Moving to Virtual Blog

How Do You Measure the ROI of a Virtual Conference?

September 3, 2014 | Posted in Conferences by icohere

Organizations of all sizes are looking at ways to capitalize on virtual conferences. Three important strategic advantages making the strong case for virtual include audience growth, cost savings, and expanding the use of organization assets.  Read on to learn how these advantages are used to measure the return on investment.

Audience Growth

A virtual conference affords organizations the opportunity to eliminate common barriers to attendance and to reach audience members that would not reasonably be able to attend an in-person conference. Virtual conferences provide the opportunity to significantly expand audience reach, both locally and globally. For many organizations, virtual conferences also serve as a tool for supporting two important strategic goals: advocacy and awareness.

Virtual Conference ROI on attendance

ROI Measurement

  • Measure the growth of audience attendance from in-person conferences compared to virtual conferences.
  • Compare attendance satisfaction ratings between in-person and virtual.
  • Compare repeat attendance ratings between in-person and virtual.

Operational Cost Savings

A virtual or hybrid conference can significantly reduce operational costs associated with hosting an in-person conference. These include travel expenses incurred by staff and attendees, facility rentals, entertainment, food, and materials. Organizations with a limited budget and those facing budget cuts, now reap many of the same benefits of hosting an in-person conference, but without the tremendous expense.

Virtual Conference Cost Savings ROIROI Measurement

  • Compare travel costs between in-person and virtual conferences.
  • Compare conference costs associated with facilities, food, entertainment, and other in-person requirements.
  • Compare net profit of the virtual event versus the in-person event.

Expanded Use of Organizational Assets

When it comes to virtual conferences, the return on the investment of developing the conference doesn’t end when the conference is over. Everything an organization uses at a conference, from workshop curriculum, to presentations, to PowerPoint slides become valuable assets for the organization.  These assets can be interconnected, and repurposed for use in the future.

It requires a significant amount of time and money to coordinate a conference, whether the conference is virtual or in-person. When developing the program, or coordinating speakers, or creating materials, each component uses staff time and budget. In the article, What Association Leadership Needs to Know About Technology, Online Learning Consultant Valerie Whitcomb, tapped into the importance of repurposing organizational assets to produce added value, and in some cases, a new revenue stream.  This same concept can be applied to the content used at and created from a virtual conference.

Virtual Conference ROI - Reusing contentROI Measurement

  • Measure the uses of material created from the conference: online courses, webinars, training programs. How have these affected organizational growth, audience attendance and engagement, and awareness of the organization? Use lead capture tactics for any and all material downloads to track the progress of each lead.

A virtual conference can be used to support the important strategic goals of an organization and with effective reporting and tracking, the results of the conference can be directly linked to the outcomes of these goals.

Interested in learning if a Virtual Conference is right for your organization?

Join the team at iCohere for a free 30-minute webinar. We’ll take you behind-the-scenes to look at how two organizations are growing with virtual conferences.

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