Virtual Events are here to stay. But what actually is a virtual event?

As times are changing… so are we. While Stagecast is of course still available for in-person events, Stagecast 3.0 specifically caters to online audiences.

Jonas Hermann
May 26, 2021
Virtual events provided a lifeline for many businesses and individuals in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic led to the shut down of physical events around the world. But it’s not just a flash in the pan. Virtual events were already growing in popularity pre-pandemic, with the sector valued at almost $78 billion in 2019. It is expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 23.2% from 2020 to 2027, strongly suggesting this is anything but a temporary phenomenon. According to a recent study by LinkedIn, 45% of future B2B events will be completely virtual. Clearly, the events industry is changing… and so are we.

While Stagecast is of course still available for in-person events, our recently released Stagecast 3.0 update specifically caters to online audiences. Stagecast Audience Activities are brand-able interactive experiences that keep audiences engaged and can be shared or embedded in any channel or platform  - Social Media, Newsletters, Websites, Apps, Live Streams, Video Meeting Platforms, Virtual event platforms and of course in-venue screens.

Stagecast equips event creators with digital activities such as live quizzes, votings, selfie collages and much, much more and thereby provides a new, powerful tool to activate brands, build communities and grow audiences - no matter where they are physically located or if they join the event from afar. 

But first, let’s get back to basics…

What is a Virtual Event?

The most basic definition of a virtual event is: an online event that involves people interacting in a virtual environment, rather than a physical location. They are great because they are (or should be) highly interactive and give a similar look and feel to a physical event.

Types of Virtual Events

Okay, now that we know what a virtual event is, we can take a look at the different types of virtual events. Yes, there are a number of different types of virtual events - most of which are tailored to specific goals or purposes.

1. Webinars

Webinars typically last somewhere from 45 to 80 minutes. Holding webinars virtually allows attendees from around the world to join in and listen as one or more speakers present the content. Companies can charge attendees to join webinars using online payment services or can be offered for free.

Webinars typically use Q&As, polling and interactive quizzes, the ability to present live or a pre-recorded video, and be offered on-demand after the fact. Due to their one-off educational nature, webinars have thrived with 100% virtual attendance. These can also include internal and external trainings.

Stagecast for Webinars

2. Virtual Conferences

Much like in-person conferences, virtual conferences are built around a live, complex agenda that includes keynotes, sessions, breakouts, and more. Virtual conferences include multi-session content and can involve many different audience engagement activities.

Virtual conferences allow attendees to view keynotes in real-time, build their own agenda from relevant, on-demand content, and interact with other attendees.

Stagecast for conferences

3. Virtual Corporate Events

These are town halls, sales kick-offs, company wide events, trainings, department meetings, and more. For organizations that span countries, even continents, internal hybrid events are used to share a message to the entire company when employees are not all gathered in the same place.

While it would be great to fly every employee to your organization’s headquarters, it would be incredibly costly, and the scheduling required would be time-consuming. The next best option is to host events that are part in-person, part virtual. Virtual team building activities can work well at internal hybrid events.

Stagecast for Corporate Events

4. External Virtual Events

These events are held for those outside of your organization. They can be user conferences or industry conferences. Similar to conventional conferences, virtual conferences are highly engaging and include a series of large sessions run by thought leaders in the industry who present to and interact with attendees. Virtual conferences achieve this by hosting a virtual lobby wherein attendees can choose sessions and streams to “attend.”

And, like conventional conferences, virtual conferences offer the opportunity for sponsorship, sell tickets to engage with speakers through polls, chats, quizzes, collages and live Q&As.

Stagecast for Virtual & Hybrid Events Marketing

Pros of Hosting Your Event Online

Now that we know what a virtual event is and what types of events there are, we can really start to explore the benefits of this type of event (and there are loads of them!). 

1. Adjustable: There are many ways to host virtual or teleconferencing events; you just need to be sure you have the right platform and tools at your disposal, and if you can imagine an event you can host in person, you can probably host it virtually.

2. Cost-effective: Venue hire can run in the tens of thousands of dollars just for one day, and that doesn’t even take into account the cost of food and drink, accommodation for speakers, and venue insurance. With virtual events, those costs are non-existent. All you have to pay for is the digital tools, promotion, and speakers.

3. Scalable: Most physical venues have a limit to the number of people allowed in, and then you have to take into account the cost of hosting thousands of people. Virtual events make it much easier to scale, meaning you can host more people for a fraction of the cost. This also means you can expand your reach and promote brand awareness.

4. Interactive: 30% of people are more likely to speak to a person in a virtual booth. Maybe that’s because people are scared to approach someone at an event or they just enjoy the anonymity. Either way, virtual events often offer tools such as polls, Q&A, quizzes, virtual photo booths and even a downloadable resources section so your attendees can fully engage with your content. If you utilize Stagecast at your virtual event, you can really ramp up the engagement.

5. Sustainability: The costs of hosting an in-person event aren’t only monetary, they are also environmental. U.S. residents made 463.6 million person‐trips for business purposes in 2018, with 38% for meetings and events. That’s more than 175 million trips to meetings and events alone. Virtual events take away the need for people to travel hundreds of miles to venues, and instead allow them to access your event from much closer to home, not only saving businesses money, but reducing the impact on the environment.

6. Resilient: Unlike physical events, virtual events are not disrupted by bad weather or pandemics. Attendees can participate in these events from anywhere, so obstacles that would ruin a physical event don't even come into play at virtual events.

7. Measurable: Virtual events can provide comprehensive analytics and data reports. Want to know how many people viewed a presentation? Or, want to find out how many questions were asked or how many quizzes were played? These are hard stats to gather from in-person sessions, but are at your finger-tips with online events and if you apply tools like Stagecast. Why is this important? Knowing your viewing stats or engagement scores can really help you fine tune your content and determine what’s working and what’s not without having to rely on a post-event survey that only 10% of attendees will actually fill out.

So, as you can see, the world of virtual events is one in which there are many new things to explore and tricks to learn - and one that will grow over the next few years. Stagecast is excited to be part of such an expanding industry and provide tools for event professionals to create more engaging, interactive and memorable event experiences.

If you have any questions about how to use Stagecast at your event, connect with someone on our team who can share best practices.

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