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How Bizzabo beat the pandemic with ML-ready behavioral data from Snowplow

With Snowplow at its core, Bizzabo can democratize data across a globally distributed team, hosting globally distributed events.

Background

Bizzabo is the Event Experience Operating System, empowering companies across the globe to create immersive in-person, virtual, and hybrid event experiences. To date, Bizzabo has helped run over 85,000 events in over 100 countries. Founded in 2011 by Eran Ben-Shushan, Alon Alroy, and Boaz Katz who met while attending the Zell Entrepreneurship Program in Israel, Bizzabo now has employees working worldwide.

It is no secret that the events industry has undergone a massive digital transformation since COVID-19. In 2020 when the world went online and events everywhere were being postponed and canceled, Bizzabo was the first in the market to introduce a virtual offering. Fast-forward to today, Bizzabo is now pioneering the hybrid era – a new normal of virtual and in-person blended events.

Defining an entirely new category of event is not without its challenges, particularly when required to do so almost overnight. Fortunately, at a time when all odds were stacked against them, the team at Bizzabo instead saw a huge opportunity to transform their offering.

Investing in behavioral data has been the key to Bizzabo’s success. Adding Snowplow BDP to their data stack has empowered the team to deliver better insights, to both internal stakeholders and customers.

Challenge

In March 2020, when the world went virtual, the speaker at an event was suddenly separated from their audience. They knew that the audience could still see and hear them, but had no idea if they were actually engaged; perhaps people were enjoying the event, or perhaps they were vaguely listening whilst doing something else.

The speaker, as a persona, is only one character in this story. A lot of other stakeholders really care about what’s going on for the audience. Event organizers, sponsors, marketing execs and demand generation teams are all heavily invested in audience engagement. 

With the move to virtual events we had to provide other layers of analytics. Our organizers were suddenly interested in session view duration and attendee engagement. Sponsors began monetizing the visits they had to their virtual booths. Transforming to the digital era we were now living in came with many new asks and challenges.”

OR LEVI | TEAM LEAD, PRODUCT ANALYTICS AT BIZZABO

Bizzabo needed to find a way to serve these stakeholders, and provide clarity around attendee behavior so that their customers could gain insight into how their audience was engaging with events.

Solution

Bizzabo already had a data stack in place:

  • Mixpanel for data collection
  • BigQuery for storage
  • Looker for visualization

But as an event experience OS adapting to the pandemic, Bizzabo’s data team had highly specific requirements of the data platform they were looking for. 

Mixpanel worked when the company was small, but as Bizzabo began to scale it became apparent that it was an expensive solution. From having just in-person events, Bizzabo was now supporting virtual events, with huge data surges from 100,000s of attendees signing on at the same time. Bizzabo also had many new engagement tools for their audience; meetings, sessions, Q&A, halls, chat, and more – all borne of the pandemic and the new virtual events era. 

Bizzabo’s growth happened very fast. The team therefore needed a cost-efficient tool that was agile, scalable, and met their technical requirements. Homebrew was an option, but they needed to act fast in order to meet the market demand of the pandemic.

Snowplow offered Bizzabo everything they needed to rise to the challenge of the pandemic, and saved Bizzabo from having to reinvent the wheel by building a DIY pipeline.

A key factor for Bizzabo was the ability to democratize data across stakeholders. With Snowplow, Bizzabo is now able to pull data into a centralized, single source of truth in BigQuery, their current data warehouse of choice. This empowers the team to better describe and define the full user journey, and avoid creating data silos. 

User stitching was one of Bizzabo’s first successes with Snowplow:

One of the first showcases of Snowplow’s capabilities was the registration to login funnel. Before Snowplow we didn’t have any idea of the conversion of visitors to real attendees. Snowplow helped us connect between anonymous users to users who are logging in, and to really build a funnel that shows us something; a benchmark of what is happening in our platform and what areas we need to improve. It made a lot of noise inside the company, and more and more teams wanted Snowplow as a tracker for their own day-to-day routine. Now we turn to Snowplow for about 90% of our use cases; it is a really structured part of the feature development process.”

OR LEVI | TEAM LEAD, PRODUCT ANALYTICS AT BIZZABO

With Snowplow, the team could see how users had behaved before actually being registered in the system. They could see which sessions attendees visited, which sponsor they were looking to, and other useful insights on what may have influenced the user’s choice to buy a ticket. 

With the awareness that data pipelines can be fragile, Bizzabo also wanted to ensure that any lost data caused by pipeline failure could be easily restored and returned to a working state. Bizzabo appreciated a tool that is straightforward to use – both for developers to work with and for analysts to interpret. Snowplow’s strong privacy measures were also key, for both Bizzabo and for its customers. 

All of this contributed to Bizzabo’s ability to scale its digital offering at pace, allowing it to adapt to the rapidly evolving demands of its industry. 

Results

High-quality, granular behavioral data created by Snowplow is now fundamental for developing, iterating, and measuring new features on Bizzabo’s platform; quite simply, our technology is facilitating their mission to bring people together and make engagements more rewarding.

In addition to providing insights to customers, Bizzabo is in a position now where the team is iterating on insights obtained from Snowplow data, using it to drive decision-making and further inform product development.

We reinvented the whole clapping feature because of what we saw with Snowplow. At first it was one big icon. With Snowplow events we discovered that it was not used by attendees heavily enough. We used this insight to alter the placement on the icon, which increased its use.”

OR LEVI | TEAM LEAD, PRODUCT ANALYTICS AT BIZZABO

Bizzabo is set to continue on its trajectory of success with Snowplow, with an ML team in place currently experimenting with an ML-driven attendee matchmaking feature, and plans for gamification in the works. 

Snowplow not only allowed Bizzabo to survive during the pandemic, but thrive. With high-quality, granular data captured by Snowplow, Bizzabo has been able to create a truly innovative hybrid events platform that provides customers and stakeholders with accurate insights on audience engagement, and creates opportunities for greater connection on a global scale.

How you can get started with Snowplow

To learn more about how Snowplow can empower your organization with behavioral data creation, book in a chat with our team today. Alternatively, Try Snowplow is our free, easy-to-use version of our technology, which allows you to create your own behavioral data in under 30 mins.

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