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How to Choose The Best Virtual Event Platform

Aug 19, 2022 | Business Software and Tools

Are you looking to host virtual events online? Virtual event platforms offer many great technological features that make your virtual events accessible to global audiences.

When COVID hit and forced everyone to go into lockdown, virtual event platforms became an essential tool for individuals and businesses. Now we live in a culture where you can attend a conference in Tokyo in the morning, host your webinar from your office in London after lunch, and then hop onto a Happy Hour in New York just a couple of hours later, all through the power of virtual event platforms.

And no, you will not be earning frequent flyer miles in doing all of these things. You don’t even have to leave your home office.

Learn more about selecting the right virtual event platform below.

What is a Virtual Event Platform?

virtual event platform refers to an app or software program designed to host large-scale multifaceted events. Conventions that run for several days in person can now be hosted partially or entirely online through virtual event platforms.

Virtual event platforms facilitate multiple speaking sessions simultaneously, much like in-person events host multiple speakers on a schedule in different rooms. The software platforms allow for video conferencing and breakout rooms for smaller groups.

Any event that you would host in person for your company or organisation can be implemented as a hybrid or a fully virtual event. Here are some reasons you or your business might use to host virtual events.

  • Multi-day conventions
  • Webinars
  • Online courses
  • Team meetings
  • Happy hours
  • Team-building events for your company
  • Virtual conferences
  • Job fairs

Virtual event platform software also offers different interactive features that facilitate social engagement with the following features:

  • Live streaming
  • Virtual meetups
  • Breakout spaces
  • Q&A sessions
  • Polling
  • Workshops
  • Gamification
  • Virtual booths

The best virtual event platforms go beyond typical zoom meetings or video conferences. These features allow people to actively participate and even create visual or sensory experiences simulating face-to-face interactions.

Planning Your Next Virtual Event

How do you curate the most optimised virtual event experience that will attract thousands of people? You want to find the best virtual event platforms to make the event accessible to as many people as possible. Several major factors need to be considered throughout the planning process.

Through precise planning you can ensure that your event will become an amazing interactive experience, out performing your average zoom conference calls. You should plan around the following key features.

Do You Have Options to Personalise Your Event?

Large conferences and events function as the face of an organisation. It becomes the mechanism by which you reach your audience directly in real time. Therefore, this event reflects your company and your image.

So you want to work with a virtual event platform that can offer options for customisation. For example, you may want to curate break-out rooms that look like real cafe sitting areas. Your event attendees might even appear as avatars.

Your company would create these images in advance, offering an opportunity to display your brand’s aesthetics. Sensory experiences also enhance audience engagement and enjoyment.

A personalised experience is much more memorable.

What Kind of Engagement Do You Want to Facilitate?

Virtual events simulate the social experiences of live events. You might want to host a formal, lecture-style event with limited audience interaction. Or you may want your event to offer many opportunities for audiences to engage with each other as well as with speakers, event organisers, and employees.

Therefore, it is important to choose the best virtual event platform that offers the features to host the type of event you want.

If you intend to host a formal event, like a TED talk, you’ll want basic virtual event software formats that allow for limited interactions such as:

  • Basic views of the speaker on stage or video chat
  • One-way interactions where audiences can see speakers but not interact directly
  • Simple engagement features like a chat bar
  • Standard Q&A templates for presentations

More interactive events require more flexible options and platforms that allow for creativity. Events with high engagement could also include hybrid events with both live and virtual audience members. You want these features to create a realistic experience:

  • More advanced software platforms for increased accessibility
  • Virtual breakout rooms to facilitate networking
  • Virtual meeting halls for online social gatherings
  • Online polls, opportunities to submit questions
  • Live chats and live-streaming capabilities

Methods for Generating Revenue

If your company hosts an event, they want to increase their brand reach while also creating another opportunity for profit. Live events serve as great content as well as platforms to sell the company’s already existing products. Or you want to host a big event for many companies to sell their products.

What can you do to ensure you as the host walks away with the most revenue possible?

Online events offer some of the same opportunities that you’d have when hosting in-person events. Traditionally, profits come from ticket sales and corporate sponsorships.

While virtual events can generate revenue through these two methods, some added features of a virtual event create opportunities for increased revenue that might not have existed before.

Virtual events or even hybrid events have the potential to reach a much larger audience. That means way more ticket sales, potentially.

This also means increased traffic for sponsored content. Thousands of clicks on affiliate links can generate a significant amount of profit. Best of all, this can be accomplished with pre-recorded content.

Software to Track Real-Time Feedback and Analytics

Studying data analytics provides a vital tool in learning if the event achieved its objectives. You can get real-time feedback from audience engagement.

Attendees can also use digital platforms to provide feedback about their experiences. Audience feedback and metrics can teach you the following things about your event:

  • How many people attended the events
  • What features they used
  • How long do they participate in sessions
  • Which parts of the event had the highest traffic
  • What devices do audiences use to attend
  • Percentage of the audience that watched events live vs. recorded footage later
  • From which countries or time zones do audience members participate

Optimal Customer Support for Business Partners and Guests

The best virtual event platforms will feature built-in customer support options. This could include virtual chatbots or live customer service specialists working remotely.

When operating virtual events, technical difficulties become not just a possibility but an inevitability. Even with the best virtual event platforms, there is a chance that something will glitch.

Either that or attendees may experience functional issues on their end. Connecting thousands of computers into one network creates a big need for IT and customer service experts … or AI software bots designed to address these concerns.

Virtual event platforms allow opportunities for customer support to work on the ground on multiple levels during your live events. Virtual events facilitate more accessibility between attendees and IT and customer support. You can also enjoy the ease of communication with your support staff and business partners with these platforms.

To add to the analytics section above, interactions with customer support staff or bots generate a large source of data from the event as well. You can learn a lot about what didn’t work or what might work better for future events to further enhance the experiences of your audience and business partners.

Find the Most Cost-Effective Virtual Event Platform

Software that offers more advanced features will mean extra overhead costs for your company. So you should consider the above factors when deciding on the right investment for your event. Make sure you know which features your event must have before you shop.

What pricing structures do different virtual events platforms offer? What price packages do they offer? Do they offer reduced costs if you register for multiple events?

You have to consider what features the base costs cover in your event. Do these platforms charge extra for features that you think should be included? Companies can easily trick you into overspending if their model consists mostly of add-on features with a very limited base package option.

Some event platforms might offer a customised pricing package. You should reach out and give as many specific details as possible to get the most direct quote.

Do they allow you to test specific software features for free before committing to purchases? To mitigate potential troubleshooting issues, you will want to see how the software operates in real time. Does the platform have a high-quality, easy-to-use, and accessible design?

Using Data Analytics to Optimise Your Investment

We’ve briefly touched on the benefits of implementing analytics into planning your event. But let’s take a deeper look into how data analytics enhances the virtual event experience.

Data can effectively measure an accurate ROI for sponsorship partners. Data can provide valuable lead generation. This shows what audience members want to engage with based on their interests.

You can also use data analytics to gauge how well attended the large and small events were. You can see which events and speakers proved to be the most popular. You learn this information with the following:

  • Engagement metrics use CRM technology to discover how audiences interacted before and during event times
  • Livestream analytics offer valuable insights through session engagement statistics, total views, and streaming times

Social Engagement Metrics

You can easily monitor social media metrics by tracking event hashtags, reposts, shares, and likes. Pay attention to how attendees post about the event. So much data can be mined through the comment sections and direct messages.

Data also tracks the audience’s search results and what links they clicked on. You can learn which sponsored links brought the most traffic.

You can also find valuable insights by tracking metrics from chat engagements. Data shows how many people participate in chats during live streams. You can also see how many 1-on-1 sessions and breakout conversations happen in real time.

Often, social media metrics provide the most accurate real-time reactions to the speakers and events. You can track the quantity and the quality of engagement while learning from your audiences for future events.

Gain Personalised Insights

We mentioned earlier how the best virtual event platforms allow features that personalise your events for your brand and your company’s needs. Audience insights can drive more success in offering hyper-tailored events for your attendees based on what you have learned from them.

Marketing teams create personas based on the perceived characteristics of the company’s customer base. The data from virtual events removes all the guesswork in developing these personas.

You can learn about attendees’ characteristics before the event with specific registration fields they fill out. During and after events you can track what they clicked on, where they stayed the longest, and what they said in online polls and surveys.

Account-level analytics insights can help the sales teams drive conversations in networking chats during the events. They can track how attendees learned about the event, and what engine they used to register for the event.

Getting the Best Data from Your Audiences

The more audiences engage with your content, the more you can learn from them. If audiences feel like they have the access to be actively involved with speakers and events, they will be enthusiastic about participating.

You can also gain so much value from content generated by customers during the event on your virtual event platform or with social media.

When picking the right platform for your virtual events, you want to make sure they have the structural bandwidth for this kind of interaction. You also want to make sure that the virtual event platform comes with software built with the best analytics.

Deciding What Type of Virtual Event to Host

You now know what to consider when choosing a powerful virtual event platform. The next step involves deciding how to get guests to be excited about showing up to a virtual event.

There are a great variety of options available to engage a public audience. These include large or small group activities that foster different ways of interacting with speakers and mentors. Audience members engaging with other attendees also provides many opportunities to network and connect.

Your job as a host means that you create those opportunities and you can build brand loyalty for your company from these events.

Ask Me Anything

This offers a unique opportunity to connect with members of your community while also giving them a voice.

This would also be a great way to promote a celebrity guest speaker or prominent expert guests you might invite to be at your event. People would love an opportunity to ask someone they admire a question about something they have a lot of passion for.

Ask Me Anything sessions resemble Q&A forums but with a less formal presentation. Guests and speakers can answer audience questions casually and conversationally. This could provide a highly memorable experience that people keep talking about.

Using Content to Connect with Event Participants

You can facilitate smaller events that branch off keynote speaker events or larger town hall-type events. Attendees who enjoyed the content of an event and wish to dig deeper and engage further could participate in breakout groups, group discussions, one-on-one interviews, or mentoring sessions.

People will remember the content better and have stronger takeaways. This increases the value of your company’s brand reach and influence in thought leadership.

Connect People with Common Interests

You can set up workshops and meetups where people can meet and network with other attendees who share passions and interests. Professional networking events also present great opportunities.

But these special events don’t have to be related to just business topics. You could host a running club or a dance party!

Product Launches

Whether your company sells its products at events or you host other companies to promote their business, you have people’s attention. They came to the event to learn and experience new things.

Product launches bring a lot of interest because they can be fun to watch. Also, people love free swag!

Expert Talks

Companies can offer special opportunities for their highest achieving team members by giving them a platform to talk about their area of expertise.

Virtual events could also work with experts in the field from outside of the company. This allows an awesome chance to network with other professionals and peers whose work you admire.

These events also make the overall experience a valuable and worthwhile investment because they intentionally direct important and meaningful conversations. Thought leadership creates opportunities for more creativity and innovation in the work that people do.

Live Concerts

During the peak of the lockdown, many popular artists filmed large-scale concerts on real stages without audience members. Award shows streamed live while people watched from home.

Even as quarantine restrictions went away and people gathered in person again, concerts still live stream to a wider audience. Hybrid events like this offer an amazing form of publicity for your event and an incentive for people to be a part of something huge.

Regardless of your event niche or industry, live music concerts provide loads of entertainment for your guests. Concerts make your event stand out more.

This article offers more ideas for how to make the most out of your next virtual event.

Dive into the Metaverse: A Virtual Event Game-changer

As event platform software becomes more sophisticated, it will begin to implement the newest technology that has already made its mark in the collective zeitgeist.

Augmented reality technology has opened the doors to the metaverse which is a booming new reality with seemingly endless possibilities. Rather, this technology has become so recently mainstream that new fields have popped up, like virtual real estate, which exists entirely in the virtual space.

Incorporating augmented reality into virtual event platforms breathes new life into virtual networking spaces. Guests can ‘attend’ these events as their avatars from anywhere in the world and have real-life interactions with their colleagues.

You can host meetings and more enhanced chat rooms through the metaverse. Way more fun than a zoom meeting. Simulating live interactions in the metaverse lets guests weave in and out of different events organically, as they would at live in-person events.

Dozens of events could run simultaneously. People could have an improved experience that didn’t include ‘Zoom fatigue.’

‘Attending’ a virtual event using augmented reality technology sounds like a crazy idea at first. But you want to get in on the ground floor of this new movement.

That Time Ariana Grande Did a Concert Performance in the Fortnite Video Game

Yes. That sentence describes a real event that happened in the world just this year.

People who play Fortnite experienced a big plot twist recently when they had the opportunity to see Ariana Grande in concert, in avatar-form.

The concert stirred a lot of buzz. Events like this will only become more commonplace and mainstream in the coming years. No idea is too weird to try at this point.

Choose a Hype Platform for Networking

People connect on new global levels because of increased online presence and communication networks. Multiple social media platforms make it possible to meet with friends and colleagues who live in a different country than you.

We are no longer geographically bound when it comes to finding people to build community. Implementing the best virtual event platform for your business will take your future events to new levels.

With Dubai functioning as a global city, Virtuzone helps your business be set up for success.

Visit us on our website to check out our services for your business today.

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