As the world wakes up to the new normal, many things changed including events and the way they are planned. The events industry incurred a whopping $650+ million loss by mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic (inc42). Fortunately, events planners around the world are embracing virtual or hybrid events to mitigate these losses and drive meaningful conversations with virtual meeting apps.
To help plan your events virtually, here is a list of things that all digital event planners should know about virtual event apps.
What Are Virtual Events?
A virtual event is an online event experience where the individual doesn’t have to physically be at a venue. You have likely attended webinars, online conferences, or an online meeting. Well, all these classify as virtual events.
What are the Types of Virtual Events?
Broadly, there are four types of virtual events, namely webinars, conferences, internal hybrid events, and external hybrid events. Here is a short description of each of these types:
Webinars, which usually last between 45 to 90 minutes, is an online presentation that is educational in nature. They can be free or invite-only. Webinars are held using video conferencing tools that offer features such as Q&A, live polling, and the ability to present as a host or a co-host.
2. Virtual Conferences
Quite literally, when you take in-person conferences online, that becomes a virtual conference. These conferences can be multi- or single-day events and include keynotes, sessions, breakouts, etc. Most event planners use virtual meeting apps to boost networking and empower attendees to view keynotes in real-time and create their personalized agenda.
3. Internal Hybrid Events
Internal hybrid events, as the name suggests, are events that combine a mix of in-person as well as online events. Some common examples of such events include town halls, sales kick-offs, training, and department meetings. These are usually organized in companies where employees are either remote or work in offices in different countries.
4. External Hybrid Events
External hybrid events are like internal hybrid events but are conducted for people outside your organization. These events can be a user or industry conferences and require higher levels of video production.
What are the advantages of hosting virtual events?
There are several reasons to host virtual events apart from obvious cost savings. The top three advantages of hosting virtual events are:
Accessibility: Online events are accessible to everyone since it allows attendees to join remotely. All they need is a good Wi-Fi connection and that is it!
Better analytics: Since everything is digital or on a virtual meeting app, it is easy to collect data and measure the ROI of events.
Larger target audience: Since your event can be attended by people from anywhere, it means that you have a broader target audience, and thereby, more marketing leads to fuel your sales pipeline.
What are the main technologies that drive Virtual Events?
The three pillars of any virtual event include content, data, and attendee networking and engagement. To ensure success on all these levels, virtual events require the same set of tools like any other in-person event. Additionally, it also requires high video production quality and good internet connectivity. Here are the main technologies that drive virtual events:
- Event website and registration
- Rock-solid content
- One-way audio/video
- Q&A and live polling
- Video recording
- Virtual event app
- Feedback surveys
How Can I boost networking at virtual events?
Since events have become virtual, more and more digital planners are using virtual meeting apps to boost networking at events. These apps are powerful to increase engagement and networking since they come with myriad features such as showcasing event information, driving event interaction, live quizzes and contests, chats and private messaging, lead retrieval, meeting scheduler, and so much more. Virtual event apps are great for planners who want to build events of all types and keep attendees engaged before, during, and after the event.
How can I prove the success of virtual events?
The success of any virtual event depends upon identifying and setting up business goals. When you use virtual event apps, you can generate previous event data at each step of event planning and execution. This can help you in your event analyses and better align your event with your company goals. Virtual meeting apps help you prove event ROI by accurately analyzing costs and benefits, including direct and indirect costs, attributed revenue and sales pipeline, brand equity, etc. This way you can measure the true return of your events and present it to your stakeholders.
What are some of the data to capture during virtual events?
Virtual event apps allow you to capture valuable data during each step of the event. Some of the important data to note before, during, and after the event include:
- Number of registrations
- Session registration
- Email metrics like open and click-through rates
- Results of pre, during and post-event surveys
- Number of leads generated
- Buying interest of the interested leads
- Session ratings and feedback
- Social media engagement and reach