7 things you need to know about virtual events

COVID-19, with all its travel bans and social distancing, is seeing events across the globe being cancelled. As a result, many marketers are developing a business case for turning their planned live event into a virtual one.

If this is something you are considering, here are some 7 most important – yet often overlooked – things you need to know about taking your next event virtual:

1. Breakout sessions

Just as with live events, breakout sessions allow you to schedule more in-depth discussions of niche subjects utilizing a panel of experts and a moderator. On a virtual platform, you can schedule exactly the same type of session. Plus, you need not be beholden to travel restrictions or limited to a speaker’s ability to travel to your event. The result is potentially a much higher caliber group of experts than you might otherwise be able to access.

2. Round tables

The interactive features of advanced virtual events platforms are ideal for this staple of live networking events. Invite one expert and limit the number of delegates who can sign up. This allows you to create an intimate freewheeling conversation and exploration of key issues affecting your sector.

3. One On One Sessions (Speed Dating)

Another staple of live networking events, this type of session gives delegates the opportunity to engage with thought leaders one on one for 5 to 10 minute “speed date” sessions.  This is ideal for pitching business ideas to investors or TV shows to broadcasters.

4. Advanced Meetings Rooms and Universal Spaces

Your platform can also facilitate closed-door meetings between two delegates, or small groups. This type of set-up is ideal for business discussion and deal-making. You can also allow groups of delegates to meet randomly in a lounge atmosphere during 10-minute session breaks. This can be done utilizing chat functions or video. 

The list of spaces and options can meet and exceed live events. This can also include a Lobby, Exhibition Hall and Resource Centre. 

Spaces can be configured to your specifications including logos, brand colours, welcome videos, as well as display ads and hotspots that link to other spaces or sessions within your event.

5. Interactive Features

The range of interactive features are really limited only by your imagination. The top virtual events platforms feature user profiles, help desks, activity badge centers, games rooms, prize centers, feedback surveys and a “See Who’s Here” functions.

6. Evergreen Content 

With a virtual event, you have the option of turning your entire event into a content making machine, driving your content calendar for an entire quarter, or even a full year. Everything that happens can be repackaged as videos or audio clips.

Your most important thought leadership can be repurposed into short and long-format videos, podcasts, blogs and infographics from the material you capture over the course of your event, allowing you to post it across your digital marketing channels.

7. Data and Analytics 

Imagine having the ability to follow each and every delegate around your event making note of which sessions they went to, how long they stayed, which information sheet they kept from the delegate bag, and the specific whitepapers they took after the event ended. With virtual events, you can track exactly these kinds of actions. This provides a level of business intel impossible to generate in live events.

But it goes much further. Track viewership metrics including registration, live viewers, duration in the theatre. Know who consumed the most content and what content assets are being accessed most frequently in real-time. Track all engagement data to determine who are the most engaged audience members. Ensure data flows directly into your CRM or Marketing Automation platform and transfer data to any of your existing business systems such as Learning Management or Business Intelligence software.

At AfriSup Consulting, our events team has extensive experience working with a range of organisations across Africa.

Let us know how we can help assure your virtual events and webinars stay on track.

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