How pandemic adaptations propel us deeper into the digital age
From remote offices to virtual meetings, it’s obvious how the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed society even deeper into the forthcoming digital age. Fintechs and financial institutions alike were forced to adapt to a new normal, facing unique challenges and creating innovative solutions, thus heightening the popularity of hybrid and virtual events, specifically by 35% since 2020.
What’s less obvious is if and how we continue to use these new strategies now that we’ve returned to a regular work environment. A recent study shows just over 50% of potential attendees believe they get more out of an in-person event than they do online, but more than 70% of professional event planners claim hybrid events are the way of the future.
This has many marketers and PR professionals begging the question: Should we continue hybrid and virtual events?
Determine What Works for You
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a business’ online accessibility, breaking down the data collected from in-person, hybrid and virtual events can help determine what will work best for you and your organization.
Segment your audiences from each event so patterns and consistencies are more recognizable. Ask questions like: are there specific groups that attend a certain type of event? Perhaps an audience consisting of business professionals prefer the flexibility of online events versus a younger demographic who prefer in person events to fill up their schedule.
It’s also helpful to follow up with these attendees and check to see how they continue to engage with your business after the event. Did online attendees visit your webpage or follow any of your social media accounts? Have any in person attendees inquired about your services or attempted to contact your business?
The type of audience you’re looking to reach, your allocated budget and the goal of your event will affect whether in person or digital events will be most effective. Most businesses can benefit from a combination of hybrid, virtual and in person events.
But if you’re like most organizations, you’ll see that hybrid and virtual events can be beneficial for several reasons:
The convenience of virtual and hybrid events is a major influence on their popularity. Because digital events can be recorded and watched later, people can attend and participate whenever it best suits their schedule. It’s also easier for hosts to schedule, stay organized with their presentation and answer questions with features like live chat room sessions.
Online events are also typically shorter, requiring only an hour to an hour and a half of time on average while in-person events and conferences often take up an entire day or several days.
2. Cost Effectiveness
Going digital can also mean staying on budget. Costs associated with in-person events like venue rental, food and beverage, and housing accommodations are unnecessary for digital events that only need a platform and marketing budget. Travel expenses and subsequent childcare are also eliminated for hosts and more importantly attendees, eliminating additional barriers to entry and improving turnout.
Online events also provide a way to reliably measure return on investment (ROI), providing an outlet to increase reach, impressions, screens and other audience metrics. Increased attendance results in a lower cost per lead which contributes to improved ROI as well.
3. Data Tracking
Tracking data is a hot topic in today’s increasingly technology-oriented era. Being online makes it easier for attendees to submit information and easier for hosts to collect. There is also more of that data available which helps produce more accurate conclusions.
Online events attract a larger, broader audience and produces a larger attendee turnout. Some companies have seen a turnout four times greater for its online event than its in-person counterpart. The larger and more diverse audience results in more detailed insights about your potential client.
In 2022, more than 90% of businesses continue to host virtual events and almost half plan to do more virtual events than they did in 2021. An online presence for your business is becoming increasingly important as consumer expectations for digital access grows rapidly. Due diligence research to clarify how to reach your marketing and PR goals will best assess how hybrid and virtual events can help your business get where you want to be.