Why online/hybrid and in-person events cannot be compared to each other
Here’s a question. If you were holding an in-person event for 20,000 people would you book a hall that seats 5000? Or your event needed 2 breakaway sessions, would you book an auditorium with built-in seat rows? If the main feature of the event was keynote speakers, would you choose a venue with limited audiovisual equipment? The answer is no. However time and time again, we see event organisers making those mistakes when arranging their online events. Also, a common request from our clients is to replicate their in-person event on online event platforms. And then expect the same results. Houston, we have a problem.
Think of online event platforms as venues
The problem is that people are not thinking of virtual event platforms as venues that should be explored and vetted before your event. Ultimately, it’s not what you want the venue to do, but what the venue can do for you. Put simply, when you have the idea for your event in your head, your task order is as follows:
- Explore the various online venues.
- Take note of their key features and what they are best for.
- Decide what the goal is for your event.
- Then choose your event platform accordingly.
By doing this you will avoid disappointment in your event and the urge to blame the online platforms’ “glitches” and “bugs”. There are no bugs: it’s just not the right venue for your event.
Each online event platform is special in its own unique way
It’s important to remember that every event venue was developed and created to solve specific pain points. Each has its own features that perform specific tasks relevant to the problems they’re trying to solve. The point is to explore these features first and only then leverage them to create the most memorable event possible.
Expecting event platforms to have the same features and perform the same tasks and judging them based on what they cannot do, is like judging a fish on its inability to climb a tree. No fair. Poor Nemo you guys!
Ultimately, whatever your event objectives are, they must reconcile with the features available to you on a specific platform.
Outlining the different features across various online event platforms
You didn’t think I’d leave you high and dry, did you? Like I’d dump such a gigantic mind-shifting philosophy on you without explaining how to choose a platform. Let’s go into three very popular online event platforms and explore their different features and how to leverage them to meet your online event needs.
Crowdcast: The internet’s concert hall
Crowdcast is best used for one-to-many information sharing. Think of it as an online auditorium or an event with one main stage and rows full of audience members. Crowdcast’s features include:
- Simple registration and login process with the ability to register on attendees behalf.
- Audience engagement functions (Chat, Q&A, Polls, CTA) are easy to use for both speakers and attendees.
- Side-by-side screen sharing options and full screen.
With the above in mind, you can see how Crowdcast is the perfect online venue for concerts, keynote speaking events, theatrical or comedy shows, online movie premiers, product launches and press conferences.
Hopin: The internet’s tradeshow floor
If you need an online venue that has 5 different areas within one venue, Hopin is the first choice. An event’s agenda may have multiple content streams happening at the same time where people can move from room to room. Hopin gives that same atmosphere and functionality that people were used to at tradeshow events and similar. Hopin’s key features are:
- Lead generation tools such as expo areas and networking features.
- Multiple tracks/streams to host more than one speaker talking at a time.
- Easy to navigate between areas
Hopin is best used for online events such as tradeshows, exhibitions and conferences with different content streams.
Zoom: Where most people spent their 2020
2020 was a good year for Zoom (It’s my opinion that a large portion of the global population spent at least 2% of their time this year “on mute”). But Zoom’s title in the online venue space is well deserved. It really does provide a full 360-degree offering. From event management to registration management and its robust mobile app, there is very little in online eventing that Zoom cannot do. Key zoom features
- Web and mobile application access.
- RSVP and event management tools.
- Lead retrieval software.
Zoom can be used for most events however it must still be noted that in-person events cannot be fully replicated online.
Whova: The all-rounder online event platform
Whova is another all-rounder. It can accommodate almost every kind of event from helping you to create your registration for an intimate one-to-many style event to a muti-dimension trade show. It is quite good looking too and it’s easy to use. It’s the perfect venue for:
- Trade shows.
- School/college open days.
- Sharing lots of small, unique bits of information to a large audience.
- Good RSVP and lead measurements.
The only downside: Your presenters will have to stream in from Zoom or MS Teams.
Let’s recap; tour your online venues. To draw on old-school legacy comparisons, “walk” through their spaces, check their facilities, test their audiovisual capabilities and the features it may have to usher your audiences into action and delight.
If you are not sure which venue is right for your event or you need help managing your online and hybrid events, just chat to our CloudCrew team.