Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
You are reading Entrepreneur United States, an international Entrepreneur Media franchise.
Offline exhibitions and conferences have been a cornerstone of the global digital advertising industry for years due to the multitude of educational and networking opportunities they provide to market players, media experts and consumers. technology enthusiasts. However, when the pandemic struck, the world of in-person advertising events as we know them seemed to have collapsed for good, giving way to their virtual alternatives.
In this regard, while various online advertising conferences held over the past two years have been successful, the recent resurrection of the offline advertising event ecosystem is huge news for the entire digital advertising community.
Is online networking a lame duck?
Online conferences have been an undoubtedly effective way for digital advertising companies to exchange ideas, forecasts and ideas on how the industry is expected and will evolve in the near future. The speed at which the event niche has been able to transform in the face of the urgency of the global crisis is also exceptional.
However, the pullbacks have also been noticeable over the past two years. Namely, one of the main drawbacks of online conferencing is the lack of networking capabilities that they offer participants. Even though the organizers have put a lot of effort into implementing networking features in their virtual platforms, these have failed to truly replace in-person business communications until today. hui.
In particular, common issues range from how one searches for and connects with potential business partners (whether successful or not) to the specifics of the meeting setup themselves.
Since all of these aspects were difficult to manage during the height of the pandemic, the initial rollout of the vaccine and the subsequent return of in-person advertising conferences this year has become great news for many advertising companies around the world.
Related: Boost Your Business With Better Digital Marketing
What do we come back to?
The gradual increase in vaccination rates, especially in the United States and across Europe, is what made the resurrection of offline advertising events possible. However, with reality comes a list of limitations – ranging from mandatory vaccination certificates and indoor mask requirements to reduced event capacity and specific social distancing guidelines. This begs the question: will the in-person experience of the exhibit and the conference be the same again?
If the future remains vague, the answer is ambiguous.
On the bright side, wearing a mask or leaving handshakes behind doesn’t sound like something impossible to endure at a B2B exhibition in light of the recently reopened networking opportunities we so crave. On the other hand, ensuring the health of all during major conferences will not be easy.
Are hybrid events a better solution?
In short, yes and no, depending on what is meant by “hybrid”. Namely, while managing the conference offline and online simultaneously seems like a crazy idea (simply because it is almost impossible to ensure the same large audience in both dimensions in real time), separating the expos from the conferences may be a working solution for certain niches.
While watching the speakers’ speeches should be easier, safer and more comfortable online, discovering potential business opportunities in the exhibition area is obviously better in offline mode.
But are event planners up to the challenge and launch separate events instead of one unified, larger event? And can these events be a financial success? We will have to wait and see.
Related: 3 Stocks To Buy In The Golden Age Of Digital Advertising
So where are we now?
Without a doubt, getting back into the game and throwing a big event in person after a daunting 2020 is an expensive and very difficult project. Fortunately, there are courageous (even daring) conference planners who are taking this risk in 2021. As for other market players, they will be very attentive to this year’s test cases while planning their strategies for 2022.