In a recent post, we discussed how to use data from your abstract management system to improve your conference performance. At the same time this post was released, we were in the process of surveying association professionals to learn more about the role of online conference materials for planners and attendees. Coincidentally, we learned that data that can be harnessed from online conference materials is also extremely under-utilized by organizations.
A majority (80%) of respondents indicated they do post their conference materials online for attendees, members and/or non-members to access. Unfortunately, a majority of those (77%) are not tracking any usage metrics on this online content. Why is this so important? Using insights provided by multiple data sources—including your online conference materials—can help you deliver additional value to your members and attendees.
Topics of Interest
Session attendance is one way to gauge interest in a particular topic, as long as it’s being tracked. Many conferences either don’t track attendance on a session-by-session basis, or rely on the imperfect science of post-session surveys or manual headcounts to capture this data. Additionally, attendees can’t usually attend every session they may be interested in. Adding the layer of web-based analytics on activities such as presentation and paper downloads will provide a more accurate picture of topic popularity, which can then be used to provide follow-up content such as articles, blog posts, and virtual Q&A sessions with the speaker, as well as help with future conference planning.
One thing we heard loud and clear in our 2018 State of the Industry Report is that most meeting planners are challenged with providing the right mix of content formats to an audience with increasingly diverse preferences. Your web-based analytics can help shed some light on how content is being used, by whom, and at what point in the conference. For instance, are your attendees accessing papers and presentations before the conference so they can come more prepared to learn? Are they accessing materials on-site just prior to or during the session to follow along and take notes? Or, are they coming back afterward to use the materials to help reinforce the learning? You can also break out usage data by demographics and device type to make more informed decisions on the best way to deliver content that meets the needs of your attendees.
As you start preparing for your next conference, be sure to set-up and use web-tracking tools for your online content. In doing so, you’ll have insightful data right at your fingertips that you can use for future attendee engagement and conference planning.