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Let’s be honest, there’s only so much you can learn from your post-event survey. The reality is that even in today’s digital era, event marketers are often in the dark about what attendees really want — especially when it comes to your digital offerings.
What do attendees really want from your events?
The answer to that brings both good and not-so-good news for event marketers, with only 10% of attendees rating their virtual experience as excellent.
So what exactly do attendees want? And, more importantly, how can you make it happen?
Here’s what’s topping the digital attendee’s wishlist based on 500+ answers to these exact questions.
📈 Just want the data? Download the Attendee Sentiment Report for free and instantly get one step closer to a digital event experience that wins more registrations and revenue.
90% of digital attendees select sessions that are 60 minutes and under
These days, the average attention span is pretty short. So it’s not surprising attendee preferences are leaning towards shorter overall events and shorter sessions.
This attendee preference is also reflected in the dip in the number of large-scale events business professionals are attending, with 75% of respondents stating that these formats are becoming less common.
81% of attendees are more willing to sign up for hybrid and virtual events
What people want from events has changed. While in-person events are still a hit for networking and socializing, digital events are the clear winner when it comes to convenience, value and efficiency.
In an era where both in-person and virtual events are possible, having hybrid as a choice is a major bonus for attendees.
74% of attendees enjoy the convenience of digital events
For most event-goers, the day-to-day workload doesn’t stop just because you’ve got an event to go to. Often, attendees have to factor in the event on top of everything else. If you want to serve your audience with genuinely need-meeting events, convenience needs to stay high on the priority list.
51% of respondents like that digital events are a cheaper alternative
According to our findings, 66% of businesses are restricting travel budgets. Even attendees themselves are becoming more cost-conscious. Regardless of how you price your digital events, not having to pay for transport, accommodation, and time out of office is always a win.
48% of survey participants name efficiency as a reason they like digital events
Why spend multiple days out of the office when you can go from getting work done to joining a live networking event at the click of a mouse?
With digital events, attendees love that they can avoid stressful calendar conflicts. And with on-demand options, they never have to miss a session at multi-track events.
90% of attendees say networking is the #1 reason they enjoy in-person events
Networking is an in-person favorite, and with the rise of digital events, attendees expect to see the same opportunities in a virtual setting too — and we’re not just talking about group chats.
Digital events now offer a variety of networking opportunities far beyond what was possible pre-pandemic. From interactive breakout rooms to live Q&A and real-time polls, digital events have everything you need to get (and keep!) your attendees talking.
73% of respondents identify visiting exhibitor booths as something they like about in-person events
Essentially, booths are still networking. They’re just networking with sponsors, partners, and even your own sales teams. Whether it’s exchanging business cards, watching product demos, or simply schmoozing over a quick coffee, this part of the traditional in-person experience is key to nearly three-quarters of your attendees.
And while firm handshakes aren’t on the virtual agenda, there’s no reason digital events can’t replicate the exhibitor booth experience attendees are craving.
67% of attendees like the social aspect of in-person events
The social side of events has always been a big draw for attendees. Whether it’s a meal out or drinks at the hotel bar, over half of event attendees say they enjoy the sales-free social event at the end of the day.
And the fun doesn’t have to stop merely because the event experience is virtual! With dozens of experiential after party ideas to choose from, you can keep the momentum going while giving your attendees exactly what they came for.
Resource tabs are a favorite, with 49% of attendees deeming them important
We’ve already established the importance of convenience when giving attendees what they really want from digital events. With a strong event hub or resource tab, you can provide instant access to presentation materials, articles, videos, and more.
But digital engagement doesn’t have to end there. 39% of respondents like the use of polls to guide discussions, and embedded engagement apps — think virtual photobooths and gamification — are an added bonus for 12% of attendees.
51% of attendees appreciate automated calendar invites
Humans are both forgetful and easily deterred — it’s in our nature. Forget usernames, toss out the passwords, and leave those lengthy login procedures in the past where they belong.
If you want attendees to show up, you need to make it as easy as possible for folks to access your event.
There’s been a major shift in the world of events and the truth is that sometimes, what we think attendees want isn’t actually what they want.
With the right data, you can separate signal from noise and focus on actionable steps that are aligned with your audience's real needs. At Goldcast, we’re here to help make that happen.
As the digital event platform purpose-built for field marketers, we’re always paying attention to what your prospects want. With stellar UX and all the right engagement features, you can say goodbye to clunky integrations and dated interfaces and hello to a whole new era of digital event marketing.