Virtual events have been increasing in popularity for a while, but the social distancing requirements of COVID-19 have pushed them front and center. ProSpeakers.com is working with many organizations than ever that are experimenting with taking everything from their general membership meetings to their fundraising galas online.
But how is it going? What challenges are we facing, and what lessons have we learned?
These are questions Wild Apricot asked in the 2020 Virtual Events Report. Below are some of the highlights from the report, the results so far are very interesting. Get the full report here.
Overview of Virtual Keynote Events
Who is hosting virtual events, why are they doing so, and how does it work?
- In 2020, the number of organizations planning a virtual event doubled.
- Organizations hosting virtual events found that 45 percent of registrants attend live. 10 percent of registrants who don’t participate live attend in-demand.
- 91% of respondents chose “Keeping members and employees connected” as a primary goal of virtual events.
- 20% percent of total attendees view virtual events on-demand
- 32% of respondents who chose not to run a virtual event in 2020 did so because they couldn’t provide the kind of value their members need in a virtual environment.
- The best time to run a webinar/online event is 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) as it avoids most conflicts on the U.S. coasts.
Virtual Presentations Audience Engagement
How important is audience engagement, and which techniques are most successful?
- The biggest challenge to virtual speaking events (according to those who’ve already run their event) is that there are too many other events and participants are sick of online calls, with “our supporters weren’t technologically savvy” as a close second.
- The biggest challenge to virtual keynote speaking events (according to those who are planning their events) is that it’s harder to get supporters to participate in virtual presentations, with a lack of supporters who are tech-savvy being the close second once again.
- B2B event marketers say audience engagement is the largest challenge when it comes to virtual events. The next biggest challenge is interaction.
- 49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful event.
- 89% of event planners use social media to engage people before the presentation.
- Discussion and Q&A were the most popular engagement techniques among organizations that had hosted virtual speaking events. The most successful technique, however, was hosting a live hangout before or after the presentation, followed by conducting a survey or poll.
- 49% of event planners use social media to engage attendees during events, and 13% use it for interaction with speakers.
- 90% of virtual presentations and organizers use surveys to measure attendee satisfaction.
- 38% of event planners use social media for event feedback.
- Organizations that didn’t try to engage virtual event attendees were 150% more likely to be unsuccessful.
Virtual Event Technology
Technology is essential for virtual keynote presentations, and the software you choose can make a big difference.
- 32% of respondents who chose not to run a virtual speaking event did so because “We don’t have the technological infrastructure to run them properly.”
- 70% of event organizers say that good microphones are critical to a successful event. Microphones are more important than a camera, which marketers ranked at 60% importance.
- 89% of businesses using event technology save approximately 200 hours per year.
20% of businesses see 360 hours or more saved per year.
- The biggest annoyance of virtual presentations is a bad connection.
- 90% of event marketers believe technology can have a major positive impact on their events’ success.
Virtual Event ROI
What kind of return on investment (ROI) are people seeing with virtual events?
- 84% of organizations who had already run a virtual keynote presentation in 2020 reported that they spent less money on virtual events than in-person events.
- There is no material correlation between organizations who spend a lot on their virtual event setup and those who raise a lot of revenue from their virtual events.
- Successful revenue generators were 46% more likely to promote a donation page throughout their virtual presentation.
- Organizations who raised the same amount of money or more than they expected to at their virtual event compared to an in-person event were more likely to charge admission and find sponsors for their virtual events.
Virtual Event Promotion
How do you get people to attend your virtual presentation?
- Facebook is used by 52% of event planners to market events.
- 27% of those who did not host a virtual event said it was because “We don’t know how to get participants to attend a virtual event.”
- 52% of organizations reported seeing the same or more attendance than they’d expect at an in-person event.
- 70% of organizations who had “much more” attendance at their virtual event than they would have had at a live one featured a guest speaker.
- 76% of marketers say that email is the single most effective way to drive registrations.
ProSpeakers.com is an expert in supporting our clients in running Virtual Presentations – contact us for our expertise.