Case study: Black Hat Asia 2020 goes virtual

Black Hat Asia (an Informa brand) ran its first virtual event from 29 September - 2 October 2020.

For more than 20 years, Black Hat Briefings have provided attendees information about security research, development, and trends. Due to the global pandemic, the Black Hat team had to consider how they could deliver value to their attendees virtually.

The main objective of the team was to maintain their audience and communicate their core offering through digital. To measure the success of Black Hat Asia 2020 they collected their post-event feedback using Explori’s platform. Explori is an event feedback platform which helps measure experience metric such as net promoter score and overall satisfaction.

95% of respondents said they were satisfied with Black Hat Asia 2020, while 90% said they would attend another virtual event by Informa Tech. Net Promoter Score was +41.

Richard McCarthy, senior marketing director at Informa Black Hat, commented: “[Our content] goes through a pretty extensive review process. [There are] multiple layers of reviews before the talks are accepted and then the speakers are given the option of additional training from some of our review board members.

“So by the time they hit the stage it is ideally cutting edge research, that hasn’t been presented anywhere else, that has been vetted by a panel of experts, and is for the most part exclusive to Black Hat.”


Measuring virtual events

Suzanne van Montfoort, Explori’s research director, was the lead researcher analysing Black Hat Asia’s results against Explori’s virtual events benchmarks.

“One of the things Black Hat, amongst other clients, find useful about our platform is the ability to benchmark attendee experience,” said van Montfoort. “It’s important to compare like for like as we’ve seen significant variations across KPIs. For example, Net Promoter Score for live events is +11, for virtual events +10 and for webinars +46. Therefore, we built out virtual benchmarks separate to our live events benchmarks. It was fantastic to share with the event team how Black Hat Asia has outperformed the industry benchmarks.”

Richard McCarthy added: “Know what makes your event unique and play it up really well. Content has always been most important for paid attendees so that’s where we invested the most time energy. Making sure the quality was as high as it could be. Making sure the speakers were available to do a live Q&A.

“Making sure the broadcast elements worked. Really focus on the thing that people were paying for. And that paid off you can see it in the survey results. It was absolutely worth making that investment in the content delivery. And it is tough but figure out that one thing that is going to make your show really work and invest in it. Treat your event as a broadcast and not as a static website. You have to treat it like you’re producing for Netflix or network TV. It’s got to be high end and it’s got to be seamless.”