Bharat Chauhan, From trade shows to music concerts, the world has witnessed a cornucopia of virtual events over the past year. This trend is expected to persist even as pandemic-related fears abate: the reality is that virtual events are here to stay. While this development may seem daunting to event managers who are used to in-person lead generation and sponsorship driven ROIs, they recognize that a well-thought virtual event has the power to transform the traditional rules of event management and reach audiences across the world.
It is no surprise, then, that 73% of event planners around the world have shifted their ground and successfully embraced the world of virtual events. In effect, the global virtual events market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.2% between 2020 and 2027, as per an industry report by Grand View Research. One of the primary drivers of this growth is the accessible and easy-to-use interface offered by reliable cloud-based remote work tools like GoToWebinar. Individuals across industries, regardless of their skill level, have depended on such tools to host virtual events and create unique experiences for their audiences.
Among other drivers of this stupendous growth are benefits like enhanced control over privacy, a higher degree of customization, and the ability to meet objectives at lower costs. In fact, virtual events offer unprecedented rewards for all stakeholders — enhanced visibility for sponsors, greater accessibility for viewers and a massive reach for organizers. Here’s a look at five key benefits of virtual events in detail:
1. Reach without boundaries
Virtual events are easy to access for global audiences as they eliminate constraints related to geography, time, and travel costs. This enables organizers to tremendously expand the reach of their events, thus translating into better lead generation. As recently as 2017, 73% B2B marketers and sales leaders considered a webinar the best way to generate high-quality leads. Other organizations have reported using such tools for conducting online events to benefit from greater attendee capacity and increased audience participation. On the back of these gains, virtual events are empowering businesses to generate higher and sustainable ROI.
2. Save time for participants
Time is money. While this expression is used often by businesses and their patrons, the extraordinary amount of time invested in just participating in an offline event is often overlooked. Virtual events are the most time-efficient means for audiences and speakers, with participants saving the time that would otherwise have been spent on arduous travel, complicated by traffic conditions. When attending virtual events, speakers and audiences can focus on their event objectives and on creating value rather than toiling with the hassles of registration and other onsite check-in procedures.
3. Lower expenses
Onsite events can be expensive and often incur unforeseen costs. Event managers have to account for a host of charges including venue costs, on-location staff payments, travel, accommodation and meal costs for speakers, and expenses generated in organizing essential utilities for all participants. With virtual events, organizers have the opportunity to save an enormous chunk of these expenses. Instead, they can invest in a reliable tech setup and online event platforms, both of which can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of organizing an onsite event. The savings so acquired can give a huge boost to an organizer’s ROI.
4. Better event feedback
For organizers, the greatest hassle with onsite events is gathering and managing customer feedback. During virtual events, however, organizers can create live polls, design surveys and request ratings for each session and the overall event. This equips them with the ability to gauge ready-to-interpret responses in real-time. Nearly half (49%) of the event app providers, for instance, maintained that their clients responded the most to engagement elements including gamification, live polls, feedback, etc. By providing a more immersive and engaging experience of attending virtual events on the back of innovative methods, organizers can capture insightful information from the audience. Organizers can then use this information to identify audience preferences for future events and, as a result, deliver enhanced experiences.
5. Unique, online experiences
With the right tools, organizers can use virtual events to interact with their audiences in a manner that can only be achieved in the online world. For instance, presenters can provide textual information or data in sync with their presentation, for immediate consumption by their audiences. At the same time, they have greater control over how their audience uses that information and have the opportunity to do so with greater security. SaaS providers like LogMeIn are offering products that offer high quality audio while enhancing the audience’s experience.
When it comes to virtual events, audiences can attend sessions both live and on-demand. Industry leading webinar platforms like GoToWebinar allow organizers to record their events, which can then be made available for participants who were unable to attend sessions in real-time. Such customizations are rarely possible with offline events. Furthermore, features like in-app chat make way for participants to network with each other in real-time. Organizers can also use their savings in time and money to set-up one-on-one and/or networking sessions to improve audience engagement.
Finally, tech-enabled online event platforms are can create an adaptable, user-friendly interface that can be accessed on mobiles, laptops and desktops alike. This makes way for audiences to participate in the event in a manner they find most comfortable and from a location of their choice, thereby redefining the conventional experience of participating in events.