Passive data collection is key to understanding your attendees and planning better events.
Fortunately, technology has given us countless insights that can be used for that purpose. But your website traffic and social media engagement only make up part of the story.
Let’s look at how collecting passive data for events can help you fill in some of the blanks that aren’t covered by post-event surveys.
Read on to learn…
- What passive data is
- Why it’s important to collect
- Eight different ways to do it
What is passive event data?
The distinction between active and passive event data lies in the involvement of the attendee whose data is being collected.
1. Active event data
This type of data comes directly from your attendees themselves. You can collect active event data by, for example, asking your attendees for feedback during the event or sending out post-event surveys.
2. Passive event data
Passive data includes all indirect insights you gather about your attendees. You can collect passive event data by looking at who your attendees are, how they engage with the event, and by tracking their customer journey online.
But there are many more ways to collect passive event data.
You can, for example, look at how people use your event website prior to the event or see how they engage with your brand on social media.
During the event, you can use other tools, such as cameras, heatmaps, and wearables to collect additional passive data…but more on that later.
In short, passive data is collected mainly by tracking the digital and physical movements of your attendees.
Why should you collect passive data for your events?
1. Higher participation rates
Surveys are great, but not everyone fills them out. There can be many reasons why your event survey has a low response rate. Maybe it’s too long, the timing is bad, or the attendee in question simply isn’t bothered.
You can collect passive data without having to worry about any of that. As long as your attendees consent to it, you can track their movements without interrupting their experience and taking up their time.
2. More accurate analysis
Another issue with event surveys is that they rarely tell the whole story. You can’t count on the survey respondents to remember and include every detail. That’s particularly true if you send the survey a week or so after the event.
Not only does passive data collection provide you with details on all attendees, but it also gives you a more detailed picture of the event experience. A camera that captures facial expressions can reveal the true feelings of your attendees.
3. Real-time problem solving
Problems that occur during an event can often only be addressed after it has taken place and the attendees have been surveyed. But by collecting passive data in real time, you can solve any potential issues on the spot.
If you monitor the flow of attendee traffic, you can avoid bottlenecks and long queues with crowd management activities. You can also see which exhibitor booths or venue areas are underperforming so you can help direct attendees there.
4. Reduced expenses
One of the best parts of passive event data collection is that much of it can be automated. Once the systems have been set up, they can run in the background while you focus on matters that require your full attention and physical presence.
Automation also means that you can save a significant amount on staffing costs. Where you would otherwise need separate staff to monitor each aspect of your event, a single team member can monitor multiple areas with the help of automation.
Types of passive data
By now, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to collect all this passive data. The answer is technology. Let’s go over some of the tech that can aid you in the process.
We all have one in our pocket and, failing more sophisticated technology, a camera can go a long way. If you’re live streaming your event, for example, you’re already collecting passive data on people’s engagement.
A good check-in app can let you see who shows up to the event, which sessions they attend, and which areas they enter. That process can be further enhanced by automation.
3. Smart mats
You can place mats at entry and exit points to measure footfall. These smart mats record the pressure of your attendees’ footsteps and give you a clear picture of how many pass through.
4. Heat maps
All the data you’re collecting can be aggregated and used to create a heat map of the event. That will give you a visual representation of the most popular areas and booths.
5. Facial recognition
Powered by AI, facial recognition technology can help you in many ways. It can be used for automated guest check-in, analysing microexpressions, and personalising event activities.
5. Social media analytics
You should already have a social media management tool for your event. Most of them can not only help you schedule posts but also give you detailed insights into attendee engagement.
As more events are going cashless, wearables such as NFC tags and RFID wristbands are becoming more popular. These can also be used to monitor physical movements and interactions.
7. Website analytics
You can either install the Google Analytics plugin on your event website or use one of the many alternatives out there. Either way, you’ll gain valuable insights about visitor engagement.
8. WiFi monitors
Many events provide their attendees with free WiFi, which can also be a great way to collect passive data. Use a WiFi monitoring system to check things like signal strength and usage.
How will you collect passive data?
Now that you have a better understanding of passive data collection for events, it’s time to look at your options. Some are more expensive than others, so it will depend on your event budget.
Do you know of any other ways to collect passive data? We’d love to know, so leave a comment below to share your knowledge.