🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

online events software

Choosing Your Online Events Software Solution for 2023

The right online event software will revolutionize your virtual events. With so many choices, it can be overwhelming! Here’s how to choose the best event software that aligns with your events and budget.
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Evaluating the Wide Range of Online Event Platform Options

With so many virtual event platforms to choose from, take the time to carefully evaluate each option against your specific needs and goals to discover the perfect software solution.

Hosting online events on virtual platforms opens up exciting possibilities for engagement and connection. But with so many software solutions available, how do you discover the right one?

Having been around since the very beginning of virtual and hybrid events, we’ve seen the tools evolve rapidly on the internet. Each year new tech innovations emerge to create more immersive and seamless event experiences.

In 2023, you have an incredible number of options when selecting tools to power your online events and conferences.

Here are just some of the most popular options:

  • Hubilo
  • Airmeet
  • Cadence
  • Welcome
  • BigMarker
  • Goldcast
  • Hopin
  • Whova
  • Eventee
  • On24
  • Brandlive
  • Sequel
  • Cvent
  • Webex
  • Zoom Events
  • And the list goes on…
  • But “popular” doesn’t mean “right for you.” And having so many options can also lead to choice paralysis.

    After all, while many platforms share common core features for virtual events, each has unique capabilities. So how do you distinguish between essential and nice-to-have features?

    Fortunately, our consultants have hands-on experience with many of these platforms. We understand their strengths and limitations.

    Today we’ll go into detail about our process for selecting the best virtual event platforms. We’ll share insider tips and best practices that you normally hear from our consultants during a strategy session.

    So get ready to discover how to choose the ideal online event software solution!

    Must-Have Features for Your Virtual Event Platform

    What should be at the top of your priority list? Any online event software should have a robust set of tools to create memorable and interactive virtual experiences. 

    What should you look for?

    Customizable Virtual Environments

    a woman sitting at a table with a laptop during an online webinar presentation

    Look for a platform that provides pre-built templates you can use as a starting point when designing the look and feel of your virtual venue. But also ensure it allows for deep customization so you can match the environment to your branding and goals.

    For example, you may want virtual exhibit halls, auditoriums for general sessions, and breakout rooms for smaller group meetings. Make sure the software allows you to customize these spaces with colors, logos, banners, backgrounds, and more.

    Integrated Live Streaming

    A built-in video live streaming solution is a must-have. This allows you to seamlessly broadcast sessions, speakers, and entertainment during your online event or conference.

    Key features include high quality HD streaming, multi-camera angles, screen sharing, and speaker spotlights. Choose platforms that integrate streaming directly rather than needing external programs.

    Interactive Networking Capabilities

    Networking is the heart of in-person events, so your virtual software should include ways to facilitate connections. These could include 1:1 video meetings, group chats, private messaging, meeting schedules, virtual lounges, and gamification-like leaderboards.

    Robust Presentation Features

    Speaking sessions and presentations are a big part of most online events. Prioritize software that empowers participative sessions via tools like polls, Q&A, surveys, hand-raise features, and more.

    Easy screen sharing is also a must. And helpful options include audience engagement tracking, presenter controls, and session recording/playback.

    Sponsorship & Exhibit Opportunities

    Events generate revenue through sponsors and exhibitors. Look for virtual software with features to showcase these partners.

    For sponsors, branded sessions, promotional emails and banners can help. For exhibitors, options like virtual booths, lead generation tools, video demos and 1:1 meetings are key.

    Simple Registration & Ticketing

    A built-in registration and ticketing system simplifies event logistics. Choose tools with customized registration forms, promotional codes, automated confirmations and reminders, waitlists, and more.

    Robust Attendee Profiles

    Detailed attendee profiles, including interests and goals, allow personalized experiences with tailored recommendations, exhibitor introductions, and networking suggestions.

    Post-Event Reporting & Analytics

    Don’t underestimate the power of data! Look for online event platforms with robust analytics and reporting to uncover attendee interests, engagement levels, content ratings, networking analysis, and more.

    Let’s explore some of these in better detail below.

    Weighing Live Streaming and Broadcasting Choices

    The Youtube Live logo superimposed over a blurry picture of a crowd

    Carefully evaluate streaming options based on your video quality, reliability, security, accessibility, and interactivity needs.

    At the core of any online event is the live video streaming and broadcasting technology that delivers your presentations, speeches, and discussions to remote audiences in real time.

    Many virtual event platforms include built-in video streaming and integrate with common external streaming services like YouTube Live and Facebook Live. Other platforms give you multiple options to choose from.

    When evaluating platforms, consider these key factors:

  • Cost: Some live streaming tools are free and only stream to public social media platforms. Others that include bandwidth and a CDN for private streaming range from $250 up to thousands of dollars per month.
  • Video Quality: You need at least 720p HD resolution for computer viewing. For mobile, adaptive bitrates are ideal.
  • Stream Reliability: Look for proven 99%+ uptime on past streams. Review clear metrics on reliability.
  • Security: Encrypted streaming is a must to keep your event secure. Examine safeguards against stream hacking.
  • Accessibility: Do you need closed captioning, interpretation, or sign language features make your event more inclusive? Are you okay with AI captions, or do you need to upload or inject human-edited captions?
  • Interactivity: Can attendees interact via polls, Q&A, chat and more directly in the stream?
  • Live Editing: On-the-fly editing lets you tweak broadcasts in real time.
  • Simulcasting: Multi-platform streaming reaches wider audiences and let you go live right on your social media pages. Some software shows chat messages from multiple social platforms on screen.
  • Bandwidth: CDNs and optimization help avoid streaming lags or buffering.
  • Analytics: Robust real-time and post-event analytics provide valuable data to improve future events.
  • For many online events, a platform’s built-in streaming simplifies setup. But large-scale productions may benefit from a dedicated streaming provider.

    Test streaming in advance. Flawless video and audio create an exceptional viewer experience. 

    Discover the Best Virtual Conference and Webinar Room Options

    pictures of people projected on seats around a virtual conference table to represent the concept of virtual rooms

    Smoothly running interactive online sessions and virtual breakout rooms are vital for impactful virtual events and conferences.

    Look for event management platforms that make it easy for you to:

  • Schedule webinar sessions and virtual rooms via a central calendar.
  • Customize sessions with names, descriptions, capacity limits, and access settings.
  • Designate moderators and presenters for your online events.
  • Shift attendees between virtual rooms
  • Set reminders and notifications for upcoming webinar sessions.
  • Manage Q&A during your virtual sessions and webinars.
  • Share slides, videos, and other content
  • Record sessions for future viewing after your virtual event.
  • Ensure seamless transitions as attendees move between sessions at your online conference.
  • Analyze session attendance, engagement, and feedback from your virtual event platform.
  • Ideally, the platform’s virtual rooms should replicate real event space with customizable branding and layout options. 

    How many concurrent virtual rooms do you need for your event? Some platforms limit numbers for basic packages. 

    Virtual breakout rooms segment your audiences by location or role and create personalized experiences. Matchmaking algorithms automate this for your virtual conference.

    For moderated webinar sessions, presenter modes spotlight speakers. Moderator controls over mics, webcams, and screen sharing direct discussion during your online events.

    With the right virtual event software and platforms, session delivery and management is greatly simplified for your conference. Productive audience interactions will flourish at your virtual events.

    Promote Your Virtual Conference Successfully with Integrated Marketing Tools

    a webinar timer counting down to the minute the webinar resumes

    Choose an online event platform with robust integrated marketing tools to simplify promoting your virtual conference and maximize reach.

    Look for advanced email marketing capabilities like customizable, branded email templates, automated triggers for confirmations and reminders, and integration with email platforms to leverage your existing contact lists.

    Social Media Marketing Tools

    Social media promotion features like scheduled posts across networks, pre-written post templates, and suggested relevant content maximize social reach. 

    Tailored landing pages for promotions, registrations, sponsorships and more can further extend your reach.

    Engagement Tools

    Your virtual event platform should make it easy to embed ticking countdown timers, online registration forms, and virtual exhibit booths to boost signups. 

    Referral tools empower attendees to share discount codes and links to get others to register. Special promo codes also incentivize signups. Provide sponsors with a centralized portal for assets, reports, and more.

    Build customizable speaker spotlights to showcase your sessions and generate excitement. Announcement capabilities let you broadcast event updates globally or to targeted groups.

    Gamification elements like challenges, badges, and rewards drive engagement both pre and during the event. Surveys gather attendee preferences and interests beforehand so you can shape programming to match. 

    Calendar Tools

    Calendar integrations with Google, Outlook, Yahoo and more make your virtual conference easily discoverable. Start utilizing these integrated marketing tools 4-6 months out to maximize awareness and registrations. 

    Keep leveraging them creatively throughout your online event to engage attendees before, during and after.

    Capture Invaluable Attendee Data

    a virtual attendee is typing on a laptop computer while answering a survey

    One of the most significant advantages of online conferences and virtual events is the wealth of data available. While in-person events struggle to gather attendee analytics beyond basic demographics, virtual platforms provide enormously detailed insights.

    This data is invaluable for enhancing personalization, optimizing the virtual event experience, identifying sales opportunities, and powering post-conference marketing.

    Here are some of the essential data points quality virtual event software can capture:

  • Individual interests, goals, and profile information provided during online registration.
  • Networking interactions between attendees at your conference.
  • Engagement data like content and virtual booth visits, downloads, interest ratings, and more.
  • Session preferences and live and on-demand attendance.
  • Poll, quiz, and survey responses.
  • Questions asked during webinars and presentations.
  • Chat and community activity across the platform.
  • Video viewing statistics and meeting performance.
  • Post-event feedback and satisfaction ratings.
  • Sales interactions, lead generation, and purchases.
  • Once this data is compiled, you gain extraordinary visibility into creating tiered attendee profiles. For example, you could categorize virtual registrants as:

    1. Hot leads: proactively engaged, requested info, scheduled meetings.
    2. Warm leads: attended webinars, visited sponsor booths, showed interest.
    3. Cool leads: registered but low event activity.
    4. Inactive: did not attend.

    This allows you to segment marketing follow-ups based on engagement levels. Additionally, you gain invaluable insights to improve future virtual events, such as:

  • Determining the most popular conference sessions and content.
  • Identifying networking opportunities and connections.
  • Knowing which exhibitors and sponsors attract the most interest.
  • Highlighting areas for better personalization.
  • Assessing event ROI and revenue opportunities.
  • Simply put, the data provided by virtual platforms is a goldmine for enhancing your offerings, achieving sales goals, increasing satisfaction, and growing your event return on investment.

    Robust analytics inform event planning while enabling precise measurement of performance and ROI. Look for virtual conference platforms providing actionable insights versus just comprehensive data. The ability to benchmark metrics year-over-year is ideal.

    Prioritize solutions with custom reporting capabilities. Extracting data should be simple, without requiring IT resources. Granular tracking of specific touchpoints, pages, assets, campaigns, and conversion funnels is advantageous.

    For smaller events, opt for an intuitive, pre-built analytics dashboard providing a quick overview of key event performance indicators. Larger conferences may require access to raw data for custom analysis.

    Data privacy is also paramount. Ensure your virtual platform provides transparency into data usage while securing sensitive information. Allow attendees control over data sharing if desired.

    Data is king. With the right virtual conference platform, you can unlock data-driven event strategies that drive revenue, retention, and growth.

    Evaluating Customization and Branding

    two presenters talking to each other during the zoom webinar

    For a cohesive online conference presence, the ability to fully tailor the virtual event platform to your unique brand is key.

    Thoroughly assess the degree of customization allowed for elements like:

  • Colors like primary, secondary, and accent shades to match brand guidelines.
  • Typography and fonts like headlines, body text, captions to align with brand style.
  • Logos, icons, and graphical elements placed where you want.
  • Email templates personalized for different participant groups.
  • Tailored landing pages for promotions, agenda, speakers, etc.
  • Presentation templates to brand your speaker slide decks.
  • Chat spaces designed for networking or Q&A interactions.
  • Navigation menus, header bars, and key components.
  • And much more – no area should be off limits for branding.
  • Greater control over the full look, feel, layout, and overall virtual participant experience is better. Fully replicating your physical event brand digitally is the gold standard.

    Consider these additional customization factors:

  • Ease of Use. Ensure simple interfaces to apply branding without advanced technical skills.
  • Templatization. Leverage brand templates and themes across platform touchpoints.
  • Asset Management. Easily upload logos, videos, graphics for use globally.
  • Style Settings. Provide easy point-and-click controls to modify colors, fonts, etc.
  • Layouts. Offer flexible options for positioning elements where you want them.
  • Creative Direction. Seek design guidance from platform teams when needed.
  • Delegated Access. Allow providing access to designers, developers, or agencies.
  • Previews. View changes in real time before officially publishing.
  • Host Controls. Give hosts branding management access during live virtual events.
  • Multi-Event. Maintain distinct branding across your entire event portfolio.
  • Keep your virtual audience top of mind. On-brand experiences boost engagement, satisfaction, loyalty, and event stickiness.

    Avoid platforms limiting your branding flexibility or locking you into rigid templates. Your virtual conference should feel 100% your own – a seamless extension of your organization.

    Branding consistency across physical and digital experiences also minimizes confusion. Recognizable elements like colors, messaging, and imagery cue to attendees they are in the right place.

    With the exponential growth in virtual events, customization is no longer a nice-to-have but a must-have. Deliver personalized, branded experiences that keep your community returning year after year no matter the format.

    Reviewing Budget and Pricing Considerations

    there is a calculator and a pen on top of budget documents

    With outstanding virtual platforms available across a wide range of budgets, you can certainly find solutions to meet your needs without breaking the bank. 

    Here are some tips for aligning software costs with your financial resources.

    Determine Must-Have vs Nice-to-Have Features

    Some platforms offer extensive feature sets ideal for major enterprise-level events. While impressive, eliminate unnecessary bells and whistles if they inflate costs beyond your range. 

    Stick to the absolute must-have features and capabilities.

    Compare Tiered Pricing Models

    Many providers offer tiered levels like Basic, Pro, and Enterprise. 

    If the Base or Pro tiers include your identified must-haves for a lower cost, you likely don’t need the top Enterprise packages with extra benefits.

    Review Percentage of Revenue-Based Pricing

    Some platforms charge monthly fees plus a percentage of event revenue after you hit certain earnings thresholds. 

    Factor these variable costs into your comparisons. And look for hidden fees – unfortunately you’ll find lots of “gotcha” fees with some platforms when you read the fine print.

    Assess One-Time vs Recurring Fees

    A platform with higher one-time setup, integration, or training fees but lower recurring monthly fees may save money long term versus lower up front but higher ongoing subscription costs. 

    Crunch the numbers.

    Estimate Registration Volume Savings

    Many companies offer discounts as registration volume increases. Even modest savings per registration can yield big overall savings with large events.

    Consider Usage-Based Custom Enterprise Pricing

    For very large enterprise events, some vendors may provide custom quotes incorporating bulk discounts based on your expected specific usage and revenue.

    Explore Sponsor or Partner Opportunities

    If budget is tight, see if providers offer free or discounted access in exchange for your company promoting their brand as an official event technology partner or sponsor.

    Avoid Lock-In Contracts

    Steer clear of platforms trying to lock you into long term contracts. Go month-to-month so you can pivot if needed.

    With creativity and commitment to sticking to fundamental must-have capabilities, you can absolutely stay within your budget. Don’t let pricing be a deterrent from selecting feature-packed online event software to take your virtual gatherings to the next level.

    As a preferred production partner with top virtual event platforms, we get exclusive discounts and pass the savings along to our clients.

    Customizing Your Platform for a Seamless Brand Experience

    a man standing in front of a homepage banner that says the future of marketing

    Once you’ve found a virtual event platform that has the critical features you need, the next vital step is customizing the software experience to perfectly match your unique brand and goals.

    You need all-inclusive customization for several reasons:

  • To create a cohesive, immersive virtual environment aligned to your specific event purpose and target audience.
  • To reflect your organization’s branding to attendees from the moment they first log on.
  • To focus on your valuable content, renowned speakers, strategic sponsors, and partners rather than the technology.
  • What are the most important ways to customize your virtual platform and environment?

    Craft a Personalized Homepage

    The homepage is the attendee’s critical first impression, so make it shine. Include your branding, imagery, a welcome video, key event highlights, intuitive navigation, and clear calls-to-action guiding next steps.

    Design Your Branded Virtual Venue

    As mentioned earlier, the software should provide templates you can deeply customize. Craft branded greetings, banners, colors, agendas, information booths, lounges, and interactive elements like leaderboards.

    Match Branding Across All Assets

    Upload your branded backgrounds, banners, logos, and graphics across all pages and virtual spaces. Ensure colors, fonts, messaging, and imagery align perfectly with your brand guide.

    Build Custom Registration Pages and Forms

    Gather the specific data you need by creating tailored registration pages and forms. Default options rarely have sufficient fields for comprehensive attendee profiling, lead generation, and personalization.

    Produce Engaging Pre-Event Content

    Welcome attendees early by sending branded invitations, agendas, promotional materials, preparatory content, sneak previews, contests and more.

    Offer Sponsor & Exhibitor Showcases

    Provide value for partners by offering branded virtual booths, demo videos, 1:1 meeting tools, and options to generate leads. Feature sponsor logos, videos, and banners prominently.

    Select Branded Technology Options

    Look for software offering white-labeled and customizable mobile apps, video players, event portals, and emails so all assets reinforce your unique brand.

    The time invested in deeply customizing your virtual conference always pays off. Immortalize your brand in attendees’ minds. Align the full experience with your organization’s strategic goals and purpose.

    Maximizing Post-Event Marketing

    an open laptop surrounded by email icons representing the concept of a segmented email campaign

    We’ve explored how online conference platforms give you access to a wealth of attendee data and insights. But how can you actually put that data to work through targeted post-event marketing?

    Here are some powerful ways to capitalize on your new knowledge:

  • Segmented Email Campaigns. Send highly tailored emails to hot leads promoting offers related to their interests. Send warm leads content to continue nurturing the relationship. Limit contacts to less engaged users.
  • Personalized Sales Outreach. Empower your sales team with data to craft meaningful conversations when following up with promising hot leads.
  • Re-engagement Webinars or Gated Content. Create specialized follow-up webinars or gated content offers based on the most popular topics to re-engage warm leads.
  • Sponsor & Exhibitor Lead Sharing. With attendee consent, share lead contact info with sponsors and exhibitors for personalized sales pipelines.
  • Polls for Future Event Feedback. Survey attendees on their virtual event experience and what they’d like to see at future events. Always optimize and improve.
  • Automated Retargeting Ads. Use data on interests and virtual event activity to launch personalized remarketing ad campaigns. Drive users back to your website or promotions.
  • Lookalike Facebook Ad Targeting. Create hyper-targeted ads with Facebook Lookalike Audiences. This tool uses platform data to find users with similar qualities to your online event attendees for focused ad campaigns.
  • Reviews & Testimonials. Reach out to engaged virtual attendees requesting video or written testimonials to build social proof and content.
  • Opportunities are endless when you combine online event software’s data capabilities with thoughtful post-conference marketing strategies. The key is planning ahead – capture consent where needed and craft campaigns speaking directly to users’ interests.

    Capitalize on All-In-One Platforms (Or Don’t)

    an illustration of a computer screen with icons on it representing the concept of an all in one email campaign

    As the virtual event technology market expands, more vendors now offer comprehensive all-in-one online platforms. These consolidated solutions aim to provide nearly every needed function within one end-to-end system.

    All-in-one virtual event platforms can offer compelling benefits like:

    1. Streamlined Technology – A unified system removes complex integrations between multiple tools. Go from planning to promotion to delivery all on one seamless platform.
    2. Centralized Data – When all event data feeds into integrated dashboards and reports, you gain complete, holistic views of engagement and ROI.
    3. Simplified Branding. Establish a consistent branded experience across the entire attendee journey in one solution.
    4. Turnkey Support. Get assistance from one vendor across the full technology stack versus contacting many.
    5. Optimized Integrated Features. Purpose-built features working together in one platform generally outperform disjointed separate tools.
    6. Workflow Efficiencies. Eliminate manual processes and data movement needed between disparate platforms.
    7. Cost Savings. Consolidating systems drives down expenses and overall technology cost of ownership.
    8. Flexible Scaling. Adding on functionality or increased capacity is straightforward within one unified system.

    But all-in-one virtual event platforms aren’t perfect solutions for every use case. What are some potential downsides?

  • Less Specialization. You sacrifice deep specialization for a simpler all-in-one system.
  • Vendor Lock-In. It can be harder to switch platforms or add new tools down the road.
  • Fewer Integrations. Combining external tools and APIs generally requires more custom integration work.
  • Feature Overload. You pay for bundled capabilities that may go unused for your specific events.
  • For many online events, the simplicity and seamlessness of unified all-in-one systems outweigh the limitations. 

    But carefully consider whether a consolidated platform best serves your needs versus assembling separate specialized tools.

    Factor in your budget, expected feature usage, customization needs, data centralization goals, and existing tech stack investments.

    All-in-one platforms excel at delivering a beautifully branded virtual experience right out of the box. 

    But a best-of-breed approach may work better if you want much deeper custom functionality.

    There is no universal right or wrong choice – choose the best overall event technology software for your organization and attendee experience goals.

    Maximizing the Data from Your Online Event Software

    Earlier, we covered some strategies for data collection and your newfound ability to granularly capture and track attendee behavior and information to aid decision-making in future events. 

    A point worth repeating: More than ever before event planners have unlimited access to detailed attendee data and analytics

    For decades, event organizers struggled to gather meaningful attendee data and insights from their in-person conferences and trade shows. 

    Techniques like RFID tracking badges provide some visibility into where people travel during an event. 

    But this high-level flow data lacks the granular intelligence to understand attendee behavior, interests, connections, preferences, and engagement.

    The rise of virtual and hybrid events completely changed the data game. 

    Online platforms and mobile apps now enable you to seamlessly capture detailed analytics and revolutionize your event marketing strategy.

    This wealth of virtual event data unlocks new opportunities to:

  • Create personalized attendee experiences
  • Quantify engagement levels
  • Inform sponsors and exhibitors
  • Benchmark performance year-over-year
  • Justify event value and pricing
  • For many online events, a platform’s built-in streaming simplifies setup. But large-scale productions may benefit from a dedicated streaming provider.

    Be sure to test streaming thoroughly in advance. Flawless video and audio are crucial for an exceptional viewer experience. 

    Overcoming In-Person Event Data Limitations

    a picture of an RFID tag

    For in-person conferences and trade shows, collecting attendee data has historically been extremely challenging beyond basic registration details and post-event surveys.

    The limited data gathered from physical events pales in comparison to the rich virtual event analytics now available. Here are some of the major limitations:

    1. Minimally invasive tracking. Unobtrusive methods like RFID badges reveal minimal high-level insights without being intrusive. But they aren’t detailed enough  for grouping potential clients, personalization, or lead scoring.
    2. Post-event surveys.  Feedback forms and clipboards provide qualitative opinions but not the ability to quantify engagement, interests, goals and preferences. And collecting paper surveys is too  labor intensive.
    3. Interruptive questionnaires. Aggressively pushing surveys and questionnaires takes away from the event experience and has insufficient data.
    4. No real-time interactivity. No ability to capture real-time feedback and engagement through polls, surveys, Q&A and more during sessions.
    5. Limited profiling. Registration details like name, company and title don’t provide psychographic data to understand attendees’ needs and interests.
    6. Manual data entry. Staff must manually enter paper forms, surveys and badge scans reducing accuracy.
    7. Siloed data. No ability to tie together data from various sources into unified profiles and dashboards in real time.
    8. Lack of consent. Inability to share data practices and get clear opt-in consent before gathering attendee info.
    9. No post-event follow-up. Lack of data makes effective, relevant follow-up marketing and lead segmentation impossible.

    In the past, severe data limitations stifled event organizers’ ability to understand their attendees, quantify program effectiveness, identify leads, prove ROI or optimize experiences.

    The Virtual Event Data Revolution

    there are many people standing in a large room during an event

    Integrating virtual platforms and apps transforms the volume, depth, and usefulness of event data.

    With online software, capturing detailed attendee profiles, interests, real-time engagement, feedback, and behavioral analytics is seamless.

    Here are just some of the data points virtual event platforms reveal:

  • Robust attendee background gathered through custom registration forms and questionnaires.
  • Granular profiling data including goals, interests, challenges, and demographics.
  • Every click, content view, booth visit, and networking interaction tracked.
  • Interest and engagement levels based on live vs. on-demand session viewership.
  • Real-time feedback via polls, surveys, Q&A, and more during sessions.
  • Post-event satisfaction, feedback, and improvement suggestions.
  • Sales interactions, lead scoring, purchases and revenue.
  • Real-time data to create unified profiles
  • This data revolution produces several game-changing strategies:

    1. Granularly Segment Attendees. Detailed psychographic, behavioral, and firmographic data allows you to divide attendees into highly targeted segments. Tailor communication, personalization, recommendations, and follow-up marketing appropriately.
    2. Create Data-Driven Sales Priorities. Quantify engagement levels and interactions to accurately score leads. Empower sales teams to focus on hot prospects first.
    3. Prove Value to Sponsors & Exhibitors. Share data regarding booth visits, content downloads, product interest, and demographics to validate event value to partners.
    4. Inform Smarter Programming. Understand popular topics and engagement levels to optimize programming year over year. Add more of what works.
    5. Benchmark Performance & ROI. Track year-to-year performance on revenue, registrations, and engagement to showcase growth and fine-tune strategies.
    6. Justify Pricing. Leverage hard data on leads generated and sales pipeline influenced to show tangible event impact and price accordingly.

    10 Best Practices for Data-Driven Virtual Events

    a person sitting at a desk looking at a laptop screen with graphs on it representing analysis of year over year data

    Follow these 10 tips to execute data-centric virtual events. Create personalized experiences, build loyalty, and prove ROI:

    1. Start with robust registration surveys. Ask detailed questions upfront to build rich attendee profile data from the first touch.
    2. Add pop-up event surveys. Use polls and questionnaires throughout to capture evolving interests and real-time feedback.
    3. Incentivize data sharing. Offer perks for completing surveys and sharing information to grow your database.
    4. Analyze behavior metrics. Synthesize engagement data like content access, chat interactions, booth visits etc.
    5. Send timely follow-ups. Act on insights quickly post-event to capture feedback, promote offers, schedule meetings, and more while the event is still top of mind.
    6. Build unified data views. Bring together insights from all sources into 360-degree attendee profiles.
    7. Obtain clear consent. Communicate your data practices transparently. Get opt-in consent before gathering info. Give attendees control over their data sharing preferences.
    8. Use Lookalike targeting. Use existing high-value attendee profiles as seeds for platforms like Facebook to target similar online prospects.
    9. Integrate with marketing automation. Send event data to your CRM, email system, and sales team. Automate post-event nurturing by lead score.
    10. Benchmark and optimize annually. Compare YOY event data to identify rising and falling engagement levels by session topic, exhibitor, etc. Adjust programming accordingly.

    The data captured from virtual events provides a true listening tool unlike ever before. 

    Make data the foundation of your programming, personalization, sponsorship, marketing, and follow-up strategies. 

    Let attendees show you what they want through their actions – then deliver it.

    Virtual Event Software Critical for Data Capture

    a woman using a tablet on a wooden desk analyzing statistics captured during her event

    To unlock the full power of event data, a feature-rich virtual platform is essential. Here are key data and analytics-focused capabilities to look for:

  • Detailed registration surveys. Robust questions to build out attendee profiles from the start.
  • Ongoing pop-up surveys. Gauge interests in real-time with polls and questionnaires.
  • Interactive session features. Q&A, live chat, feedback options to capture detailed session engagement.
  • Content performance tracking. See views, downloads, and interest ratings for sessions, speakers, and content.
  • Sponsorship analytics. Reporting on booth visits, leads collected, and product interest.
  • 1-to-1 meeting tracking. Insights into meaningful connections made through appointment scheduling.
  • Unified cross-channel profiles. Holistic view of each attendee compiling data from all touchpoints and sources.
  • User journey visualization. See how attendees navigate the platform and event.
  • Automated reports and alerts. Get insights delivered through customized dashboards and notifications without manual reporting.
  • CRM, email, and marketing automation sync. Send data to other systems for post-event nurturing.
  • Audience lookalike targeting. Use high-value attendee data to find similar prospects for advertising.
  • A feature-rich virtual event platform provides the data foundation to understand your audience, identify opportunities, prove value, and optimize experiences. Let data guide your event strategy from start to finish.

    The virtual event revolution opens up game-changing data visibility impossible in the past. With these new insights, let your attendees show you what your next innovations should be through their collective intelligence and interests.

    The Future of Event Software: Blending Physical and Digital for Optimal Experiences

    Looking ahead, the integration of offline and online experiences offers the best of both worlds. 

    Physical events will always have unique benefits like face-to-face networking, local exploration, and buzzing energy. Certain attendees will inherently prefer in-person conferences.

    At the same time, seamlessly blended digital elements can offset in-person limitations. For example, mobile event apps allow attendees to access info, schedules, and messaging on the go during physical conferences. Virtual events provide more accessibility to those with physical or financial considerations that limit travel. 

    Creative pre-conference online events, communities, and content get attendees excited and invested early. Generate  high-quality leads before ever arriving on site.

    Online scheduling and matchmaking tools during in-person events empower meaningful networking based on shared interests versus random chance meetings. Digital 1-on-1 meeting spaces bridge  location gaps between attendees. Create opportunities for attendees who could not connect otherwise.

    Post-conference, the relationship continues through customized nurturing and outreach informed by data on interests and interactions. Simple post-event questionnaire links in email foster ongoing participation.

    Innovative Examples and Ideas

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    Forward-looking organizers are already creatively blending digital tactics with in-person events:

  • A corporate retreat starts with pre-work, including goal-setting questions and team introductions in a digital community space to align desired outcomes.
  • At a user conference exhibition hall, attendees digitally favorite booths and collect qualifying leads’ contact info to follow up afterward, creating an extended sales pipeline.
  • A performing arts festival offers a mobile app to plan personalized agendas and purchase mobile food vouchers redeemable at local restaurants to streamline logistics.
  • At a trade show, buyers and vendors are matched for video speed networking based on product interests.
  • A professional association hosts quarterly in-person networking events supplemented by an online community encouraging connections between events.
  • The opportunities to enrich in-person events with digital are limited only by imagination. Every integration point presents the potential to gather data for optimizing experiences.

    8 Key Takeaways

    Hosting impactful online conferences and events in 2023 centers on selecting the right virtual event software platform. Keep these key points in mind:

    1. Clearly define your goals. Consider what experience you want to create for attendees and what problems you aim to solve.
    2. Prioritize must-have features. Focus on the 5-10 capabilities essential to your event vision and target audience.
    3. Compare platforms broadly. Look beyond the market leaders to find the ideal fit. New solutions constantly emerge.
    4. Test drive options. Take full advantage of free trials to experience platforms firsthand before committing.
    5. Consider scalability. Confirm the platform can grow seamlessly as your online event ambitions expand in future years.
    6. Talk to peers. Ask colleagues about which platforms they use. Ask about and lessons learned from their experience.
    7. Consult experts. Companies like We & Goliath bring extensive platform expertise to guide your decision. Get a free consultation today!
    8. Focus on value over cost. Don’t simply choose the cheapest platform. Seek superior overall ROI.

    The virtual event space grows more exciting each year with new technology driving attendee interest, engagement, and connections. Establish clear goals, always evaluate promising platforms, and choose what best aligns withto your specific needs.

    With the right online event software as your foundation, produce memorable and rewarding virtual experiences. Partner with experts like We & Goliath to unlock the full potential of virtual and hybrid events.

    Selecting Your Ideal Virtual Event Platform for 2023 and Beyond

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    Selecting the perfect online event software for 2023 requires understanding must-have features, customization options, attendee data capture, post-event marketing, budget, and thoroughly vetting providers.

    But the effort pays dividends through elevated brand experiences for your attendees, unmatched insights to fuel your virtual event strategy, and a powerful platform to support your goals for many years to come.

    Please reach out if we can offer any specific guidance as you narrow down your options – we’re always happy to help organizations find solutions tailored perfectly to their needs.

    Here’s to an amazing year of online events ahead. With the right platform, the possibilities for your virtual conferences are truly endless. We can’t wait to see the memorable, game-changing experiences you create for your community in 2023 and beyond!

    Get a Free Consultation on the Best Event Software for Your Needs

    Selecting event software is challenging with so many options to evaluate. But We & Goliath can guide you to the ideal platform for your virtual event. 

    We have direct hands-on experience working with many leading tools and providers in the space.

    For over 20 years, we’ve partnered with clients to execute successful online campaigns using cutting edge technology. 

    Let’s connect for a complimentary 30-minute virtual strategy session to discuss your goals, budget, and technical requirements. We’ll simplify software selection by applying our real-world know-how. 

    Take advantage of our experts’ experience to make platform decisions stress-free!

    We & Goliath

    We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

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    We practice what we preach — and we deliver.

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    Need Some Advice on Hosting an Event?

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    Let us help you smash your engagement goals and set attendance records.

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