This is the third and final article in this series on ‘Making Event Data Human Centric’. In Part 1, we looked at the bigger picture around data generation, collection, and analysis. We recognized that there are real people behind the numbers and that it’s important to make the data relevant in the context of their emotions and requirements. In Part 2, we learned some practical techniques for approaching data so as not to lose sight of this bigger picture.
Today, we’ll look at some techniques for analyzing your event’s micro-data to identify the emerging trends triggered by your audience’s in-the-moment decisions and actions.
Most Engaged Attendees
Start by identifying the most engaged members of your audience and periodically review their activity. This ‘engaged audience’ could be attendees who log in at least X number of times to the event website in a given period and/or who contact you multiple times with questions and/or fill in an optional data collection form during registration.
Your criteria for defining your ‘engaged attendee’ would probably be specific to your event and may also vary from year to year, but once you have identified the individuals, then systematically analyze their actions to identify answers to the following questions:
- Is there a common interest in a particular exhibitor category or product type or session track?
- What triggered that interest? Something in their demographical background or an established convention in your industry or an emerging shift in requirements?
The idea here is, of course, to utilize freshly generated data to understand who your engaged audiences are and what is motivating them currently. The insights you derive from this analysis is bound to give you great insights into how to better promote existing features your attendees are looking for. In the long term, this analysis can also help you grow your event by proactively incorporating emerging factors just as they begin to motivate and mobilize your most engaged attendees.
New Exhibitors and Nascent Categories
For most tradeshows and exhibitions, the biggest draw for attendees is the companies that are coming to showcase their products and services. However, for events to stay relevant to changing shifts and patterns in a given vertical, they need to attract not just the established brands but also the innovators who will be the next top sellers. With this in mind, it makes complete sense to analyze your first-time exhibitors and explore:
- Which categories are they exhibiting in? Are these established categories or recently introduced ones?
- What percentage of your overall online and onsite traffic are they drawing?
Identifying the unique characteristics of your new exhibitors and how they are engaging your audience will probably give you your fastest barometer for identifying the direction your industry is taking and how best to adapt so as to continue to stay relevant to your audience.
Most well-established events are cyclical in nature. Over a period of time, your team gets very familiar with the rhythm in your industry and aligns your program to be in tune with it. However, the ubiquitous availability of faster digital technology means that people are able to get much more done in much shorter time periods today than ever before. This means that unless you keep a close eye on how their interaction with your digital resources is evolving. Use the power of analytics to get an accurate view of your audience’s engagement to identify:
- Which activities are currently occupying them?
- How much time are they taking to complete these currently trending activities?
- What devices and platforms are they utilizing for these activities?
Tuning into trending activities gives you an acute insight into the shifting engagement patterns amongst your attendees and exhibitors. You may find that they are completing a designated process much sooner than in the past and that there is an opportunity to get additional engagement for a new feature. Or that you can expand your services to a wider base of audience. Again, the nature of inferences and next steps would probably be specific to your industry. Understanding the trending activities better will help you stay in charge by anticipating questions and requirements faster, and by adjusting your key milestones in the next cycle to match your audience’s new expectations.