The most popular question we’ve been asked time and time again this year is ‘Which platform do you recommend for virtual events?’
In the same way that there isn’t one venue that satisfies all types of live events, there is no single virtual platform that works for every individual event for clients across sectors and industries.
We would go as far as suggesting that one organisation could use a different platform every time they run or host an event.
Choosing your virtual event platform is based on several factors:
1. The outcomes that you’re aiming to achieve:
What are the objectives of my event? How are we planning on delivering value? How do we measure the effectiveness of our event?
2. Who your audience is:
Are they staff, prospects, existing clients? How will they interact with our chosen platform and how comfortable are they with using new technologies? Are they in a particular sector that may restrict their access to certain platforms or functionalities?
3. The format of the event:
Is it a conference, summit, board meeting, AGM, business exhibition, awards event, celebration or gathering?
4. The experience that you want to give:
Does the event need to be immersive or educational? Are you providing updates or facilitating discussions and interactions?
5. The expectations of your participants and stakeholders:
How has your event been marketed and pitched? What do your attendees expect to see, hear and experience? What are your sponsors or speakers anticipating from the event and throughout the campaign? What are your post-event calls to action?
The variety of virtual event platforms that are out there right now can create fantastic experiences and interactions. The answers to the above questions can help shape the types of platforms that you would want to consider.
Next, look at your event budget and the price points of your shortlisted platforms.
Following this, work out how you’ll cover the costs of your 3 key event areas:
1. Virtual platform licence
2. Event management
3. Technical and production support
Once you’ve established this and have suitable platforms to look at – test, test and test!
Many virtual event platforms – like other software and apps – will give you the chance to demo their functionality for free.
Test out several platforms before making any commitment, so that you can experience first-hand how the platforms work, what technical support you need, what the event build looks like and what information needs to go into the system.
Better still, try and commit to your chosen software on a short-term or monthly basis – where you have the option. Several of the newer platforms are offering this flexibility to encourage users.
Long-term commitments to platforms might initially seem like a sensible idea, but with the pace at which virtual platforms have disrupted the events industry – particularly in the second half of 2020 – you want to keep your options open so that you can switch between different platforms, allowing you to create different experiences for your participants for different events.
Virtual event experiences and platforms have evolved at an accelerated pace this year. The process of selecting an event platform is similar to choosing a venue for your live event.
Working through what your event needs to achieve, for whom and how, will help you to choose the ideal platform to create the best experience.
Would you like expert advice to help you shortlist event platforms for your next event?
Have you committed to a virtual platform and now need extra support to get your event off the ground?
Would you prefer to hand your virtual event over, rather than go through the stress and challenges of muddling your way through a process that feels alien to you and your team?