We're getting familiar with the mantra about the need for efficiency and cost savings in the public sector. We also hear about the difficulty in measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) for use of Social Media. Well, here is evidence of both; how an online conference 'attended' (in a virtual sense) by over 1000 delegates over 5 days, saved around £280,000 when compared to running a standard (real) conference.
But apart from the cost savings identified here, we shouldn't forget that the other key differentiator with an online conference is the almost instant access to a considerable volume of knowledge assets, e.g. the forum conversations, blog posts, uploaded documents and presentations, etc. - all available as a permanent digital reference of the event.
Surely some lessons here for anyone thinking of running a conference? Maybe this will be the benchmark for future online events - it certainly demonstrates what can be done with a bit of organisation, and the 'glue' provided by the social web!
Well it was the Local by Social Online Conference ran from the 3 to the 9th of November… And this has been our most ambitious online conference to date, not only in time but the amount of presenters and participants to the online conference.
One thing to point out is that we encourage participation. It’s not like a face to face event where you are an attendee. And going back to the 1% rule or the “90-9-1″ version of this rule. This states that 1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing.
The online conference did a good job. With 242 out of the 1123 participants, making a contribution. Totalling 21%
And a total of 1123 contributions over the 5 days.
I’m not going to forget the Lurkers out there. Because between you and the contributors you viewed 27,360
That’s the equivalent of reading the original War and Peace 22 times
Also the average time spent in the online conference was 14m 20s per day.
When it comes to unique visitors by day we averaged at 427
- Wednesday 518
- Thursday 455
- Friday 341
- Monday 415
- Tuesday 406
That would have had to be a large conference venue to hold that many people. More than what we could hold at the Local Government Improvement and Development with our maximum of 60 people.
When it comes to travelling to the Online Conference, you probably only had to go to work. Or if your like Ingrid, and mentioned in her blog in her Jim Jams
But what if you did have to travel? Well looking at the Map. I picked the 141 locations that people visited from in the UK. All the way from Stornoway in the North to Truro in the South. Belfast in the West and Norwich in the East.
As a rough estimate the travel distance to Layden House EC1m 5LG if you just calculated it for the 141 locations on a once only return travel it would have been 52008 miles. That’s twice round the World and would have left a Carbon Footprint of 4.55 tonnes of CO2
Twitter was used quiet a bit over the conference with 457 tweets that used the Twitter hash tag for the Local By Social Online Conference #LBYS
And if you’re interested, if this was run as a 5 day Face to Face Conference the cost could have been around £293,000 not only to host it but to get to the venue. This does not include other cost e.g. time away from the office etc.
Estimated cost comparison with a face to face Conference
Five Day Face to Face Conference (estimated costs)
- Delegates = 400
- Venue Hire = £2,000 x 5 = £10000
- Audio – Video for venue = £2,250 x 5 = £11,250
- Marketing Materials = £800
- Advertisement = £1,500
- Delegate Rate @£65 per person = £26,000 x 5 = £130,000
- Conference Team Accommodation = £600 x 5 = £3000
- Conference Team Travel = £400
- Speakers Travel = £200 x 5 =£ 1000
- Conference Team (11 days @ £500 per day) = £5,500
- (Includes before, during and after)
- Speakers time (average 2 speakers) = £2,000 x 5 = £10000
- Couriers = £300
- Delegate Accommodation (est. £40 per person) = £16,000 x 5 = £80,000
- Delegate travel (est. £50 per person) = £20,000 x 2 = £40,000
- Total Cost = £293,70
5 Day online Conference (estimated costs)
- Delegates = £100
- Venue Hire = £0
- Audio – Video = £250
- Marketing Materials = £250
- Advertisement = £250
- Delegate Rate = £0
- Event Team Accommodation = £0
- Event Team Travel = £0
- Speakers Travel = £0
- Conference Team (15 days @ £500 per day) = £7,500
- (Includes before, during and after)
- Speakers time (average of 8 speakers) = £4,000
- Couriers = £100
- Delegate Accommodation = £0
- Delegate travel = £0
- Total Cost = £12,350
Maybe with these types of events and with the Knowledge Hub coming along next year. We will still be able to share and transfer our experience and knowledge virtually with the restraints on the budgets across the sector.Read more at communitiesknowledge.wordpress.com