This year surely had us all scrambling to cancel all our plans at the last minute. The novel coronavirus forced people to sit back at home and rethink their ways of attending that most-awaited conference or visit that crucial trade show through different digital mediums. 2020 has redefined what is deemed to be normal and one of the trends seen on the rise are virtual events.
Virtual events is any event that takes place on an online platform with people engaging and interacting with a virtual environment. The experiences that can be explored in Virtual Events are vast, ranging from multi-session online events to webinars, webcasts and exhibitions and online workshops. Brands have been using Virtual Events as an important tool of their digital marketing plan and are exploring the digital landscape now more than ever. The results that are yielded from these are great because the events are highly interactive and have a novelty factor for the masses.
While both on-ground events and virtual events have their own lists of pros and cons, we must take a step back from the physical events until the pandemic is over and evaluate why Virtual Events are the better bet to go ahead with.
It is no secret that physical events can burn holes in your pocket. While taking your attendees to new destinations can be emotionally gratifying, chances are that the objective of doing so is rarely met. The troubles do not end there. Along with travel costs, there’s hotel booking that needs to be taken care of, live entertainment options that have to be factored in, speaker hospitality to be given importance to. Virtual Events make these costs non-existent as you only have to pay for the platform, it’s promotion and the speakers. Through Virtual Events, you are more likely to afford a top-notch speaker for your event as logistics aren’t involved in the process.
Virtual Event Platforms have the advantage of being extremely flexible and be tailor made to suit custom requirements. With physical barriers out of the way, you can carve out the exact experience you want to provide to your attendees. Unlike traditional events, virtual events do not suffer from uncertainty such as weather hazards or technical glitches. The experience that the end users get is a much smoother one. A lot of organizations have a global workforce who work remotely from their locations. Getting the entire team to be aligned for a physical event seems to be a mammoth task. Virtual Events take care of the different time zones and churn out a memorable experience with the whole team involved. Similarly, a brand is likely to have bigger audience reach with a Virtual Event than a physical one because Virtual Events are accessible from any smart device with internet bandwidth.
Most physical venues will have a definitive capacity for the audience. With Virtual Events, the number of participants depends on how many people you as a brand or an organization want to reach out to. During physical events, there are hundreds of people gathered at a venue and chances are they are missing out on important segments of the experience and information that the event aims at providing. Virtual Events tend to focus on providing unique user experience to all the participants and make all the necessary information accessible to them. This scales up the chances of ROI and lead conversion which is an uncertain factor during physical events.
The key agenda of any event is to provide data and information to the participants and also to collect data from the participants. During on-ground events, the information that you are trying to provide to the attendees may not be retained and can be lost. If your event is being hosted for three days and is packed with data and information, chances are that the user will not be able to grasp all of it at one go. The perk of hosting a Virtual Event is that the information that you wish to provide to the participants can be downloaded and the information is available online for as long you want to keep the event page live. Virtual Events are data mines as you can monitor consumer behavior, the type of content that they are viewing, the products that they are interacting with and the networking sessions. You can collect data through feedback and rating and get an understanding of what worked with the attendees and what didn’t.
The basic question that you need to ask yourself before hosting any type of event is “What is in it for me?”. You need to understand the ROI before you invest in any event. Traditional events cannot determine ROI as they cannot study every attendee minutely and gauge their pulse. However, Virtual Events can surely indicate the ROI that can be expected as they have data of every attendee. The level of engagement, the content consumption and the interactive networking sessions will help the hosts understand their audience better and turn these potential leads into confirmed ones.
Virtual Events are more convenient and efficient than their traditional counterparts. With the health issue that is dominating the world today, it’s safer to host a virtual event and keep the audience engaged.