Today’s virtual-event platforms offer limitless opportunities to create an enriching experience and engage participants long after the event.

Measuring post-event engagement is important for converting virtual attendees into qualified leads, eventual customers, and brand ambassadors.

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As events and trade shows continue to move to hybrid models, so do the challenges and opportunities to create prolonged engagement with attendees.

Gone are the days of thinking of the virtual attendee experience solely within the confines of the event.

With the integration of AI-based technologies, sophisticated analytics, and elaborate networking tools, today’s virtual-event platforms provide limitless ways to build a great experience and attendee engagement long after the event.

Not only is post-event engagement essential to keeping attendees in the sales funnel, but it also provides a way to build brand advocates among customers and partners. This has become more important due to the widened audience reach and engagement opportunities that virtual events offer to brands, regardless of geographical location or size. 

So, how do you ensure that post-event engagement helps convert virtual attendees into qualified prospects, eventual customers, and brand ambassadors?

Define post-event key performance metrics beforehand

It is important to plan the post-event experience upfront. Often organizations are so busy planning the hybrid event that the post-event tactics aren’t clearly defined at the early stages. This can mean valuable time and opportunities can be lost post-event. A good first step is to clearly define post-event key performance metrics (KPIs) that will be used to measure success and return on investment (ROI). 

In measuring success, it is essential to define the purpose of the event. This can be anything from increasing brand awareness to capturing qualified sales leads.  Once the purpose is defined, setting KPIs is possible and needed in order to measure ROI.

Some of the KPIs that will be useful for gauging the event’s success are the following:

Attendee analytics

This includes understanding how many people of those who registered actually attended and how many who did attend are new leads. Tracking attendance is important in benchmarking future events too. In addition, audience retention is critical to see if people drop off midway through as it will provide valuable insight on whether the content meets expectations.

Social media mentions and engagement

Incentivizing attendees to spread the word on social media is a surefire way of increasing engagement after the event. Creating hashtags and event graphics that they can follow and share on social media feeds is just as important post-event as is pre-event. Measuring mentions isn’t only based on numbers; it is equally important to understand and measure their quality. Social listening tools are a great way to bring more context to social media metrics.

On-demand content and sharing

Measuring event content downloads both during and afterward provides valuable insights into whether they found the information helpful and engaging. Plus, measuring content sharing on social media channels is an excellent way to understand its value and potential brand advocacy.

Web search and direct traffic

Monitoring website traffic during and after an event is key as it indicates that attendees are interested in the brand and are looking for additional information.

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Personalize post-event engagement

A major benefit of hybrid events is the detailed analytics organizer platforms provide on virtual attendees. This data is a goldmine in understanding attendees' areas of interest and where they are in the sales funnel. Keeping the conversation going after the event in a personalized way that builds community and discussions is invaluable. 

The more personalized the engagement is, the more likely the chance that attendees will be future customers. One way to create more personalized content is by understanding which session topics attracted the most views. Or, if live chats were used, what attendees were discussing or questioning. By looking at event data, content that truly meets the needs of potential buyers can be created.

Also, keeping attendees engaged after an event can be done by leaving the networking channels up or even creating a Slack group where attendees can continue to discuss topics and ask questions. For example, virtual and in-person attendees of this year's Mobile World Congress are encouraged to continue engaging with contacts made at the show using the organizer’s My MWC app. 

Event content is key

Content is an integral part of ensuring continual brand engagement post-events. Therefore, it's essential to build a strategy of interacting with attendees beyond the duration of the event. This means thinking about the type of content that will be valuable to attendees through a series of touchpoints. For example, potential content could include invitations to demos or virtual tours, live discussions and chats, free trials, and special offers.

The challenge is to find the right balance between content provided during the event and that which will be instrumental in building and maintaining audience engagement over the long run. This means ensuring that the right level of attendee expectations is kept in check and understood so as not to disappoint and potentially damage brand loyalty. 

With the rise of hybrid and virtual events, it's vital to understand how to protect your brand content from potential misuse when preparing for a major launch. Check out our latest eBook, Branded Content Protection, to understand where the risks are and how to avoid them.

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Christine Deschaseaux

Christine Deschaseaux

Expert in digital strategies and innovation and CMO at Imatag. Christine’s 20+ year career is guided by her taste for technologic innovation and her customer-oriented mindset. Her skills mix engineering, digital economy and marketing of innovation.

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