Apparently it’s fairly easy to monetize a virtual event if you have the customer base, an understanding about what works and what doesn’t for your audience and a platform with ample monetization opportunities. A recent Thought Leaders Live Webcast from INXPO shed some light on the myriad ways to earn revenue from digital platforms. Attendees also received a copy of the company’s white paper (registration required, but it’s worth it) detailing the assets (banners ads, messaging, Webinars, directories, lounges, etc.) and bundling strategies that event hosts can deploy.
Ali Libb, online event manager, American Marketing Association and a Webcast presenter, explained that she takes her cues from live event sponsorship opportunities. A veteran of 11 virtual events since February 2010, Libb outlined her success using tiered sponsorships—each level having a different mix of offerings from speaking opportunities to logos in email and branded landing pages. She offered three specific takeaways in her presentation:
- Matching presentation topics with sponsors who would like to be associated with those specific subjects, while taking care not to allow overt selling, is a successful approach for attracting sponsors.
- Content—Webinar presentations, videos, white papers—is easier to monetize than sales opportunities such as virtual trade show booths.
- Making the content (and the sponsorship opportunities) available for at least 90 days after the virtual event is a good selling point for prospective sponsors and a benefit that physical events can’t offer.
Danielle Belmont, senior online events manager, BNP Media was the second presenter on the INXPO Webcast. Having produced 15 virtual events, she offered a long list of revenue earning tactics from her experience:
- Virtual booths
- Event sponsorship packages including a virtual booth, marketing collateral distribution, booth survey, promotional piece in attendee briefcase, attendee list and a podcast
- Resource center sponsorship
- Networking lounge sponsorship
- Exhibit hall video sponsorship
- Prize sponsorship
Matt Goodwin, senior account executive, INXPO, offered additional monetization schemes including entrance actions (slides on a screen or video playing as attendees take their virtual seats), interactive web space, sponsored polling in slides, product placements in the virtual environment and exit actions (directing attendees to a web site or booth at the conclusion of the presentation). Goodwin also left open the possibility of using game mechanics and mobile extensions as monetization platforms.
As with live events, the revenue potential is only limited by the sponsorship “real estate” and the event organizer’s imagination. As virtual and physical events continue to merge into hybrid experiences, the potential for monetization becomes even greater with online and offline strategies combining virtual and physical event properties.
Have you implemented any monetization tactics at your virtual events that were particularly lucrative?
Dennis Shiao says
Michelle: thanks for attending our recent webcast and posting a summary of it. I believe that audience is central to monetization strategy (i.e. as you wrote, “an understanding about what works and what doesn’t for your audience”). Event planners must provide their audience with “what they want” in order to deliver to sponsors “what they want.”
While digital platforms have a wealth of monetization “tools,” event planners must understand (and even document) their audience needs, before they ever consider banner ads, games and related sponsorships.
Put another way, if your audience is well regarded, then your event can be well monetized.
INXPO Product Marketing