Event producers are interested in expanding their use of online to leverage their events beyond the live component but are stymied in many areas by high costs and little return at this point, according to Exhibition Online Marketing & Event Management Trends, a new study jointly released by the Society of Independent Show Organizers, The Jordan Edmiston Group and Tradeshow Week.
The most commonly used methods of driving attendance and marketing to exhibitors include online advertising (77 percent), partnership marketing (75 percent) and online subscriptions (58 percent). Seventy-one percent of event producers said they feel online video will be extremely/somewhat important to them within the next two to three years and 67 percent of respondents say they offer "matchmaking services" on their sites to link up exhibitors and attendees and estimate that about one quarter of their exhibitors and sponsors use those services.
However, only a little more than half of respondents (54 percent) said they are driving ancillary revenue through their Web site. Respondents cite some of the challenges as "Little revenue but HIGH cost of Web support;" "Resources: time and people;" and "Determining ROI, the
difference between online initiatives that really add value and those that are just fluff." Eighty-two percent of respondents say they rely on internal show staff to provide content and oversee operations of their event Web sites.
Just one in 10 event producers are leveraging mobile marketing for their shows and two out of three event producers do not include user-generated content on their Web sites.
Online Revenue Streams % Respondents
Advertising banners, etc. 85%
Exhibitor Directory 52%
Exhibitor/Product Search 36%
Product Display Advertising 24%
Show Webinars 18%
Conference Papers 12%
Conference Videos 9%
White Papers 6%
Other Webinars 3%
Source: Exhibition Online Marketing & Event Management Trends