Metrics of a digital event: orientation exercises.

Metrics of a digital event: orientation exercises.

Physical events have KPI (key performance indicators), metrics and ROI (return on investment) that as organizers we are used to measuring.

A whole different story instead, when we deal with digital or hybrid events, and we have to think about new performance indicators.

There is no or little literature on this subject, no ready-to-use manuals or software that come to our aid, we can only start from the experience of what we know well – our exhibitions in all their dynamics- and imagine new paths

Digital UX and metrics: the case of networking.

Surely at the beginning you think of starting by aggregating performance indicators from digital marketing and kpi of physical exhibitions, or at least we did.
We weren’t done thinking it, that we realized it wouldn’t have been enough.
How many exhibitors do we have on the platform? How many products? How many visitors have registered on the platform?

And then, how many of these visitors are the same ones who visited the physical fair? What % of foreigners? How much time have they spent on the platform and how much at the fair? Can we establish a relevant relationship between the two things?

Which pages were clicked the most? How many people have completed the registration on the platform with their profile or asked for appointments to exhibitors? How many physical and digital meetings have taken place? How do we measure the leads generated by the exhibitors? What conversion rate is there on a digital platform? And, in the end, do we need a conventional conversion rate?

Questions were accumulating in our heads, but we quickly realized that on the one hand the correlations between physical and digital are complex to establish in terms of measurable performance and on the other hand the world of digital platforms opens to a whole other wide range of possible measurements on the behaviour of users, as well as the numbers.

The flow of data

For sure, using a digital event platform gives us an important data stream.

After all, in the physical era it was enough for us to make every possible effort to bring the qualified visitor to the event and provide multiple opportunities to meet with the exhibitor and its products (through b2b, networking, training, demonstrations, awards, gamification…).

What happened inside the booth was, in principle, the exhibitor’s business.

We knew the feedback on how many meetings were really generated, with what frequency, with what averages of time, how much appreciated, through the surveys from interested parties after the event (the classic post-exhibition surveys).

Platforms allow us to measure most, if not all, of these indicators, because networking is real-time, and measurable.

For example, indicators may be the number of messages exchanged on the platform, the visibility obtained by the speakers measured as the number of profile visits obtained plus the number of messages or connection requests, while the level of sponsor satisfaction could be measured by the number of visits to the company profile and/or link to their website and the amount of messages received.

Another aspect, not at all negligible, is that usually not only the organizers but also the exhibitors have an area on the platform with their own dashboard and are equally able to see their performance and manage their data in real time.

As an example, the exhibitor can see the “who met who” of the company team members, which vote has been given to this or that meeting, who is participating to the 1-2-many meetings (es. webinars), while at the end of the event exhibitors can download all the contact data of the visitors they met in the digital or hybrid event and export them in their own company data base or CRM .

Which of our exhibitors would not love to have all the visitors of the event available to contact?

Never again “no one passed by my stand”, “visitors were not qualified”, “last year there were more”…  all visitors are on the platform and everyone (exhibitors and visitors) can interact, and the more free is the connection and the wider is the possible interaction (for example, open for a fairly long period, and not only in the days of the “classic” physical event).

Exhibitor & visitor’s engagement is finally measurable.

But be careful, that in the end also the organizer’s engagement becomes measurable.

This is good from our point of view and rewards the organizers who thought the digital together with the physical exhibition – and didn’t simply replace the physical event – focusing on content and relationships between participants in a continuous loop off-on line.

Continuing the subject of performance indicators of networking that, it should be remembered, is one of the main and attractive function of platforms for events, we found it easy to find platforms with an organizer dashboard rich in numbers (i.e. quantitative indicators such as the number of meetings developed online, the number of calls, the total number of messages exchanged, the number of top page views, etc.); much harder it’s to find platforms that analyse “human” KPI, like behavioural markers and, above all, indicators that link Kpis to economic performance indicators.

Integration with artificial intelligence

It will be very important to have a platform that works with AI (artificial intelligence) to measure the level of engagement of exhibitors and visitors, and the quality of the user experience.

The exhibitor could, for example, measure the quality of his meetings and contacts, including new contacts generated both on the platform and at the physical exhibition; thus, we could get an index of how many new leads have been generated and assign them a value.

We would love to hear your opinion on what should be the Kpis to measure digital networking and what would be the correlation between digital and physical networking (inside the booth) in a hybrid fair (or would you just sum them up?)

Write us, we will collect the most interesting opinions for the next article!

The discussion is, as always, open to all your contributions.


GianPaola Pedretti & Simone Bonesini | gianpaola@fairlyfair.it

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