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Virtual event platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years.
Due to Corona restrictions, virtual events have become a viable alternative for businesses, organizations and individuals to connect with their target audiences.
But even beyond the pandemic, virtual event platforms offer a number of benefits that make them a valuable tool for organizers and attendees alike.
In this article, we will explore what you should look for when choosing the right platform.
Definition: Virtual Event Platform
A virtual event platform is an online software tool or platform that enables and simplifies the execution of events such as conferences, meetings, trade shows and online webinars in a virtual environment. It facilitates event management and reduces manual tasks.
It allows event organizers to create and manage various aspects of their event, such as registration, content delivery, video thumbnails, networking and engagement, through a single digital platform.
Virtual event platforms often include features such as live streaming, virtual showrooms, chat rooms, video storytelling, and interactive tools that allow attendees to connect with each other and participate in the event in real time, regardless of their physical location.
Accessible via web browsers or dedicated mobile apps, these platforms offer a flexible and scalable solution for events of all sizes and types.
How to choose the right virtual event platform for business?
Every company has different requirements for an event platform. Depending on the size of the company and the goals it wants to achieve with its online events , individual factors may be weighted more heavily. Some factors that you should definitely consider are the following.
The platform must be secure and reliable and ensure that all data transmitted during the event is encrypted and kept confidential.
Look for platforms that offer multi-factor authentication, user access controls and regular security updates to ensure your event is protected from hackers and cyber threats.
On-demand videos and webinars can be securely hosted on a video platform after the event.
Look for a platform that can be customized to meet your company's specific needs and branding. This includes the ability to upload your logo, change color schemes, and create a personalized event page.
The platform should be easy to use and navigate, even for non-technical participants. Look for platforms with a simple and intuitive user interface that allows participants to quickly and easily find the content and features they need.
Engagement and interactivity:
The platform should offer a range of engagement and interaction features, such as live chat, Q&A sessions, and polls, to ensure that attendees are fully engaged and participating in the event.
The platform should be able to support events of different sizes and types, from small meetings to large conferences. Look for platforms that can handle a large number of attendees without compromising on performance or ease of use.
Support and customer service:
The platform should offer reliable and responsive customer support, including 24/7 support, live chat, and phone support. Look for platforms that offer training and resources to help you get the most out of your event.
Pay attention to the platform's pricing model, including any hidden costs or fees. Look for platforms that offer flexible pricing options, such as pay per event or subscription-based pricing, that fit your budget and needs.
Which functions are particularly important for selecting the right platform?
Virtual event platforms offer a wide range of features that facilitate the delivery of engaging and interactive online events. Here are some of the key features of a virtual event platform:
Livestreaming: Virtual event platforms often offer live streaming capabilities that allow attendees to watch and participate in sessions, keynotes, product launches and other events in real time.
Interaction tools: Platforms often offer networking tools to help participants connect and interact with each other, such as chat rooms, breakout sessions, and matchmaking tools.
Content delivery: Platforms often offer various content delivery options, such as pre-recorded corporate videos, live presentations, and interactive sessions.
Engagement features: Platforms often offer participant engagement features, such as polls, surveys, and live Q&A, to encourage participant participation and interaction.
Reporting & Analytics: platforms often provide analytics tools that allow organizers to track attendance, engagement, and other key metrics to measure the success of the event.
Security: Platforms often offer security features such as user authentication, data encryption, and eCDN to ensure the safety and privacy of attendees and organizers.
Customization: platforms often offer customization options, such as branding, logos, and colors, to create a personalized and professional event experience.
Hybrid events: Integration with a provider that creates badges for hybrid events simplifies the organization of hybrid events by allowing both onsite and online attendees to register quickly and easily through the same platform.
Subscriber management: Automated emails and templates help you work more efficiently. Before choosing a platform, consider how important email marketing is to you and what permissions and templates you need.
Integrations: From a CRM integration to interaction tools, the sky's the limit with some event platforms. Some providers offer only a few customization options, while others have an entire team of developers that can help you integrate custom tools with their own professional services.
Branding & Whitelabeling: Logo, fonts, custom domains and a dedicated email server ensure that attendees build more trust in your brand.
Accessibility: platforms often offer accessibility features, such as captioning and translation services, to make the event more accessible to attendees with different needs.
Integrated solution versus stand-alone solutions: Which is a better fit for your business?
Customizing and analyses
An integrated event platform provides a centralized management system that simplifies event planning, allows for customization of features and design, and offers comprehensive analytics and reporting capabilities. However, the cost of an integrated platform can be high, there is often a learning curve, and some platforms can be overly complex.
Data management and integrations
This type of solution also has the potential to reduce data silos and improve marketing efficiency. By integrating a customer relationship management (CRM) system, an integrated platform can centralize subscriber data so that organizers can collect and track data from all sources, such as social media, email campaigns, and website traffic, in one place.
This integration can lead to improved marketing efficiency, as event organizers can use the integrated platform to target specific audiences with personalized and relevant messaging. For example, by segmenting attendees based on their interests, behaviors, and past attendance, organizers can create targeted campaigns that resonate with their audience, resulting in higher engagement, registration, and attendance rates.
By integrating CRM with the event platform, organizers can also track attendee engagement and behavior throughout the event lifecycle, from pre-event marketing to post-event follow-up, measuring and optimizing the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.
On the other hand, a ready-made platform without further customization is usually more affordable, user-friendly, and can be set up quickly. However, these platforms often have limited features, allow little customization, and may not offer comprehensive analytics or reporting capabilities.
Which platform you choose depends on your particular needs and goals. Consider in advance what the event concept should look like and which functions and elements you need to bring your event to life.