Bizzabo, a leading event success platform, recently released its Virtual Attendee Experience Report, which analyzed survey responses from 700 attendees and data from 967 events over a 12-month period. As the world has shifted to virtual and soon hybrid events, which blend together virtual and in-person elements, keeping attendees engaged remains imperative to event success. Bizzabo’s latest report dives into understanding the perception, needs and motivations of attendees when it comes to virtual events.
“As we continue to navigate the possibilities of virtual events, understanding your attendee personas can help to customize and tailor aspects of your events to meet the needs and desires of your audience,” says Alon Alroy (pictured left), co-founder, CMO & CCO of Bizzabo. “We’re releasing this report to help event marketers create engaging events that ultimately deliver more impactful and inclusive experiences for all attendees.”
“Virtual events have been hugely popular amid COVID-19,” says Alroy. “But they can’t fully replicate aspects of the in-person experience. This is why the future of modern events is hybrid—blending together the best of both virtual and in-person experiences.”
Through internal exploration with stakeholders, data analysis, interviews and surveys, the Bizzabo personas research team uncovered patterns in behavior that told a story and revealed six universal attendee personas.
Solo Learner: This persona makes up the largest segment (32 percent) of online event attendees. This persona registers for multiple free or inexpensive events every week, sometimes up to two events per day. They don’t always show up at the events, but they are very focused on learning and like to avoid social disruptions when they do. Gaining work-related knowledge about their industry is what drives this persona to attend. For this persona, the impact of virtual events is positive. They can join events that they never could afford to attend in-person.
Mandated Learner: Making up 25 percent of virtual attendees, this persona’s company requires them to attend events to learn for professional development. They also enjoy the social aspects of events, but find social connections harder to make online. This persona is motivated to attend events to gain knowledge, but finds it harder to learn online.
Radical Networker: Making up 18 percent of virtual attendees, this persona is all about connections. They are serial networkers. The social aspects of events mean everything. Their motivation to attend events is to make long-lasting human connections and relationships. However, at virtual events, this persona finds spontaneous conversations harder to spark online and misses in-person events’ serendipitous connections.
Strategic Networker: This persona makes up 10 percent of online attendees. The Strategic Networker persona focuses on making productive business connections. They don’t care about learning at virtual events. Networking is a job to them, and going to events to find leads serves as their primary motivation. However, this persona is worried they can’t make enough connections at virtual events.
Internal Socializer: This persona makes up 8 percent of virtual events audiences. They are motivated to attend events to socialize and have fun friends and colleagues. They spend most of their time engaging and having fun with friends and colleagues and typically are not engaging in sessions. Though they miss camaraderie at in-person events, this persona has found that online events have helped them become better learners.
Experience Seeker: With the smallest percentage of virtual event attendees (7 percent), this persona attends events to have a good time. They love to receive gifts and participate in giveaways. In-person they used events to travel, go to dinner and have fun with people while collecting any and all swag along the way. The excitement of being in new places, the wow-factor of events and meeting new people is what motivates them to attend. Though they find it easier to become distracted at virtual events, this persona has found themselves networking more, especially if there are built-in event activities that include it.
“There are many benefits of designing an event around virtual attendee experience personas including increased engagement, retention, refined marketing messages, personalized event experiences, and understanding what motivates attendees,” adds Alroy. “We hope these virtual attendee experience personas will help event marketers anticipate the needs and desires of their audiences as we as an industry continue to leverage virtual experience as part of a unified hybrid events strategy moving forward.”
Methodology: For the study, Bizzabo polled 700 event attendees randomly selected through a third-party firm and screened for a sample that represented an array of different industries, geographies, experiences with virtual events and technology. Bizzabo also conducted interviews with 17 attendees that were also sourced through a third-party firm and analyzed 976 events—358 in-person, 618 virtual—that took place between September 2019 and September 2020.
Bizzabo’s all-in-one event software enables in-person, virtual and hybrid events to deliver unique attendee experiences through intelligent and intent-based personalized engagement. They help companies measure, manage and scale events toward key business outcomes. Their platform empowers every organizer, marketer, exhibitor and attendee to unleash the power of events. Bizzabo was founded by Boaz Katz, Alon Alroy and Eran Ben-Shushan, and has more than 250 employees in its New York, Tel-Aviv and Kyiv offices. For more info, visit www.bizzabo.com.