Lead generation is best done in the days leading up to a virtual event, so those organisers that open platforms ahead of time are benefiting exhibitors and sponsors.
This is just one of the findings from Swapcard’s ‘How to close business deals at a virtual event, according to data‘ report.
Swapcard analysed 461 virtual events, which took place on its platform between April and December 2020 with a minimum of 1,000 attendees. The data comprises 661 total days of content, 51,843 exhibitors and 1.6 million total viewers.
The study found that almost 30% of the time attendees spent exploring the platform pre-event was spent browsing exhibitors and 8% of the time was spent exploring exhibitor products. There is therefore ample opportunity for exhibitors to capitalise on the interest attendees show in their booths and products before the rush of the live show.
More significantly, when looking at the platform data that shows lead generation per day, it is evident that over 95% of leads are generated in the pre-event period at a one-day virtual trade show.
In the case of a two-day virtual trade show, nearly 80% of leads are generated during the build-up to the event. Whilst during a three-day virtual show, a little over 60% of the lead generation happens before the event kicks off.
The statistics tell a similar story for virtual conferences.
The days prior to a one-day conference contain nearly 100% of lead generation, while 80% of leads are generated in the pre- event period of a two-day virtual conference.
Swapcard further found that 80% of time spent on its platforms during trade shows is watching sessions, and that figure jumps to 89% during conferences.
Only 5% and 6% of the time is spent networking during virtual trade shows and conferences, respectively. This indicates significant interest in content consumption over networking or one-to-one sales meetings during events.
In a surprising revelation, Swapcard’s data shows that an average of 41.8% of all inbound business opportunities are missed by exhibitors because they do not respond to messages or requests on the virtual event platform.
At virtual conferences, 39.36% of all networking requests were missed by exhibitors and at virtual trade shows, that number jumped to 44.25%.
The data also shows that most inbound requests arrive in exhibitor inboxes after the event is over: 50.19% after versus 43.39% before, and just 6.43% during a virtual trade show, and 46.91% after versus 42.47% before, and just 10.62% during a virtual conference.
“Organisers have the responsibility to clearly communicate with exhibitors the need to be fully engaged and alert on the platform. If exhibitors were more active in responding to networking requests and messages before, during, and especially after the events, they would significantly increase their business opportunities,” the report stated.
The data also shows that the most profitable investment on a virtual platform for exhibitors is a sponsored session, as that’s where they generate the most leads.
During a one-day, a three-day or a five-day trade show, 40% of leads are generated during sponsored sessions. During a one-day virtual conference, over 40% of leads come in through watching a sponsored session; a two-day conference is 50% and a four-day conference is as much as 60%.
“The average of this data shows that speaking at a sponsored session during a virtual event is a valuable investment for exhibitors. It provides great visibility for the brand in front of the majority of attendees. Speaking at a sponsored session also gives exhibitors a human aspect by giving a face to the brand, and it positions them as experts on a particular topic, making them more credible to attendees,” the report concluded.
The full ‘How to close business deals at a virtual event, according to data’ report from Swapcard can be accessed here.