Digital Event News January 2022 - Page 15

January 2022

Feature 15
We trialled a multi-week series called the Summer Camp between June and August and it landed really well .
“ In reality though , there was a pretty significant digital deficit in platform capabilities . Although attendees were flexible and forgiving and the content was enough to fill the void , it was by no means perfect .”
Kaufman believes it took another year for the technology to start meeting the growing demands of virtual events . During that time , Google built-up its strategy for meeting attendees where they already hung out - on channels such as LinkedIn , Twitter and technology-centric user groups .
He recalls : “ We consciously drove people away from the event website and achieved a four times increase in engagement on a weekly basis . By meeting users where they already were , we didn ’ t have to rely on our content being discovered but then being forgotten .”
Kaufman ’ s key learnings around content were that sessions which lasted longer than 20 minutes couldn ’ t hold the attendee attention span , and that he needed to strike the right balance between pre-recorded , broadcastquality programming and more authentic live-streamed content , where interruptions and glitches may occur but viewers would engage better in the experience .
From a technology perspective , Google ’ s Kaufman advocates the power of ‘ lowfi ’ experiences , encouraging planners to stay focused on what delegates need , in order to meet their expectations rather than getting distracted by more ‘ tech-heavy ’ platform capabilities .
He says : “ Early on we looked at a whole raft of platforms . I ’ d still encourage anyone to consider the minimum viable experience , without additional functionality that you either don ’ t need or won ’ t use . When you find yourself spending too much time teaching people how to use a platform ’ s functionality , you have to ask yourself if that time is worthwhile and whether or not those features are really necessary .”
Kaufman is also an advocate for localised digital experiences , citing incorporating subtitles , translation services , plus scheduling broadcasts for different timezones as critical to event success .
Perhaps more critical however , is for Google to now find new ways to cut through the sheer abundance of virtual event activity , in order to build community and loyalty around its customer content programme .
Kaufman concludes : “ We need to get back to creating scarcity and exclusivity in order to make it essential for people to tune-in rather than log-off . Viewers these days simply don ’ t now know what to attend and what not to attend because everything looks and feels too similar . For next year , we ’ re working hard to create those special moments that will distinguish between exclusive engagement and accessing the always-on content .”
Where do we go from here ?
As part of Kaufman ’ s presentation , the Google Cloud marketing director provided the following future-facing advice for virtual and hybrid event planners :
1 . “ Define what hybrid means for you , your stakeholders and your customers . Are you leading with physical events but adding-on a digital amplification programme ? Or are you going digital-first but staging smaller gatherings and activities around always-on content ? For us , we ’ re exploring all sorts of scenarios and definitely going through a period of experimentation right now . We ’ re asking our users and attendees what they would like and expect from Google Cloud .”
2 . “ Balance ‘ always on ’ with ‘ moments in time ’. If people know that they can get event content whenever they want by watching it on YouTube , it distracts them from attending an event with an exact date , time and schedule . So be clear over what the ‘ always on ’ content comprises , where to find it and how it fits with say , an education module . Then blend that with moments in time and maybe anchor them with say , product announcements , keynote speakers or some kind of experience that really needs to be engaged with on a given date or time .”
3 . “ Just because ‘ Hybrid ’ is the buzzword currently , it ’ s still ok for your event to be in-person only or digital only . We ’ ve made it clear that next year , certain programmes will continue to be digital only because that ’ s what our customers want . For some of our ‘ white glove ’ or executive programmes , where 10- 15 senior leaders get together in a room or restaurant , that ’ s more conducive to being physical so we wouldn ’ t broadcast .”
4 . “ Cater for broadcast and narrowcast . The ability to target niche industry sectors or specific user types across geographies should not be understated . It ’ s just as important as extended broadcast reach . We can bookend large broadcasts and then create more narrowcast moments in between and engage these very specific sub-sets .”
5 . “ Getting metrics right is key . Event metrics of old don ’ t translate into the now because you can go much deeper in a digital world . At physical events , we ’ d get hung-up on registration , scanning badges etc but in a digital context you can deep-dive into engagement , content shares , and the user journey across multiple channels , providing far more traceability than before . Getting the right metrics in place at the outset is super important .”
6 . “ Continue to test and experiment . Our customer base is happy to be used as guinea-pigs , in order to test new platforms and digital experiences alongside our products and technology - so use audiences to tell you what works for them . It ’ s as important as feedback on topics or speakers . Creating variability in the platform experience creates moments of surprise and delight , which attendees will always appreciate .”