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ON24 Survey of Marketing Executives Shows Growing Popularity of Virtual Events

September 17th, 2009

63% of respondents more likely to attend conferences online than in person

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – September 17, 2009 – ON24, Inc., the global leader in webcasting and virtual event solutions, today announced the results from its survey of nearly 5,000 marketing professionals which polled their perception, behavior and preferences regarding online tradeshows and conventions.

The survey respondents attended the recent BtoB Magazine Leading Edge virtual show for top b-to-b marketers. “The significance of this survey is that it involved marketing thought leaders, the true industry bellwethers who are evaluating virtual events themselves,” explained ON24 Chief Marketing Officer Denise Persson.

She added that ON24’s findings are consistent with recent assessments of leading industry analyst firms. Analyst firm SiriusDecisions says its b-to-b marketing budget benchmarks show a continued shift toward online activities in response to market conditions. “B-to-b marketers have been hit with a one-two punch in the last 12 months: the need to cut program costs at the same time prospects cut travel budgets. That combination led marketers to reduce spend on traditional events, while online events, from webcasts to virtual tradeshows, gained budget dollars,” noted Megan Heuer, research director with SiriusDecisions.

Respondents said that they are as confident communicating and interacting online as they are in person, and a majority of the executives polled believes that virtual events will save their companies time and money. The survey also shows that industry leaders believe the “green” aspect of virtual shows is an important benefit, as virtual shows reduce travel and the associated carbon footprint.

Survey findings include the following:

  • 74% said their companies are interested in virtual events to save money
  • 50% said their companies are interested in virtual events to save time
  • 82% said the green benefits of virtual events are important to their companies

Digital Behavior and Preferences

Respondents said that virtual events offer many benefits of value to them—from the convenience of being able to participate from any computer without the hassle of traveling to feeling empowered when it comes to dealing with participants and other attendees.

  • 63% said they are more likely to attend a virtual conference than an in-person conference
  • Almost 72% are equally confident communicating virtually; in fact, many respondents (15%) actually prefer virtual interaction

A priority for marketers in general is audience/target engagement. The survey indicated that virtual event attendees are more engaged, participating more actively in various activities:

  • 47% said they are more likely to ask a question at a virtual event
  • 30% said they are more likely to chat with a salesperson in a virtual booth
  • 28% said they are more likely to make connections through social networking at a virtual event than through in-person networking at a physical one

“The fact that these marketing industry leaders understand the benefits of virtual events and support them so enthusiastically is great news,” said Persson. “They constantly seek innovative new ways to propel their marketing leadership in a competitive global economy and are already embracing virtual events as time efficient, cost efficient and environmentally efficient. The fact that 63% are more likely to go themselves to a virtual event than a physical one demonstrates a ‘tipping point’ for virtual venues that is sure to make them even more pervasive as marketers plan their strategies accordingly.”

About ON24 Inc.

The recognized global virtual events market share leader, ON24 is the world’s leading provider of webcasting and virtual environments for corporate communications and demand generation. ON24 offers fully integrated, enterprise-wide solutions for a wide range of applications, including training, conferences, company meetings, partner expos and trade shows. More than 750 organizations in publishing, technology, life sciences, government and financial services, including IBM, Cisco, United Business Media, Credit Suisse, GE Healthcare, Oracle and the National Science Foundation, rely on ON24. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in New York, London and Singapore. For more information, visit