Seminar, lecture or pitch session: we study the statistics of 18 thousand events at our Points

Boiling Points hosts up to 800 events per week. Some find their audience and cause a resonance, others are lost in the information noise.

Under the cut some statistics will help both visitors and organizers to get answers to questions: how events are held by others, where and how many people come, what formats are gaining popularity and what kind of planning index they have, i.e. how many percent of those registered in eventually take part.

Most of the figures were obtained thanks to the analysis of the statistics of the Boiling Points from January 2016 to May 2019.

Before we get into the parsing of formats, a couple of common metrics.

In total, about 18 thousand events took place at the Boiling Points during the indicated period. At the same time, statistics for only one year 2019 indicate a multiple increase – according to preliminary data, from January last year to mid-December, we held 19 thousand events.

The sum of events by months for 2019 (according to mid-December)

However, these data were not subjected to in-depth analysis, and all the figures below are processing results for the period 01.2016 – 05.2019.

The audience that the Points cover is growing every month, and currently more than 880 thousand people are registered on the platform.

What activities are carried out most often

We are talking about the demand for formats. It can be represented on the coordinate plane, where the frequency of use is reflected on one axis, and the average number of participants on the other.

The five most popular formats among the organizers are the transfer of knowledge and the exchange of views in various forms:

  • Workshop and training. The goal of the seminar is to spread new skills through exercises right during the event. Usually one or several experts conduct a seminar, and about 30 participants are present at it. Often, a coordinator is assigned who is responsible for communication during group work. A total of 5651 events of this format were held from 2016 to mid-2019 at Boiling Points. The average duration of the workshop is three hours.
  • Meeting. This format implies an exchange of views between participants with the development of a certain agreed position on the stated issue. One of the participants also leads the meeting, but there may be several speakers. In total, we hosted 2245 events of this format.
  • Lecture. The expert’s presentation in this format serves to transfer the knowledge, ideas or opinions of the lecturer to the audience. As in other formats, in addition to the speaker, the presenter is often present here. During this period, we have held 1900 lectures on a variety of topics.
  • Working group meeting. Unlike a meeting, the purpose of which is only making a decision, this format implies the joint work of experts to obtain a certain result. Depending on the task, the working group can have a complex organizational structure, including the chairman, co-chairs, secretariat, etc. In total, 1473 meetings of the working groups were held at Boiling Points.
  • Round table. This format helps to determine what points of view exist on the issue under consideration. Unlike the meeting and the meeting of the working group, it does not imply the coordination of these points of view and the development of any solution. However, the set of roles is the same as in the meeting. During this time, 1433 such events took place.

Below is another rating of formats sorted in descending order of the average number of participants:

  • Forum. The average number of participants is 121. This format is used to exchange views on fairly global issues. Sometimes the result is a decision, and in other cases, only an indication of the agenda. A total of 397 events of this format took place. The average duration of the forum was six hours.
  • Holiday. One of the new and perhaps the most free formats on the boiling point network. On average, 96 people attend such events.
  • Signing of agreements. In our network, there were only about 25 signatures, but the average number of participants exceeded 72 people.
  • Conference. This is another massive discussion of a problem or issue from different angles, but in this format the emphasis is on the exchange of experience. In mid-May 2019, we held 799 conferences, and the average number of participants was 60 people.
  • Exhibition. This format is intended to demonstrate achievements in a particular field in order to attract end customers or investors. We have had a little less than 100 exhibitions. On average, 51 people came to them.

For large-scale events, we did not indicate the typical roles of participants, since their role structure is often complex and varies depending on the task.

Interesting Facts:

  • Seminars and trainings form the longest return chain. This means that a person who attends an event of this format is more likely to come to the Boiling Point again, and not necessarily to a seminar.
  • It would seem that the longer the discussion, the less people will agree to come and sit until the end. But the characteristic dependence of the number of participants on the duration of events in our statistics is not traced. You can plan a long interaction with the audience, the main thing is not to make her bored.

  • In a variety of formats, several attracting a young audience stand out – up to 30 years. These are polls, contests, briefings, press conferences, exhibitions, film screenings with discussion, competitions, excursions and hackathons. Most of this list has the largest scatter of participants by age. And for people over 35, there is a clear craving for sessions. They prevail in strategic sessions, design sessions, and pitch sessions.

  • In general, boiling points are characterized by seasonality. The total number of events, as well as the number of visitors, decreases during the long New Year holidays and during the summer holidays (from May to the end of August). However, a lot depends on the type of event. The number of visitors to seminars and forums, for example, is reduced by more than half compared with the active period. And for more chamber meetings, such as workshops, the seasonal decline is almost imperceptible.

What is easier to plan – a seminar or a hackathon?

Organizing an event is a difficult task. In order to somehow evaluate and calibrate the efforts needed to organize each of the formats, we compared the number of registered participants with the number of real visitors, obtaining a convenient characteristic – the planning index.

The average planning index for all activities is 83%

On average, excursions, signing of agreements, master classes, workshops and meetings were the most predictable. At the other end of the “predictability scale” are holidays, exhibitions, webinars and hackathons. From a practical point of view, this means that the organizers of the hackathon need to expect that out of 100 registered people, a little more than 30 people will come to them, and accordingly scale the advertising campaign of the event. With excursions – a different situation. According to our statistics, even more people come to them than was stated. Perhaps, when organizing these events, the audience is simply incorrectly evaluated. Formats where the organizers work best with attracting visitors are in the middle ground.

Although our statistics do not reveal a connection between the popularity of the audience and the average duration of events, there is a correlation between the duration and the planning index. The most predictable formats (with a high planning index) have an average duration of 2.5 or 3.5 hours. And, as a rule, from 15 to 35 people gather an audience.

There are other interesting dependencies here:

  • The short event planning index is higher if they are initially designed for a small number of people. But for long events it all depends on the specific format. An explicit connection is not traced. However, at Boiling Points, there are practically no events designed for an audience of more than 300 people, which last less than four hours.
  • Regardless of the average duration of events, a planning index of more than 80% is found in formats designed for an audience of less than 40 people.
  • A planning index of less than 50% is more common in short events for a large audience.

It is curious that the planning index is loosely related to whether everyone is invited to it or if closed lists are formed.

Among the formats popular with organizers there are both typically open and typically closed. For example, in the vast majority of cases, everyone is invited to a seminar, lecture and round table. And for the meeting of the working group and the meeting, they either form completely closed lists of participants, or expand them only upon request.

Among the formats of events gathering the maximum audience, mostly open. Which is quite logical.

Interesting fact:

  • If the event is closed, this does not mean that its planning index will immediately become 100%. Among typically closed events there are poorly predictable ones (the same hackathons held for members of a club). The converse is also true: among the formats with a high planning index, there are open ones.

Format Experiments

The most resonant formats of events of the last year include seminars and trainings, lectures, master classes, meetings and forums. The workshops and meetings on this list were not included in the ratings of the popular formats mentioned above. That is, it can be assumed that it is these formats that cause the most vivid reaction of visitors – reviews appeared on the network more often (formats came to the top in the number of reviews, despite the relatively small total number of events).

By the way, the meeting is a new format for the network, which is not yet available in the registration form by default. Together with the business game, meeting, program and festival, it is one of the five most circulated new formats that are used in four or more Boiling Points.

Average number of event formats used at Boiling Points

It came as a surprise to us that they are most actively experimenting with new formats in the regions. For example, at Boiling Points in Chelyabinsk and Tomsk, events of 27 different formats are held. If we analyze all the publications on social networks that mention the activities of the Boiling Points and their formats, it turns out that Belgorod provides 20% of this information flow. Another 18% give publications from Veliky Novgorod and Yakutsk, where they work with 16 formats.

Some boiling points in the regions have already managed to form their favorite new formats. For example, the Boiling Point in Veliky Novgorod provides 100% of mentions of apartment owners throughout the network of branches. 75% of mentions of the film screening with discussion are given by Tomsk, 67% of mentions of the course – Ulyanovsk.

Interesting Facts:

  • A direct increase in the variety of formats is not associated with an increase in the number of boiling points in the regions.
  • The 80/20 rule here is the same as in business. Throughout the entire network, 80% of the variety of formats always provides no more than five boiling points.

What remains behind the scenes

In general, we collected a lot of statistics, built graphs showing the connections between the event formats and participants, and also performed a morphological analysis of the descriptions in an attempt to find a correlation between the themes and formats. One of the fruits of this work was Atlas of formats (pdf, 10 MB) prepared by our team from Tomsk. You can find a lot of related and additional information in it. We hope that these figures will help the organizers to determine the formats and correctly correlate the planned number of participants and the amount of effort that needs to be made to attract them. And the participants – roughly imagine what awaits them at various events.

See you at our Points!

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