The pain points of virtual events and virtual event platforms
Planning a virtual event and running an event on a virtual platform is not as simple as one may hope, in fact it is highly likely that you will need some virtual event expertise…
It’s been a journey, a virtual one, but a journey none the less. On this journey we have identified the key pain points of the virtual realm, and emphatically urge the importance of overcoming these! If you’re organising an upcoming event – and being a member of the human race, I understand this is going to be virtual for various reasons – these are objectives you should consider…
Everything you know about your attendees has changed. It is a new world, not to regurgitate the constant headlines and Government press conferences… We need to relearn everything that we have learnt, because what worked before, doesn’t fly anymore.
Understanding your audience is key and understanding them in a virtual world is a whole new paradigm that takes experience and knowledge of virtual events.
Attendee engagement is the goal, and this takes; immersion – the more immersive the experience the better the message is delivered, structure – the more structured the event is, the more successful contrasting with in-person events (which may actually require less people management, allowing coffee breaks and networking to take place naturally).
You can’t shove people into a virtual room and expect them to behave as they would in an in-person event, they need a topic, they need a purpose, and they need to be made to feel comfortable in an unnatural environment.
We’ve seen it happen, the four-day agenda consisting of four million sessions condensed in to a one day-er with no breaks, a bit of (that made up word) gamification, attendees ushered to sponsor stands who can’t access their qualified leads, in a cloud of virtual names.
It takes consideration to work out what is best hosted online, and while keeping engagement is the highest priority, or should be if not, overwhelming attendees with content may not be the answer.
To create an engaging event, interactive elements must be there, the chats, the facilitated topical breakouts with relevant discussions, the main plenary with time between sessions to run away and make a tea, or dive into a workshop, the branded environment where you feel part of your organisation, and the ability for sponsors to reach a relevant audience.
Screen and content fatigue is real, and the longer remote working continues (which isn’t likely to change soon) the more creative you need to be in putting your virtual event together to benefit it’s attendees.
Did you know that you can have a 100% increase on attendance of virtual events compared with live in-person events? The obvious point is that it makes events more accessible and so your anticipated numbers could be massively increased. However, we see a 40% drop off from registrations to actual attendance. This is still a large increase, regardless of the high drop off. But, to put this into context, the drop off for a live event can be as little as 10%.
Whether the event is free or paid has a large influence on these statistics. Paying for an event, however minimal, is an incentive to show up.
Making attendees feel valued is paramount for any event. This means prioritising a strategy that will make attendees feel part of the organisation, part of the topic, relevant to the event and giving them a real experience.
This means – surprisingly – the total opposite of being talked at by someone behind a screen. This is static, stale and uninspiring. For the sharing of information this is a necessary segment of any event, but emphasis on “segment”.
Think about the importance of connection and community, something we are all missing, being in *ding ding ding* Lock Down Round 3.
You may be surrounded by people at a virtual event, but you need to feel and see this. As an attendee it should be easy to communicate with others and lose the feeling of sitting in your room behind your screen, isolated.
With an overwhelming number of virtual event platforms on the market, it makes research on finding the best platform for your businesses needs and objectives incredibly time consuming and challenging.
The pandemic has brought a need for businesses to adapt or to stop.
Companies that once focused on in-person events, or relied on events for their product, have had to focus on a virtual environment, forcing a huge number of platforms on to the market. Most of these won’t last long, however with this saturation it’s made it incredibly difficult for clients to know what will work best and which are telling the truth when it comes to capabilities.
It’s a huge learning curve and takes trial and error to find the most appropriate platform. Gone are the days you shove your content on to zoom and hope for engagement, interaction, and inspiration…
As an event agency we put our client objectives at the forefront of the work that we do, and having (very luckily) been so busy with our virtual events this year, we understand what works and what doesn’t. In this case the time we have spent working on virtual, we know which platforms will work and which will not.
Conclusion? Well, there are some amazing platforms to host events online. They can really showcase content and brand, wow attendees and provide exceptional experiences. Finding these, utilising them to their capabilities and knowing confidently that they won’t fail you is the difficulty. This and understanding how to successfully deliver an event that people are excited to attend online, is a real challenge that companies like Dynamic Events have carefully mapped out strategy, partnerships and plans for.
Contact us to set up a call and see how we can help you with your event:
Georgie: [email protected]
Or fill out our contact form here and we will get in touch with you!