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Striking Similarities: The Business Motivations & Social Behaviors of In-person and Virtual Event Attendees

On July 18, 2011 UBM Studios, in partnership with the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and the Virtual Edge Institute (VEI), released the results to a recent survey: Business Motivations and Social Behaviors for In-Person and Online Events. This landmark study is the first to examine in-person and virtual attendee behaviors and motivations.

The study, based on a survey of 479 respondents, shows that attendees are driven by the same business and informational needs.  The biggest takeaway? Content is King and important at every stage of a live event: before, during and after in all forms including presentations, videos and whitepapers.

The top three reasons for attending a conference in-person all have to do with meeting people and talking to people, while the top reasons for attending a virtual event range from ease of use to interesting content.  Virtual:  compelling content, ease of use, ability to ask questions and participate actively.  Live: meeting speakers and experts, meeting potential customers, collaborating with people efficiently

 Helping Business…To Do Business Virtually

  • 87% attend to talk to someone who is a subject expert (80% live)
  • 96% to stay up to date on what is new (97% live)
  • 91% to research a company and how it can help them do business (92% live)
  • 89% to see a demo or a product (92% live)
  • 90% to gather company or product solution information
  • 77% to make new contacts
  • 69% to maintain contacts

Why Virtual?

  • 97% attend a VE based on content
  • 90% attend because they are able to ask questions and participate actively
  • 83% Say the ability to read and review online content before an event is important or very important
  • 78% Say it is important or very important to read and review online content during an event
  • 94% Say it is important or very important to be able to review online content such as presentations, videos, and white papers associated with an event after the event has occurred.

Interesting Takeaways

Multitasking happens at both live and virtual:  The percent of people who check their email during an online event is very similar to the percent of people who check their email while at an event in-person — 83 percent versus 81 percent. The numbers were also close for people who left a meeting or session for some reason.

Webcast and Further Reading

Please join us for a webcast and Q&A session hosted by PCMA on August 3, 2011 where representatives from UBM Studios and VEI will discuss further insights into the research. The webcast is free to attend, but registration is required.

You can also download the full survey report for additional information, or contact [email protected]

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