- For tech publishing companies like VentureBeat, who rely on events for 50% of their revenue, virtual events are still a significant part of the business strategy
- The online GameBeat Summit 2020 generated more revenue than its in-person version in 2019. This was not only due to a higher profit margin due to lower overhead costs. Sponsorships prices remained consistent with the summit’s original in-person format.
- Europe’s biggest advertising and marketing show, Dmexco, is going ahead entirely digital on September 23 and 24. Organisers said: “Dmexco @home will provide the digital economy an opportunity to hit the restart button together.”
According to Gina Joseph of GameBeat, while the financial cost of hosting virtual events is lower, the time and labor investment required to make them happen is “actually a lot more work.”
But virtual events seem to be adding value. Going virtual means more diverse attendees and speakers – 40% of GamesBear was international. Not only did the event generate more revenue than previous in-person iterations, but sponsors also saw a higher return on investment. The summit’s success “proved that virtual events can be more effective and valuable than in-person events,” Joseph said.
In addition, a virtual format enables tracking of impressions that sponsors made on the audience. In-person events have less tangible ways to estimate the number of people who saw a sponsor’s banner, or the number of conversations that were held at a booth. The virtual format also facilitates sponsors holding one-to-one meetings, and access to Slack channels allows more direct and followed-through communication.
A New Revenue Stream?
“The more a publisher is equipped with insight into their audience and sponsors, the more equipped and able they will be to be responsive and creative in substituting a revenue stream like a live event and turning it into a digital opportunity,” says John Cheney, CEO and Founder of Workbooks, a customer relationship management (CRM) vendor specialising in the media and publishing industry.
If online events continue to add value and generate new revenue streams for businesses in ways that in-person events cannot, they may be here to stay even after the lockdown measures have been lifted.