How Do I a Choose a Virtual Event Platform

 

Are you wondering how do I choose a virtual event platform? Virtual events have been gaining traction since the onset of the pandemic, as companies look for ways to reach their audiences. This has led to a sudden increase in the number of virtual event platforms. Despite the increase in software as a service platforms, not all are efficient or reliable.

How do I Choose a Virtual Event Platform

Finding the right virtual event software has become an arduous task. The industry is full of options, and finding the perfect software is becoming increasingly overwhelming. This article offers some handy tips on how to choose the right virtual event platform:

  1. Begin by Defining Your Attendee Needs and Deciding What Type of Experience You Want to Deliver to Your Attendees

Event objectives can be a combination of things like lead generation, building community, training and education, brand building, connecting with stakeholders, or connecting with internal workforce. Even with a flexible, scalable virtual event platform, you will want to prioritize your objectives so that you build the event that best enables you to achieve your goals and, of course, report on your successes.

The attendee needs an intended experience of your virtual event plays an tremendous role in the type of virtual event platform you will need. Things to consider include:

  • Is your virtual event strictly educational and focused on sessions or is attendee networking and engagement also important?
  • What countries are attendees joining from? Any need for language translation/localization?
  • Do you want role-based access to rooms or sessions OR do all attendees have access to everything?
  • Any ADA (disability) requirements such as closed captioning for sessions?
  • Do you want any smaller breakout or workshop sessions where smaller groups conduct two-way audio/video meetings?
  • Are you issuing any continuing education (CE) credits?
  • Are there going to be any sponsors?
  • Do you want to include an exhibit hall with booths?
  • How important is networking?
  • Do you want to include gamification with leaderboard?
  1. Budget

Is adhering to your event budget the highest priority to your organization, or are they willing to pay more for more to deliver a better attendee experience? If you are working under a strict budget amount, this will ultimately narrow down and dictate which platforms you can choose from. Most of the time with event technology, you get what you pay for.

When thinking about budget, consider both hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs include the virtual event technology, etc. Soft costs include the human time and resources required to effectively plan, build out, market, and execute the event. Bear in mind that, with virtual, your staffing needs will have changed, and you may need to assemble a different team with a different set of more technical skills.

  1. Customization Features

One of the key features of virtual events is the ability to customize. A highly customizable virtual event platform helps create a personal experience. Integrating your customization’s makes it easy to brand and pass your message throughout the event.

The virtual event platform should allow different events, such as conferences, marketing, sales, promotions, and more. Look at the extent to which you can customize the platform depending on the type of event you’re hosting. 

  1. Interactive Spaces

Virtual event platforms should have several interactive spaces. You don’t want virtual event software that doesn’t provide options for interacting with the audience.

Ideally, each platform should have interactive spaces, such as conference halls, panel discussions, exhibit zones, etc. Through these spaces, you can arrange seamless interaction. For instance, you can share relevant digital collateral, connect attendees with subject matter analysis, easily display your products, and more. Plus, highly visual interactive spaces provide an immersive attendee experience. 

  1. Networking

It’s best to choose a virtual event platform that allows attendees to connect. A virtual event platform that allows networking provides the perfect chance for attendees to create lasting relationships. The ability to conduct 1:1 or in small groups is a great way to bring the audience together.

Also, networking sessions are a good way to break the event monotony or boredom. A large number of attendees make valuable contacts, and this helps get wider audiences for future events. 

  1. Data Security

Does the virtual event platform keep your attendee data secure (names and email)? Does it restrict third-party access?

In the current digital era, security is a major concern, especially where you exchange information. Before choosing a virtual event platform, it’s best to ensure it’s secure and that the mountain of information passed through it is confidential.

Event hosts take on a significant risk by investing in virtual event platform they know so little about. Every provider claims their platform is secure. This is why you should ask for 3rd party certifications to validate if the platform meets the necessary security standards or not. Make sure the virtual event platform has either ISO 27001 certification or SOC II compliance.

  1. Live and On-Demand Content Delivery

The virtual event platform that you choose should allow attendees to stream both live and prerecorded content. Live broadcasting is ideal as it allows interactivity, while prerecorded content is easy to deliver because of prior preparation. 

Any virtual event platform should stream whatever type of content you want, from workshops and debates to panel discussions and keynotes.

  1. Design

What does the ideal event experience look and feel like? Do you envision a simple 2D design or immersive 3D virtual environment?

A responsive, or 2D, design environment is based on a flat grid layout and uses simple buttons and labels, similar to a web page. This design option is a bit more content-forward and is faster and easier to set up. In addition, 2D platforms cost less than 3D platforms.

A 3D environment, on the other hand, uses images with texture and depth to give users the feel that they’re in a three-dimensional space. A 3D environment may also use visually rich photography to make users feel like they’re inside a convention center, corporate office, University, an outdoor veranda or an elaborate exhibit hall. This design option is focused more on the visual experience with the content integrated within it.

  1. Live Support For Staff and Attendees

No matter how well you have prepared, things can happen which will require real-time support, just as they do at on-site events. Having a provider who offers live day support to help resolve issues will be a valuable asset.

How Much is A Virtual Event Platform?

Pricing for platforms depends on many factors, such as what features you choose and how many attendees you will have. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay from $4,000 to $100,000 and up for a single event.

The Bottom Line

Consider whether your provider has flexible options and is able to grow and evolve with your different event needs. Virtual event technology is changing and evolving. Select your provider with a high level of confidence that will be there for you in the long term.

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