Virtual events aren’t new. They have been around for some time. But the types of virtual events have developed and changed in the past few months more than any other time.
Many businesses struggle with wrapping their heads around virtual events, while others aren’t aware of what qualifies as a virtual event and what doesn’t.
Not to mention, which kind of virtual event works for which business. Or how to create a successful event.
In this article, we are going to tackle these problems and help your business understand the different types of virtual events and how to make them work for you.
A Few Stats
This year has forced many to shift to virtual and has caused many to cancel their on-ground or physical events because of measures for social distancing and confined spaces.
According to Grand View Research, the global virtual events market was valued at nearly $78 billion in 2019.
Moreover, data released in 2020 showed that the pandemic caused 10 major tech conferences to be cancelled, resulting in $1.1 billion in cancellation costs.
And that was in spring 2020 alone!
Types of Virtual Events
We’re talking about the larger events, the ones that, if were still physical, would have required months of planning, booking a venue, having a caterer, and so on.
But let’s not get ahead and let’s see what types of virtual events are there to begin with.
Part 1: Limited-Attendee Events
- Webinars: These are online sessions held on Zoom, Facebook, and other live-streaming options.
There is a maximum number of attendees and there may be replays depending on the platform and the event organizer’s subscription.
- Online Meetups: These are the virtual version of in-person meetups and gatherings.
Usually, by invite-only, online meetups help people connect with others who share similar interests or ideas but in real-time.
- Podcasts: While these don’t involve video, they’re more like an online radio. Podcasts are recorded and streamed on apps like Apple and Google Podcasts.
They are audio files that listeners can listen to via a website or more commonly by downloading the audio file on their mobile phones.
- Fireside Chats: A commonly-held gathering in startup communities, Fireside chats were often held during on-ground events.
They usually involve a discussion between a guest or two and a session moderator. These chats engage the audience and share insights and ideas.
- Virtual Keynotes: Basically, this is the online version of a keynote address, where a speaker is broadcast live via a source website.
This type of event is usually the start of a virtual event and aims to promote that event by highlighting the main message and objective of the event.
- Ask Me Anything Sessions: This event type often takes the form of an online session. It’s usually held on Zoom, Facebook, and other live-streamers. It features an expert on a certain topic and attendees get to ask questions in advance or during the live session.
They are a “unique way of interviewing where the guest takes questions from the audience in real-time as well as some pre-submitted questions,” notes event management blog Townscript.
- Online Trainings and Workshops: Online trainings have been around for some time but have only gained traction during COVID-19, making them a popular event format.
These trainings help people learn or develop a skill and maybe part of a course and can come with a certification. Usually, online training involves a series of webinars, Q&A sessions, and sharing content in the form of PDFs or a presentation.
They are a kind of online classes, providing instructional videos and exercises.
Part 2: Business-Focused Events:
This list includes those large events we were talking about.
- Virtual Conferences/Summits: These involve several speakers and are the online version of an on-ground conference. They tend to have multiple areas or rather rooms for different speakers, topics, sessions…etc.
Even the virtual version of these conferences may include ticketing, registration, multiple venues or virtual stages, and virtual networking rooms or ‘circles’ as we call them in Eventtus.
- Virtual Fair/Expo/Festival: These are multi-day events usually hosted across multiple venues.
With the new norm, these events are hosted across several virtual venues.
Examples of these include virtual job fairs.
- Music Concerts: Not a common practice but musical concerts and events can be held online. The difference here is the audience will be attending from home – most likely in the pajamas. The artist, either plays from their home as well or from a recording studio.
- Virtual Trade Shows: Trade shows have been a common practice for large businesses for years.
The online version allows companies to launch a product and stream it across multiple venues without requiring attendees to travel for attendance.
Virtual trade shows help businesses and people from various industries connect, network, and get live feedback from customers.
It also helps more people attend what would have otherwise been a difficult trip.
- Annual Company Conferences: Many companies and brands often hold an annual event or day-out for their employees.
Many even invested a lot of money to celebrate the achievement of end-of-year targets and may host a notable speaker. These conferences can be turned into a virtual experience that is both flexible and cost-effective.
- Hybrid Events: These are events that are a mix of online and on-ground.
“This is when a physical event has a digital counterpart,” explains RapierGroup.
How to Determine Your Business Needs
Different businesses have different sets of requirements.
If you’re just looking to run a meeting on Zoom, then these are just meetings. You already know what you’re doing.
But the main focus when it comes to virtual events is hosting those large events like virtual conferences and trade shows.
These are where your business is at the forefront, where people connect, and where you can conduct business deals.
In order to determine which event type suits your business, you need to ask yourself 6 questions:
- What is the purpose of this event? (Ex: launch and sell a product, company annual gathering or celebration of achieving targets, networking event, get-together for businesses…etc)
- Who is your target audience?
- Are you going to have sponsors and booths? (There are virtual booths and they are really cool!)
- How are you going to engage attendees or customers? (You can get support from Eventtus for that)
- What determines that this event was a success for you?
- Do you want to create a virtual event only or a hybrid event?
Based on the answers you write to these questions, you can begin to visualize the purpose of your event and what the target is.
As you can see, there are many types of virtual events out there.
But which of them does your business need?
And more importantly, how can you organize your annual company event gathering or host a virtual trade show?
Fret not! Eventtus has you covered here.
We’ve already helped host various virtual events including one of the Middle East’s top events, namely RiseUp’s mid-year edition RiseUp from Home.
For this event, we helped the organizers create and design their virtual booths, include event sponsors, conduct fireside chats, 100+ talks, and panel discussions, along with “workshops focused on entrepreneurial grit.”
RiseUp also got to try out our Networking Circles, which allows attendees to connect and network with others while attending the virtual event.
All of this was done via the Eventtus Virtual Platform.
So whether you’re looking to create an all-virtual event or a hybrid event, Eventtus can support you with the virtual side.
Do you want to create a virtual event for your business? Get in touch with Eventtus.