During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual events became the new normal in many industries. Even now, many organisations have chosen to adopt virtual events to reach more consumers, not bound by geographical or travel restrictions.
Unfortunately, some are still dubious about their longevity, practicality, and usefulness.
Are virtual events suitable to help you meet your goals? Are they as beneficial as in-person ones?
We’ve put together some of the most common misconceptions surrounding virtual events and busted them!
You’ll find out why virtual events are here to stay and just how beneficial they’ve been during a time of necessity.
So you’re not a fan of virtual events?
You don’t believe they can be just as productive and rewarding as the real thing?
We’re about to debunk seven myths surrounding online events. You won’t look at them the same way again:
Many people assume that a virtual event is pre-recorded and all you do is show up, log in and watch some boring content for an hour or so.
Virtual events are more interactive, allowing you to download, upload and edit content before, during, and after the event. They aren’t just videos playing to attendees.
Virtual events are hosted on an event microsite customised to your design needs. An entire virtual world is dedicated to making the attendees’ experience more interactive on a grander scale.
Content for attendees includes booths for sponsors or brands, live panels, keynote speakers, entertainment, and breakout sessions. You can integrate these segments with prerecorded or live footage to create a seamless experience for viewers.
All the while reducing the costs that come with live events. Think venue hire, caterers, staff.
Speaking of money, how can it be made from an online event?
Exactly the same way as from a live event!
Competitions and giveaways, polls and Q&As, sponsored breakout rooms, entertainment, gift boxes, or simply an ‘ad break’ between segments.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The possibilities are endless when it comes to virtual event monetisation.
That’s where the money is, online!
Another common misconception about virtual events is that nobody will attend when in-person events start back up.
While we completely understand the concern, there’s more to consider here.
Who are your attendees, and where do they come from?
Virtual events are more accessible for those that live remotely or whose schedule isn’t flexible enough to travel to an in-person event. Attending a physical conference is time and cost heavy; that’s a burden for many people.
These guests would be unlikely ever to attend an event in person. By having both
virtual and live attendance options, you‘ll reach a much larger and more diverse audience.
People have discovered that working from home, including attending meetings, is more convenient in the past two years.
Attendees are more likely to choose virtual events when the world returns to normal as they’ll save both time and money.
Think about how many of your clients you can reach when you start to offer hybrid events!
In-person and online, working hand in hand will most likely double your exposure!
Networking is the backbone and one of the main purposes of attending an event. People incorrectly assume that networking is next to impossible in a digital setting.
Networking is done differently at virtual events, given the lack of physical interactions. There are many ways to overcome this.
For example, the best online events are designed with break-out rooms to encourage attendees to connect. They have opportunities like virtual coffee bars or speed dating sessions to allow attendees to network with each other freely.
Enabling private chat features also allows attendees to click and choose who they want to interact with on a one-to-one basis. This function encourages communication at any time throughout the event.
Live events very much revolve around getting the audience engaged. It’s
understandable why some people believe virtual events limit attendee participation.
It’s absolutely possible to keep virtual viewers engaged and interacting with the content you’re providing.
Our favorite suggestions are having live social media feeds encouraging the posting of selfies and using hashtags from the moment the event begins.
Create options for the audience to share their opinions and to steer conversations. Ideas like
polls and Q&As, scheduling regular networking breaks and hosting interactive product demonstrations.
These techniques keep your audience involved and interested while reducing digital fatigue.
Some event producers sigh when they hear that they must plan a virtual event, believing that a whole heap of extra work is coming their way.
They’ll be surprised to know that this isn’t true.
Of course, all of this takes effort, that’s why event producers exist, but it’s just a different kind of work.
For a live event, you must hire a venue, contact caterers, and negotiate with accommodation and transport partners.
Virtual events need none of the above.
Instead, all you need is the right online platform to conduct the event!
The online world requires project management in the form of people. Planners with the best contacts in this area will know how to create an occasion worth attending.
The secret to a successful virtual event is the people you employ. These days, tech-savvy ones are the most important. They’re the ones who’ll ensure your online event is technology-ready and able to handle anything you and your attendees expect.
For the past few years, virtual events have been necessary due to travel restrictions and, in some cases, lockdowns. Some feel that these will fully return to in-person ones once some semblance of normality returns.
Consider this. Money has been heavily invested in building online platforms dedicated to hosting virtual events. No organisation is going to want to abandon these.
Instead, get ready for hybrid events to take over. The best of both worlds allows in-person and online attendees to join.
What’s something else that online events have over in-person ones?
For the past two years, you’ve been gathering online data on your attendees. You now can understand who your clients are and exactly what they want from their next event. You might not have received all of this vital information if live events were all you had to offer.
Don’t underestimate the power of a virtual event.
Believe us; they’re here to stay.
Virtual events have been rising for the past few years, mainly out of necessity. The positive is that they’ve been widely accepted and attended.
For some business operators, though, they’re still a scary concept. Even more so when their entire event budget for next year relies on the next event's success.
Attendances will increase as virtual events offer opportunities for more people to engage, especially from the comfort of home. Monetisation and networking aren’t reduced; they’re just conducted differently.
By now, any professional event planner has already gained experience in the virtual world and excels at organising them.
We believe virtual events will help you reach new audiences, achieve more engagement and generate a higher ROI.
If you’re still worried about taking the plunge into virtual or hybrid events, have a look at our webinar series. We delve deeper into how to run a successful virtual event.
You’ll never look at an in-person event the same way again!