Analysis of a Virtual Event

September 13, 2009 - 6 Comments

Post Cisco Live we always try our hardest to measure and understand the effectiveness of the event for our audience. This year we had to measure not only the in-person event but also the virtual hybrid event. This effort focuses on:

  • Measurement for loyalty, familiarity with Cisco products and technologies, and messaging awareness
  • Comparing in-person attendees with virtual event attendees to all major performance metrics to understand the differences in these audience types
  • Whenever possible, compare event performance with Exhibit Surveys’ Industry Averages for hi-tech proprietary events

This survey was sent to in-person and virtual attendees with 26% of the in-person attendees and 13% of the virtual attendees completing the survey. Big shout out to Erica Spoor, Cisco Live Event Strategy Manager, for leading this effort and providing such a thorough post event analysis; no easy job. I would like to share some of the results with you in this post.

The findings in some cases were as predicted:

  • The audience for the Cisco Live Virtual event did expand the demographic footprint of the event.  It was more successful in attracting more first time attendees (55%) who were a bit more likely to be management and non-technical. They were also more likely to be International.
    • This is exactly what we expected, more newbies to the Cisco Live experience and a lot more international attendees.
  • Success in messaging to the virtual attendees was somewhat lower (4.2 vs. 4.3)
    • All though I though it might be even lower (so could be considered surprising it was so close) the assumption from the get go had been that the in-person attendees would walk away with a much clearer focus as relates to the event messaging and the next steps/actions related
  • A third of the virtual event attendees were from the executive/senior management and management groups (33%)
    • Had assumed this looking at 2008 demographics and attribute this to the ease of anytime, anywhere access.
  • Nearly all in person and virtual attendees felt that the balance of technical information was good to excellent
    • We put A LOT of thought into ensuring the in-person and virtual content mix reflected the depth and breadth of what Cisco brings to the technology products and services table so it was glad to be affirmed via this result that we had nailed that goal! 

Some of the other findings were a bit surprising though:

  • The Virtual event attracted attendees who were either somewhat younger (35% between 20 and 34 years old) or somewhat older (10% 55 and over).
    • Hadn’t really spent to much time thinking about the age demographics and it really shouldn’t be surprising that there was a high number of students and new to the workforce folks attending. Put this in the surprising category because I hadn’t really thought about it to much pre-event.
  • For virtual attendees, the increase for familiarity with Cisco products and services before the event and after the event was near as strong as for the in person event
    • We had assumed that the virtual attendees would get an increased familiarity with Cisco products and services from the hybrid event but had assumed the in-person attendee increase would exceed the virtual increase greatly, turns out that wasn’t the case.
  • Virtual attendees are slightly more interested in emerging technologies and service provider products than in person attendees.
    • I had assumed the interest in emerging technologies from the virtual audience would be much higher than it actually was.
  • 34% of the virtual attendees indicated they were extremely/very likely to attend the in person event next year in Las Vegas.
    • This is really amazing. While we thought that some virtual attendees would become in-person attendees down the road I don’t think any of us anticipated this high of a percentage rate!

The survey results have been invaluable in planning for next year and the on-going activities in Cisco Live and Networkers Virtual. Hopefully you get some insights as well. Let me know your thoughts and comments.

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  1. Hi Swan,Glad you got value out the post. The survey questions we asked were very specific to the event. Some of the more generic virtual questions included:How likely are you to attend the Cisco Live In Person Event next year which will be held in Las Vegas from June 27 to July 2?””””How likely are you to attend the Cisco Live Virtual Event next year in place of the in-person event?””””What are your reasons you are likely to attend the Cisco Live Virtual Event next year?””Regards,Dannette”

  2. Midori glad you got value out of the post. I believe the more we share the more the industry can grow to meet the needs of the clients and the audiences!

  3. Valuable information, love it. 34% is a lot!Keep up the good work, Dannette!

  4. What’s interesting is the high level of executives attending these events. This is an opportunity for branding that has been overlooked. We covered a bit about branding targeting higher-income and higher-education groups, but this gives more fuel to the argument that virtual world users are moving towards a group with expendable income and consumer knowledge.

  5. Great post and great data!Any chance that you would share the survey for other meeting planners to be able to gain the insights from their audiences?

  6. Great information…particularly the 34% more likely to attend in person.It’s the quantitative data so many of us have been searching for!!Cheers and congrats on the success of your event,Midori Connolly, Chief AVGirlPulse Staging and Events