We’re data nerds. There’s no getting away from it. Looking at data certainly makes our lives more complicated. But, for us, it’s the only way to build better events each and every time we respond to a client’s brief. In this blog, we’re sharing our top ten learnings from the data analysis we’ve done to date.


1. You have five minutes to register people

When it comes to registration, it’s essential to keep this to a maximum of five minutes. At the five-minute mark, you’re still likely to have around 95% of people engaged in the process. By ten minutes, you’ll have lost nearly half. Before launching, go through the registration process yourself and time how long it takes. And test it across mobile devices as well as desktops because, although you may prefer the luxury of a desktop, the majority of your delegates will be signing up using their phone.


2. Choice is the key to better events

Generally, events that offer the most choice see the highest ratings. That could be as simple as a delegate being able to choose whether to attend the event in-person or virtually. In the physical environment there will likely be several different sessions delegates can choose to attend. And, even within a virtual environment, you might want to provide different streams for people to watch. Whether the content is live or recorded, pre-event or post-event, try to offer as much choice as you can.


3. Gamification is a double-edged sword

Gamification can be powerful, but it has to be rolled out carefully. Our data shows us that when gamification is used with an older audience, it can be really effective. However, when used with younger delegates who are accustomed to consuming their digital experience with a large side order of bells and whistles, this group of people can be extremely harsh critics of gamification at an event.


4. With content, style beats substance

When you’re thinking about your event, your platform, the content within it and how it’s sold, first and foremost we urge you to consider design. To be effective, your content needs to be great and look great, grabbing your audience’s attention immediately.

Something as simple as changing the thumbnail used on a link, can improve engagement dramatically. Don’t be afraid to try different imagery linking to the same content or to update graphics throughout the life cycle of your content. Your delegation will be made up of people who love one thing and hate another – by keeping things fresh, you have more opportunities to appeal to as many people as you can.


5. The difference in generations is getting greater

With an ever-increasing gap between how different generations use technology, it’s increasingly important to treat your event’s audience as a sea of individuals as opposed to a group of people.

If you’re creating an environment that needs to appeal to younger generations, think about delivering your message quickly in a form that’s convenient to them. Instead of a PDF, think video. For older generations, the benefit of additional time still needs to be handled carefully. Older generations have stronger preference and if they feel you’re not communicating to them in a way they want, they’ll quickly switch-off.


6. Learning styles matter, but maybe not why you think

When it comes to the impact of a delegate’s learning style on their learning outcomes, our data suggests that tailoring content to learning styles has almost no bearing on the end-point outcome. Nevertheless, if learning outcomes are important to you, we still recommend always offering choice.

It can be really powerful to ask a delegate to select their preferred learning style and then assign different types of content to them depending on what they’ve told you they want to learn and how they want to learn it. The perception that you care about individual delegates enough to build a solution around them will increase engagement and result in a more enjoyable experience all round.


7. Convenience beats technology every time

The data has spoken – the popularity of using mobile phones and tablets to access digital event content far outstrips the trusty old desktop. This means that when building a digital event experience, your top consideration needs to be how well it plays out on a phone.

We know convenience is by far the most important thing to get right for a delegate. If you’re asking a delegate to engage in a way that’s not the norm for them, even something as simple as asking them to wear a headset, you’d be wise to factor in some persuasive incentives.


8. Build bridges to other services

There are many systems in the modern event space and none of them should exist in isolation. When you’re thinking about your event site or considering different platforms, a key question should be: ‘What can I link into that exists outside of this?’.

When we’re networking at an event, we want the connections we make to have meaning beyond the event. Delegates will expect your technology to link to third party sites, such as LinkedIn. Similarly, when your exhibitors meet prospective new buyers, they will expect your event platform to link seamlessly into their own CRM systems, such as Salesforce.


9. Your audience is a nightmare (of complexity)

We’re seeing a new wave of events committed to creating an individual experience for delegates. But how do you cater for a mixed group of individuals with different desires, preferences, wants and needs?

At a minimum, we’d recommend tailoring your event around some key considerations, such as whether the audience is largely made up of introverted or extroverted personality types. Whether the preference is for physical or digital events. And if they’re coming to learn or socialise. And bear in mind these preferences can shift – a delegate with a strong preference for digital content at one event, may prefer in-person at another. Similarly, an individual will go to some events to learn, and the same person will go to a different event to socialise.


10. It’s hard. It’s not getting any easier, but it has to be done…

The data we’re collecting from events now is infinitely more complex than the data we captured a decade ago. And we know it’s only going to get more complex. As you begin to collate and analyse data from your events, be prepared for it to feel messy and don’t hesitate to seek help navigating your way if you feel the data sweeping you away.


For more content like this, follow our data guru and Director of Content Bruce Rose on LinkedIn.


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