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12 Days ‘til New Years: 5 Virtual Events of 2020

This year, we’re bringing in the end of the year with a series: 12 Days ‘til New Years. We’ll continue our tradition of highlighting the most notable brands and spending across ad tech platforms, consumer media, and B2B industries.

We’re counting down to the end of 2020 in the style of the traditional Christmas carol the 12 Days of Christmas.

In the B2B space, government-issued lockdowns, curfews, and stay-at-home mandates meant that the industry lost out on one of their most important tools: in person events. Instead, many events went virtual. 

To celebrate the innovative minds and solutions behind some of this year’s new virtual events, we’ve foregone the traditional five golden rings in favor of five events that went virtual in 2020.

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5 Events that Went Virtual in 2020

Virtual events have certain drawbacks, but they also proved advantageous in many ways. 

Attendees had more flexibility with how their days were structured and when they attended sessions. With no travel involved, virtual events were more cost-effective. Additionally, hosts and sponsors could more easily track connections, impressions, and results with the digital tracking tools available to them.

While virtual events are definitely taking their place as a beneficial and cost-effective tool in the B2B industry, no one’s quite ready to say goodbye to in-person events. The future of events will most likely be a blend of online and in-person trade shows, once vaccines fully begin to end the pandemic.

Adobe Summit 

accenture ad let there be change

The Adobe Summit was one of the first events to go virtual as the pandemic spread. The original Summit was planned for the end of March, the same month in which COVID-19 was officially declared a crisis in the US.

The event itself was sponsored by Accenture Interactive, Publicis Sapient, Deloitte Digital, and Cognizant Interactive, and targeted towards B2B marketers. The event itself—originally the Omniture Summit—has been held annually since 2003.

In 2020, Accenture spent $2.09 million in the digital space, and $335 thousand in events. Their spend in events occurred entirely between January 1 and March 1, dropping off just as the pandemic made events an uncertain investment.

Digital Sales & Marketing World

hubspot ad powerful and easy

Early on in the pandemic, HubSpot, Vidyard, Petra, and iMPACT rescheduled Digital Sales & Marketing World that ended up taking place November 30th-December 2nd. The goal of the conference is for marketing, sales, and leadership teams to “get aligned on digital and ignite true business transformation.”

This year, Hubspot invested $1.04 million in digital media advertising, 70% of which went into podcasting. 

Sirius Decisions Summit

D&B buyer intent data ad make an impact

In May, Dun & Bradstreet, Highspot, Pathfactory, and Acoustic sponsored the Sirius Decisions Summit, another marketing conference put on for leaders in the B2B industry. 

Forrester, who acquired Sirius Decisions at the beginning of 2019, took full advantage of the range of options made available by the new virtual format. The event offered a virtual marketplace, flexible and customizable schedules, and a full docket of sessions targeted at attendees in a variety of roles.

Dun & Bradstreet only invested in the digital and event spaces in 2020, opting to avoid television, print, and other ad options. In fact, they placed a full 75% of their annual ad spend in digital. The remaining 25% went towards events, such as the Sirius Decisions Summit.


slack ad where work happens

In September, several months into the transition to virtual events, HubSpot hosted the Inbound conference. The event was sponsored by recognizable brands such as Slack, AWS Business Solutions, Atlassian, LinkedIn, Porsche, and Snapchat, and offered a lineup of speakers including notable marketing executives and celebrities.

In 2020, Slack spent $10.63 million on digital campaigns. 2020 was a good year for Slack, leading it to eventually be acquired by Salesforce earlier this month. Their 12 million daily users will allow Salesforce to rival Microsoft in workplace collaboration tools.

Dreamforce to You

IBM ad so many clouds one flash system

Dreamforce, a Salesforce event marketed to industry “trailblazers,” took their place in the 2020 virtual event lineup by making sure that their event was specific to the current B2B climate. They offered sessions on topics such as “working in the new normal.” The content from the event is available online now for those who couldn’t attend.

Event sponsors included IBM, Accenture, Deloitte Digital, Capgemini, and PWC. In the B2B space, IBM invested $2 million into digital campaigns and $303 thousand into print publications this year, despite print’s decreasing popularity.

For more updates like this, stay tuned. Subscribe to our blog for more updates on coronavirus and its mark on the economy.