Ultimate Guide: Introduction To Virtual Events

  • Athar
  • 9th September, 2020
Ultimate Guide from Samaaro: Introduction to Virtual Events


Introduction

“In the midst of chaos, there is also an opportunity” is what Sun-Tzu proclaimed in his famous book- The Art of War.

Not trying to oversimplify or undermine the on-going crisis, but let’s get real. The COVID-19 pandemic has put paid to all kinds of events and activities. Thousands of events were cancelled from as early as February 2020, and by mid-March, the writing was on the wall, and the trillion-dollar events industry had incurred a loss of $666 Million.

However, as bad as it may sound, there is definitely an option for business organizations to seize the various opportunities a black swan event such as COVID-19 offers, and one of them is virtual events.

Even a year ago, transitioning to virtual events would have been a difficult choice for most businesses. But as the saying goes, creativity appears in the face of adversity. Marketers across the world are now looking for new ways to adapt to the realities of marketing during the pandemic, and are scrambling to host virtual events. But what the hell are Virtual Events, anyway?



What Are Virtual Events?


Ultimate Guide by Samaaro: Introduction to Virtual Events

Chances are that, if you are reading this article, you have already attended a virtual event.

According to Wikipedia, “A virtual event is an online event that involves people interacting in a virtual environment on the web, rather than meeting in a physical location. Virtual events are typically multi-session online events that often feature webinars and webcasts.”

Simply put, a virtual event replicates a physical event, but in a virtual environment. Still unclear? Read more on What Virtual Events are and Why you should be hosting one.

But there are many questions surrounding the entire concept of virtual events. Are they just a passing fad? Will people stay engaged during? Will virtual events last beyond the pandemic? What are the advantages of the virtual event? Read on to know the answers to these questions and a lot more. Let’s jump right in…



Why Should Businesses Switch to Virtual Events?

Ultimate Guide: Introduction to Virtual Events

For starters, the global pandemic is ravaging across the world with no end in sight. This means, one of the primary concerns for event-goers now, for an indefinite period of time we may add, is their health.

Moreover, healthcare experts, including the WHO, suggest that even after a vaccine is developed and made available to the masses, it is highly unlikely that the virus will just disappear. This means social distancing and masks will be a part of our lives for a long time and in-person events will be a no-go for the foreseeable future.

But thankfully, we have virtual events.

A study by IMPACT, a digital sales and marketing firm based out of the US, reported that video content will be the source of 80% of all internet traffic by 2021. The study also concluded that a total of 86% of participants in online meetings report an equal or higher level of engagement compared to in-person meetings. Hosting online events reduces pollution, eliminates travel costs and allows hosts to invest more on the speakers amongst other advantages. However, the cherry on the cake is the fact that using the right platform to host virtual events can help business owners generate real-time analytics.

So yes, hosting a virtual event comes with a lot of benefits, and eliminates a lot of disadvantages, and can be a massive bang for the buck, if done right.

That being said, it would be wrong to declare that physical events will never be back, because let’s be honest, face-to-face interactions have a charm of their own. But virtual events offer a worthy alternative to in-person events, which bear the same results, at a fraction of the cost and without the risk involved in hosting traditional physical events.

Now that we have understood what virtual events are, let’s explore some common Types of Virtual events and why they are hosted.



Types of Virtual Events


Ultimate Guide by Samaaro: Types of Virtual Events

Business Networking Events

Today’s virtual event platforms allow business owners to host Virtual Conferences, Virtual Town halls, Virtual summits with keynotes, breakouts & networking sessions and much more. It allows you to connect with attendees through rich interactive features like audio & video chats, polls, games, webinars, and Q&A sessions.

Another highlight feature of virtual events is that you can also augment people into the screen to provide a more realistic experience to your audience.

Hosting Virtual conferences and Virtual summits is an important business activity, especially in a modernized world that we live in now, where businesses are global, and nurturing and educating leads constantly, is mandatory.

To sum up, The most popular type of Business Networking Virtual Events are:

  • Virtual Conferences
  • Virtual Summits
  • Virtual Keynotes
  • Virtual Meetups
  • Virtual Webinars
  • Virtual Awards, Rewards and Recognitions

Also read how Organizations around the world have leveraged Samaaro as a Virtual Conference Platform and hosted some of the best virtual events to engage and connect with their audience.

Education, Career and Training Events

Ed-tech had been on the rise, even before the pandemic stripped the well-woven tapestry of the modern education system. The arrival of the pandemic, however, was just a shot in the arm, so to speak.

Online or Virtual classrooms are one of the most popular types of virtual events to emerge from the pandemic, where trainers can solve queries via live Q&A sessions, present the content using share screen feature, and have one-on-one discussion with the students. Students also have the option of attending online classes that offer course material in the format of videos, exercises, and practice mock tests.

Virtual job fairs are another type of event that can be used by the education industry, which provides job seekers and employers a platform to interact, discuss employment opportunities and more.

To sum up, The most popular type of Education, Career and Training Virtual Events are:

  • Virtual Classrooms
  • Virtual Workshops
  • Virtual Hackathons
  • Virtual Trainings
  • Virtual Ask-Me-Anything
  • Virtual Career Fairs

Also read how Organizations around the world have leveraged Samaaro as a Virtual Fair Platform and hosted some of the best Virtual Career Fairs to engage and connect with Students, Recruiters, Employees and Trainees.

Sales and Marketing Events

Virtual marketing events are a great way to stay connected with your audience and show them that they matter, because, if a global pandemic can’t stop you from reaching your audience, then what can?

Although hosting events virtually for sales & marketing is a bit of a challenge, they have jumped on the bandwagon these past couple of months to great success. The major reason why sales and marketing virtual events were not very popular is because they largely revolve around activities like showcasing products and services, and providing customized demos.

But modern technologies have caught up, and there are many platforms that offer unique features that bring events like product launches and sales conferences to life. Features like a virtual booth, where exhibitors are listed and attendees are able to click through to visit the different booths, are helping attendees have an immersive experience while allowing exhibitors sell their story, (and the products) effectively.

To make the events more interactive, the platforms also include event spaces such as lobby and auditorium to add a dynamic feel and familiar elements to the event.

To sum up, The most popular type of Sales and Marketing Virtual Events are:

  • Virtual Product Launches
  • Virtual Fairs
  • Virtual Sales Conference
  • Virtual Distributors Meet
  • Virtual Press Meet

Also read how Organizations around the world have leveraged Samaaro as a Virtual Product Launch Platform and hosted some of the best virtual exhibitions to engage and connect with their dealers, suppliers and audience.

Industry Events

Due to the surge in demand, various industries are adapting to digital events, and today’s versatile virtual events platforms make it possible for organizers from diverse industries to host a variety of virtual events.

Infact, the world’s most successful and innovative companies are leveraging the latest technologies to host Virtual Tradeshows, Virtual Exhibitions, Virtual Expos, Medical conferences and more to reach more prospects through virtual events. Interactive features like polls, quizzes, gamifications and integrations make it possible for organizers to make digital events ever so engaging.

In fact, Apple hosted its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) virtually this year. Apple’s reactive response concerning the hosting of its WWDC convention is just one of a string of companies taking a similar path.

To sum up, The most popular type of Industry specific Virtual Events are:

  • Virtual Exhibitions
  • Virtual Fairs
  • Virtual Tradeshows
  • Virtual Expos
  • Virtual Industry Conferences

Also read how Organizations around the world have leveraged Samaaro as a Virtual Exhibition Platform and hosted some of the best virtual exhibitions to engage and connect with their dealers, suppliers and audience.

Planning to host a Virtual Event and want some Virtual Event Ideas? Reach out to us and we will help you bring your imagination to life with Samaaro!



Features of a Virtual Event Platform


Ultimate Guide by Samaaro: Types of Virtual Events

Engagement

Beyond cost-reducing and time-saving, today’s Best Virtual Event Platforms offer tons of features that can be used to make your virtual event fun and memorable.

Remember, attendee engagement is one of the most important components that determines the success of your virtual event, especially so because your audience is very likely to get distracted online. It is crucial to use the right technologies to ensure your attendees feel like they were part of an actual community.

Here are the top 5 features that can be used to make your virtual event more engaging:

  1. Live polls, surveys and quizzes
  2. Push live notifications to keep audiences aware of the latest proceedings of the event
  3. A personal briefcase to save, download and view your favorite content anywhere, anytime
  4. In-event games to ensure interactive experiences for users
  5. Q&A sessions to learn about the users

Additionally, Augmented Reality is the latest exciting addition to the virtual event environment. AR can be effectively used to create immersive experiences for the audience.

Networking

Making connections is one of the top reasons people choose to attend an event. However, one of the biggest challenges faced by virtual event organizers is facilitating networking during their events.

But not anymore! Today’s sophisticated virtual event platforms allow users to find each other, start a conversation and forge strategic relationships, seamlessly. While it may not be possible to exchange business cards, virtual events can be banked on for crucial and unique networking opportunities that help you quickly connect across digital platforms and social media which will help your audience stay connected.

Here are a few ways networking can be done during virtual events:

  1. Business profile for booth representatives
  2. One-on-one video calls between attendees
  3. Agenda specific networking lounge
  4. Moderated/unmoderated chats
  5. Breakout Sessions

By using the above features, virtual events allow your attendees to connect with each other and develop relationships.

Security

With the rise in internet-related crimes and violations in the recent past, cybersecurity is an aspect that can not be overlooked. As organizers of an event, you have access to sensitive information of your attendees, and the responsibility falls on you to protect this information. And due to the surge in the demand, robust and secure virtual event platforms are finally a thing.

Here are a few features that make virtual events truly secure:

  1. SSL certification
  2. One-device login
  3. Data encryption
  4. Intrusion detection and prevention
  5. Automated smoke, stress and penetration tests

Customization

Each virtual event has its own requirements, which makes it mandatory to choose a platform that can be customized to suit the theme of your event as well as your company’s brand guidelines. From the events landing page to custom virtual booths and custom language support, virtual events can be customized according to one’s whim to best represent their brand.

Here are some of the customization options available for virtual event organizers :

  1. Branding & Theming
  2. Language Support
  3. Personalized Landing Page
  4. On-screen elements
  5. Custom Domain Hosting

How you design and plan your event is inextricably dependent on how customizable your virtual event platform is. So make sure you make use of all the options available to provide the best experience for your users.

Integrations

Another key feature of virtual events is the integrations it offers. Virtual events offer organizers the leeway to seamlessly integrate various tools, softwares and services of their choice- right from the registrations page to the product booth. Such integrations help organizers personalize the experience for themselves and effectively manage the data that they will receive. They can also automate various processes such as welcome email, offers and more based on the integrations, which make virtual events compatible, flexible and extensible.

Here are a few types of integrations that virtual events offer:

  1. Email Integrations Ex: MailChimp
  2. Social Media Integrations Ex: Facebook, Twitter
  3. CRM Integrations Ex: Salesforce
  4. Video Integration Ex: Vimeo
  5. Payment Gateway Integrations Ex: Paypal, Stripe

Now that you have understood the nuts and bolts of virtual events, now let’s look at how to actually host a virtual event, and how you can kick-ass at it. Our next Ultimate Guide to host the best Virtual Events will be coming soon.

Thinking about hosting Virtual Events? Reach out to us and we will guide you through the end to end process of hosting amazing online events! Book a free Demo on Samaaro today!

About Samaaro

Samaaro is a powerful and customizable virtual event platform that organizations have leveraged to host scalable and engaging events. Our reputed clients have hosted Virtual Exhibitions, Virtual Tradeshows, Virtual summits, Virtual trade shows, Virtual fairs, Virtual conferences, Virtual awards ceremonies, and more on Samaaro. With a plethora of features, such as a powerful analytics dashboard, one-on-one and group chats/video calls, custom software integrations and more, Samaaro empowers you to host impactful virtual events that effectively connect you with your global audience and achieve business milestones.