Why digital engagement remains important in 2022
More or less, our way of living has changed since the pandemic has started. Likewise, the main goals of top event organizers have also undergone a huge shift and been adapted – providing a consistent event experience across every single channel is now a top concern in event management. Why? Because now we have to deal with a new reality that doesn’t give more importance to in-person participants than to virtual attendees.
Also, the need for better metrics and reporting goes hand-in-hand with digital engagement. Having an effective digital engagement strategy will lead to more comprehensive attendee data and thus to an improved event ROI, as you can track every step of the attendee’s experience and interactions with sponsors, exhibitors and other participants. Get to know how to measure success in virtual events.
Thus, even if government restrictions weren’t strongly leaning the industry towards virtual events, it’s important to realize that even in-person events should benefit from a strong digital component no matter what. After all, we’re already dealing with an outspokenly distributed audience that has arrived to completely change the potential (global) reach of events through hybridization. By the way, have you explored the global reach of hybrid events?
Challenges & opportunities of engaging virtual attendees
When running virtual events, it’s imperative to understand how attendee experience and engagement differs from in-person events. When an event goes completely or partially virtual, new digital engagement strategies are necessary to maximize attendee engagement.
Also read: Running virtual events? Keep your attendees engaged.
Nevertheless, everyone knows how easier and cheaper it’s to host a virtual event. Not to mention the broader reach that allows event organizers to target a larger, more diverse audience. Engaging virtual attendees will also allow exhibitors to have an improved lead generation process by tracking attendee data from registration all the way to post-event surveys. Sales teams can now track and follow up with leads based on attendee engagement and interests. The greater the relevance, the greater the success!
But as in everything there’s the flip side of the coin, we can point to mobile optimization as one of the biggest challenges of virtual event planning, because the majority of attendees are likely to attend using their mobile devices (especially if we think about in-person attendees who simultaneously want to be part of remote sessions). Event experience is getting more and more omnichannel so people don’t miss a thing!
Also, another hot-button issue of virtual events is regarding networking. Thankfully, it can be long-distance, but if you think about your event attendees stuck behind laptops, it’s difficult to imagine them reaching out to other people to get real sales opportunities, right? So, make sure your virtual events platform facilitates interaction for your attendees to make a more profitable event – be it through pre-scheduled one-to-one or group video calls, a real-time chat tool or to post-event engagement ideas. If you’re wavering about the ideal technology, bump into the best video tools for virtual events (and learn how to choose them right).
Ideas to create engagement and track activity
Please check if any of these ideas escaped your attention before when keeping your virtual attendees engaged (and getting detailed event data):
- Use polls to interact with your remote attendees (in this case, reply rate may be a metric);
- Always be consistent with your visual branding (either online or onsite);
- Make content available for attendees after by offering on-demand live session recordings for attendees who miss sessions or want to attend more than their schedules allow;
- Host quizzes, workshops, live Q&As and breakout sessions (for instance, you can track the number of questions during live Q&As);
- Offer in-app or scheduled virtual networking opportunities for attendees to meet with exhibitors, sponsors, sales teams, and other peers (here you can track the number of proposed/accepted meetings between sponsors and attendees);
- Go for gamification and contests as easy ways to get attendees’ attention and keep them on your mobile event app between event sessions (have you looked into how long attendees stay connected to your event platform during the event?)
As you can see, virtual events are here to stay so you can still benefit from an easy ROI measurement, while offering event attendees increased flexibility. Continue your reading with these 5 tools to create a memorable virtual or hybrid event.