What is a Virtual Event?

Put simply, a virtual event is a conference, seminar, webinar, tradeshow, workshop or meeting, experienced online in a completely virtual space rather than attending an in-person gathering or event. If you’ve ever tried hosting a virtual event then you know there is much more to it than this simple definition.

Virtual events are commonly built around a clear agenda, knowledge sharing presentation content, engagement with the audience, and capturing analytical data. This is all made possible through the chosen virtual event platform, like webcastcloud.

A virtual event can be a hosted live, pre-recorded, or simulated live event. Virtual events are used to create a value-adding experience for your online attendees, which can extend well beyond the scope of value traditionally offered by in-person events.

The implementation of a feature-rich virtual event platform like Webcastcloud, will help you promote, execute and manage your virtual event, shifting your virtual event to a new high benchmark.

What is a Virtual Event in 2021?

Global lockdowns and travel restrictions early in 2020 saw the need for event managers to pivot quickly into online conferences and events. This pivot saw a boom in virtual event hosting, driving big advancements in virtual event software. Virtual Event Platforms have now changed the perception of what is considered a virtual event or virtual conference by professionals today.

As virtual events became more specialized, event planners, Associations, Businesses and Government organisations, looked to virtual event platforms, like Webcastcloud, to deliver a superior virtual event experience for attendees.

Virtual event platforms offering seamless integrations with CRM & Association Management software, help to create virtual events that are easily accessible and shareable, secured, interactive, branded, engaging, and customizable. Gone are the days of just live-streaming a video feed through an organisation’s website. Now virtual event planners are able to deploy a range of virtual event platform tools. These tools optimize audience engagement, driving targeted actions and outcomes.

Virtual events, unlike in-person events, generate a high volume of great video content. This video content can then be edited, packaged and videos sold online through the virtual event platform. Smart virtual event platforms, like webcastcloud, make it simple to sell videos online by giving you a range of payment structures including subscriptions, pay-per-view, bundles, and more. To further simplify the process, integrate your platform with your CRM or AMS to quickly segment customer/member’s video access based on tiers. Video monetization is a smart way to increase your return on investment by creating a new revenue stream selling videos online.

What is a virtual event platform?

The virtual events platform is not an entirely new concept. However, as virtual events became more sophisticated and demand grows, virtual event platforms have grown in popularity and scale. A virtual event platform or virtual conference platform is an online video hosting tool that provides administrators with flexibility in event setup, streaming, recording, audience engagement options, and more. Beyond simply streaming a video feed these software platforms allow for higher rates of engagement, the creation of virtual spaces, and customized user interface. Importantly, all good platforms also make it simple for organizations to monetize their post-event video content, by selling & cross-selling video content online through the virtual event platform.

Elements of a Virtual Event:

  • Dedicated event registration website and landing page.
  • Virtual exhibitor space for partners and sponsors.
  • Live presentation with one-way audio and video.
  • Live and Simulated Q & A sessions.
  • Interactive user interface and engaging user experiences.
  • Live polling and Live chat.
  • Recorded video content
  • Instant feedback survey.

Benefits of Virtual Events

Scale:

Virtual events can provide significant and almost unlimited scalability for attendance. The virtual event is not restricted by any physical event halls or spaces.

Accessibility:

Use your online event platform to reach a wider global audience. Virtual events are far more accessible than in-person events. Virtual events are geographically unrestricted and can be joined from any internet connection in the world as a live or on-demand event.

Cost-effective:

Virtual events have significantly lower overheads compared to a traditional in-person event. What’s more, is that virtual events are much less costly to scale for a wider reach. Now, a larger portion of your budget can be put towards marketing your event, increasing registration & attendance rates. This lower operational cost combined with the ability to monetize your post-event video content, work in synergy to increase your return on investment.

Measurable:

Event analytics can collect accurate granular data on your event and attendees. Event data can provide valuable insights into how (and why) your audience interacted with your event and the popularity of individual sessions. Data also helps planners to understand which parts of the virtual event were successful, and which areas can be improved. These measurable insights assist in ensuring the longevity of your future events and brand.

Interactive:

The nature of a virtual event allows for a more intimate event experience with attendees. Interactive tools like live polls, Q&A, and live chat, allowing all attendees to engage equally in real-time. Because it’s so much easier for virtual attendees to engage through these tools, there are high rates of engagement & audience participation at virtual events.

Content creations:

Your event content is designed to be valuable to your target audience. Your virtual event platform allows you to easily capture this valuable video content, and repurpose your virtual event content in a variety of ways. Traditionally, this video content was mostly used to promote the next event in your calendar, but with a virtual event platform, your videos can be monetized when added to your branded video library.

Through your branded video library, you can easily make sessions or entire events available for purchase, package videos, design different subscription tiers & pricing, set up CLP or CPD points tracking, and much more.

Webcastcloud can guide you through the many ways to generate year-round value & revenue from your post-event video content, so Contact us today.

Four types of Virtual events:

Virtual Conference

A conference or seminar hosted in a virtual event space. Virtual conferences are presented online through virtual event platforms or video conferencing softwares. Like a live in-person event, virtual conferences are created around a specific agenda with different sessions, speakers, breakouts, and more. These online conferences will often include a virtual space for attendees to engage with exhibitors and sponsors. These virtual events will include features that allow attendees to ask questions and network with each other online

Webinar

A webinar is a bite-sized virtual event. A global audience can now join a live session which could be accessible as either a free or paying attendee. Webinars share a specific idea, promote a product or solution, as a lead magnet for upcoming virtual conferences, and more. Additionally, a webinar can also create a more intimate setting with the audience. During a webinar, the presenter will often focus on audience participation in the form of Q & A, live chat, and more.

Online continuing education

Webinars can be a great way to share a specific idea and bite-sized knowledge. Whereas an online continuing education event is more specialized in facilitating continued professional development and awarding points. Continuing Education Points (CEP) or Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Points programs often require tracking participant progress and showing proof of completion.

For example, a CEP program may require participants to watch specific sections of video and successfully complete knowledge tests. Many associations are already using Webcastcloud’s advanced video monetization & virtual event platform to successfully provide and monetize CE points & CPD points tracking.

Hybrid event

Make use of the additional virtual event platform features to help capture a larger audience, and increase ROI. Run a hybrid event! What is a Hybrid event? Put simply; A hybrid event is an event that simultaneously runs as a live in-person and live online event. As virtual becomes the norm, studies show that going forward, live in-person events need to include an online attendance option. There are many benefits of hosting a Hybrid event, but ultimately turning your in-person event into a hybrid event can significantly increase your overall ROI.

Virtual event checklist

  • Content: Like any good event, you need to start with defining your agenda and generating high-quality content.

  • Virtual event platform or Virtual conferencing software: Choose a virtual event platform that will set you up for success. Take your time to find a virtual event platform that will work best for you. For an in-person event you would look around for the right venue and team. Similarly make sure you look at both the platform, features, and team support available for your virutal event.

  • Marketing: Use owned and paid channels to increase awareness of your virtual event and provide access to the event registration page. As this is a digital event make sure your focus is on digital. Use your current email campaigns as a way to build up excitement for your virtual event. Social media channels in particular has one of the highest sign-up rate for virtual events.

  • Presenters & Keynotes: Collaborate with your presenters and keynotes to deliver outstanding and targeted content on the day.

  • Session schedule: Structure your sessions and map out session times. Organise your sessions based on the similarity and popularity of each session. If you’re running multiple virtual stages, then avoid major sessions clashing with each other.

  • Engagement Plan: You’ve got your sessions mapped out it’s time to plan out how you’ll keep Audience Engagement high. There’s plenty of tools you can use to increase audience engagement at your event.

Virtual events are now a vital part of any successful marketer, organizer, or event planner’s event strategy. Industry research suggests that virtual events and hybrid events will continue to grow in popularity and frequency. Take advantage of virtual events by including a long-term virtual event and video content plan in your business strategy.