Unleashing the Benefits of Virtual Events: The Ultimate Media Platform
Jun 20, 2023 9:00:00 AM
In a rapidly evolving world from in-person events, virtual events have emerged as the transformative solution that reshapes the event industry. As the leading provider of virtual environments, 6Connex has been at the forefront of organizing virtual events for years, over 15 to be exact.
We understand the challenges event planners face when it comes to mindset, and we are here to guide you through the exciting shift towards virtual events as the new media platform. Join us as we delve deeper into why virtual events have become the go-to solution for engaging audiences like never before.
Traditionally, event organizers held reservations about the success of virtual events, fearing they would fall flat compared to physical gatherings. However, with the record-breaking number of virtual venues built in 2020, it is evident that the most successful organizations have embraced a paradigm shift. Instead of trying to replicate the physical event experience virtually, they have harnessed the power of virtual event management platforms to create an entirely new media platform.
Although physical events will always have their place, we firmly believe virtual events are the future, and the market agrees. Currently valued at approximately $45 billion, the virtual events market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of roughly 23 percent, according to Grand View Research.
Even before the pandemic, event planners and marketers were keen on enhancing audience engagement beyond the limitations of a two- or three-day event. Hybrid events started gaining popularity as remote work became more prevalent. Event planners sought ways to captivate attendee engagement virtually, moving beyond passive webinar formats and exploring interactive features such as video one-on-ones, breakout rooms, and round tables.
Then, the pandemic acted as a catalyst, accelerating the industry's shift and uncovering new opportunities within event budgets. Finally, those online events were invited to sit at the "cool kids' table, and technology vendors rose to the occasion, showcasing state-of-the-art features and functionality that proved virtual event management platforms as gateways to long-term content engagement. As 2020 unfolded, it became clear that virtual events were more than just temporary tools; they had become a media platform with tremendous potential.
Virtual events transcend the confines of a typical event. Like news sites, they offer diverse content formats and engagement tools, virtual event apps, virtual event software platforms and opportunities, ensuring year-round availability and continuous value for attendees. Forward-thinking companies capitalize on the evergreen nature of a virtual events platform, regularly promoting event content through social media and paid marketing channels.
They optimize the event for search engine optimization (SEO), ensuring a lasting impact. Some have even transformed virtual events into revenue-generating streams, utilizing virtual environments to sell products, promote third-party advertising, direct attendees to sponsor websites or provide fun branding opportunities through virtual room sponsors.
In addition to their numerous advantages, virtual events software platforms hold the key to sustainable practices within the event industry. As the world grapples with environmental challenges, virtual events offer a responsible and eco-friendly alternative to traditional in-person gatherings. According to a study conducted by Cornell researchers, events and conferences that incorporate 50% in-person participation and 50% virtual attendance have the potential to significantly reduce overall carbon footprint and energy consumption by two-thirds.
By eliminating the need for physical travel, virtual events significantly reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation. The absence of flights, long-distance commutes, and other modes of transportation not only cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions but also helps preserve natural resources. The positive impact on the environment cannot be overstated, as the collective reduction in air travel and energy consumption contributes to overall sustainability efforts worldwide.
For instance, in a recent study conducted by 6Connex in collaboration with WSP, we successfully transformed a two-day, in-person event attended by over 2,000 people into a virtual gathering. The remarkable outcome was a staggering 48 times reduction in emissions compared to the traditional in-person counterpart. To put this achievement into perspective, the emissions saved from this transition equate to the conservation of a vast expanse of 2,055 acres of American forest land.
Moreover, virtual events promote the concept of reducing waste. In-person events often generate considerable waste, including single-use materials, printed collateral, and excessive packaging. Virtual events eliminate these physical waste streams, resulting in a smaller ecological footprint. Attendees can access event materials digitally, reducing paper usage and minimizing the environmental impact associated with printing and shipping.
Beyond waste reduction, virtual events align with the growing emphasis on sustainability by fostering a culture of conscious consumption. By embracing virtual meetings and events, companies demonstrate their commitment to responsible practices, showcasing their dedication to reducing their carbon footprint. Virtual events present an opportunity to lead by example, inspiring others in the industry to adopt environmentally friendly alternatives.
Not only do virtual event hosting platforms provide a sustainable solution for businesses, but they also resonate with eco-conscious attendees. In an era where individuals increasingly prioritize sustainability, virtual events offer an appealing option that aligns with their values. By participating in virtual events, attendees can actively contribute to the global sustainability movement and support environmentally responsible practices.
The synergy between sustainability and engagement is a powerful driver in the rise of virtual events as the new media platform. Attendees are more likely to engage with events that align with their values, and sustainability is a value that resonates strongly with a growing segment of the population. By showcasing their commitment to sustainability through virtual events, companies and organizations can attract and captivate an audience actively seeking eco-friendly alternatives.
Eventory by 6Connex's Head of Product, Joanna Kaplon, suggests leveraging event technology and mobile apps such as Eventory to minimize your environmental footprint. By digitizing agendas, brochures, registration, and more, Eventory's solutions eliminate the need for printed materials and paper-heavy practices.
Virtual events have become a powerful force in the event industry, transforming how we connect, engage, and collaborate. In addition to their inherent flexibility and adaptability, the benefits of virtual events offer many advantages that resonate with event planners and attendees alike. From cost savings and accessibility to interactivity and sustainability, virtual events have revolutionized the event landscape. No matter if you're hosting an HR benefits fair or a large scale conference, here are a few benefits of using a virtual event platform that resonate.
Virtual events offer significant cost savings compared to in-person events. By eliminating the need for physical venues and food expenses, event planners can reallocate their budget to attract high-profile speakers, workshop facilitators, and captivating entertainment that resonate with their target markets. The savings can result in a more impactful event experience for attendees.
Virtual event hosting platforms break down barriers to participation by offering lower registration fees and eliminating travel expenses. Prior to the pandemic, attending popular tech conferences could cost over $4,000, not including additional expenses such as flights, accommodation, and time away from the office. Virtual events make it more feasible for a broader audience to participate, ensuring inclusivity and enabling individuals from different locations and backgrounds to engage with the content.
Virtual events provide the flexibility to accommodate busy schedules. Unlike traditional multi-day events that require attendees to be physically present for the entire duration, virtual events allow for greater flexibility. They can be structured as a series of sessions spread out over a longer period, allowing participants to engage with the content at their own pace and ensuring that brands and topics stay top of mind for an extended period or by creating a perpetual environment that they can explore at their own pace.
Virtual networking event platforms offer a wide range of gamification and interactive features that enhance the user experience and provide networking opportunities. Engagement features like live polls, Q&A sessions, and chat functions enable real-time engagement between speakers, panelists, and attendees. This interactivity fosters active participation, encourages dialogue, and creates a sense of community even in a virtual setting. Attendees can provide immediate feedback, ask questions, and contribute to the overall event experience.
6Connex offers a unique Open Universe platform that is an ever-expanding continuum of event technology. In this bring-your-own-solution or BYOS, flexibility, you can sync your virtual environment with your favorite event tech, taking customization to the next level.
Virtual events empower attendees to become active participants and content creators. Some virtual event platforms allow attendees to create and share their own content, such as presentations, videos, or discussions. This user-generated content expands the event's reach and adds diverse perspectives, encourages collaboration, and creates a sense of co-ownership and investment in the event's success.
Virtual events transcend geographical boundaries, enabling seamless connection, networking, and collaboration among participants worldwide. Attendees can connect with industry peers, experts, and potential partners from different countries and time zones. This global connectivity opens up new opportunities for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and building professional networks on a global scale.
The most rewarding out of all the benefits of virtual events is how they allow you to be sustainable. Virtual events contribute to environmental sustainability by reducing waste and minimizing air-travel emissions associated with traditional in-person events. By eliminating printed materials, single-use items, and excessive packaging, virtual events significantly reduce their ecological footprint. This commitment to sustainability aligns with global efforts to mitigate climate change and promotes a more environmentally responsible event industry. Embracing virtual events as a sustainable alternative demonstrates an organization's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and being a responsible corporate citizen.
The integration of AI-driven features in virtual event platforms like 6Connex brings significant advantages to both attendees and event organizers. The Content Hub offers personalized content recommendations, enhancing engagement and providing valuable data insights. AI Matchmaking cultivates organic and long-term connections, ensuring attendees find relevant networking opportunities. By leveraging these powerful AI-driven features, virtual events become more immersive, interactive, and tailored to the unique preferences and needs of each participant.
The rising popularity of technologies like the Metaverse has created a demand for highly immersive events. A virtual networking event platform, like 6Connex, can fulfill this demand by offering attendees immersive experiences without requiring a headset. Within a single event, attendees can navigate through breakout rooms, sponsor halls, networking sessions, and more, creating a truly immersive and engaging event environment.
But the potential of virtual events doesn't stop there. The industry is continuously evolving, and here are some tips to ens
In the past, marketing teams used events as simple lead-generation machines. However, the trend in 2023 is shifting towards event-led growth, which means that events will contribute across the entire user journey:
The focus of event marketers will shift from purely business outcomes to creating an emotional connection with the audience. This is based on the principle that consumers emotionally connected to a brand are worth twice as much to a business as the average. Organizers can build deeper connections with attendees and drive better returns on their investments by invoking emotions such as hopefulness, adventure, activeness, acceptance, and motivation.
Year-Long Event Calendars
The old strategy of running one sizable virtual conference or two mega-events a year is becoming outdated. Instead, event professionals are designing year-long event calendars, holding smaller, more targeted events throughout the year to guide buyers down the funnel toward conversion. This approach creates continuous threads of conversation and engagement, making events more of an ongoing activity than a one-off occasion.
In 2023, the alignment of marketing and sales will be a crucial factor for the success of an event. This alignment involves mutual understanding and agreement on metrics, data interpretation, and target customer profiles. To achieve this, the two teams must speak the same sales and marketing language, understand the data, and agree on the same disqualifications for prospective customers. This alignment ensures that both teams work towards the same goals, making your event strategy more effective.
As events become more strategic, the traditional role of the event professional is also changing. Event professionals will need to operate across the entire customer journey, seeing the bigger picture, uniting different functions, and turning every event into an experience. They will move away from a narrow focus and a small group of collaborators to become key players in the overall customer journey.
As competition for buyer attention intensifies, creating incredible attendee-first experiences will become crucial. This means prioritizing the needs and experiences of event attendees above ROI, pipeline and leads. The focus will be on making the event as beneficial and enjoyable for attendees as possible, in turn making your events more attractive and successful.
The virtual event industry will continue to undergo significant changes and advancements in 2023. These trends highlight the industry's ongoing evolution, strongly focusing on creating meaningful, engaging, and strategic experiences for attendees. As we navigate this new era of virtual events, the potential for innovation and growth is limitless.
The past three years have brought about a groundbreaking pivot in the event space. It presented an opportunity to unlock time, cost, and environmental benefits by embracing the rapid innovation of virtual event technology. Virtual events have become the medium that enables event planners and marketers to excel in audience engagement and brand differentiation. The potential is immense, and at 6Connex, we are here to help you seize it.
Contact 6Connex today to embark on an unforgettable journey where we transform your future events into immersive media experiences. Discover firsthand how our virtual event solutions can enhance engagement, provide flexibility, and deliver remarkable ROI. Schedule a virtual event demo today and unlock the power of the ultimate media platform.
Dive into the future of events with our insightful webinar, "Embracing AI in Events: Navigating Opportunities and Challenges," happening on September 26th, 10 am CST | 4 pm BST. Join our esteemed speakers: Dahlia El Gazzar - Founder of DAHLIA+ Agency, Stephen Kaufman - Chief Product Officer at Inriver, and Henry Tran - CTO at 6Connex
Explore the transformative potential of AI in event planning, and engagement, and the challenges it may bring. Stay informed and inspired as we navigate the thrilling opportunities and challenges that AI brings to the dynamic world of events.