Swapcard & CEIR Publish Survey Findings About Event Matchmaking During the Pandemic

We interviewed exhibition organizers about matchmaking and technology at their events. Their answers gave us an exclusive inside look.


Swapcard, the leading AI-powered engagement and matchmaking platform for premium events, joined forces with CEIR (Center for Exhibition Industry Research) to conduct research on matchmaking in the events industry. The results showed some interesting trends.

Paris, France (Oct. 19, 2020) – Part 1 of the study, released today, aimed to determine the level of adoption of structured matchmaking, as well as the perception of its effectiveness and barriers to adoption among organizers. CEIR's research covers a demographic of U.S., Canadian and Mexican-based B2B exhibition organizers with an even mix of executives at organizations that run association B2B exhibitions and independently run B2B exhibitions.

Swapcard's event platform is powered by artificial intelligence to boost matchmaking for attendees and exhibitors at virtual, in-person and hybrid events. They believe that the heart of any B2B exhibition is the chance for participants to engage with each other, and with the products and services showcased at an event. The quality of networking opportunities can make or break an event. When deciding on the research topic, Swapcard thought: "How can organizers help like-minded attendees and exhibitors find each other to maximize the value of the experience?" The answer was simple: by incorporating structured matchmaking activities.

Structured matchmaking, using self-serve software or staff as in concierge-level matchmaking or hosted-buyer scenarios, provides the framework, pre-qualification and time-savings that informal networking can’t offer. Swapcard wanted to find out how it was being used in B2B exhibitions and if not, why not? For that reason, they commissioned CEIR to conduct this study to get answers.

CEIR VP of Research Nancy Drapeau, PRC noted, “A perennial challenge for B2B exhibition organizers is helping assure exhibitors and attendees achieve their face-to-face engagement objectives at their events. This study provides insights on how attendee matchmaking helps participants achieve these goals.” The survey showed positive trends emerging for the future of matchmaking in the events industry. Self-serve matchmaking is increasing in popularity and value across all channels, including face-to-face, virtual and hybrid platforms. The opportunities for incorporating matchmaking, which is channel, time and location-agnostic, into both traditional and future exhibition, conference and 365 marketplace models, are enormous.

64% of survey respondents (organizers) offer networking activities at their events. Half (50%) offer some structured matchmaking activities and 40% provide self-serve platforms. But nearly three out of 10, or 29%, say they do not offer structured matchmaking activities.

Part 1 of the study was published today and research is currently being done for Part 2, which will analyze how COVID-19 and the rise of virtual events will have changed the need for and use of technology-centric matchmaking. Part ll is scheduled for release in early 2021. If you'd like to read the topline results and the summary findings, plus learn how you can incorporate structured matchmaking into your next event, download the full report here.

This CEIR study was made possible with the support of IAEE, SISO and TSNN via the provision of samples for this project.

About Swapcard:

Founded in 2013, Swapcard is the leading AI-powered event and matchmaking platform that runs successful in-person, virtual and hybrid events. AI is used to boost matchmaking, connecting users with the most relevant people based on their profiles, and to create custom event journeys. Swapcard was recently awarded Best Virtual & Hybrid Event Engagement & Connectivity Platform 2020 at the Software and Technology Awards. To learn more, visit swapcard.com.

About CEIR:

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) serves to advance the growth, awareness and value of exhibitions and other face-to-face marketing events by producing and delivering knowledge-based research tools that enable stakeholder organizations to enhance their ability to meet current and emerging customer needs, improve their business performance and strengthen their competitive position. For additional information, visit www.ceir.org.

Download the report

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