Digital Event Benchmark Report Reveals Online Event Attendance Increase

May 1, 2013

Released last month, the Digital Event Benchmark Report, conducted by Virtual Edge Institute (VEI) and commissioned by Freeman, gives insight into how some organizations are using online events to reach their audiences.

The study included a cross-section of the event industry with representation from associations, corporate event planners, trade show organizers, conference producers and agencies, with more than 200 survey participants.

Just under 80 percent of survey participants produce physical events, with 70 percent of those respondents also producing online events. More than half of respondents with in-person events report that those events have fewer than 2,000 attendees.

Two-thirds of the survey participants reported online attendance is up this year and slightly less than 10 percent reported online attendance being down. To give you an idea of the attendance numbers, just more than half of all respondents said their online event attendance was less than 500 attendees.

The majority of respondents reported the average length of time attendees spent at an online event was between one and two hours. However, the report does not define or break down the type of online event.

When it comes to business objectives, the report highlighted a potential area of growth for online events.

Only 49 percent of survey respondents indicated a goal of providing additional value to physical event attendees.

A previous survey by VEI, Professional Convention Managers Association (PCMA) and UBM Studios reported that 80 percent of attendees would use access to content after the event as justification to attend physically.

Respondents reported the most successful efforts to monetize events were overall event sponsorships, advertising and sponsorships tied to in-person event sponsorships. Online booths were the least successful.

Another interesting finding in the report was that a majority of respondents said they did not charge for online event content. In that same previous VEI survey, more than two-thirds of potential attendees said they would be willing to pay for live/on-demand content.

Perhaps the most interesting information to come out of this survey was the fact that one-third of the respondents said they did not have an ongoing marketing program to get exposure to the content captured during their event for later on-demand viewing.

Virtual Edge Institute is an international organization dedicated to advancing engagement around events, meetings, learning and marketing programs through technology. VEI supports and contributes to research, education, thought leadership, promotion, and professional networking.

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact