July 2011

Study Compares Behavior at Online and In-Person Events

A study jointly released by PCMA, UBM Studios and the Virtual Edge Institute compares the business motivation and social behavior of attendees and exhibitors at virtual and in-person events.

As of July 18, the full report will be available at http:bit.ly/pmksCr.

Key highlights include:

· People are Social Creatures – Both In-person and Online: Over 80 percent of respondents are comfortable/extremely comfortable connecting and networking with strangers regardless of setting – both physical and virtual.

· People Share Information via Social Media: 41 percent of online delegates and 51 percent of physical delegates, respectively, have tweeted and texted to share event information to their entire network

· People will Pay for Virtual Events: 25 percent of respondents will pay the same fee as an in-person event, while 74 percent will pay less as an in-person event.

· People are Multi-Taskers: Compared to their online counterparts, in-person participants are just about as likely to be checking email (81 percent versus 83 percent) or leave a meeting/session for some reason (65 percent versus 68 percent).

· People Want Accessible Content: Respondents are seeking to access content online or via mobile before, during and after the event. The digital channel allows meeting and event practitioners to connect with audiences throughout the entire event cycle, connecting audiences from the physical event to the online channel and back again.

People Seek the Same Information: Regardless of format, people have the same drivers for attending an exhibit hall, seeing ‘what is new’ is the number one motivation by far. Gathering relevant product and company information as well as subject matter expertise all follow closely in importance. Demos and application education are often sought as well. In addition, respondents noted the motivation to network and connect is very high.

Exhibitor Goals Seem to Align with Attendees’ Needs: The main motivations cited for exhibiting at a conference include: brand awareness (67.5 percent), new business development (65 percent), educate market on products/solutions (62 percent), new lead generation (56.9 percent) and thought leadership (50.7 percent).

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