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The pandemic, and the subsequent technological advancement it spurred, have led to a surge in the use of virtual event platforms in today's events industry.
While it could simply be seen as a response to the ever-pressing need for convenience, we believe it's more of a revelation. Far from isolating us, technology has expanded our opportunities for connection and value creation. The virtual event space has blossomed in recent years, and virtual events have exploded in popularity - to the point where even those who haven’t yet participated are likely to do so in the near future.
In a 2022 survey, 37% of US consumers expected to attend an online work conference in the next five years, with 35% anticipating collaborative work in a digital or hybrid setting. Coextensive with this increase is the burgeoning of the virtual event platform market. Today, there are dozens of virtual event products to choose from. This article will delve into the ins and outs of virtual events, how they can revolutionize your event business, and the top virtual event software for 2023. If you haven’t joined the digital bandwagon, it’s time to give it some serious thought.
So what exactly are virtual events, and how can they revolutionize your business?
A virtual event platform is a software solution or online platform that enables the hosting and management of virtual events. It provides the necessary tools and features to create interactive and engaging online experiences, simulating the atmosphere of in-person events. With a virtual event platform, event organizers can easily set up and manage various types of virtual events, such as conferences, webinars, workshops, and networking sessions, using a centralized platform accessible to attendees from anywhere in the world. These platforms often offer features like live video streaming, chat and messaging systems, virtual exhibit halls, audience engagement tools, and analytics to track event performance.
Virtual event platform features encompass a wide range of capabilities and functionalities to enhance the virtual event experience. With a virtual event platform, you can host live presentations, panel discussions, and keynote speeches, allowing attendees to participate and interact in real-time. These platforms enable virtual networking, where attendees can connect with each other, exchange contact information, and engage in discussions. Virtual event platforms also facilitate exhibitor spaces, where sponsors and vendors can showcase their products or services to the event audience. Additionally, these platforms often provide features for on-demand content, allowing attendees to access recorded sessions or materials after the event has ended.
Hosting a virtual event presents numerous advantages and opportunities. Virtual events offer flexibility in terms of time, location, and accessibility, allowing a broader audience to participate without the need for travel or physical attendance. They are cost-effective compared to in-person events, as they eliminate expenses related to venue rental, catering, and logistics. Virtual events also provide valuable data and analytics that can be leveraged for future event planning and marketing strategies. Moreover, virtual events enable global reach, allowing attendees from different parts of the world to come together, share knowledge, and build connections.
A virtual event app offers several benefits that enhance the overall event experience. These platforms provide advanced features and tools for engagement, such as chat functionalities, live polling, Q&A sessions, and interactive event gamification elements, which boost attendee participation and interaction. Virtual event platforms also facilitate seamless event management, enabling organizers to easily schedule sessions, manage registrations, track attendance, and collect feedback. Additionally, many of these platforms not only let you host events, but also offer branding and customization options, allowing organizers to create a personalized experience that aligns with their brand identity. Virtual event platforms also provide valuable analytics and reporting capabilities, enabling organizers to measure event success, understand attendee behavior, and gain insights for future improvements.
The world of virtual events is incredibly versatile, limited only by your creativity and the necessity of maintaining the virtual component.
Below are a few types of virtual events you might recognize:
Virtual conferences gather like-minded individuals to exchange information via visual presentations and discussions. They're adaptable, scalable, and relevant to a variety of event objectives.
Virtual conferences offer:
Broadcast events are less interactive than conferences, with the experience being more akin to watching TV or a livestream. The participants are passive, mainly answering questions, reacting, and voting.
Characteristics of broadcast events:
Virtual workshops concentrate on skill development and usually limit the number of attendees for a more personal experience.
Networking events, either standalone or supplemental, aim to create meaningful connections among attendees. A Virtual networking event platform often uses more private rooms, discussion boards, and roundtables.
Networking events offer:
Visit our blog post for more insights on incorporating virtual networking into your events.
The cost of hosting virtual events varies based on scale, complexity, and the number of attendees.
To give you a ballpark, Wonder suggests a single-day conference with fewer than 500 attendees could cost anywhere between $2,500 to $10,000, primarily for video production support and marketing.
Eventcube is a virtual event platform that offers more flexibility, with customizable virtual event features, add-ons, and production services starting from as little as £1.25 per attendee.
While virtual events take place entirely online, hybrid events leverage both digital and physical spaces.
The choice between virtual and hybrid events depends on your goals. Hybrid events can cover more ground but will be more expensive due to venue fees, audio-visual equipment, and onsite labor.
Weigh your budget and objectives before settling on an event format.
Modern virtual event platforms are becoming increasingly advanced, offering various tools such as:
When choosing a virtual event platform, look for:
Most importantly, opt for software with great customization options so you can tailor your event to your brand as well as expand the platform’s capabilities with robust app integration.
Now, without further ado, lets take a look at the top list of virtual events platform software.
When it comes to virtual event solutions, Eventcube is fast becoming a front-runner. It separates itself from other platforms through its versatile, easy-to-use features such as ticketing, memberships, and attendee registration. This platform, which is not only user-friendly but also fully adaptable, is furnished with an array of robust tools to guarantee a seamless execution of your event from beginning to end.
Whether you're organizing festivals, free events, trade fairs, or conferences, Eventcube is designed to provide an unparalleled experience for all guests. This virtual event platform goes above and beyond in ensuring each interaction is memorable, demonstrated by its innovative feature of a built-in email builder. This tool allows for the creation of customized, brand-aligned ticket confirmation emails, enabling event organizers to promote and upsell any upcoming virtual event available in their inventory.
Eventcube's approach to virtual events is comprehensive and designed to be a 'one-stop solution.' It's an all-encompassing event platform, suited to cater to any industry's needs. It also doubles as a virtual event management platform, offering a wide range of tools that cater to all aspects of event management and coordination, including event marketing options, networking opportunities, attendee engagement, and more.
With Eventcube, you can also foster productive interaction among your remote teams through integrated chat systems, which can facilitate individual and group discussions. Moreover, the platform supports meetings and webinars, allowing for efficient communication and knowledge sharing across various geographical locations. Considering Eventcube's robust virtual event management software, exceptional user experience, and affordable pricing, it's easy to see how beat out the other virtual platforms on this list.
Lastly, Eventcube understands that budget is a crucial aspect for any event planner. That's why it offers a wide spectrum of pricing options, catering to diverse budgetary needs. Regardless of the financial constraints, you're likely to find a plan that delivers value without overstretching your budget. After all, achieving exceptional results without causing a dent in your wallet is always a welcomed scenario.
HeySummit is a standout in the realm of virtual event platforms, earning its reputation as a reliable tool for digital event creation. Its robust custom event builder brings your unique vision to life, ensuring your event suits your needs, and is not confined by the limitations of the platform.
With HeySummit, you're in control of the entire event planning process. From developing eye-catching landing pages to handling ticketing and securing sponsorships, everything is streamlined for you. Moreover, this virtual event platform's ability to facilitate seamless communication with guests elevates it even further, ensuring efficient information exchange and contributing to the overall success of the event.
Designed with versatility in mind, HeySummit supports different types of virtual meetings, including webinars. It boasts an integrated chat for real-time interaction, and its compatibility with various external tools confirms it as one of the best platforms for planning and executing virtual events. To sum it up, HeySummit's comprehensive suite of features guarantees a smooth and memorable digital event journey.
Zoom, primarily recognized as a virtual conference platform, has been a lifeline for many businesses and individuals in the era of remote communication. While it may not encompass all the functionalities of dedicated virtual event platforms, it offers a solid set of features suited for more straightforward, intimate digital gatherings.
Zoom may be the king of virtual meetings, allowing you easy access to core features like screen sharing, video and voice recording, whiteboarding, breakout rooms, and real-time chats, accommodating smooth interaction among guests. Despite these offerings, it might fall short in hosting more complex virtual events due to its inherent limitations.
While it can be cost-intensive for larger events or with added features, Zoom's widespread usage and intuitive interface ensure minimal setup or training is needed to host an event. Moreover, the popular video conferencing tool conveniently syncs with Google Calendar, simplifying the scheduling process.
In comparison to a virtual conferencing platform like Goto Webinar, Zoom may not offer the same breadth of event-centric features. However, its popularity as a virtual meeting platform can't be denied. With its ability to provide high-quality communication experiences across diverse scenarios, we believe Zoom is a great choice among virtual conferencing platforms, particularly for straightforward video conferencing needs.
vFairs, as the name suggests, excels in hosting online events like job fairs, conferences, and trade shows, including fashion events. This virtual event platform is designed with such specific events in mind, making it a strong choice if you're planning to host one.
The software is enriched with functionalities tailored to these online events. It offers diverse networking options, the capacity to host webinars, virtual exhibit booths, and effective content-sharing facilities. These features help hosts create immersive experiences, connecting guests and maximizing engagement.
What sets this software apart is the option to infuse gamification into your events. You can add elements like virtual scavenger hunts, trivia quizzes, and live polling, adding a fun, interactive layer to your event. These features not only enrich the experience but also enhance audience engagement, making vFairs a valuable tool in your event planning arsenal.
As the name hints at (very strongly), vFairs is particularly good for job fairs, conferences and trade events such as fashion shows (here’s a fashion show sponsorship proposal sample to help you out if you’re planning one of those).
Accelevents shines as a versatile virtual events platform, encompassing all the necessary tools for hosting a diverse range of online events. Its expansive scope extends beyond virtual, accommodating hybrid and face-to-face events, making it suitable for organizations across various sectors.
This platform stands out for its scalability, allowing hosts to organize events of different scales, from intimate gatherings to grand conventions. It caters to the end-to-end organization and management of your virtual event, providing an all-encompassing solution for hosts and participants alike.
An additional feature is the ability to record events, providing an opportunity for post-event content editing and distribution. This allows for an extended reach to those who couldn't attend the live event.
Moreover, Accelevents integrates seamlessly with popular tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, and SurveyMonkey, enhancing your event planning and execution process. This means you can continue using your favorite tools, making Accelevents a familiar and comfortable platform for your virtual event needs.
Hubilo emerges as a formidable contender in the virtual events sphere, providing a robust platform suitable for both online events and webinars. It's renowned for its exemplary customer support, making it an ideal choice for small businesses or first-time hosts who might need extra assistance for their next event.
Hubilo's core strengths lie in its user-friendliness, flexibility, and interactive elements. It fosters a conducive environment for meeting attendees to network and interact, enhancing the overall event experience.
One standout feature is its detailed analytics. Hubilo offers comprehensive insights into your event's performance, analyzing data pre, during, and post-event. It provides a breakdown of sponsors' impact, individual attendee engagement, and even multiple event analytics. This data can be instrumental in evaluating your event's success and informing future event planning strategies. In short, Hubilo brings a blend of support, interaction, and analytical prowess to your virtual event hosting endeavors.
Hopin is an online events platform that strives to mirror the richness of in-person events as closely as possible. While fully replicating the physical event experience virtually is a challenging task, Hopin's impressive virtual spaces deliver a commendable approximation.
The software offers multiple interactive areas for guests to explore and connect with fellow attendees, thus emphasizing networking opportunities. If fostering connections and facilitating interaction among attendees is crucial to your event's success, Hopin should be a top consideration.
Hopin's user-friendly interface makes it an excellent choice for small businesses or first-time hosts planning a webinar or online event. However, note that captioning, an important accessibility feature for some, may not be available on all plans. This is a factor to bear in mind as you choose the right platform for your hosting needs.
Webex Events, formerly known as Socio, is a comprehensive virtual event platform designed for managing an array of events, from virtual to hybrid and in-person event. Its forte lies in its robust reporting capabilities, providing detailed insights into ticket sales, sponsorship, and attendee engagement among others. This feature makes it a valuable asset for hosts looking to optimize their event strategies.
The platform comes packed with features like ticketing, interactive attendee networking, custom virtual venues, mobile apps, and live as well as on-demand streaming. These tools enhance the online meeting experience, promoting engagement and ensuring seamless event operations.
A standout feature is the platform's emphasis on sponsor visibility. With gamification, dedicated video rooms, analytics, and sponsor profiles, Webex Events makes a compelling case for potential sponsors, increasing the likelihood of securing sponsorships for your event.
However, it's important to note that Webex Events mainly targets event management professionals. So, if you're a small business or planning your first event, other virtual conference platforms tailored for novice users might be more suitable.
Zuddl is a dynamic virtual event platform that caters to both seasoned event organizers and novices alike, as evidenced by the range of blue-chip organizations that leverage its capabilities. Its user-friendly interface ensures that even small businesses or first-time hosts can seamlessly plan and execute their virtual meeting.
The platform stands out with its intuitive drag-and-drop builder, enabling you to set up your event quickly and effortlessly. This convenience frees you up to focus on other crucial aspects of your business or event planning.
A key strength of Zuddl lies in its high customizability. It allows you to infuse your company's branding throughout the event, helping create a unique and consistent experience for attendees. With more advanced packages, you gain access to custom domains for your event, emails, and landing pages, further personalizing your virtual networking event.
In a nutshell, Zuddl is a versatile virtual conferencing platform that combines ease-of-use and customization, empowering hosts to create distinctive and engaging virtual events.
Note: Prices are accurate at the time of publication (11/28/2022) and may have now changed.
In the vast landscape of virtual events, selecting the perfect platform might seem daunting. However, remember that every event, from intimate meetings to grand conferences, has an ideal virtual solution tailored to its needs.
Embracing the virtual event realm reaps considerable benefits; it abolishes the constraints of geographical locations, reduces costs, and extends your reach to a global audience. Whether it's a highly focused webinar or a broad-scale conference, the appropriate virtual event online platform has the potential to amplify the overall experience.
Prioritize platforms that provide dependable video conferencing, ensuring seamless communication for your events. Features such as audience engagement tools and interactive elements are pivotal in cultivating rich participant involvement and crafting memorable experiences.
Some platforms are particularly designed to cater to events of all sizes, offering unparalleled versatility. These software solutions present scalable and customizable options, equipping you for everything from a small meeting to a large-scale virtual conference.
To invigorate your event further, consider platforms that provide elements such as gamification and chat functionalities. These features can significantly enhance participant engagement, foster networking opportunities, and create a lively environment.
There is a plethora of virtual event platforms to explore, each offering unique capabilities that cater to a wide array of event types and audience needs. As the landscape of virtual events continues to evolve, making an informed choice for the right platform is integral. It not only allows your organization to establish meaningful connections with your audience but also successfully achieve your event objectives and create lasting impressions.
Given the array of options, taking the time to thoroughly research event software becomes essential. Make use of demos and free trials offered by platforms, such as Eventcube, to ensure the platform aligns with your specific needs and event goals. It's an investment of time that will pay off in the success of your events.
This post was a collaboration between PandaDoc and Eventcube
Yauhen Zaremba - Director of Demand Generation
Yauhen is the Director of Demand Generation at PandaDoc, all-in-one document management software for almost all document types including this PandaDoc lease agreement template. He’s been a marketer for 10+ years, and for the last five years, he’s been entirely focused on the electronic signature, proposal, and document management markets. Yauhen has experience speaking at niche conferences where he enjoys sharing his expertise with other curious marketers. And in his spare time, he is an avid fisherman and takes nearly 20 fishing trips every year.