Are Virtual Events Effective?

Post by 
Brandon Busuttil
Published 
July 30, 2020

There are a plethora of reasons that a brand might be considering hosting virtual events right now. Not only have they been increasing in popularity, to begin with, but the recent pandemic has left scores of businesses unable to network in person.

One of the first questions that marketing directors usually ask before delving into virtual events is “Are they actually effective?”

We’re here to tell you that they are.

Virtual events aren’t just an alternative to in-person events. They’re the next logical step in the world of marketing. They allow brands to connect with more people, gather audience information, and emphasize what’s most important to them in the process.

Are Virtual Events Actually Effective?

Let’s take a look at the reasons why virtual events are actually so popular:

They’re Cost-Effective

A physical event generally requires a sizable investment. Beyond shelling out money to rent an event space and hire staff, physical event coordinators also need to pay for:

  • Travel costs
  • Food
  • Hotels
  • Entertainment

Events like these can rack up a huge bill pretty quickly.

Virtual events, on the other hand, are an extremely cost-effective way to network and present information. Most big-name speakers charge less to speak at virtual events. Plus, teams around the globe can attend without paying anything out of pocket.

They Generate Brand Awareness

Brand awareness should be a primary goal for any business — and what better way to spread the word about your brand than through an event anyone can attend?

Virtual events allow people around the world to learn about new ideas and businesses. If you’re looking to boost brand awareness, online exhibitions could hold the key to success. It’s easier to make meaningful connections in the casual, slower-paced online space. Connections translate to new customers, partners, and audience members.

They Give You Data to Measure Results

Nobody learns without some feedback or reference. Those things are a lot easier to gather when you host an event virtually.

Think about it: if someone has spent all day moving from space to space at a physical event, they really don’t care about filling out contact cards at the end of the day. Virtual events incite less burnout; you’re going to collect more attendee information than you would in-person.

Plus, all those metrics you’re collecting can easily be measured, analyzed, and leveraged to help you see results. It’s easy to track things like:

  • When people logged on to join the event
  • When they chose to leave (and, possibly, what made them do so)
  • How many people are attending (and how they’re paying)
  • Attendees’ opinions of the event after the fact

They Promote Continuous Networking and Interaction

Live events command a lot of attention. It can be difficult to actually connect with all the people you want to when you’re all floating from room to room or caught up listening to time-sensitive presentations.

Virtual events allow attendees to network during presentations. It’s easy to share observations and ideas in chat rooms while presenters live stream.

Their Attendees Have the Freedom to Attend More Sessions

Everyone has been to an event and felt disappointed that they couldn’t make it to a certain session or presentation; but with virtual events, this problem all but disappears.

Lots of event hosts opt to film sessions so that attendees can double back and watch them again later. Plus, because all it takes to switch sessions is the click of a mouse, it’s easy to attend almost any presentation.

They Save Your Staff’s Time

Setting up for a physical event can be a lot of work. Some take days (and lots of human power) to come together.

A high-quality virtual event will still command some planning and setup, but it will not require the time, money, or effort that a physical event does.

Rather than sending staff to prepare for an event that’ll be torn down 48 hours later, you can opt to host a virtual event and keep staff focused on productive work. It’s much easier (and cheaper) to plan for something without too many physical bits and bobs to worry about.

They Give You Endless Options

A virtual event can take on just about any form you want. There are lots of limiting factors for events that happen in-person — venue size or location, the number of microphones you can get your hands on, how much catering you can afford.

Many brands that rely on virtual events reap the rewards of totally customized gatherings. If a brand needs a certain speaker to present, that speaker doesn’t need to travel across the country and have a large space to host an audience in. They can just hop in front of their computer and fire off information.

They’re Great for Long-term ROI

Virtual events are an easy way to improve a brand’s short- and long-term ROIs. Brands that enjoy high ROIs have an easier time positioning themselves as industry authorities. That’s because when an audience can see that a business is successful, they start to build a base trust with that brand automatically.

So why are virtual events so great for ROI?

  • They leave strong, long-term brand associations in your audience’s mind
  • They can run longer than physical events
  • They usually accumulate more leads than physical events
  • Data collection translates to boosted revenue

Tips For Ensuring Your Virtual Event is Effective

We could write a slew of articles with advice for creating effective virtual events, but, for now, use this checklist to make sure you’re heading in the right direction:

  • Use easily-accessible online channels (like Zoom, Huddle, etc.)
  • Understand what your attendees value from your events (and give them more of it)
  • Try to use interactive tools where you can (to boost engagement)
  • Implement good privacy, security, and etiquette protocols to help control the event
  • Make webinars available to those who missed the event afterward

The Event Production Company Can Help With Your Next Virtual Event

Our approach to virtual events allows us to help our clients create world-class experiences for their audiences. If you’re curious about how we could help with your next event, download our ebook (Your Guide to Generating Brand Awareness Through Virtual Events) or book a consultation today.

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