The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of virtual events. Companies realized just how effective it could be to live stream an event. Virtual events offer many benefits such as cost and time savings. Not being limited in terms of location is a big advantage now that many employees work remotely.
Using the right event hosting platform helps companies offer a seamless user experience and promote company branding and positioning. As value-added experiences with engagement, virtual events can have a great impact. This blog provides a guide to choosing a virtual event platform to host digital and hybrid events.
What is a virtual event platform?
A virtual event brings an audience together digitally. Events can range from a direct live stream of a demo to a networking event or a multi-day conference. Event promotion, planning, and hosting can be daunting without the use of an event hosting platform with appropriate technology.
There’s more to a virtual event platform than video conferencing tools. A video conferencing platform provides an excellent way to keep in touch with team members. It serves this purpose well but it doesn’t have the capabilities of a virtual event platform. A virtual event platform offers interactive features that help to create immersive experiences for participants. These features such as live polls, surveys, or live chat offer more engagement. An event hosting platform supports each stage of an event from event promotion and registration to post-event feedback and analytics. It enables companies to host their events securely and reliably.
What to look for in a virtual event platform
Virtual event hosting platforms vary considerably and event organizers must find one that supports their specific needs. Here are some of the basics to look for in a virtual event platform.
- Ease of use: Ease of use is one of the most important factors to consider. A user-friendly interface allows for efficient event planning and promotion. This includes everything from providing customizable landing pages to straightforward registration.
Participants utilizing the platform for the first time should have a seamless user experience (UX). Even the ease of filling in a registration form can affect the user experience. For a great user experience participants should be able to quickly find out how everything works and feel comfortable using different features. For example, screen sharing is a useful feature that allows a host to share a screen with participants. Even participants can use a screen-sharing feature to share screens with one another.
- Customization/branding options: Customization helps to reinforce a company’s brand image in the minds of participants. Participants should recognize the brand logo, colors, and fonts. These should appear on everything from landing pages promoting an event to post-event emails. This offers a cohesive, brand experience to participants.
- Scalability: Companies may not need to accommodate hundreds of participants every time they host a virtual event. However, the ability to scale up means they don’t have to migrate to another platform if this becomes necessary. A platform should have the ability to handle numerous users at the same time without affecting the performance of live video.
- Interactive elements: An event platform must have interactive elements to make virtual events as engaging as in-person events. Features such as calls-to-action (CTAs), quizzes, Q&A sessions, live polling, and live chat help to draw participants in and offer them value. A CTA can encourage participants to download an ebook or take any other action. Quizzes enable them to assess information retention. Live polls give them a chance to offer feedback. Chat features encourage two-way dialogue and make participants feel more included. Participants can pose questions that a host can answer in a Q&A session at the end.
- Integration with other software: A platform for online and hybrid events should integrate with other tools and software a company already uses. For example, integration with CRMs allows event organizers to collect data and get insights to personalize communications. Integration with their email marketing software allows them to email participants long after an event and build relationships with them.
The Best Virtual Event Platforms
The most important part of event planning is to choose the right virtual event platform. A chosen platform should have all the functionality a company requires from event promotion such as conveying the value of a live event down to registration with a user-friendly registration form. Here are some of the best virtual event platforms for various types of virtual events.
Networking events are designed for audience members to interact. They are more casual in nature than other types of events. This type of event will draw in individuals who want to expand their professional connections.
- Weve is a virtual event platform for hosting virtual and hybrid experiences for all types of budgets and teams. It promotes productivity, engagement, and connection. Teams can connect together with a live host, and have a range of interactive and engaging experiences from anywhere in the world. It offers adventures, escape rooms, game shows, and more. A user-friendly content tool allows SMEs to develop their own courses, games, and experiences. Fun elements like games can differentiate a company’s networking events.
- Mesh encourages natural conversation between participants. It assists with pre-event messaging, setup, rehearsal, and live support. Event organizers can embed games, videos, URLs, surveys, and almost anything else in an event. They can customize every aspect of events including the layouts and even what guests wear. Events are password-protected and live support is readily available.
- Mixily is a little like Facebook events but better. It offers event landing pages, guest lists, RSVPs, and ticketing. Event registration is straightforward and guests don’t need an account to sign up. Event organizers can create promo codes and ticketing tiers. It’s possible to track ticket sales across events by using a revenue dashboard. The newest product allows communities to connect online in a venue designed for the brand. Event organizers can make an event look exactly as they want it to look. The setup is simple and it works well on mobile.
Virtual conferences and town halls
Virtual conferences usually have large audiences and require careful planning. They include sessions, breakouts, keynote speakers, and more. It can be quite daunting to handle everything from event registration to follow-up. Town halls are often hybrid events where employers share a message with an entire company. An event hosting platform must be able to support the scale of these events and ensure that live video performance isn’t affected.
- Hubilo is a webinar platform that was founded in 2015 and has helped event organizers create over 12K events and webinars. Event building is easy. The platform adapts readily to match the demands and conversion goals of companies. Event organizers can use the platform for anything from small conferences and town halls to large flagship events.
This platform is known for its custom branding options, including being able to customize landing pages for event promotion and follow-up with personalized emails. Brands can customize themes, backgrounds, color schemes, and more. Audience engagement features such as polls, surveys, live chat, and social media integrations allow participants to interact with content and other participants. Companies can capture, qualify, and follow up on leads with app integrations. Apps can be the main interaction hub for conferences. Agendas with links allow participants to select what sessions to attend.
- Cincopa is trusted by numerous companies for private video hosting. Using this platform enables companies to host their conferences and townhalls securely and reliably.
Responsive design means participants have a good live video experience no matter what devices or networks they use. They experience good speed and video quality even when there are many conference or townhall participants.
A virtual event should contain a mix of live and pre-recorded content. Event organizers can record the live stream of a virtual event, save it, and share the link with participants. This means participants can rewatch content and companies can share it with those who did not manage to attend.
It is also possible to enhance recorded content with various features and use it for other purposes, such as video-on-demand. Some of these interactive features include subtitles, annotations, quizzes, and CTAs. With in-video search options, viewers can go straight to the parts that matter most to them.
Security on the Cincopa video hosting platform involves the use of features like encryption and password protection to prevent unwanted access to the confidential information of participants. User permissions can grant certain users access and prevent others from accessing sensitive content. Using the Cincopa platform for event hosting allows companies to control access to content with user permissions. For example, they may want only VIPs to access conference content.
Cincopa offers integrations with Zoom, Mailchimp, Constant Content, Hubspot, Zapier, Slack, and other software solutions companies often use. This ensures that they can get the full benefit from hosting virtual events. They can jump on leads and analyze insights such as session attendance. Engaging participants after an event with personalized emails etc. drives personalized conversations that convert.
Advanced analytics such as heat maps and dashboards enable event organizers to gain detailed insights into how event participants behave. This enables them to make informed decisions about how to improve events.
- Accelevents provides enterprise-grade capabilities for managing virtual and hybrid events. It can handle everything from product launches to career fairs and fundraisers. The platform is trusted by 12,500 organizations across the world and helps event planners bring an event to life with a wide range of features.
Event organizers can easily create an event website, build an event agenda, and tailor the event registration and ticketing process. Assisted and self-check options are available and there is a diverse range of payment methods. Engagement is driven by networking and easy event apps support the busy schedules of participants and event staff. The platform offers advanced security options and detailed insights on event performance with analytics.
Marketing and sales
Event planning for marketing and sales virtual events is also facilitated by the use of the right platform. Marketing and sales virtual events are more formal than networking events but less formal than conferences.
- Splash is an event platform that helps event organizers create, manage, and market events. Powerful templates, intuitive tools, integrations, and built-in compliance controls allow event organizers to host great marketing and sales events. By unlocking the revenue-generating power of events companies can significantly increase their sales pipeline. Assessing the effectiveness of events with in-depth analytics and reporting helps them to make improvements that generate more revenue.
- Demio allows companies to increase webinar attendance through automated, customizable email notifications. Handouts, polls, and featured actions can get the audience to participate. They can use emojis, ask questions, and even go to a virtual stage. Live chat in real-time helps to build relationships. By integrating webinar data with a marketing automation platform (or CRM) marketing and sales teams can drive engaged participants to the next step in the buyers’ journey.
Cincopa for virtual events
Using the Cincopa platform allows companies to design, manage, and host any kind of virtual event with ease. It is one of the best platforms for hosting branded, live video events. This video hosting platform enables companies to host scalable and secure events from casual team meetings to large conferences.
Cincopa’s “over-the-top” (OTT) technology offers high-quality streaming from a management dashboard to many devices. Event organizers can create professional video experiences with a live stream to audiences. They can choose whether they want to live stream one-to-many or have multiple speakers or co-hosts Using passthrough streaming means there is no platform level optimization whereas a transcoded video stream converts content for a better user experience across all devices and networks.
Using a combination of media offers more engagement for event participants. Live video, audio, and graphic media such as images or charts help to capture the audience’s attention. CIncopa allows companies to optimize the use of different types of media. It has numerous templates companies can customize to suit their purposes. They can organize video-on-demand into galleries and in-video search features enable users to easily find what they want to watch.
Companies that want to stream an event behind a login paywall can do so. Lead generation forms allow them to collect email addresses so they can grow their email lists and increase their profits.
One of the main advantages Cincopa has over other streaming platforms is its advanced analytics. Gaining audience insights from analytics allows event organizers to understand how they can improve their events. Presenting analytics information to sponsors can also encourage support for virtual events.
A virtual event doesn’t have the same restrictions as an in-person event. It gives participants from across the globe a chance to attend, access content on demand, and upload resources. Companies can access data on participants and use it to improve future events. A virtual event platform should cover all the steps from registration to collecting feedback. It should be easy to use, reflect a company’s brand identity, and provide interactive features at an affordable price.