For more than 20 years, Black Hat Briefings have provided attendees with the latest in information security research, development, and trends. Due to the global pandemic the Black Hat team had to consider how they could deliver value to their attendees virtually. The main objective of the team was to maintain their audience and communicate their core offering through digital. To measure the success of Black Hat Asia 2020 they collected their post-event feedback using our platform.
Explori is an event feedback platform which specialises in benchmarking attendee experience. Since March 2020, we have collected attendee experience metrics for virtual events. These benchmarks are available to all Explori clients and provide the necessary context to understand what “good” looks like for virtual events.
A virtual event success
- Overall satisfaction
- 95% of respondents were satisfied with Black Hat Asia 2020. This is notably higher than our current virtual events benchmarks.
- Likelihood of return
- Close to 90% of attendees said they would attend another virtual event organised by Informa Tech in the future. This too is ahead of the current benchmarks.
- Net Promoter Score
- Our virtual events benchmarks reveal that attendee Net Promoter Score sits at +10. Black Hat Asia 2020 scored well above this with +41. This indicates attendees are more likely to recommend attending their event.
Selecting the right content
As part of the feedback process, Promoters were asked why they gave high scores. Promoters talked about the event being informative, the high quality of the sessions as well as the platform quality and overall organisation.
“It goes through a pretty extensive review process,” says Richard McCarthy, Senior Marketing Director at Informa Black Hat. “[There are] multiple layers of reviews before the talks are accepted and then the speakers are given the option of additional training from some of our review board members. So by the time they hit the stage it is ideally cutting edge research, that hasn’t been presented anywhere else, that has been vetted by a panel of experts, and is for the most part exclusive to Black Hat.”
The Black Hat Asia team also worked with a high-end production company. They organised studios across various regions which allowed speakers to record their session under the guidance of the production crew. Speakers who were unable to record in the satellite studios were sent equipment such as lighting and easy to use instructions so they could record from home.
In our recent study we analysed attendee sentiment towards the future of digital and hybrid events. In this research we discovered some of the strengths of virtual events, particularly related to content. The study revealed over 50% of respondents said the quality of content for digital events was the same or better than live events. This suggests that organisers who invest time delivering high quality content for their digital events will be more favourable to attendees.
Measuring virtual events
Suzanne van Montfoort, Explori’s Research Director, was the lead researcher analysing Black Hat Asia’s results against Explori’s virtual events benchmarks. “One of the things Black Hat, amongst other clients, find useful about our platform is the ability to benchmark attendee experience,” says van Montfoort. “It’s important to compare like for like as we’ve seen significant variations across KPIs. For example, Net Promoter Score for live events is +11, for virtual events +10 and for webinars +46. Therefore, we built out virtual benchmarks separate to our live events benchmarks. It was fantastic to share with the event team how Black Hat Asia has outperformed the industry benchmarks.”
Top tip for running a virtual event
“Know what makes your event unique and play it up really well,” says McCarthy. “Content has always been most important for paid attendees so that’s where we invested the most time energy. Making sure the quality was as high as it could be. Making sure the speakers were available to do a live Q&A. Making sure the broadcast elements worked. Really focus on the thing that people were paying for. And that paid off you can see it in the survey results. It was absolutely worth making that investment in the content delivery. And it is tough but figure out that one thing that is going to make your show really work and invest in it. Treat your event as a broadcast and not as a static website. You have to treat it like you’re producing for Netflix or network TV. It’s got to be high end and it’s got to be seamless.”