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The topic of "online events" is more topical today than ever before. Although access to sufficiently fast Internet has been available for some time, virtual events have only been in the spotlight for about two years. Not least because of the Corona pandemic, virtual meetings have become more popular.
But social distancing and the increased use of the home office are not the only reasons for today's popularity. The world is changing and digitalization is advancing more and more. People's needs in terms of work, meetings and social events have changed a lot.
An online event is no longer perceived as a mere substitute, but as a full-fledged event. You can make very good use of this development for planning your virtual events.
What exactly is an online event?
An online event is basically the opposite of a face-to-face event. Instead of inviting participants to a fixed venue, all you need is a venue to broadcast your event. The participants are not present on site, but take part in the event virtually via end devices such as a PC, tablet or smartphone.
To make such an event interesting, you need creative ideas for your event. An online event can be streaming, i.e. a live broadcast, or by recorded video material . However, due to the better direct communication, live broadcasts are more recommended than a pre-produced video.
What are the different types of digital events?
There are no limits to creativity when it comes to online events. Theoretically, you can transfer all imaginable types of live meetings into an online format as well. Popular events examples that are often used by companies are:
- Conferences: Organizing a conference on-site can be very difficult. Participants are often in different departments or even branches of a company and would need to be brought to the same location for a conference. This is unnecessary with an online event.
Here, each participant has the opportunity to contribute from their own desk. In addition, everyone has access to their own PC. Documents do not have to be brought along first.
- Product roadshows: You are probably only familiar with this type of event from trade fairs or on-site presentations. But roadshows can also be transferred well to the virtual world. The product should be optimally presented by an experienced marketing department. A live event is not absolutely necessary in this case. What is important is that you capture the feedback of your customers through comment and contact functions.
- Online training and education: Especially if you want to train many employees in a department, online training and education can be a good solution. Unlike classroom training, you can have your employees participate in the virtual events on a time-shifted basis. This saves time and money, but is just as effective.
- Webinars: A webinar is the virtual version of a seminar. Lecturers, supervisors or experts lead it, while the other participants can listen live and contribute themselves. There are special virtual rooms for this purpose, for which the people participating usually need an access code. Webinar software can help automate manual tasks.
What are the advantages of virtual events?
Virtual events offer a number of advantages. One of the reasons why online events are becoming increasingly popular is the significantly lower cost. A large room or even hall where all participants can gather is no longer needed. Only the technical equipment needs to be purchased.
However, these are one-time costs and you can use the required technical equipment again and again. Another advantage of online events is the planning reliability. Neither pandemics nor unforeseen weather events are a threat to online events. The question of childcare also becomes superfluous when employees participate in a webinar or training course from home.
What do you need for an online event?
Professional virtual events require appropriate equipment. Otherwise, you run the risk that the event you host will look unprofessional or even off-putting to customers. Image and sound quality are the be-all and end-all of a good web event. To guarantee both, you need both a professional camera and a high-quality microphone.
The absolute minimum requirement in this day and age is an image resolution of 720p. A lower resolution is not up to date and would annoy people participating in the event. You should also choose the right software for your event. For small meetings and webinars, solutions like Zoom are suitable.
For large events such as trade shows or conferences, vendors such as STREAMBOXY or Wonder are more appropriate.
How to make your online event unforgettable
To make your digital event a complete success, there are a few things you need to consider. The most important points that distinguish a memorable event from an average one are:
- Interaction and networking: A virtual event should not resemble a frontal lesson in school. Let the passive participants of an event become active and have their say. Networking can build and deepen professional connections.
- Gamification: Ensure that your participants remain attentive. Through playful tasks that fit the topics discussed, you increase the engagement of the audience.
- Chat and polls: At an event with a large number of participants, not every person can have their say. An open chat provides an opportunity for attendees to ask questions in between. Polls help you find out what your audience takes away from the event.
- Professional moderation: Ideally, a virtual event should be led by a competent moderator just like a real event.
- Breaks for the participants: To keep the attention span permanently up, breaks are essential. These can be accompanied by meditation or mindfulness exercises, for example. At a day event, ordering food together at the same time can maintain motivation throughout the day.
The costs - this is how you plan everything for the event
The event costs of a virtual event mainly consist of the costs for the internet connection and the costs for the event software. With the virtual event platform, you should make sure that as many services as possible are already included in the price. Otherwise, you will have to reckon with additional expenses for participant management software, recording or an extra fee for the technical service provider. If you do not yet have the necessary hardware, these costs will of course also be incurred.
Conclusion: Are virtual events worthwhile?
With virtual events, you have your finger on the pulse. In the future, nothing will work without online conferences, webinars and virtual product presentations. The world is becoming more and more digital and at the same time unforeseen things often happen.
Events held online offer greater planning security for your company and allow employees and customers to participate without having to travel. In times when the home office is also becoming increasingly popular, online events perfectly complement the daily work routine.
More ideas for online events:
Sustainable events - what does it depend on?
Event Trends 2022: The future of hybrid events
How professional livestreaming works