In the past, virtual events have often been seen as a “fallback plan” when a live event falls through.
Developing technology and evolving requirements have moved them to a category all their own. They now serve as a new tool instead of a second-best substitute, with some interesting advantages over live events.
Here are a few of the best reasons to have a virtual event:
There are much lower overhead costs involved in a virtual event.
Hosts don’t need to cover site rental, refreshments, hard copy materials, permits, or any of the hundred tiny expenses that can destroy a budget. The time and labor investment is also lower.
This makes it possible to hold virtual events with less disruption to an existing schedule.
- Acoustic concerts streamed from a musician’s home
- Virtual training held at an overseas location
- Health awareness sessions during a pandemic
In some cases a virtual event can be better than a live event on the same topic.
The entire budget goes into things that directly impact audience experience, like upgraded visuals and video and sound quality.
The real difference is seen in visuals, which are more easily made available digitally. With no print or structural restrictions, hosts can create rich materials that catch and hold their audience’s attention.
There’s also a longer window for refinement and improvement with digital materials.
Event hosts could potentially update their materials the day of the event if necessary. Presenting the most current information possible is a serious advantage for business and training events.
Accessibility and Reach
There’s no travel necessary for virtual events. Viewers can take part from anywhere with an internet connection. They can watch live, or pull up the videos later and still be able to participate in discussions. That disconnect from a specific location gives virtual events vast global reach.
Hosts can easily connect with audiences in other times zones, with material offered in a number of languages if needed.
Virtual events are more accessible to attendees with disabilities- and not just mobility-related conditions.
Captions and a chat-based question process remove barriers for those with visual or audio impairments, putting them on a level playing field with other viewers.
In a strange way, there are more options for comprehensive audience interaction with a virtual event.
There’s only so many people who can talk at a time in a meeting room and be understood.
Online productions offer tools like:
- Live polls with changing results shown in an overlay graphic
- Incorporating questions from the chat on a running basis
- Adjusting a presentation based on how audience is reacting (stretching out a topic that’s exciting conversation or cutting short one that’s falling flat)
Hosts have a deeper understanding of how virtual events perform.
By tracking participation they know how many people watched, how long viewers stayed, the percentage of their audience who interacted either live or post-event, what sections generated the most likes and shares, and much more.
This data translates into targeted insights for improving the next event.
There are many reasons to host a virtual event.
Maybe there’s not a large event budget. Maybe employees are too far-flung to make a company-wide meeting practical. Maybe a public health crisis has limited travel or large gatherings.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to break out of the mindset that virtual meetings are a backup plan. They’re a powerful, engaging tool with a suite of advantage that live events would be hard-pressed to match.
Not convinced? Let us prove it! We can take you behind the scenes on some of our past virtual events to show you how those hosts took advantage of technology to save time and money without sacrificing engagement.