Our team has just returned from Web Summit 2014 in Dublin, full of positive emotions, business connections and new ideas. It was an amazing event and one that provided us with a great experience, more of which you can learn about here, however, as passionate devotees of online analytics, we wanted to delve deep into the fair and explore it’s web presence in terms of traffic, engagement metrics and everything else that we love so much.
Expanding the Horizons
SimilarWeb shows how Web Summit have cultivated a steady growth in their online audience over the last 24 months. Compared to last year, Web Summit has experienced a huge growth in desktop visits in the period leading up to the fair, reaching 210%. This indicates that Web Summit have successfully marketed their conference over the last year.
The growing strength of their brand can also be exhibited by the major growth of Direct traffic to Web Summit, up by nearly 400% from October 2013 – October 2014. This highlights a level of trust in the brand and a high number of satisfied attendees from previous events.
The geographical audience has also changed over the last year. The period of January – October 2014 saw Brazil, Romania and Nigeria dropping out of the top 20 countries by traffic share and being replaced by Western European countries Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium. This indicates a strong local interest in the conference and one that can be generated by cheap flights across the EU.
Quantity Transformed into Quality
Web Summit’s Direct traffic is very encouraging and illustrates a strong brand, but 2014 saw organizers investing much greater efforts and money into PPC and display ads compared to 2013. January – October 2013 saw paid traffic only accounting for 0.98% of total search traffic. However, investment in 2014 is made apparent by a huge leap in paid search traffic of 11%.
Display ads, between January – October 2014, resulted in 0.85% of traffic and this was over 1.5x bigger than in 2013 when the traffic share was just 0.49%. This makes it clear that the organizers of Web Summit are making a concerted effort to bring more attention and buzz to their event.
The category distributions for Web Summit also highlight how the conference has changed over the last 12 months. 2013 saw the most popular referrals category being News and Media, but by 2014 there is a more focused interest on the conference from related industries: ‘Computer and Electronics > Software’ and ‘News and Media > Technology News’. This shows how the industry is becoming more aware of Web Summit and is willing to co-operate and promote it.
The one area where Web Summit experienced a fall in traffic was in the Social channel. January to October 2013 saw 730,000 visits from Social, but the same period in 2014 managed only 600,000 visits. Web Summit, therefore, need to work on increasing their presence across social media. Not only does a notable presence in this sector help bring in traffic, it can also fuel SEO as Google uses social signals in its SERP.
One really fascinating statistic that we uncovered was that the organizers embarked on an aggressive email campaign this year. Email traffic in 2014 was around 5x higher than it was in 2013. This type of campaign may seem old fashioned, but it’s a highly effective strategy for inviting customers to stands, reminding people of event dates etc.
See You Next Year!
We really enjoyed ourselves at Web Summit and our stats have shown that Web Summit must be really enjoying life too! Over the past year they’ve shown substantial growth and built very useful relationships with affiliates. Although they have had issues with their social traffic, now is the time to start improving their marketing campaigns for Web Summit 2015. We’re sure it will be just as big a success as this year’s.