There has been a surge in virtual events and interactions for a few years now. It gives people a place to engage and socialize through interactive online encounters and interactions that have the same dynamic and captivating atmosphere as a face-to-face event. An online event offers a way for participants to have a real-time virtual experience from the comfort of their own homes instead of a real-time, physical event.
We're sure you're aware of how popular live streaming and virtual events have become as a result of the pandemic. These online events have encouraged audiences from around the world to share experiences through webinars, social engagements, and virtual conferences, to mention a few. Regional constraints are removed by this increased reach, making it possible for anybody in the world to view your event. This is one reason why virtual events will continue to be popular.
This article will discuss 10 things to consider when choosing the best virtual event platforms. These components are crucial to the success of your event. It presents you with a checklist that might assist you in reducing your options and eventually choosing the digital solution. It covers everything from design to intuitive interface functionality, audience engagement tools, and a budget that suits your needs. However, before moving on, it is important to understand the basics like, what is a virtual event platform, its types, and why one needs such a platform.
What is a Virtual Event Platform?
A virtual event platform is a software application that enables its users to host virtual events, including meetings, conferences, workshops, digital sales exhibitions, virtual sports events, and much more. They have several capabilities that go way beyond what conventional teleconferencing programs offer.
The fact that a virtual event platform offers both community and one-on-one interactions for the users distinguishes it from other event platforms. It is incomparable to existing web conferencing solutions because of its responsiveness and participation.
In addition, to create, organize, and administer virtual events, you can access them through a browser. Through online or mobile browsers, users can take part in virtual events very conveniently.
Types of Virtual Event Platforms
Today, virtual event platforms are becoming the go-to place to plan any event/function and easily connect with audiences all over the world. Any event that is physically held at a place can be virtually mirrored on a virtual events platform. It is crucial to consider the top 5 types of online-hosted virtual events because they are fundamental to the future and will soon be replacing the system of conventional events and gatherings.
Attendees of virtual conferences have the option of participating in events afar. A virtual conference's presentations, breakout sessions, debates, and collaborations nearly all take place exclusively online.
The most popular kind of event virtually is a webinar. Almost any day of the week, you can attend a webinar on the topics you are passionate about. They will seek you via your inbox, social networking channels, or advertisements on the top of a connected article.
Live in-person events coupled with virtual elements that are either real or taped make up hybrid events. This might be as basic as a roundtable discussion or live presentation that is aired digitally for anyone to attend and react on. Another option is to create a complex event that combines live and distant participants for a collaborative and vibrant experience.
Online corporate events, exhibitions, and fairs:
Business events and fairs can be planned online on a virtual event platform, just like any other physical event. It provides companies and sponsors with several possibilities to present their products to a wide range of global audiences. thus leading to brand exposure and positive publicity.
Virtual Tutorials and Courses:
One of the most well-liked online events that have been around for a while is training courses or workshops. This entails several seminars or classes that enable attendees to complete an online certification program from their settings. Participants in seminars or workshops on a virtual event platform can interact directly with the instructor through live chats and video discussions.
What makes a virtual events platform vital?
Simply put, a virtual event ecosystem is an ideal tool to employ if you want to organize an online event. The demands of events and their distinct characteristics are the focus of online event platforms:
Virtual event platforms are made for one or more broadcasts, whereas teleconferencing or web conferencing are made for face-to-face or 1-to-few interactions, such as small team meetings or working hours. Platforms for virtual events can handle numerous people simultaneously. As a basic guideline, think about using virtual event solutions if you are holding an event for more than 20 participants.
Multiple tracks of content:
Content is often played simultaneously during events. Virtual event platforms enable more complicated programming, including simultaneous content, because they provide many virtual event spaces within the framework of a single, comprehensive online space. To join a different video conference, participants do not need to open a new link. Alternatively, they can move between virtual rooms without leaving the primary event venue.
Events require absorbing and interacting with information, but they also involve attendees engaging with one another and building connections. This unusual situation is made possible by a virtual event platform, which offers space to display content for a large audience while also enabling attendees to interact discreetly within the framework of the event.
Flexibility and personalization:
Events are planned out in advance. The topic of your online event, which will be seen by hundreds or tens of thousands of people, ought to be under your control, just like the contents of your physical event.
Unlike teleconferencing systems that do not easily allow you to customize and craft your virtual venue, curriculum, digital spaces, and the media itself, virtual event platforms allow you to personalize and manage all of it efficiently.
10 Things to Consider When Choosing a Virtual Event Platform
1. A price that fits your budget
While some virtual event platforms provide basic services without any charge, others that are more sophisticated and personalized may have a much higher price tag. Before starting your search for a virtual event platform, it's critical to determine your budget. Your search will get more focused as a result of the price.
The best course of action for individuals with more flexible budgets may be fully customizable virtual event platforms, which allow you to create precisely what you want, and how you want it. Conversely, if you're trying to cut costs, pay attention to platforms that offer packages as opposed to an individual selection, as those might add up rapidly.
2. The ability to Customize
The ability of the Virtual Event platform to create an immersive and lifelike event should be the top priority. Another crucial component of customization apart from this is branding. It is mainly to check whether the event landing page can be altered to fit the needs and values of your company. Your attendees will have a more uniform experience if you can incorporate your organization's logo and idea throughout the virtual event platform.
Further, to ensure that your websites, enrollment forms, delegate emails, and the virtual world itself all adhere to the same branding guidelines, it is important to consider the customization options the platform offers. Find out how adaptable the customization is for various events; for instance, a health conference will look different from a sports event.
You should also consider how the platform enables users to personalize their experience. So one solution is to have the option to customize schedules, appointments, and timetables. You could display some sessions to selected individuals like dignitaries and others to everyone. Additionally, ask them if you can tailor the exhibition displays to suit specifications, if you're having an online event, and if you can incorporate your favorite communication method for an in-person event experience.
Finally, examine the platform's customization choices and choose the ones that are the most appropriate for your events.
A Virtual Events Platform is one where your online event attendees will register and use the platform, including guests, presenters, sponsors, and advertisers. It resembles the new facility of your event in many ways.
You want a system that is simple to use and relatively simple that empowers event organizers. You also want to ensure that it has a clear, user-friendly interface that is simple for your participants to operate. Keep in mind that they will be using this platform for the majority of their event experience, so you don't want them to squander time trying to figure out the system.
Keeping people interested in an online experience has become much more difficult when they have not paid for their participation and even more challenging when it is in an online setting than in a physical one. Thus, you must avoid taking a chance. Consider choosing a platform that helps you make the transition from one part of your virtual event to the next seamless by keeping in mind the user's experience. You should consider how your virtual event platform will seem and function on many displays because many people will be signing in through multiple devices.
4. The Networking and Communication Features Available
Any virtual event must allow for networking and open communication, and the platform should be able to do this without any complications or interruptions. The platform should ideally have features that let users communicate with hosts, participants, exhibitors, or sponsors via a structured approach that makes it simple to find and get in touch with individuals.
Virtual Networking and Communication is a significant component that is directly related to maintaining audience interest. The majority of individuals go to events to learn and develop important new connections. The virtual world is no different, but it does present certain challenges for networking and in-person interactions.
Online forums and real-time video chat are obvious solutions for networking, but as people, we create authentic human connections when we can see someone's face. One excellent method to mirror some of the benefits of an in-person event is to support live video calls within your virtual events platform, either one-on-one or in a community.
Additionally, today's real-time 1:1 live chat options foster an immersive environment and boost audience interaction with the speaker in real. The flexibility to chat anonymously is also beneficial for strengthening connections. Some platforms even allow users to use live surveys/polls or discussions to direct a public debate and foster team-building events. These significant functions can improve the entire event experience in a virtual setting.
5. Audience Engagement
We are all aware of how many additional diversions there can be for virtual participants than for those attending conventional face-to-face events. Additionally, there is the problem of diminishing cognitive flexibility today. People who could manage a day of in-person conferences without too many complications have found themselves tremendously exhausted by a packed lineup of videoconferencing in the months since the pandemic began. And while organizing events online, you need to keep this in mind.
One-sided interaction shouldn't be the basis of a virtual event. The ideal scenario is for participants to be capable of engaging with various forms of media, and certain platforms offer virtual event tools that allow for something like that.
It is important to look out for platforms that allow you to create special sections within the virtual environment to encourage identification and improve user engagement. For instance, display rooms with exhibition stations, lobby rooms for welcoming guests, event marketing channels, etc. Additionally, you can assist participants in these sections in obtaining more out of the event by offering interfaces throughout the event, such as appealing introduction videos, prerecorded audiobooks or briefings, and any other marketing materials.
6. Capabilities for Integration and Assimilation
Whether your virtual event consists of straightforward web conferencing segments or a comprehensive and dynamic conference, you'll probably have to engage with a variety of different technologies in addition to the digital platform itself. In either case, it would be beneficial if the platform is well integrated with the other services you are utilizing; otherwise, assimilation will be a hassle.
Using your signup platform, for instance, powered by your domain, might be something you want to consider. If this is the case, it's critical to understand whether you can combine your enrollment platform with the virtual platform you're considering. You may also need to check that any modifications you make to your itinerary while employing an app in combination with a virtual event are updated automatically and regularly. It can be quite beneficial to work with a system that eliminates integration problems. It will not only speed up data transfers and other tasks for you, but it will also make the event experience for your online participants much more seamless.
Thus, it is important to invest in a platform that has everything in one location. Picking an end-to-end platform will offer you more time to concentrate on your event strategy and less time on administrative processes. Your virtual event solution should work for you, and not against you.
7. Features of Automation
It is possible to organize events more effectively, from planning to execution, by using virtual event platforms that are compatible with automation tools. You can streamline your marketing approach, increase engagement for all of your events, and optimize your strategy by utilizing multi-channel software applications that track virtual events in real-time. They also save a lot of time and are cost-effective.
Finding a platform that efficiently uses automation is a good idea, given the backend work required for preparing and carrying out a virtual event. Without it, the entire event depends on human instructions, which often contain errors and is not ideal. Automated operations like email campaigns also provide invaluable insights into the platform because they demonstrate that the event platform partner understands the importance of perfect execution.
8. Data Tracking and analysis
Regardless of the event type, analytics and reporting are vital. Why? This is because the data allows you to evaluate the success of your event and identify any modifications that are required going forward. For any planner, being capable of tracking event data is vital for the business.
Analyzing data and correlating it to the event's objectives are skills your platform must have. When selecting a virtual event platform, the function of event data analytics must be accessible. The collected data functions as one of the primary enticements for your advertisers and exhibitors to continue investing in your event. You may also look at the information on what visitors viewed, which vendors and advertisers they interacted with, and much more, depending on the level of detail you want to extract.
Further, only data can provide insight into whether or not the event was successful, such as whether your material was interesting or successful at generating leads. Additionally, event data enables companies to identify strategic deficiencies and better foresee them in the future. Finally, check to see if your shortlisted virtual event platform offers insights into attendees in addition to the number of registrations.
It is crucial to understand what kind of data your virtual event platform can gather, what reports it can aid in producing, and whether the data is maintained in a secure and compliant setting.
9. Long-Term Investment
It makes no sense to look for a virtual event platform for future events. Every time you conduct your virtual and hybrid event, it can be a lengthy and tiring process. Instead, look for a solution that helps you to create a long-lasting partnership. A few of the numerous benefits of making a long-term investment in a virtual solution are listed below:
Time-saving - With a multi-year subscription, you can devote more of your time to planning events and less time to trials. Spending four months of each year looking for event management software is not something you wish to do. Furthermore, you know exactly how to utilize the platform, which will save you effort when organizing and running the event.
Giving your participants a seamless experience at each conference will significantly reduce attendee disengagement. Finally, switching suppliers every year makes it harder to track your event Profitability year over year, and you risk losing past events' records.
10. 24/7 live technical support
Every event planners are aware that last-minute alterations and problems are common. Thus when it's last on the list, having a competent, responsive, and always reachable technical support crew is possibly the most crucial aspect of any virtual event.
The platform should ideally offer a dedicated support staff to handle any technical issues that arise during execution or assistance with any additional concerns that may arise.
Technicians are the main source of assistance for all attendees, including you and your user. They can handle issues with IT facilities and platform-related issues such as broken links, username, and password, access problems, unreadable screens, and defective features. Tech support is in charge of ensuring that you can host the event without worrying that things don't operate as smoothly as possible, while you must make it as memorable as possible for your users, sponsors, and target audiences.
A platform should thus, at the very least, provide website customer service and perhaps assistance with induction. All of these virtual event platform features are essential much faster than you might expect, so planning just entails knowing what resources you can rely on.
In conclusion, the best virtual event platforms will always provide you with a wide range of designing, advertising, and monitoring capabilities. You should be able to create a successful event for your online participants using the virtual event platform. It should also be simple to integrate into your process and allow you to accentuate the brand image of your business or organization.
Additionally, it should give your online attendees a pleasant and simple UX and enable you to gather insightful information about their actions throughout the virtual event. With so many great virtual event platforms out there, it is necessary that you must begin evaluating and contemplating whether they offer the solutions described in this article before making the final decision regarding which virtual events platforms tech provider to go with.