Virtual & Hybrid Event glossary
The basics, tips, and best practices you need to know for successful webinars, virtual events, and hybrid events.
A virtual event or virtual conference enables an audience to interact through an online platform without gathering in person. Attendees from any location can join sessions, access content, and network via a virtual event platform rather than travel to a physical location.
Virtual events can range from small group sessions to large-scale events with thousands of attendees. The term virtual event describes various online interactions such as virtual trade shows, virtual conferences, virtual user conference, and virtual career conferences.
A virtual event can be an online conference, virtual trade show, virtual career fair, customer/partner event, or any online interaction. Planning a virtual event is different from planning conventional physical events, and it requires a certain level of thought and execution to deliver positive results.
Proper preparation and planning are imperative to hosting a successful virtual event. It’s a common misconception that virtual events require minimal planning. In fact, virtual conferences require as much attention in planning as in-person conferences.. Sufficient planning for a virtual conference ensures conference success.
Read more about How to Plan and Host a Virtual Event
A virtual conference is an interactive online event that replicates the aspects of a traditional in-person conference. It brings together an audience, speakers, and possibly sponsors in an interactive platform.
Virtual conferences depict similar aspects as conventional physical conferences. These include multiple speakers, keynote and breakout sessions, audience interaction, networking and more. Hosts can live-stream speaker sessions or record them in advance.
Virtual events are becoming more and more popular, however, many attendees cite lack of engagement as the key concern they have when joining an event.
With the right virtual event platform features and tips and best practices from an expert, you can host amazing events that are highly engaging and interactive. Following has a quick list of virtual event engagement best practices from our 21 years experience hosting virtual events.
- Adjust your agenda for a virtual format
- Curate the entire virtual experience
- Make your sessions more engaging
- Include gamification to encourage behavior
- Include entertainment surprises such as a virtual photo booth, social wall, trivia, scavenger hunt, etc.
- Use an emcee
- Host topical breakout rooms
- Add a networking lounge
- A.I. based attendee matchmaking suggestions
Read the full article with expert tips on How to Make Virtual Events More Engaging & Interactive
Need virtual event theme ideas? We've pulled together the best themes from our clients over the past 21 years to inspire your next virtual event.
At the beginning of the pandemic, organizations had to quickly, and unexpectedly, shift to virtual out of necessity. This was a totally new area for most organizers, so they didn’t have solid ideas about making their event stand out, they just needed a platform. Now, attendees have joined many virtual events and screen fatigue causing attendance rates to decline. Therefore, it is increasingly necessary to go beyond the basics to create memorable experiences.
This means your virtual event needs to be more engaging, experiential, and entertaining than the myriad of similar events put on by your competitors.
To help you, we’ve come up with awesome virtual event ideas that you can use to inspire your next event.
Read the full article on Virtual Event Theme Ideas with examples.
Choosing the best virtual event platform can be daunting because, on the surface, the software all seems similar in terms of the high-level features. The best way to choose a virtual conference platform is to start with your event agenda, goals, and audience needs. Then make sure the provider meets your minimum requirements.
- Budget: If you are working within a strict budget this is a great starting point to share with potential providers. If their base price is greater than your budget you can save a lot of time joining demo's and getting a quote.
- Audience and agenda: How many attendees do you anticipate? If it is a larger size event make sure the platform hosting can scale without degradation in streaming quality or other technical issues.
- Registration landing pages – Can these be customized with your branding, agenda, sessions, speakers, etc.?
- Ability for attendees to create and save a personal agenda. In addition, the ability to save sessions to their Outlook or other calendar
- Meeting scheduling – Attendee-to-attendee and booth rep-to-attendee
- Role-based access to rooms or content – The ability to allow controlled access to sessions, rooms, or content for certain groups of attendees. For example, a VIP breakout room where certain attendees can join a special workshop with the CEO
- Language localization – If your attendees are global consider if the event needs language translation for sessions and the virtual environment
- Briefcase – Enables attendees to save content to a central area to access later
- Continuing education (CE) credits – If this is part of your event you will need to make sure that the platform/provider supports tracking and automating issuing certificates.
- ADA and section 508 requirements.
- Event components: Decide which rooms, spaces and components to include in your virtual event. Click here for a visual guide.
- Design: Choose between a 2D vs. 3D environment design. 2D design events can be set up faster (a few hours) and requires less budget. 3D designs offer a wow factor to set your event apart and drive more branding. If you are using a 3D virtual environment decide if you want to use a theme to make your event more fun, interesting, and relatable for your guests.
- Rooms & spaces: Decide what rooms and spaces you want to include.
- Welcome lobby to orient attendees, play a welcome video greeting, and help attendees navigate to other rooms and spaces
- Theater for live or pre-recorded sessions
- Help desk - Central place attendees can go to get help and ask general conference questions
- Networking lounge - Typically a room with topic based areas where attendees can connect via text or video chat. Also, a forum where attendees can post comments.
- Exhibit hall: Exhibit halls do not necessarily need to be used just for sponsor booths. For example, a corporate marketing thought leadership event for clients and prospects can include a “Solutions Hall” with booths for each product line. The booths can content helpful content (documents, videos, links to webpages) and/or offer live chat with representatives during advertised hours.
- Resource center – A central depository for conference wide content
- Other rooms – Depending on the type of event and use case, there are a variety of rooms that can be added to deliver and targeted experience. For example, a corporate sales kick-off can include a separate “awards room” where photos of the winners appear on the walls. An event for clients and prospects can include a “swag room” where attendees can order merchandise. Or a wellness room for a virtual benefits fair.
- Networking features:
- Ability to search and connect with other attendees
- Meeting scheduling (with other attendees and booth representatives)
- A.I. driven matchmaking suggestions (like Netflix)
- Networking lounge
- Webinar sessions:
- Live or simulive (pre-recorded with Q&A)
- Engagement tools like Q&A, chat, emoji’s, polls, surveys
- Speaker bio’s
- Links to resources
- Closed captioning
- Language translation
- Single or multiple tracks – If you have a lot of sessions organizing them into tracks will help keep your online event from being too long
- Stream formats supported – Webcam or high-end RTMP production camera feed
- Adaptive bit rate support
- Engagement & Entertainment Features. Click here for virtual event engagement ideas.
- Customer support:
- Organizers: Support available to help with set-up and support during the live day(s)
- Attendees: Technical support available during the live days
- Speakers: Support available to help set up sessions, test connections, and conduct dry-runs with speakers. Also, support during the live day(s)
- Sponsors or booth owners: Support to help with booth set up, chat training, and live day tech support
Read the full article including a checklist: How to Choose the Best Virtual Event Platform
Wondering how much a virtual event speaker costs?
Event organizers are working hard to make sure their virtual event programming is packed with premium educational content.
As with in-person events, quality sessions from expert panelists can help create memorable experiences for your guests. However, procuring presenters for an online event is somewhat different vs. in-person.
Communique spoke with two speakers’ bureau executives to give us the scoop on what you need to know about working with speakers for virtual events.
Read the full article Speaker Fees for Virtual Events
Wondering what is the ideal length of a virtual event?
Virtual events gained a lot of attention during the pandemic because they were new and interesting. Unfortunately, most guests left disappointed.
Between technical issues and Zoom-fatigue” virtual events went from a cool new medium to something many attendees dread or, at the very least, are skeptical of.
The overriding issue with most virtual events is that organizers use the same playbook as an in-person event or simply try to replicate an in-person event.
With a virtual event, you need to adjust your programming and technical setup that caters to a remote audience.
Read the full article How Long Should a Virtual Event Be?
What are the most important metrics and KPI's to measure virtual event success?
Determining your goals and objectives up front is critical to decide which metrics will determine whether your virtual event was a success or not.
The list below has a summary of the most common metrics used for virtual events.
- The number of registrants and live day attendees
- How attendees many viewed the event on-demand (replay)
- Total number of content views
- Total number of Webinar views
- Webinar engagement (Q&A, polls, etc.)
- Booth visits & engagement
- Number of chat sessions
- Breakout sessions
- Average participation time
- Social media engagement
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
View our comprehensive article on How to Measure Success of Virtual Events
A virtual platform is a type of platform that is not physically present but instead is created virtually through software, hardware, and network resources. Virtual platforms enable users to interact with sessions, resources, and each other without being physically present at the same location. They are used in a variety of applications such as cloud computing, virtual reality, and virtual events.
One of the most common examples of a virtual platform is a cloud computing platform. Cloud computing platforms enable users to access data, applications, and services over the Internet. These platforms are usually hosted on remote servers, which are managed by the cloud provider. Users can access the cloud platform from almost any device or location, allowing them to take advantage of the scalability and flexibility that cloud computing provides.
Another example of a virtual platform is a virtual event platform. Virtual event platforms are a type of software that allow organizations to host online events such as conferences, meetings, webinars, and other types of gatherings. These platforms allow event planners to create an online event experience that is similar to an in-person event, while taking advantage of the convenience and cost savings of virtual events.
By using a virtual event platform, organizations can save time, money, and resources while still providing an engaging and memorable event experience.
With technology involved, there is going to be confusion from attendees that attend your event. There are many different types of virtual event platforms. Also, even if two organizers use the same platform, the set up and usability of the two events can be completely different.
Before the event, create a guide for your guests explaining how to access the event, sessions, and other features. This will ease attendee stress, decrease the flood of questions on the day of your event, and provide an overall better guest experience.
Also, consider allowing your guests to access your virtual event early. This will give them more time to get familiar with the platform. In addition, they will be less likely to have confusion during the actual event.
Read the full article: The Importance of Early Access for Virtual Event Attendees
ChatGPT can assist with your event planning in a variety of ways. One of the most useful applications is its ability to generate text, which can be used to create event titles, descriptions, invitations, and other written materials. This can save event planners a significant amount of time and effort, as they can easily generate high-quality, professional-looking content with just a few prompts.
Another way ChatGPT can help with event planning is by providing suggestions for venues, vendors, and other resources. For example, by providing information about the event's location, size, and budget, ChatGPT can suggest venues that are well-suited for the event, as well as vendors that can provide the necessary services. This can save event planners a lot of time and effort when it comes to researching and selecting venues and vendors.
Additionally, ChatGPT can help with event scheduling and coordination by providing automated responses to common questions and providing information about the event schedule and logistics. This can help to keep attendees informed and reduce the workload of the event planners.
Read the full article: How ChatGPT Can Help Your Event Planning Tasks
Virtual event platforms are web-based tools that allow you to host webinars, trade shows, conferences, and networking events. These platforms provide a variety of features that enable you to engage with your audience in a virtual setting, including live streaming, interactive polls, and networking functionality.
One of the key features of virtual event platforms is their ability to host live webinars. This allows presenters to broadcast their presentations to a wide audience in real-time, without the need for attendees to physically be in the same location.
Additionally, virtual event platforms often include interactive elements such as polls and Q&A sessions, allowing attendees to engage with presenters and other attendees in real time.
Another important feature of virtual event platforms is their ability to facilitate networking and collaboration. Many platforms include built-in chat functionality and virtual networking rooms, allowing like minded attendees to connect and build relationships. Some platforms also offer a variety of tools to help attendees navigate the event, such as agendas, speaker bios, and handouts.
Read the full article: How Do Virtual Event Platforms Work
It can be challenging to plan a virtual event. From agenda creation to content consumption to audience engagement, there are lots of variables to consider.
To get ideas, you want to learn about virtual event examples. At Communique, we have produced over 3,000 virtual events over the past 20 years. We pulled together 7 real examples of successful virtual events including key takeaways and tips to help you step up to the challenge.
Read the full article: Virtual Event Examples
Virtual events are a great way to connect with guests from anywhere in the world. But, how do you monetize virtual events and generate revenue?
Here are some tips that we've seen from clients over the years:
- Sell sponsorship of the entire event or of sponsoring particular sessions.
- Speaking opportunities.
- Tiered access ticket sales
- Exhibit booths
- Sponsored games or scavenger hunt
Read the full article: How Do You Monetize Virtual Events?
Virtual events, also known as online events or webinars, are a popular alternative to in-person events. They offer many benefits such as greater accessibility, lower costs, and the ability to reach a wider audience. However, virtual events also come with their own set of risks that need to be considered.
One of the main risks of virtual events is the potential for technical issues. These can include problems with audio or video quality, connectivity issues, and difficulties with accessing the event platform. These technical issues can disrupt your event and negatively impact your guest’s experience. Additionally, with virtual events, there is a risk of data (attendee names, emails, etc.) leaks, which can compromise the personal information of attendees, speakers, and sponsors.
Another risk of virtual events is the potential for poor engagement with your attendees. Virtual events can be less interactive than in-person events, and attendees may be less likely to participate in discussions or networking opportunities without proper planning and the right virtual event platform. It is important to find ways to increase engagement and interaction among attendees, such as by using interactive features on the event platform and encouraging attendees to participate in discussions and networking opportunities.
Finally, to mitigate the risks, it is important to have a solid technical plan in place, such as testing the event platform and equipment beforehand and having a backup plan in case of technical issues.
Read the full article: What are the Risks of Virtual Events
Virtual events have become an integral part of the event industry, however, organizers must continue to evolve virtual events in order to combat fatigue and keep audiences engaged. In 2023, we can expect to see some exciting virtual event trends that will transform the way we attend and participate in events.
One trend we can expect to see is the hybrid event format. Hybrid events combine in-person and virtual elements, allowing attendees to choose how they participate. This format will be ideal for events that want to reach a wider audience, provide more flexibility for attendees, and reduce costs associated with organizing an in-person vent. Other virtual event trends are:
- Year-Round Event Cycle
- Shift From Revenue Generation to a Marketing Platform
- Gamification to Drive Behavior
- Increased Networking Opportunities
- Immersive Experiences
- Add Production to Sessions
- Personalized Experience
Read the full article: Virtual Event Trends
9 Shorter Sessions with Tracks
A hybrid event caters to both in-person and virtual attendees with each combining various elements to deliver optimal audience experiences. Attendees can choose to travel to the physical location or participate through a virtual event platform.
Hybrid events provide the perfect balance between entirely virtual and in-person events. Instead of picking a virtual event and losing the benefits of an in-person event or vice versa, the hybrid event gives you both. With the right hybrid event platform, organizers can efficiently deliver value to both live and virtual attendees.
When selecting a hybrid event platform, you should consider the following key features to ensure a successful and seamless experience for attendees, speakers, and sponsors.
First and foremost, a hybrid event platform should have reliable and robust hosting that can handle the demands of a live event with attendees joining from any location globally. This includes features such as high-quality video streaming (typically RTMP format), audience engagement features, networking opportunities, and extras such as push notifications. Additionally, the platform should offer seamless integration with other event management tools, such as registration and ticketing systems, and offer custom branding options to ensure a consistent experience for both attendee types.
Another important factor to consider is the platform's user experience, both for attendees and event organizers. The platform should be easy to use, with clear navigation and intuitive features that make it simple for your guests to participate, regardless of their technical expertise. On the other hand, the hybrid event platform should provide robust reporting and analytics to help you measure the success of the event and provide insights for future events. It should also have flexible pricing options that allow for customization to fit the specific needs of each event.
Finally, you should also consider the level of support and customer service needed. This includes setup support, training resources, and professional services for dedicated live day assistance to help ensure a smooth and successful event.
Read the full article: What should I look for in a Hybrid event platform?
Organizing a hybrid event can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. With the right planning, preparation, and technology partner, you can make sure your hybrid event runs smoothly and is a success. Here are some tips for managing a hybrid event:
- Set Clear Goals and Objectives: Before you start planning, you should establish the goals and objectives for your hybrid event. This will help you structure and plan the event better. Be sure to consider unique needs and goals for each audience type (in-person vs. virtual).
- Choose Your hybrid event platform: When planning your hybrid event, you need to decide which platform to use. You can simply stream your session online, such as through Zoom, or you can use a dedicated hybrid event platform, like Communique.
- Create a Schedule: Once you have chosen the platform, you need to create a schedule for the event. Make sure to include breaks, networking opportunities, and Q&A sessions. This will help keep your attendees engaged and ensure that the event runs smoothly.
- Promote the Event: Once you have created the schedule, you need to promote the event. This includes advertising the event on social media, sending out email invitations, and creating a registration page.
- Monitor the Event: During the event, you need to keep an eye on the participants to make sure things are going okay. This could involve moderating a chatroom, answering questions, and addressing technical issues.
- Follow Up: After the event is over, it's important to follow up with your attendees. Thank them for attending, ask for feedback, and create a post-event survey. This will help you improve your hybrid events in the future.
By following these tips, you can make sure your hybrid event is a success. Keep in mind that it takes time and effort to plan and manage a hybrid event, but the end result is worth it.
Related article: Top Questions for Managing a Hybrid Event Answered
Hybrid events combining the best of both worlds in-person and virtual attendees.
First and foremost, it is essential to determine what type of hybrid event you are looking to organize. Is it a synchronous hybrid, asynchronous hybrid, or combination. Based on your event type, you can start preparing a checklist of all the technical and equipment requirements.
A virtual job fair is an online recruitment event where recruiters and employers connect with potential employees and job seekers. It transforms the way potential employers and job seekers interact. Virtual job fairs can leverage features such as live chat, webinar presentations, webcasts, and more for seamless interactions.
Virtual job fairs help recreate the traditional career fair online . They combine features such as meeting rooms, booths, and guest speakers, allowing attendees to understand employers better. This recruitment method enables employers to achieve a higher rate of success when hiring.
Webinars are larger one-to-many events that are hosted online via the web. Webinars can have a single presenter or multiple speakers who share their knowledge on a particular topic. Webinars provide an opportunity for attendees to learn from experts in a convenient manner.
- Choose your webinar topic. Make sure the topic will attract attendees.
- Choose a Webinar speaker or speakers
- Decide a date and time to host your webinar
- Select a Webinar platform
- Build the Webinar registration page and content (slides, polls, surveys, etc.)
- Conduct a practice run with the speakers.
- Send reminder emails.
- Host your webinar and record it for replay.
- Plan follow up activities.
Related the full article: How to Plan and Host a Webinar: An Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide
If you build an irresistible webinar with a compelling topic and speaker(s), it does not necessarily mean attendees will come.
To meet your Webinar goals you will also need a successful webinar promotion strategy. This includes a great title, social media promotion, and a compelling registration landing page.
Check out these proven tactics to drive more demand and registrations for your next webinar.
Hosting a Virtual Health Fair is a great way to launch new employee wellness initiatives, raise awareness about health issues, and show your employees you care about their well being! A well produced virtual health fair provides a unique perk that benefits both the company and the employees. Of course, not all virtual health fairs are created equally.
Want yours to really rock? Read the full article on How to Conduct a Virtual Health Fair
Creating a successful virtual event requires careful planning, including creating an agenda that is engaging and informative. Here’s a sample virtual event agenda to help you get started.
Start by introducing your event and setting the tone. This can include a welcome message from the host, a brief overview of the event’s purpose, and a few words of encouragement.
Next, explain the agenda and set expectations. Provide a detailed overview of the event structure and let attendees know what to expect. This is also a good time to remind them about the event’s rules and regulations.
Now it’s time to dive into the content. Depending on the type of event, this could include a keynote speaker, panel discussion, presentation, or educational workshop. If the event is educational in nature, provide a brief outline of the topics that will be covered and provide information on any resources or materials that attendees may need.
Read the full article: Sample Virtual Event Agenda
Webinars and virtual events are both forms of one events that allow people to connect remotely, but they are quite different in terms of the content they offer and the level of engagement they provide.
A webinar is a type of virtual event that is primarily focused on education and delivering content to an audience. The content of a webinar is usually presented in a lecture-style format, with one or more speakers presenting and taking questions from the audience. The content of a webinar is typically organized around a single topic and the level of engagement from the audience is usually limited to questions and comments from the speakers.
A virtual event, on the other hand, is much more interactive and engaging than a webinar. Virtual events also include a wide range of activities, from networking and panel discussions to breakout sessions and workshops. The level of engagement at a virtual event is much higher than a webinar, as attendees are encouraged to actively participate and interact with the speakers and other attendees.
The main difference between a webinar and a virtual event is the level of engagement. A webinar is primarily focused on delivering content to an audience, while a virtual event is focused on providing an interactive and engaging experience.
Read the full article: Is a Webinar a Virtual Event?