Virtual Events – A Game Changer
Events worldwide have undergone a transformation with the advent of COVID-19. Social distancing, travel restrictions, work from home, and a digital business focus has led to the huge growth in virtual events. According to Grand View Research, the global virtual events market is estimated to reach $94 billion in 2020, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% in the 2020-2027 period.
Having taken the market by storm, virtual events are essentially staged online. Participants connect in an interactive web environment, instead of a physical location. Typically, multi-session in nature, these events can be customized to meet client needs and goals.
Advantages of Virtual Events
Virtual events have several key benefits, as given below (Also read: Why you should be running virtual events):
- Budget-friendly: A virtual event doesn’t have to be home-based unless this resonates with the messaging, brand, and audience. Pocket-friendly recording studios and virtual venues are cheaper than physical sites. Speakers generally quote discounted fees to factor in the absence of travel. Digital marketing and operations also reduce costs drastically, as there are no physical overheads and material expenses involved.
- Global reach & audience: A physical event restricts the number of attendees in a venue. Virtual events transcend geographical boundaries, with no limits on participating numbers, thereby increasing audience reach and coverage.
- Innovative technology at work: Virtual events today use futuristic technology to enhance the client experience. This could be through a virtual events platform for hosting, virtual session rooms, lounges and booths for networking, virtual fairgrounds to facilitate event branding, and virtual web sites as home bases and knowledge-marketing hubs.
- Real-time engagement & analytics: Digital tools and data analytics facilitate real-time attendee tracking, engagement, and feedback. Live polls, quizzes, surveys, and Q&A sessions can quickly and accurately measure the pulse of the audience and the event’s success. Participant data can be also analyzed to gain valuable insights and optimize digital goals.
- A new revenue stream and increased web traffic: Virtual events throw open a whole, new world of creative sponsorship through social media shout-outs, branding, and event registrations. Hosting an event on your website or virtual events platform, and not through any third-party software service also boosts website traffic, especially during current times when there are travel restrictions.
Popular Virtual Events Software on your must-have list
Virtual Events Software are tools that enable the hosting and execution of a virtual event, delivering a best-in-class, simulated, in-person experience. These tools handle the following tasks:
- Public and private chat rooms for Q&A sessions
- Virtual tours of the event space
- Privileges for the speaker and audience
- Facilities to host live polls and garner feedback
- Sponsor areas designated for ads and branding
- User engagement metrics reports and dashboards
- Connecting with the audience through messaging/communication tools
- Event networking through social lounges, lobbies, halls, and booths
Here are some essential Virtual Events Software tools:
- Virtual events platform or website: These offer a home base for these events, bringing a sense of physical realness in the digital world, and helping to align all stakeholders. These platforms or websites could be cloud-based systems, increasing overall flexibility, and reducing costs.
- Event registration technology including event apps: Event registration has to be mobile-friendly, seamless, and secure, bridging the gap between event marketing and the virtual event.
- Live-streaming, event planning, and marketing software: Live streaming software is needed to view keynote speeches, training seminars, product rollouts, etc. in virtual events. Event planning, budgeting, and marketing software and tools are necessary to manage test runs, ensure smooth operations, finances, and promotional strategies. Here are some essential resources to plan a successful event.
- Digital video equipment synced with the video streaming platform: Digital video equipment captures the event and streams it live. This includes digital video cameras, tripods, and lighting equipment.
Types of virtual events
These virtual events ideas showcase a seamless transition from a physical event into an online, virtual get-together:
Webinars & Live Streaming Events
Also known as a webcast or web seminar, a webinar is an online event streamed to a live virtual audience. It generally includes a business presentation where the host speaks over a slideshow and often has live chats or Q&As, where the host or speaker answers queries in real-time. A live streaming event is broadcast on a virtual events platform and social media, thereby saving costs big time.
Virtual Town Halls, Panel Discussions & Conferences:
Virtual town halls or All-Hand meets have gained in popularity in recent times, as social gatherings have been minimised. In this live, online, company-wide event, leaders provide updates to employees regarding past performance and current business strategies and goals. The same goes for virtual panel discussions, chats, and conferences, where there is an exchange of views and ideas on topics of interest.
Hybrid Events – The New Industry Normal
While virtual events offer convenience, physical events show greater involvement and will always remain an integral part of any successful event program. Combining the best of both, hybrid events blend live, in-person connections in a venue with a virtual, interactive audience. These events can be internal programs like sales kickoffs and town halls, or external ones like client conferences, trade shows, and product demonstrations. Seamlessly integrating physical and digital elements to facilitate a live and virtual attendee mix, hybrid events are the new normal for the events industry. Transitioning an event to a hybrid model can attract more sponsors and attendees, reduce your carbon footprint, and also improve overall returns on investment.
Virtual meets are here to stay. Even when face-to-face events make a comeback, virtual events with all their inherent advantages will continue to play a pivotal role in the events ecosystem. Hybrid events would be increasingly preferred, merging in-person meetups with the flexibility associated with virtual elements.
Planning a virtual event? Delegate PLAY is a fully immersive virtual environment that allows users to host online conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, and job fairs all under one platform. You can read more about it here.
We’d love to help make your virtual event a smashing success. For more information or a demo of Delegate PLAY, feel free to contact us via the form below. We promise to get in touch with you in a jiffy.