Recent analysis shows that the long-term and sustainable impact of hybrid operation and the adoption of digital channels is creating an unprecedented wave of virtual events.
According to Frost & Sullivan, the global market for webinars and virtual events will continue to grow as hybrid work becomes mainstream. From this perspective, flexible AV teams capable of hosting both live and online events will change the current AV market. Applying TV broadcasts, content creation, and experience design lessons to virtual events will create value and increase visitor engagement.
Achieving higher levels of participation
Adding a virtual element to your live event opens up many more opportunities for participation than would be possible in a purely live event, both during and after the event. Making collaboration tools available to everyone and using presence for all participants means that virtual participants can effectively interact with their peers in person.
Allowing people to attend in person and virtually means that not only can your event reach more people, but attendees will have more flexibility in how they attend. By adding an online tier to a physical event, it becomes possible to both accommodate more of our potential audience and allow more of that audience to join, so my tribe can reach higher participation levels, to hundreds of thousands of people.
Virtual events to attract attendees online
Take your live event with audience, content, and more and add a virtual component to it so your audience can join and interact with your event from wherever they are. A hybrid event allows organizations to host a live event in person with a limited audience while hosting a virtual event to attract attendees online. The goal of a hybrid event is to bring those who participate virtually and in person into the audience together and get them to participate in the same events and discussions. For the same event size, a hybrid can be much greener than an in-person event.
A hybrid format makes events more accessible
Importantly, the hybrid also helps make events more accessible to those who cannot attend in person for health or physical reasons. Hybrid events not only provide interaction between online and face-to-face audiences, but also enhance the overall in-person experience by making it easier for in-person attendees to find and connect with each other.
A hybrid event can easily transform into an online community where the brand can cultivate the same audience over time, where attendees can continue to interact with the brand and each other, and more. At the same time, the consistent format makes it easier for organizers and exhibitors to plan and run events, as the same employees who attend the event in person can also participate in the virtual elements of the experience.
Virtual audiences will be a common feature of future events
Despite the interactive virtual elements of the hybrid event, the live audience remains an integral factor that will not be eliminated. Event planners seem to agree that most future events will have virtual audiences. That said, if viewers choose to attend the hybrid event virtually, they won’t be simply invited to passively watch the livestream. While a hybrid event might retain a virtual voice component, if the industry is leaning toward a TV show model, it’s best for the speakers to speak in person.
Better connections using technology platforms
To overcome this decoupling, event organizers will need to facilitate audience connections and use event vendors and technology platforms that help both viewers communicate. The “connecting” elements where people can easily interact with each other may be the hardest to replicate virtually.
But with hybrid events almost certainly, companies will need to find digital solutions for those who are not ready to return to events in person. Your virtual event technology needs to be able to support these needs as we transition to a hybrid strategy, so investing in platforms that can provide this connectivity will pay dividends when it comes to the event experience.
It’s worth noting that while event costs will increase compared to virtual events, so will the ROI, as a hybrid event will provide greater engagement, more networking and sales opportunities, and ultimately provide a better experience. Armed with this research and data, event organizers will be able to keep up with new trends, keep attendees happy, and move forward with confidence in the era of hybrid events.
This should help you identify what’s working and what’s not, and identify new opportunities for your next campaign to increase engagement and improve your hybrid model. You can create comprehensive reports to improve your event experience and optimize content, marketing and business strategy.
Many trackable metrics are available to you
Due to the online nature of hybrid campaigns, you have access to many trackable metrics to help you learn more about your campaign and improve it in the future – metrics you can’t measure offline. Because virtual events are hosted online, we can get more specific information about how viewers interact with event content, including how long it takes people to set up, when to opt out, the topics that generate the most questions and engagement.
The virtual option also allows planners to gather valuable data on which meetings people attend and for how long, which can improve future events. You can take advantage of features like a virtual briefcase and keep the event page active after the event is over. Event organizers can take advantage of features such as fast network connectivity, physical and virtual booths, and augmented reality interactions through the event app.
The use of virtual events was unavoidable during pandemic
All speakers were fully live and interacted with each other in real time as well as with the audience through a set of interaction tools created simultaneously and distributed to attendees online and in person via the Post-Covid Hybrid Events Platform. Until January 2020, the online component of the event was a neglected, annoying and time-consuming event that professionals had to deal with. Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic really pushed the use of hybrid and virtual events (we had no other choice, right?).