Considering a virtual conference for your next marketing campaign? You’re in good company: the virtual event industry is expected to grow more than 23% between 2020 and 2027, and the effects of the pandemic have sped up the process.
But enough about popularity. Are virtual events right for you?
Only you can decide this, but we’re sharing some of the pros and cons that can help to shape your decision.
Let’s start with the business reasons why a virtual event platform might make sense for your upcoming events.
Planning a virtual event requires far fewer resources and less time than an in-person event. You’re not spending man-hours shortlisting venues, figuring out logistics, and the myriad of other details. This frees up more time to connect with speakers and develop your marketing, and maybe even host more events than you normally would!
Logistics for a virtual event look a lot different than in-person meetings. There’s no load-in/load-out of equipment, no need to help attendees plan their travels, and no need to hire extra staff to manage the event. The majority of your logistics are digital, which can be done from just about anywhere.
Online conference platforms present unique sponsorship opportunities. For example, you might get sponsors to contribute to email marketing, collateral, ad space, and more.
The size of your events can be almost limitless. Online conference platforms like Canapii can scale to accommodate any size event with ease. The same can’t be said for physical venues.
Physical events have many barriers that may prevent more people from participating. Geography is one big example, coupled with travel costs. These barriers are extremely low in a virtual event format.
Networking can be just as impactful in a virtual format as it is in person. Some may say it’s even more effective because you may be able to keep a digital record of the people you meet. Immediately connect with them on LinkedIn or send an email to stay top of mind once the event is over.
If you want to capture your physical event to repurpose later, you need to hire dedicated video and audio resources. With a virtual event platform, a total replay of the event is captured on your behalf. Use pieces of your event, however, you see fit, whether for content marketing or promoting this same event next year.
Collecting data on a virtual event is easier because everything is driven by your event platform technology. Things like the number of attendees, duration of attendance, engagement metrics, conversions, and other data are readily available with just a few clicks.
The list of advantages of virtual conferences is notably longer than the downsides, but that doesn’t make the downsides any less important. Before you go all-in on virtual events, consider the following:
Events thrive on engagement and person-to-person contact. This is a little harder to come by with a virtual format, especially if your event software doesn’t have dedicated engagement features.
Event attendees in person become immersed in the experience. But when they are at home with family members, television, and their computer, you’re competing with loads more distractions. Again, engagement is key in helping to make your event a success. It’s important to maintain their attention via chat tools, polls, interactive content, and feedback forms so that you can get your point across.
Not everyone grew up as digital natives. While many young event attendees can likely navigate your virtual event, this isn’t always true for older attendees. They may feel alienated or otherwise unable to take full advantage of the event. The best thing you can do is consider your audience and their likely skill set when it comes to using technology.
The advantages and disadvantages of a virtual event don’t matter as much if you don’t also have the right event software leading the way. At Canapii, we’ve developed purpose-built tools that increase these advantages and out shadow the downsides to make every virtual event a smooth success. Learn more when you schedule a demo.