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Product School is the global leader in product management training and certifications with a community of over one million product professionals. Their mission is to empower individuals and organizations to build better products. Four times a year, they host ProductCon, the largest online product management conference in the world.
In 2020, Product School chose to transition their typically in-person ProductCon to a completely virtual event.
In the past, the Product School team had offered a virtual version of their in-person ProductCon using live streaming services — like LinkedIn Live, Facebook Live, YouTube and Twitch. While this online option was popular with attendees and filled with great content, it lacked the interactivity of an in-person event.
When moving ProductCon to an entirely virtual event, Product School wanted a more sophisticated, interactive and powerful tool to host the event. Katya Evdokimova, Director of Events at Product School, explains that the live streaming services didn’t provide many engagement tools for attendees or opportunities to highlight sponsors within the event.
That’s why Product School chose to host their first-ever entirely virtual ProductCon on Hopin.
The virtual conference took place on November 5, 2020, and over ten thousand people attended the live event.
Using Hopin’s Stage, ProductCon featured educational talks and panel discussions about product topics with speakers from renowned companies like Google, Airbnb and Disney.
Product School designed the event to recreate an in-person conference experience as much as possible. To accomplish this, they prioritized face-to-face interaction throughout the event.
For example, the Product School team joined networking rooms and met guests face to face. Attendees met sponsors in expo booths and won freebies. And sponsors shared live demos of their tools.
Product School created two types of tickets for the event — free tickets and VIP tickets. Free ticket holders could attend all of the educational sessions, networking, and the expo center.
VIP ticket holders could attend all of these areas as well, but they also received the added bonus of being able to attend live Q&A sessions with speakers in Hopin’s Sessions area. These Q&A sessions took place immediately after a speaker ended their talk on stage.
Beyond ticket sales, ProductCon also earned revenue from sponsorships. They used Hopin’s Expo booths and sponsorship features to highlight and promote sponsors during the event.
Miro, one of the event sponsors and a virtual whiteboard platform, had nearly 70 people in their booth at one time and used the Miro whiteboard inside their booth to allow attendees to interact together live.
To increase attendee engagement and encourage people to visit sponsor booths, the Product School team created a virtual scavenger hunt. The virtual scavenger hunt challenged attendees to complete 12 different activities to win prizes.
Challenges included tasks like asking attendees to:
Evdokimova says the scavenger hunt was a huge hit and attendees loved participating. On top of that, the event sponsors appreciated the extra exposure the scavenger hunt and the rhyming Tweets gave them. “Sponsors loved it,” says Evdokimova.
Product School also used Hopin’s Networking feature, which pairs attendees for one-on-one conversations. “Giving the attendees a space to interact with each other was next level for us,” says Ellen Merryweather, Content Manager at Product School. “Because a lot of people — especially the newbies in the industry — go to conferences to meet other people in the industry. Hopin’s [Networking] gave them value in a way they wouldn't get from a normal online conference.”
ProductCon wrapped up with a fun and relaxing event for attendees — a live meditation session with The Monk Dude, a meditation expert.
Product School tripled audience retention at ProductCon with Hopin. Attendees spent an average of 160.82 minutes in the event.
10,000 people attended ProductCon and the conference earned an attendee NPS score of 8.6/10. “There's always going to be something people don’t like [at an event],” says Merryweather. “But when we moved to Hopin, there was not a single complaint for the entire event, which was phenomenal and unheard of. The response was overwhelmingly positive in a way that we've not experienced before.”
The ProductCon sponsor booths were also heavily visited by attendees. “In every single booth throughout the whole event, there were at least 10 people, which is great,” says Evdokimova.
The event was such a success that Product School plans to run all of their 2021 conferences on Hopin. "Our mission is to empower individuals and organizations to build better products. Hopin has enabled us to continue to provide an exceptional educational experience to aspiring and current product managers, despite the challenges of transitioning ProductCon to a virtual format," says Carlos González De Villaumbrosia, Product School's CEO. (If you're a product manager, you can get a free ticket to ProductCon here.)