Of course, with the pandemic, we didn’t have much of a choice. Between lockdowns and restrictions, the world of events has either stopped or moved, wherever possible, to virtual events.
All this took place not as a choice, of course, but more as a “lack of alternative options”. Whenever the structure of the event allowed to move it online without compromising the effectiveness of the experience or when it was not possible to put everything on standby until in-presence event could resume, a lot of discoveries and experiment on new forms of engagement, training and business were done.
This allowed us – together with you – to discover the strengths and weaknesses of this new system, to invent and design, to put technology under stress to see how far it could go, to experiment with creative solutions and then to analyze the results. Without preconceptions.
That’s when we saw them: the data.
If we had to choose one and only one element for which online events are superior to physical events, it would be this: they produce so much useful data.
We already knew this, at least in part. We had experimented it by applying technology to physical events and thus making the process of collecting a lot of useful data simple and cheap. We could refer to our access control system, which has made the data on entrances and exits to even huge events available in real time directly on the smartphone of event managers. Or we could mention SharEvent’s voting and polling system with which we created engagement and at the same time we recorded valuable information for organizers, sponsors, exhibitors.
We could mention all this and more, but with the transition to virtual events all this has become exponential because everything, or almost everything, has become measurable. Let’s see how, in detail.
1. Why virtual events produce data
Virtual events produce data because they are virtual.
What do we mean? When the event becomes technology-based, everything automatically becomes measurable. Simplifying to the bone, we could say that since the 1s and 0s of computer code can be counted, data of varying degrees and refinements are produced, and can then be used to make decisions.
Therefore, the more technology is added to an event, the more analysable, measurable, accountable it becomes. Not only that, but if you wish, these data can be also made accessible in real time, so that they can be read, studied and used as a basis for defining strategies, tactics and activities, both immediately and in the future.
2. What kind of data do virtual events produce
Virtual events measure what they see. And what they see is a lot. So virtual events measure a lot.
Virtual events allow you to measure all the interactions that users have with the technological platform they are using to attend the event – as long as it is designed to do so, of course. For example, the platform may be able to register if an attendee is attending a conference or is visiting the exhibition area, if he/she is exploring a exhibitor’s booth and what activities he/she is precisely carrying out in doing this, if he/she is meeting new people through the engagement tools or if he/she is not doing anything at all. Virtual events allow you to know if a path has been followed or where it has been abandoned, if an offer has been accepted or not and to possibly ask why and check on possibile issues. Because certainly the data measures a lot, but not everything. They can measure how long you listen to a conference but not if you are playing a video game in the meantime.
This is why it is important that the data collection expected from an event is designed ad hoc to be effectively useful for the information to be provided and the decisions to be made.
In fact, if on the one hand you have to be very realistic about the quantity and quality of the data that can actually be obtained from each type of measurement (for example, you can ask to fill out an evaluation and satisfaction questionnaire, but you will never know how sincere the answers provided will be), on the other hand, if the system has been carefully designed and the data is read wisely and promptly, much can be done to increase the level of detail of the information also by using additional tools.
3. How to use the data produced to create value
Ok, but once we have collected the data, what do we do with it? The shortest and clearest answer is, of course, that we produce value for all of our customers. We give flesh and bones to the acronym we love so much in business language: ROI.
We do this because otherwise, how else can you measure the return on an investment if not with data? And how else can you provide the most significant data for each single type of public that has somehow invested in the event? We mean the public that has invested time and energy in your event, the speakers who have invested their skills and compentence in it, the sponsors who have invested their money and their brand in it, the exhibitors who not only did the same but added their products, services, marketing and advertising.
With the right design and the right platform, a virtual event has the ability to answer all the most important questions from each of these people, and to do so with objective data, useful not only in the immediate future, but also for the far future.
A nice advantage for those who organize an event, don’t you think?
By the way, have you already seen what SharEvent can do to make your virtual events data-driven marketing tools and ROI?
Call us and let’s talk about it together.