Virtual Event Benchmarks Call for a Clear Strategy and On-Demand Push

I mentioned this briefly yesterday, but a company called Nucleus has taken data from three virtual event benchmark reports to create some insightful infographics. Here are a few of their findings with comments:
58% of virtual events include some form of interactivity; the average attendee watches 68% of a session.
With all the distractions that we have working from home, some form of interactivity seems key to at least reaching that 68%. “Polling is the most interactive of the various Zoom features,” said American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians Executive Director Bob Moore. “The chat function works well, but since not everyone has a question, polling is a nice way to keep all engaged.” People like polls, especially if they’re relevant and one-button easy.
59.8% have no specific virtual event strategy.
I thought BVR’s event strategy outline in my post yesterday is worth noting—a three-day event in September surrounded by a free preview a week or so before and then one bonus session a week for the three weeks after. “…when people are intensely interested in your content for a very specific reason, everything feels changed,” said Jeremy Gilbert, director of strategic initiatives for The Washington Post. “We need to think how we can make our news and information [continue to be] relevant, but especially how we can make people aware… about the width and breadth of coverage we can do.” The longer you can keep an audience engaged in your virtual event, the better the chance that they discover other content you have.
49% of attendees registered 7 or more days before the event; 51% registered within 7 days.
We are used to seeing many webinar registrations come in later, but for conferences this is a shift. Some of it is because many events either start out free or become free after an initial underwhelming registration period. (The ASAE event taking place now is in this category.) It may be harder on the nerves, but the numbers say don’t give up if registration is low as your event approaches. “Increase promotion the week before your [event]—post more on social and send one more email blast the day of,” said GoToWebinar’s Amber Tiffany. (17% of registrants sign up the same day.) “For recipients who haven’t registered yet, send out a ‘last chance’ email to encourage last-minute registrations.”
30% are charging the same price as their in-person event, 30% are charging significantly less, and 39% are charging somewhat less.
Obviously, this has been the biggest question. How do you price your events now? It really is trial and error. But as BVR’s Jared Waters and others have pointed out, there are ways to pile on the value—future discounts, extra sessions, credits, special chats with editors and VIPs—so if you market it that way, then price it accordingly.
Tuesday is by far the best day to send out promotional emails. 
We all use Monday to recover, get settled and have meetings. So by Tuesday we’re listening again. Next comes Thursday and Wednesday. Friday is way last, more so in August I’m sure.
44% check out the on-demand version after. 
This number has gone up during the pandemic, especially if you do have a more global audience. In the past, we didn’t really want to market that as much in the beginning; we wanted people there in person. But in this climate, it makes sense to market on-demand from the get-go. MDM does it with their webinars: “Even if you can’t make it, sign up anyway! We’ll send you the recording.”
44% have not received any sponsorship or exhibitor money for their events.
That percentage should be lower. Sponsors, vendors, exhibitors need leads right now, and your virtual events are still great places for that. Talk to your sponsors during your event planning. Ask them what platforms they’ve seen or used. What has worked best for them? What can you do to bring them on board? What do they need to become a sponsor?

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