It’s not that virtual events weren’t in existence before 2020. The first virtual event happened way before that—back in 1993, as a matter of fact.
It’s been almost 20 years since, but virtual events continue to serve a purpose for more specific types of events—albeit, in the background of in-person alternatives—until COVID-19. The pandemic very quickly propelled the growth of virtual events to where we are today.
In fact, in a study where over 8,000 marketers were asked what type of events they predicted would be most prevalent worldwide in 2022, 40% said virtual. Hybrid and in-person events saw a decline from 2020 with 30%. What this shows is that businesses have become more comfortable with hosting virtual events and that the options for this medium are not becoming irrelevant.
A Brief History of Virtual Events
What many people may not be aware of with virtual events is that they were gaining traction even before the pandemic began.
Analysts and marketers considered it an exciting trend because of how technology could be integrated into it. It became increasingly popular, especially during the 2000 economic recession.
A virtual event was an economical way to bring guests and attendees from all around the globe. It also offered more ways for participants to communicate.
Before the pandemic, it was estimated that around 40% of marketing spend was focused on live events. But as COVID-19 raged on in 2020, businesses scrambled to find ways to cancel or modify live events in lieu of social distancing protocols.
Today, 80% of marketers have stated that businesses are in favour of transitioning to virtual platforms.
3 Reasons Why Virtual Events Won’t Take a Backseat in 2022
With venues cautiously reopening, will the popularity of virtual events remain relevant or wane? Although they were a temporary solution at first, their significance has definitely grown, prompting experts to think virtual events are here to stay. Here are three reasons why:
1. They’re Still the Safest Route to Take
Even after the vaccination roll-out, many people still wrestle with the fear of the virus. Let’s face it; COVID-19 isn’t going to disappear tomorrow. It’s become extremely difficult for event planners and experiential marketers to put together a live event a year (or even a couple of months) ahead of time because anything can change within that period. Especially those that require an element of being indoors.
Virtual events, however, are agile enough to ride such changes, whatever those changes might be. They can also be successfully executed in a short period of time with practically zero risks.
2. They Can Reach a Wider Audience
Audience reach for in-person events is limited because of geographical constraints. Travelling long distances costs time and money too.
But all these can be eliminated if you opt for virtual events. Because attendees aren’t limited by physical distance, more people all around the world can attend your event. This is especially beneficial for corporate events where you may have offices in countries with travel restrictions.
Virtual events are also more inclusive because of the ability to allow more people to join: a chronically ill person, a single mother who can’t arrange childcare, or a financially stricken individual who can’t afford to commute to the venue. These are all elements to keep in mind when planning a larger-scale private event.
3. They Have the Power To Gain Valuable Insights Through Data Analytics
It’s tricky to gain data-driven insights into the behaviour and interests of attendees at an in-person event.
But with the existence of analytics and other advancements in technology, organizers of virtual events can easily track the attendance, location, activity logs, downloads, and other valuable insights from all event touchpoints.
Engagement can also be measured in real-time. All this information can be used to deliver a better customer experience when planning future events and ultimately yield better ROI.
What Type of Events Can You Do Virtually?
Virtual events can complement any kind of marketing strategy. With enough creativity, it can even replace face-to-face events.
Here are some of the most common in-person events you can transition into a virtual environment:
- Trade Shows, Exhibits, and Expos
Companies can now showcase their products and services to a global audience. What could be limiting for some participants to attend due to travel or budget constraints is now easily within reach.
- Summits and Conferences
Virtual summits and conferences have taken off in a big way as the world restricts travel. Inviting keynote speakers, providing rich content via a rich interface, as well as powerful tools for engagement, is a sure hit for success.
- Concerts and Theatrical Performances
With the world stuck at home, live entertainment has found a way to reach their fans by going online. Artists have showcased their concerts live, allowing fans from around the globe to enjoy the event at the same time.
Webinars have been popularly used to educate and inform an audience about a brand, product, or service. Aside from presentation, it can engage the audience in a discussion or Q&A session.
Webinars have also been widely used in recruitment. Insurance agencies have gained a foothold in this arena by enticing people to attend their webinars and learn to earn by becoming an agent.
Capitalize on Virtual Events for Brand Exposure and Engagement
The online world has never been more pronounced than it is today. Even in a post-pandemic world, virtual events are here to stay.
If you want to find out how you can utilize virtual events in your digital efforts to market your brand, contact us today.
With our stellar reputation and years of marketing experience, The Concierge Club can help your brand reach a whole new market with virtual events. Visit our website to learn more about the innovative ideas and opportunities we could use to elevate your digital marketing efforts.