Virtual events are gaining rapid popularity. It’s no mystery why either. As 2020 continues to unfold into a surreal pandemic that has collapsed businesses, industries, communities, healthcare systems, and the world economy, we must still find a way to connect, learn, and move forward.
Virtual events provide one of the few ways we can safely connect with others and still meet our educational and business needs.
20 Facts, Tips & Ideas for Your Virtual Events
1) Coronavirus is impacting all of us.
All of us in the meetings and events industry are struggling. We work with half of the CMI 25 and the impact has been devastating. If this year has caught you by surprise, turned your world and your company upside down, and feels like an unending nightmare– you are not alone.
A recent poll showed that only 35% of event planners weren’t worried about their jobs at all, which means the majority are seeing a substantial impact.
2) $1 billion+ in losses
COVID-19 has not only disrupted thousands of small events, but it’s also wreaked major havoc on large tech companies. The cancelation of more than 10 major tech conferences (including Google, Facebook, etc.) has soared beyond $1 billion in direct economic loss.
3) From postponed to virtual
When the virus was just beginning to spread around the world, many events were immediately canceled or postponed.
Now that social distancing and banned large gatherings seemingly have no definite end in sight, more and more events are going virtual.
In fact, during a recent Cvent webinar, the 1000+ attendees were asked, “With your face to face meetings over the next 6 months, are…” with 41% reporting their events had gone virtual.
4) Virtual events are real events
During the same Cvent webinar, one of the speaker’s, John Broaddus, strongly affirmed that, “Virtual events are real events.”
It’s easy to see virtual events as the step child of in-person meetings. But that’s not the truth.
According to John, virtual events still help you achieve your goals. They are, “Powerful vehicles building awareness, engaging customers and prospects, and generating leads.”
5) Virtual already works!
Even if you know that virtual events can work, it’s still hard not to see them as Plan B. But the truth is, virtual events and platforms have been thriving long before this pandemic.
According to VFairs, last year, over 1.8 million live-streamed an Apple event. Live streaming and videos are taking over more and more. 80% of individuals polled said they prefer a company’s live stream over a social media post or blog, and 44% said they watch more live-streamed events on their television than actual tv shows.
The online platform, Coursera, which depends on a mix of video uploads, content, and tutorials has over 23 million registered users proving virtual not only works– but it’s also been thriving for quite some time.
6) What is a virtual event?
A virtual event could include an on-demand yoga class, a Lamaze class on Youtube Live, or a webinar about how to go vegan.
According to Cvent, “A virtual event is one where individuals experience the event and its content online rather than gathering in-person.”
7) Most popular virtual events
The most popular virtual events our client ask us to set up include:
Webinars: Typically 45-75 minutes long, include a Q&A, can be live or pre-filmed.
Virtual Conferences: Complex virtual events that mimic an in-person conference including keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking with other attendees.
8) Who attends virtual events?
You can set up your virtual event for internal purposes, meaning only your team members would be invited and would attend.
As most of us are now #socialdistancing and working remotely, this is a great option to keep your team united, motivated, and progressing forward during this disruptive time.
You could also set up your virtual event for external purposes which allows attendees outside of your organization to attend. This requires better technology and video quality to make guests feel like they are actually there at your event.
9) Not all virtual events are equal
Just like in-person events can be life-changing or they can totally flop, virtual events also vary considerably in quality.
The same level of care must be given (if not more!) to the registration site, the mobile app, the speakers, communication with your attendees, content, and sponsors.
10) Can I use Cvent for my virtual event?
Yes! Cvent is fully equipped to support the marketing and management needs of your virtual event.
Cvent can boost attendance, process registration, capture data, analyze ROI, increase engagement, and integrate with other solutions.
11) Cvent & Zoom
With Coronavirus and the need to work remotely, the video-conferencing tool, Zoom, went from 10 million daily users in December 2019 to 200 million daily users by March 2020.
It’s simple and integrates easily with Cvent which is why the majority of our clients are requesting it. As of now, it seems to be the most popular choice.
12) Cvent and other platforms
Cvent also integrates with other platforms including Webex, Adobe Connect, GoToWebinar, GlobalMeet, and many more.
13) Importance of mobile apps
One of the most important parts of an event, but especially a virtual event, is attendee engagement.
Since the average person checks their phone 200x a day (and probably much more during quarantine), there is no better way to keep your attendee’s attention than providing a mobile app.
An app allows many more features including gamification, polls, event information, connecting with your brand (and your sponsors!), interaction with other attendees, and so much more!
14) CrowCompass, QuickMobile, or DoubleDutch?
All of these platforms are set up to help support a virtual event and fall under the Cvent umbrella. However, CrowdCompass, is more integrated with Cvent than the others which makes it more recommended.
15) Data, Data, Data
Was your event successful? Is there room for improvement? How can you prove the ROI to your sponsors and your boss?
The answer: data.
Data is one of the most important features of running an event– virtual or not. This include data pre, during, and post event.
According to Cvent, here is just some of the data you can acquire:
- Number of Registrations
- Demographic Attendee Information
- Session Registration
- Email Open and Click-through Rates
- Post-Event Survey Results
- # of Leads
- Buying Interest
- Session Ratings
- Session Feedback
- Social Media Engagement and Reach
16) Benefits of virtual events for companies
For companies, there are a lot of advantages to creating a virtual event. With quarantine having no definite end in sight, a virtual event provides:
- A way for your brand to stay engaged, current, and involved with your audience
- Generate Revenue
- Move forward with business as usual (or as close to usual as possible) and still achieve your goals
- A way to provide valuable information, education, and community at a time when it is more needed than ever before
17) Benefits of virtual events for attendees
Virtual events were big before COVID-19. But they are more welcome than ever before. This includes attendee benefits such as:
- Anyone can attend (because virtual is more feasible than in-person attendance and most people have extra time these days)
- Breaks the boredom and monotony of quarantine
- Consume important knowledge and education
- Connect and socialize with other attendees
- Better contribution and engagement (especially for naturally shy or introverted personalities)
- Saves you money (transportation, hotel accommodation, etc.)
18) How to plan your virtual event
There are several important considerations to ask when planning a virtual event.
This includes how to pivot your in-person event to a virtual one without losing the quality.
Will you invite more attendees now that there is no limitation on venue space?
Do your attendees need any special materials?
Will you do live events or pre-filmed? Will you provide a recording for those that can’t make it?
All of these questions are important to answer before setting up your event.
19) Do you charge the same for virtual events?
Virtual events cost less to create than in-person events. You don’t have to pay for a venue, swanky cocktail hours, or the travel expenses of your speakers.
However, Rachel from Hello7 says, “Don’t flinch from charging the same for a virtual event that you would for a live event.”
She shares a cost breakdown from two events she created sharing how she charged the same amount and made $51,000 more in profit from her online event.
However, with some of the highest levels of unemployment in history, most attendees would gladly welcome and appreciate a reduced price.
20) How to get started with a virtual event?
Contact our team! We are here to help you navigate the world of virtual events. Get a free consultation and quote for your virtual event today!