Are attendees struggling with event fatigue?
Do you see audience participation drop off mid-event?
Have virtual event return rates decreased?
With a huge increase in the number of organizations hosting virtual and hybrid events, maximizing audience engagement must sit at the forefront of your event planning. Why is audience engagement so important? Because there is a strong link between actively engaged audience members and attendee retention rates.
The interactions, experiences and relationship-building before, during, and after your event are crucial elements in capturing the audience’s attention.
Higher levels of attention from your attendees, sponsors, and partners will play a big role in ensuring the success of your current and future events. In fact, an industry study on virtual event statistics found that 49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful event. The study also highlights that audience engagement is the largest challenge when it comes to virtual events, and the next biggest challenge is (audience) interaction.
Keeping an audience actively engaged ensures that your online delegates stay for the duration of your event, helping to increase the likelihood of return attendance for your future events. This in turn demonstrates to stakeholders that your organisation is capable of hosting high-value events. For example, a sponsor is far more likely to invest capital into an event that effectively captures audience’s attention throughout, compared to an event with higher rates of attendee drop-off.
Streaming and hosting your event via a smart virtual event platform will be key in developing an effective engagement strategy. Platforms like webcastcloud, offer a wide range of interactive tools that will amplify engagement, keeping more attendees present and participating for the duration of your virtual or hybrid event.
How does a virtual event platform keep engagement high?
The key to delivering an immersive event experience is by using tools that increase audience engagement. Webcastcloud understands the importance of these tools. We guide our clients through how to strategically implement this wide range of integrated engagement tools throughout their virtual or hybrid events.
It’s important that you take the time to consider the characteristics and mindset of your audience when selecting audience engagement tools. Each virtual and hybrid event is different. You know your event and audience best, so refining the engagement tools used will be key to developing an effective strategy that increases audience engagement.
Here are a list of ways to improve audience engagement at your virtual of hybrid event:
1. Polls – engaging your virtual attendees
Polls are a simple and direct method of engaging with the audience. Polls should be run throughout both the live and on-demand sessions, using a variety of poll types like multiple choice, star rating, and open text questions to keep your audience guessing.
Using Polls throughout your live stream provides an effective way to collect audience feedback at any time, from any device before, during and after your event. Polling is an easy way to encourage your community to connect with your content. Polls can be a great way to start teasing your attendees about new products, speakers, and so on. Holding pre-event polls helps to create anticipation for the upcoming event.
Make your polls appealing and relevant by tying them into the session content. Try starting with a fun or entertaining poll to get your attendee’s buy-in on further participation. A recent industry study found that 81.8% of virtual event planners used polling to improve interaction, and drive engagement.
2.Q&A – Connect with your live stream viewers
A Question & Answer session is a proven method to foster audience participation. A virtual event or hybrid event is still a great opportunity to run a Q&A. Make it easy for your audience to participate with an integrated Q&A chatbox. Use a moderator to set talking points and steer the nature of the conversation.
Structure and plan the questions of your Q&A segment to complement a specific session content. Generally, a Q&A session should not run longer than 20 minutes and happens at the end of a presentation, which can be a good way to break up sessions. The Harvard Business Review recommends allocating dedicated time after your Q&A to wrap up the session with a final example or final thought. Consider offering sponsors the opportunity to run a sponsored Q&A that keeps them front of mind.
3. Pre and Post Event Surveys – your best reality check
Your event is completed, but there is one important activity required within the next 24hours, a well-structured but simple 3-minute post-event survey and here’s why. This post-conference survey assesses your performance and helps you further understand your audience, their expectations, and gauge their willingness to attend future events. A good survey will assist in developing effective marketing strategies by identifying the current market demands and trends.
Include your sponsors, partners, and team members in your survey, to be sure to identify all key areas for future improvement. Send a simple survey push notification via the webcastcloud platform, to get them started, or integrate a survey into your live or on-demand video stream.
Take the time to connect with your attendees after your virtual or hybrid event. Let’s attendees know that you do value their attendance and their feedback.
4. Live Chat– create a community at your hybrid event
Live Chat brings your audience into an independent space for discussion. Use your chat channel and moderator to connect the audience with presenters, attendees with exhibitors, or audience members with each other.
Live chat encourages your audience to share what’s on their minds, connect with others, and ask questions. Allow your delegates to continue the conversation after yours speakers sessions through your integrated chat client.
A live chat function can be customizable according to your event or specific session, and has the ability to keep the chat history live for those catching up on the on-demand sessions.
Live chat can emulate a valuable face-to-face meeting for enhanced networking that usually takes place at in-person events. Live chat can also provide immediate help, with a team member answering any questions in real-time during the event.
5. Knowledge Quizzes – use competition to reach peak engagement
Has your audience been paying attention?
Everyone enjoys a good quiz, and quiz opportunities are endless. People are naturally competitive and love winning prizes. So use a quiz to gauge if your audience have really been listening.
Let them know at the start of the session that there will be a quiz at the end, to get them on the edge of their seats.
Make your quizzes fun, light-hearted, and avoid being overly technical. Quizzes are engaging and get members thinking. Having the audience actively reasoning through topics will assist in knowledge retention and foster discussion.
Reward your audience for participation! Consider offering a prize for participating in the quiz. A Prize can be something of intrinsic value (knowledge ranking or public acknowledgment) or a monetary value (free product or discount). This is another great opportunity to run a sponsored quiz with a prize/reward. This will keep the sponsor front of mind, associate them with a fun activity, and showcase their generosity.
Your audience will enjoy a vibrant, valuable, and fun online event experience once you integrate these virtual event engagement tools into your next online event.
We have so much more to share on the benefits of engagement tools, let’s catch up!