The boom of virtual events began in 2020 as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some people thought it might vanish as we resumed normality and in-person activities returned, but the truth is virtual events proved their worth and stayed in time. Now, almost three years later, we are completely sure they are here to stay. If you still have any doubt about it, look at this list of ten benefits virtual events offer, and you shouldn’t miss.
1. Virtual events increase attendance
One of the most evident benefits of virtual events is that they increase attendance (compared to most in-person events) because they are more accessible to the audience. This happens because of two main reasons:
- Virtual events organization tends to be less costly than physical ones, which, in turn, is reflected in the cost for attendants. Cheaper entrance tickets mean more people will say “yes” when considering attending.
- The magic of virtuality means no one will have to book airplane, bus, or train tickets to get there, nor will they have to worry about where to stay during those days.
This combination of reduced ticket expenses and no mobility obstacles is powerful.
2. Virtual events offer more value and flexibility to attendees for a smaller fee
Here I insist on the smaller fee idea, but it isn’t just about the ticket price but also how much attendees can profit and enjoy their purchase. Big events will have several talks or meet-ups happening simultaneously, and, even if they are not simultaneous, chances are most people won’t be able to attend to all the events that were interesting to them. So, in an in-person event, you would just give up and accept missing interesting conferences or activities is just part of life, but in a virtual event, you can watch on-demand those you missed the first time and re-play the ones that completely marveled you. Consequently, over time, you will get a lot more value from a virtual event than from an in-person one that vanishes as soon as it happens.
3. Virtual events offer more learning opportunities for the attendees, sponsors, speakers, and event organizers
The previous point explains why attendees have more learning opportunities in a virtual event than in an in-person one, but it also applies to sponsors, speakers, and event organizers for two main reasons:
- They can have attendee feedback from more attendees than if they had interviewers asking them about their experience or if they ask in-person attendants to fill out an online survey. The reason is that people tend to follow what causes the minimum effort, and evaluating a speech on the same window they just used to watch it requires less effort than looking for the survey online.
- Sponsors, speakers, and event organizers will also learn from the data attendees produced just by attending and staying in a speech. This data can inform them on things like which topics were most interesting to their audience, which formats were the most successful ones, and give them valuable insights for future endeavors.
4. Virtual events offer higher value for sponsors and organizers
Just the fact that virtual events require less money to make them work is a point that already makes possible a higher ROI in proportion to the investment size. But, in addition to this no-minor point, virtual events done on platforms such as eBrightConnect’s have two other advantages over in-person events:
- Lead retrieval is much easier because the information is already centralized and organized in a single, automated platform.
- Automated virtual event platforms offer analytics in real-time about the attendees with valuable insights on issues such as attendee attrition, attendees’ interactions, resource downloads, etc.
5. Virtual events offer more networking opportunities between exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees
Events are all about networking, that is a secret to nobody and is true for virtual and in-person events. But virtual ones offer higher networking opportunities than in-person ones because the chat capabilities of virtual event platforms allow you to connect with attendees at any moment and sometimes even to continue contacting them after the event is over. This is a point from which attendees, exhibitors, and sponsors can benefit equally.
6. Virtual events save you time and allow you to respond faster to the changing market or emergencies
Virtual events have a huge practical advantage because they require less preparation time and are more flexible. While an in-person event can take up to two years in the making, virtual events reduce those timelines significantly because they avoid important points like having to rent a venue.
Also, thanks to the flexibility of virtual event platforms, virtual events are much more flexible to adapt to significant changes like a big sponsor dropping out of the event or having to respond to emergencies like a hurricane. While in an in-person event, a hurricane would mean canceling everything, in a virtual one, you might, in exchange, just open a fundraising for those affected.
7. Virtual events have a smaller carbon footprint
There is no way to argue this point: virtual events don’t require printing giant banners, don’t imply hundreds or even thousands of people traveling just for a couple of days, and don’t imply all the residues an in-person event is forcefully going to produce. This might seem a secondary point, but it is not in a historical moment in which we are looking for ways to minimize our impact on climate change.
8. Virtual events have higher chances of continuing year after year
After all the advantages I just mentioned virtual events have, it is no surprise they have better chances of being carried yearly than in-person events. Of course, this is not necessary for every event, but there are some in which, for brand positioning reasons, it is crucial that they are recurrent. In those cases, going virtual is the safest choice.
9. Virtual events offer more and easier mechanisms for sharing content and resources with attendees
Both virtual and in-person events are about sharing content and knowledge with a specific audience, but virtual events have the advantage that they make the process of sharing additional content with your target audience much easier. Thanks to the resource center of platforms such as eBrightConnect, you can share podcasts, PDFs, videos, or images with any attendant at any time. In the case of an in-person event, on the other hand, you would have to deliver printed items (which are more costly and less environmentally friendly) or ask the attendees to look for a URL or to scan a QR code. Again, the more difficult it is, the less likely it is to happen.
10. Virtual events facilitate more options for offering new experiences to your audience
Offering new experiences to your audience is a matter of being creative more than having lots of resources. However, virtual events are still a media just being explored, so why not be the first to try new things?
- A virtual wine tasting after sending the wine bottles to your attendees’ houses (great for collecting data, by the way)
- An event digital or physical gift box
- A virtual scavenger hunt
You can find more ideas here.
Would you like to know how to make this happen for your company? Let’s talk!