to track the following metrics:
- Number of visitors to the booth
- Conversation topics
- Amount of time in our virtual environment and what actions they took
- How many came back
- Lead generation
- Topics people interacted with the most
Notice that these virtual event metrics are ones that you can’t track—at least not easily or as accurately—in the live environment. The digital world has opened accessibility to these new types of data. By capturing them, we now have access to details that we could not measure as effectively in the past.
So, did our planning provide any positive results? The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. We had over one thousand qualified leads which required four levels of follow-up action to support their various needs. We generated over 30 highly qualified leads, where conversations for future partnerships have already begun. Many participants spent well over 15 minutes in our booth, allowing us to track what they did and what content they downloaded. This compares to an industry average of seven minutes spent within a live tradeshow booth.
To learn more about this “new value index” and how it can help you successfully manage your virtual events, contact us.