It is obvious that the digitization of events has made a great leap forward due to the restrictions of the Corona pandemic. New digital formats and solutions for virtual events are being explored and strengthened. Content is being reworked and will continue to form a new category of events in the long term with virtual events that are more than a substitute for physical events. Some advantages cannot be denied. We have summarised the seven most important ones for you:
This is one of the most important aspects for us, especially considering the difficulty of predicting infection rates and the related consequences. In recent months, we have seen various restrictions and the limitation of approved numbers of participants repeatedly. Events that have been postponed from spring to autumn will have to be rescheduled again or definitively canceled because they fall into the next wave. This makes planners, companies, and participants nervous. Virtual events are a better alternative for many event formats without the threat of cancellation or postponement.
A significant factor that should not be underestimated for virtual events is the wide reach that an event can achieve in digital format. Companies can enable more employees to attend an event without travel requirements and costs. The reach of a product presentation, for example, can be increased immensely. Participants are not tied to time or place, especially if the event is made available in a virtual archive on a long-term basis. And companies save both travel costs and their employees' time. A virtual event can be attended from the workplace, thus reducing absence times. Virtual events can also be used to reach target groups who cannot participate in physical events, for example, for health reasons. In this sense, virtual events also promote accessibility and have an integrative character.
Yes, even virtual events are not available for free, and the costs for reliable technical infrastructure, such as server capacity and a convincing design, are probably often higher than initially assumed. Nevertheless, it can generally be said that virtual events are less cost-intensive than physical events. Usually, renting appropriate event locations takes up a large part of the budget, mainly when special requirements exist or a top location in a prime setting is required. These costs are either unnecessary or partly invested in the design and programming of a virtual event location. Items such as travel expenses, booth construction, catering, event technology, decoration material, and print materials are also eliminated and ensure a reduction in costs. However, the costs are reduced on the side of the producers and the visitors' side, especially when it comes to business events. Travel and accommodation costs often mean that only a few employees of a company attend events. If events can be visited virtually, this reduces costs for the company, and at the same time, more employees can be registered for the event.
The preferred venue is not available on the date or does not accommodate the planned amount of guests? A short-term event is scheduled without much preparation time? Or are location, dates, and everything else suitable, but the hotels on site are fully booked? Many obstacles for a successful event do not even arise when planning a virtual event. Event planning has never been more flexible. Virtual event venues can be adapted to the requirements of the event down to the last detail. Also, not every content has to be transmitted via live stream alone so that the event can be attended flexibly and efficiently across time zones. Virtual events thus promote the flexibility of events in terms of time and space.
The more specific the data, the more accurate the evaluation. When is the live stream most frequented? Which of the videos in the media library are clicked on most? How long are breakout rooms visited, and which virtual exhibition booth is highly popular? Targeted data collection is a big plus at virtual events. Guest activity is much more transparent to measure than at physical events. Logged-in visitors and data tracking pages result together in a productive synthesis. At virtual events, a lot of information about target groups is collected. Through tracking and reporting, page impressions, guest activities, interactions, and rankings are created and transformed into successful leads by the organizers. The success of the virtual event can thus be precisely measured.
Hardly any other format is better suited to provide personalized content than virtual events. Personalized addressing and individual, customized content attracts guests and ensures that they stay longer at the virtual event. Whether online or offline, guests should always be contacted and invited personally. After this primary step, a personal agenda, particularly relevant lectures, exhibition booths, or product presentations, belong to the individual package. Guests can be assigned to specific groups via personal invitation links and information provided during registration. Furthermore, guided matchmaking and networking can be optimized using detailed guest profiles and tailored to the guests' requirements.
Those who are now at the cutting edge can set trends. Virtual events are nothing entirely new, but their frequency, distribution, and impact currently peak. Now is the best time to experiment with formats and find out what the best virtual event can look like. Innovations are needed in the technical implementation and in the design that characterizes the look and feel of virtual events and, of course, the content. How can content be transmitted sustainably at virtual events? How is closeness created virtually? How do we network virtually? Now we are shaping the events of the future, an opportunity that must be taken.