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Virtual monetisation

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Tanya Pinchuk, ExpoPlatform MD advises how to revive sponsorship opportunities for online exhibitions.

While seeking recuperation from the current crisis, event professionals are reforming the industry with digitalisation as their lighthouse. Event monetisation is one of the areas where such reforms are outrightly visible, especially after the boom of virtual exhibitions. With offline revenue streams becoming unfeasible, organisers need to cultivate virtual monetisation strategies to compensate.

Here is a primer on how organisers can use event technology to up their online monetisation game:

Offer extended visibility to sponsors

Digital mediums have a distinguished advantage of providing a 24-7 outreach, compared to offline venues. Offering sponsored listings on strategic web-pages like the homepage, registration page, and various information listing pages like the exhibitor, product or webinars listing pages is one way to meet the desired visibility quota for sponsors.

The key is to figure out webpages with high viewership to offer extensive brand exposure.

To do so, sponsors can utilise banner ads and marquee texts on these selected web-pages.

Sponsored news (in the blog section), push notifications, and webinars are a great way for reaching a bigger audience. Similarly, prepopulating virtual exhibition goody bags with sponsored content (user guides, onboarding manuals, discount coupons, exclusive access to workshops etc.) is another great way to capitalise on sponsors’ branding.

Offer targeted outreach opportunities

Targeted marketing via matchmaking technology is a concept well utilised by industry counterparts like Google, Amazon, and various OTT platforms. But the events industry still lags on this front. Exhibition organisers must consider offering targeted outreach opportunities to improve sponsorship and advertising ROI.

Display banners, videos, push notifications, and marquee texts can all be shown to a relevant set of attendees and buyers. A similar approach can also be applied to sponsored search results showcased when a user applies a filter on exhibitor, product, and sessions listing pages.

These can be fuelled by the smart learnings of the event matchmaking algorithm, derived from the registration details and user behaviour on the platform. Such initiatives ensure the dissemination of advertisements to targeted users only, allowing organisers to serve parties with niche offerings or those with budget constraints.

Offer onsite retargeting opportunities

Often visitors and buyers require gentle reminders to complete a particular transaction or resume engagement on pages. Onsite retargeting solves this problem and helps pave the way to lead nurturing and conversion. By using onsite behavioural data, exhibitors can implement targeted campaigns aimed at their profile visitors and capitalise on their interests.

For this, exhibition organisers can offer a push notification facility. Once the user clicks the notification, they are taken over to the exhibitor profile, where they are shown a popup card.

This popup card can contain more information about the exhibitor’s offerings, along with a CTA like – ‘message’ or ‘book a meeting’.

Offer a freemium registration model

Most events have a fixed pricing model for attendees. However, one way of encouraging visitors to increase their basket size is by using a freemium registration model.

Similar to the airline industry, which offers ‘Firstclass’ and ‘Economy-class’ tickets, exhibition organisers can use technology to offer ‘Basic tickets’ and ‘Premium tickets’ (with VIP Access) to differentiate attendee journeys.

Premium ticket-holders can receive additional benefits in the form of access to extra sessions/workshops, comprehensive learning material, or even exclusive previews of product launches. Additionally, organisers can set a standard availability for various pieces of content resources of their virtual trade show and levy charges if participants require more.

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