Two of the foremost authorities in the events industry have joined forces to quash any lingering concern or suspicion regarding the long-term viability and effectiveness of digital events.
On April 13th, PCMA and Freeman released a joint white paper entitled “The Power of Digital Events: Revolutionizing Audience Engagement”. The focus of the document is a 5-year analysis [2011 – present] of PCMA’s digital event attendees who had not previously attended one of the organization’s face-to-face events. Working closely with their internal IT team during that period, PCMA tracked their digital attendees’ purchase actions and subsequent engagement with the organization since their initial online participation at one of PCMA’s flagship digital events – Convening Leaders and Education Conference Live. The results clearly showed that PCMA’s live streaming event strategy was helping to achieve their financial and audience engagement objectives.
From an ROI perspective, it was found that between 2011 and 2016, PCMA’s hybrid and rebroadcast events brought in nearly 4000 new prospects and more than $1,000,000 in incremental revenue to the organization – over half of which ($563k) coming from subsequent registrations in PCMA-hosted face-to-face events. This finding alone validates the assumption that digital events compliment F2F events while pouring water on the myth that they somehow cannibalize their F2F counterparts. The remaining $440k in incremental revenue came from new memberships ($110k), membership renewals ($300k) and sales of its online products ($30k).
Digital events were also found to be equally beneficial in helping PCMA achieve its audience engagement objectives. Beginning in 2011, PCMA tracked the online behavior and activity of those attending their first Convening Leaders or Education Conference Live to reveal their ROE (return on engagement) metrics. The results showed how effective their online events were at drawing viewers deeper into the organization. Whether it was the number of incremental email message opens/clicks (140k), the number of on-demand video content views/purchases (860) or the number of first-time digital event attendees who went on to become full-fledged members of the organization (1793), the findings showed the critical role that digital events were playing in PCMA’s global audience growth and engagement strategy.
Below are some additional highlights and takeaways from the study:
– Digital empowers organizations to deliver conferences, symposiums, and workshops to a wider audience in tandem with a physical counterpart – enabling organizations with the ability to communicate to its entire global audience from multiple physical locations into one single digital one.
– Digital events are not a one-off but part of a longer-term engagement strategy.
– With learning and education being a key component of all events, it is critical for associations and organizations alike to adapt to the preferred teaching methods of today’s adult learner. With a multitude of digital options to choose from, adult learners have one thing in common – they don’t have time to sit through endless hours of education! Live, on-demand video streaming of content delivers the core messaging that 85% of learners can consume in less than 20 minutes at a time no matter what their inherent learning style.
– People are seeking knowledge that is relevant, needed and applicable. Digital tools are allowing organizations to deliver information faster, better and cheaper!
– Associations in particular need to shift from the traditional “member-only” focus to a continuous digital engagement with both member and non-member.
– Now and in the future, audiences will expect live-streaming options for ALL events which contain unique content just for them.
– Organizations have the opportunity to develop a library of sought-after niche content that can be consumed by people worldwide who may never have an opportunity to attend an event in-person.
– Mobile devices are becoming part of the event experience. This “second screen” technology allows for event sponsors to get the attention of attendees and keep them involved and interested throughout allowing for greater message retention. This increased “second screen” engagement also leads to higher attendee satisfaction scores post-event and lower levels of distracting and competing internet usage during an event.
To download the full white paper, visit http://pcma.co/digital-power.