How to host a Virtual Event
Event marketing is an important business driver for leads, especially for B2B and B2C companies. Events have evolved from high budget, large audience formats to a more flexible and economical options with the advent of virtual events. The pandemic has been a catalyst, forcing event companies, trade bodies, and marketers to think outside the box.
Virtual Events are known to generate a better ROI compared to traditional physical events. Technological advancements, namely the internet, and marketing technologies within the event domain, render an experience to a virtual event similar to a physical event. For those new to the concept, let’s start with the basics.
What are virtual events?
Virtual events are those where organizers host online events for audiences; participants interact with each other through a virtual platform rather than interacting in a physical location. Virtual events are diverse and can be adapted to any format according to your requirements. They can be anything from simple video conferences on virtual conferencing platforms such as Google Meet and Zoom to exuberant online events hosted on the websites of trade bodies and companies. The effectiveness of virtual events is also heavily influenced by the event management agency and the virtual event platform that runs the event.
Advantages of hosting a virtual event
Accessibility and inclusiveness
These are by far the biggest advantages of hosting a virtual event. Virtual events allow organizers to invite participants around the world. A large turn-up can be expected by participants by merely using a device and the internet.
If it were a physical event, it would be an expensive proposition if one considers the logistics – travel and accommodation, venue, and staffing costs borne by the organizer. The participant also saves on travelling and accommodation expenses in the case of a virtual event.
Virtual event hosting can save you up to 70% on cost and time compared to hosting physical events. This is mainly because the cost of hosting an online event is the cost of building a website, setting up a registration portal, investment in technology and streaming expenses. But for physical events, the cost of renting space to host the event itself is half the cost of hosting a virtual event.
Flexibility and adaptability
Virtual events also offer flexibility and adaptability. If you need to reschedule a virtual event due to unavoidable reasons, the cost of re-scheduling and re-hosting the event may be lower than the cost associated with the physical event.
Some of the common methods of hosting a virtual event –
Zoom/Google Meet/ Webex
These virtual meeting platforms can host a variety of events from simple online meetings to full-fledged conferences.
You host virtual events on the popular social networking platform called Reddit famous for news and entertainment content. You can conduct AMAs (Ask Me Anything). Companies can use this to engage to promote conversations and engagement as well building communities.
Live tweeting is fairly popular and involves offering commentary to a live event that you’ve been promoting. Here’s how to get the most of live tweets.
Broadcast your video in real time with Instagram Live. Instagram Live Rooms host a stream with up to 3 other speakers for the same broadcast event. Read and reply to the comments of viewers.
To start a live broadcast on Instagram, follow these instructions on Instagram.
Virtual event hosting platforms
Virtual event hosting software are platforms developed specifically to provide a virtual experience to events. Their features include –
All operations pertaining to an event are automated on the platform.
The platform allocates various virtual spaces for the event the registration desk, lobby, meeting rooms and exhibition pavilions.
Virtual event hosting platforms build and engaging experience through Chats, Lead generation, Q&As, and Polls.
Companies can generate income through sponsorships and display ad sales on their event website hosted on the platform.
Here are some popular virtual event hosting platforms
How can companies host events in the Metaverse?
While current virtual events somewhat replicate real world events, they are not as immersive or as engaging. Virtual events in the Metaverse are considered as the next step in the evolution of events where there will be an immersive experience, transactions and engagement with a semblance to real life. Read our article on the Metaverse to know more.
Companies can host events, training sessions, workshops, town hall meetings, congregations etc. in the Metaverse. Employees can attend meetings from the comfort of their homes while feeling as if they are in their office.
The advancements in technology are at such a rapid rate that soon physical meetings will be a thing of the past. However, some futurists anticipate that the transition will happen from the physical to a hybrid experience, and eventually the Metaverse.
The Metaverse has attracted billions in investments, and companies have specialised in this space. Metaphysic is a company developing hyper-real facial expressions in the Metaverse. These expressions when combined with a person’s online persona gives a more realistic feel to the person’s virtual avatar. In the corporate context – it will help to understand emotions, expressions of employees in a particular meeting or a virtual environment.
Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is so confident about the Metaverse and virtual events that it has already started mass producing VR headsets which will be sold from 2024 onwards along with Meta’s complete version of the Metaverse. Meta is building a Metaverse where you can have your own house, host events, parties, meetings etc. Office spaces for meeting purposes will also be recreated with a lively feel. By just putting on a VR headset, a person will be teleported to his/her office and home.
Metaverse events that you can look forward to –
Other tech giants are exploring the world of the Metaverse. Meta, for example, has already created Meta Horizon Workrooms, a digital assembly area in which colleagues be a part of as an avatar with a VR headset. Microsoft has a comparable experience called the Microsoft Mesh.
Epic games, the makers of Fortnite are considered as pioneers in the field of virtual events. Fortnite teamed up with various artists such Marshmello, Travis Scott, and Ariana Grande to host music shows in the game itself. These events were so big and popular that it started a whole flurry of collaborations and virtual events in other Metaverse-like games as well.
Virtual events are considered as a step in the evolution of events with events in the Metaverse the next logical step in the evolution. It is very encouraging to see the evolution in such a short span of time, from zoom meetings to meeting in virtual environments, all this has been achieved in only a few short years, Hence, it will be interesting to see what the future hold for events.