In early 2020, some companies thought of livestreamed conferences and Zoom meetings as a temporary fix in the era of social distancing. However, studies show that the hybrid event model will dominate the post-pandemic world: 79% of companies expect to host virtual events after COVID, even when it’s safe for in-person events to resume.
While certain aspects of in-person events can’t be replicated online, taking your event to the digital realm offers a myriad of benefits. Here are six reasons why online events are here to stay for the long haul.
1. Virtual events are more accessible.
Hosting an online event allows you to reach a wider audience by eliminating the logistical barriers of travel, including associated costs and time. Those who are sick, unable to travel or living across the country (or the globe!) can now enjoy your event from the comfort of their own home. In addition to increasing your participant pool, going virtual also opens the door for guest speakers who might otherwise not be available due to scheduling or geographic constraints.
2. Events can be recorded and re-shared at a later date.
If some of your guests aren’t able to attend live, they no longer have to miss out on your event. Virtual events can be recorded and saved, then shared with anyone who needs access. By recording your virtual event, you also have access to a wealth of future marketing content. You can email your event recording to those who couldn’t attend, take screenshots for social media assets and repurpose content into compelling blog posts.
3. Going virtual cuts travel costs and other expenses.
An in-person event requires a lot of logistical work, and expenses can add up quickly. Venue and food/drink, travel and lodging, equipment, and AV support all need to be accounted for in the budget. In contrast, a virtual event only requires an AV or media company to run your broadcast, significantly reducing the time and money you spend on your event. (Even if you opt for a hybrid model, you’ll likely be able to benefit from a smaller venue and lower catering costs.)
4. Hybrid events increase ROI and attendance.
Anyone with an internet connection can attend an online event, no matter their geographic location. This not only opens up your invitee pool significantly but also makes it more likely that more people will be able to attend — without driving up the costs you’d typically see with a large in-person guest list. This gives you a higher return on your investment, with little extra effort on your part.
5. You can collect and track valuable attendee data in a way you can’t with in-person-only events.
When people attend an in-person conference or program, event organizers have very little insight into what those attendees did throughout the event. With a virtual or hybrid format, where attendees are logged in throughout the event, event organizers can collect and track highly granular behavioral data, including engagement on an individual level. You can use this data to follow up with your guests for targeted, meaningful discussions based on what was most interesting to them during the event.
6. It’s a more immersive experience for your audience.
When done correctly, a virtual event can offer a more immersive experience than a traditional one. Online sessions lend themselves to interactivity, such as polls and audience questions, so your participants can become more actively engaged. You can also leverage social media campaigns, build up hype with hashtags and promotions held during the event, to get people involved.
Planning a hybrid or virtual event after COVID? MediaCutlet handles end-to-end project management, so you can focus on hosting and enjoying your event. Contact us today to get a custom quote for your virtual or hybrid event.