Perspectives on Global Virtual Event Trends

I was reviewing the latest CEIR report on global virtual event trends. What stood out to me is that there are many tactics that have been used to create ROI in the short-term virtual event space, but what the article doesn't talk about is just how much more powerful these tactics can be when leveraged for longer periods of time and how to do so.

A Few Key Takeaways:

  • Hybrid is here to stay.  68% of CEIR respondents agreed that virtual will be a bigger component of physical events moving forward, leading to more hybrid events. One thing to consider...does hybrid have to be limited to a short-term engagement or *should* hybrid live 365 days of the year?
  • To provide value to sponsors in the digital space, many associations are offering the following: complete vendor listing with logo, links to company websites, company descriptions, resource listings, and interactive features such as live chat and meeting opportunities for about 55% of what a live booth would cost. Digital storefronts have the potential to be extremely profitable if they offer the ROI your sponsors crave.
  • 85% of virtual event organizers give brand marketers additional ways to invest in their events besides purchasing a virtual booth. Social advertising to drive traffic is on the rise.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) or supportive technologies are used by nearly two-thirds of virtual event organizers. This application of technology helps attendees maximize uncovering the best results when searching for relevant products, exhibitors, peers and networking opportunities. It also helps maximize exhibitor searches for qualified attendees. AI works best over time when a platform allows for real time matches when buyers have an imminent need and not a forced interaction when the need isn't pressing.
  • Collecting behavioral data is critical to measure the success of digital efforts. Collecting the right data and using as business intelligence can provide more than just a measure of success.

As I've assessed their findings, I believe that CEIR is correct that organizations need to provide value. Unfortunately, the current sponsorable opportunities sound good, but aren't offering the value that they seem at face value. The problem isn't what they are offering, but rather it is the how. Most virtual events last for a few days. Attendees are focused on absorbing as much content as possible and vendors feel rushed to get in front of as many potential buyers as possible. This lack of alignment does not lead to the formation of quality relationships. People simply need more time when face-to-face isn't available.  

Additionally, advertising is often on a 'push' basis but doesn't allow for organic feedback from your audience.  There's so much social noise that merely pushing a brand doesn't work any longer.  

CEIR reported that most associations or organizations are providing metrics to sponsors to demonstrate value. The most popular metric is the number of visitors to one's virtual booth. This metric is nice, but doesn't lead to conversion. There are more valuable metrics you can offer your sponsors such as A/B testing of resources to see what actually drives traffic, # of chats, and # of valuable leads among others. Current virtual event platforms aren't set up to allow for this.

This is where CampfireSocial comes into play. CampfireSocial provides meaningful ROI to your sponsors - through quality relationships and meaningful data.  Let's set up time to chat about how CampfireSocial can change the game for your organization through enhanced relevancy, a diversified & consistent revenue stream, and the gathering of meaningful business intelligence (plus more...).

Contact to schedule a conversation.

Written by Erica Bishaf, Founder & CEO of CampfireSocial

Access the CEIR report here

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Meet the Author

Erica Bishaf

Founder & CEO

Erica Bishaf is an award-winning global brand strategist (24 years), market research professional, and a 2X tech startup founder. Her startup experience includes CampfireSocial, the private community & marketplace platform, and Pet Gotcha Day!, the immersive video platform for animal shelters. In addition to her passion for startups, she has worked for consumer-packaged goods companies such as Kraft, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, the Illinois Lottery, and MillerCoors in a variety of roles encompassing global product innovation, package redesign, brand equity, shopper & retail insights, and strategic planning. In 2015, Erica started her own consultancy where she led projects for startups, growth stage companies, Fortune 500, trade & professional associations, top 10 trade shows, and private equity firms that focused on building brand & communication strategies, strategic planning & workshop design, innovation, segmentation identification, UX/UI design, consumer journeys, A&U work, uncovering shopping & retail touchpoints, and more. Erica has also built teams from the ground up for three organizations. She enjoys bringing an entrepreneurial lens to her work to identify new opportunities for growth and using quantitative and qualitative methodologies plus financial data to accomplish her clients' goals. Her clients have said that 'Erica is a keen observer of human behavior who can translate observations into action and one who spurs others to better thinking and better results.' Erica can be reached at

Erica Bishaf
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