The world has come to a point where everything seems socially distant and it is connected virtually. Having a device with internet access can allow people to join various networking sessions, talks, AMAs, panels, and more. In the present scenario, physical events have died down, and we have only a blurred idea of when it’s going to come back! However, let’s thank virtual events and its enablers for building a platform that stands far above from the grip of pandemics.
Today, most of the people’s inboxes are overrunning with invitations to join virtual events. Consequently, many technologists are busy building state-of-the-art virtual environments for more feasible virtual events. Because things have moved online, and virtual events are triumphing everywhere- virtual inaugurations, virtual talks, virtual fests, and so goes the ways the world meets virtually.
As virtual events have become the new normal, we should know more about this in-depth.
Let’s keep reading to know more about virtual events.
Virtual Events: What are they?
Though virtual events are a lot like regular events, the former takes place on the internet. Irrespective of the place, virtual events can be attended from anywhere, from your home, office, car, etc. All you need is a device with internet access. Usually, global conferences, trade shows, concerts, product launches, and more happen virtually.
For example, on 13th October 2020, most of us might have witnessed Apple‘s virtual event to launch its new product line. Likewise, almost every business enterprise and institutions are buckled up to run their outreach and networking activities through virtual events worldwide.
Most straightforwardly, any event running over a virtual environment so that people from different locations come together through a virtual platform without leaving where they are can be counted as a virtual event.
Major Types of Virtual Events
As regular events, virtual events can also make ‘things’ happen; they can cover various topics and put forth successful outcomes. It is not less grandeur than any kind of onsite events that mesmerizes the audiences.
All the arrangements, like event promotion, selecting key speakers, event timing, event schedules, planning its sessions, choosing the targeted audience, etc., can help optimize the company’s desired results.
A major advantage of virtual events is that these events do not replace other possibilities but can also happen in conjunction with your current circumstances. It also facilitates to move from one session to another at a click and interact with other participants one-on-one.
To illustrate, ZEVE is a cutting-edge event environment built for all sorts of virtual corporate events that gives immense space for running result-driven events. It provides room for virtual conferences, summits, trade fairs, job fairs, virtual showrooms, product launches, and much more. Participants can get to the lobby to gather information, network corners for business networking, auditorium, and business exhibition hall for all kinds of marketing and promotional activities.
Now let’s discuss a quartet of virtual events in detail!
The word ‘webinar’ comes from the blend of words- ‘web’ and ‘seminar’. It is a virtual event exclusively for online audiences.
Usually, webinars take place for about 45 to 80 minutes. Audiences from anywhere can attend webinars just from the comfort of their homes. Some companies charge registration fees from the audience, and some are free to attend. The presenter either makes a live presentation or a taped video, holds Q&A sessions, etc.
Also, the content would be available after the events end on-demand, so it helps those who fail to attend live webinars.
Virtual conferences are more than a normal virtual meeting. They often take place multi-day, are hosted online, and include sales product demos, panel discussions, training and certification, industry sessions, product training, educational sessions, and more. The virtual conference’s main objective is to create brand awareness, lead generation, adoption and retention, relationship building, etc.
In virtual conferences, we often witness 8 x numbers of registrations than traditional in-person conferences. So it can greatly help to expand networking opportunities, brand awareness, lead generation, etc.
Internal Hybrid events
Hybrid events are an excellent way for programs that can be conducted both onsite and virtually. Below are some examples of perfect hybrid events:
- Sales kick-offs
- Department meetings
- Trade shows
- Training sessions
- Global town halls
- Company-wide happenings
Hybrid events happen when everyone in the meeting may not be available to attend in-person. These events occur when a company wants to convey messages to everyone in the organization, as the company branches are spread worldwide. It is a hard nut to crack for all the attendees to be physically present in the event destination. In such scenarios, hybrid events take hold of responsible for conducting effective events that are partially virtual and partially in-person.
External Hybrid events
External hybrid events are targeted towards accommodating people outside your company, for ex: your clients, prospects, customers, etc. These events require healthy video production levels of higher quality so that everyone in the meeting will experience things in the same way.
External hybrid events can include the following:
- Product demos
- Customer conferences
- Trade shows
These events can draw greater participation from your clients as they can attend your events without leaving their homes.
Key aspects to consider when deciding on an environment to host your virtual events are as follows:
Space and Lighting
Before streaming an event, make sure you add space for on-camera, crew, talent, and equipment. Lighting adds charm to your visual presentation. You should check the lighting in your space, how windows and natural lighting affect your room and cross-check the lighting before starting a virtual event.
You should be careful that your surrounding noise should not interpret other audiences. See how quiet space is, are their things that should be turned off before streaming, natural sound in your space etc.
Check your internet bandwidth before streaming. Usually, you will need a minimum of 10 Mbs of upload/download speed to do 1HD video streaming.
Number of Presenters
It is relevant to decide the number of presenters beforehand, as it helps to determine the technical needs like the number of microphones or cameras needed.
See how the set looks like before streaming. Will it give a visual treat for your audience or are there spaces to be hiding, before streaming
Length of program and anticipated viewers
This major aspect can help to decide the streaming platform.
The Key Elements of Virtual Events
Virtual events require all the technological elements that other events may have, except F&B. The prime aspects of a virtual event are video production and connectivity quality. The below elements are what virtual events are made up of:
- Event registration
- Event website
- Live polling
- Live presentation
- Recorded presentation
- Question and answer session
- One way audio/video
- Interactive video conferencing sessions
- Feedback surveys
Surely, people have started loving virtual events for some or other reasons. After experiencing a couple of these events, our fascinations with virtual events may grow each day. And it has already proven. Survey says, 45% of business marketers agreed that audience engagement is the driving factor to having virtual events, and 78% of business owners say it improves the ROI significantly.
Now, let’s see more about virtual events from two different perspectives:
- Organizers perspective
- Attendee perspective
From an Organizer Perspective
Access to high quality-speakers
Now, as events have moved online, it is easier than ever before to make great speakers across the globe to host or participate in our event. Previously, they had to travel (usually across continents) just to spend 30 minutes on stage. As things have changed, it is easy to get access to the top-notch speakers to an event, as they can attend the meeting from the comfy of their living room, regardless of where they are being.
Cost-effective and sustainable
Previously physical events need a space to conduct their program, which requires renting a venue, the expense for stage decoration, paying for B&F, etc. With virtual events, meetings happen with a minimal cost, reduced resources, by saving travel expenses. So virtual events can be best said as eco-friendly and super sustainable events.
Potential for global reach
People from anywhere across the globe can attend a virtual event, thus creating a reach among people across different continents. Compared to real-time events, virtual events are capable of accommodating many people to an event. Plus, regardless of their situation, they access the events quite easily in their busy schedules.
From an Attendee Perspective
Virtual events are flexible with respect to what content you wish to consume. Earlier, it was tough to duck out of a session once you have committed to it. You should be physically present until the event ends, but now, it is okay to sign back in later if a talk seems tedious. Plus, virtual events gives the freedom to join our preferred sections on an event. So it is much flexible, and attendees can avoid fatigue as well.
Less time consuming
Now that people do not require spending hours to reach the event destination, that time can be saved. More focus can be given to what is essential: scaling and building your business. Hence, virtual events enabled the participants to optimize their time by scheduling their time for only the needed sections in an event.
Access to thought leaders than ever before
Attendees can access a wide range of unique content from eminent speakers across the globe. Plus, virtual events gives room for a wide range of audience worldwide. This enabled them to get in touch with the top technologist and authoritarian leaders without any hurdles. It provides equal opportunity for every to new knowledge.
Technology Required for Hosting Virtual Events
Virtual events rely on technology. It is vital to know about the underlying event technology components behind virtual events.
The core component needed to promote your event is a website, whether virtual or in-person. It should satisfy the potential audience by showcasing all the required data they wish to know. It should articulate your event’s objective, value, reveal presenters, schedule, including FAQs, and guide them to sign up for the event.
This would be rather the first tool that you will use to collect your attendee’s data. You can let them register by providing their necessary details and making payments (if any). A robust registration procedure can let your attendees register without any hassle, also providing your marketers and planners with the required data to organize a successful event.
Emails are the best way to lead your potential attendees toward your events. They can be kept informed about the road to the event through emails. Feedback surveys can also be done using emails. For this, tools for email marketing can be used to send personalized emails, branded messages, etc
Online Event Guide & Mobile Event App
Event guides and mobile apps are the information hub for attendees. These are vital as they help to stay updated on all the relevant happenings of the event. Links and other details are available right at the tip of their fingertips.
Event input tools can be used to gather the feedback of the event using surveys. This can use to filter leads to qualify them and navigate to sales. Plus, it helps to improve the next event by which organizations can learn the behavior and interest of the audience.
Integrations allow you to share data between CRM systems and marketing automation. These tools can help you view all attendee data from a single space, access session engagement, etc. Besides, there are plenty of advanced technological integrations that bring more interactive and intelligent outcomes like AI and automation technologies.
As virtual events have become part and parcel of the new normal, make the best of yourself in heading up engaging in virtual events and get the most out of it. When happening rightly, virtual events can help deliver informative and engaging experiences to the audience’s right set. For that, you just need to choose the right virtual event platform.