Virtual corporate events are skyrocketing to become an essential corporate communications tool in 2021 and beyond.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic upended how in-person events from conferences to press briefings took place. The virus forced enterprises to alter every aspect of their corporate communications strategy, and many organizations discovered the benefits of virtual corporate events.
These advantages mean the trend toward virtual corporate events will continue into 2021. After all, audience demand drove companies to already leverage live-streamed events before COVID-19.
A 2017 survey by New York Magazine and the company Livestream found that 82% of people prefer live video from a brand over social media posts. The survey also learned that 67% of people who watched a live virtual event bought a ticket to another virtual event.
And in June 2020, Grand View Research predicted the video streaming industry would grow to $184.27 billion by 2027. That’s up from $30.29 billion in 2016, a 144% increase.
Already enterprises are adopting large-scale virtual corporate events.
Salesforce moved their annual conference, Dreamforce, to a virtual event. In a regular year, over 100,000 people attend Dreamforce in San Francisco.
But 2020 is anything but a regular year. Due to COVID-19, Salesforce turned Dreamforce into a virtual event featuring keynote speakers, networking opportunities, and learning sessions called Dreamforce to You 2020.
In Salesforce’s words, “Dreamforce to You is a completely reimagined Dreamforce experience for our all-new, work-from-anywhere world.”
Social Media Week is another in-person event that went virtual in 2020.
In the past, Social Media Week took place across a few days in a few cities. In 2020, the event went virtual worldwide, spanning four weeks and featuring more than 300 speakers.
Social Media Week 2020’s size and scope hit one of four primary benefits of virtual corporate events.
As more enterprises in 2020 had to contend with either canceling their events or make them virtual, some fretted that a live-streamed event wouldn’t deliver the same return-on-investment (ROI) to both attendees and organizers as in-person conferences, conventions, and workshops.
Instead, many organizations find massive advantages to virtual corporate events, starting with who can attend.
Boost Your Audience
In-person conferences can host two types of people: Those who live close to where the event takes place or those who can travel to attend it.
When deciding whether or not to go to an event, they don’t live near an event attendee has to consider the cost of money, time, and effort to travel to where the event takes place. Often an attendee’s employer decides based on cost versus the benefit of their employee attending the event.
That’s why, in many cases, only the largest, grandest corporate events attract people from outside the event location’s area. It’s too expensive, too much of a hassle, to attend anything less.
But that’s not a problem with virtual corporate events. Anyone with a decent Internet connection can attend one, vastly expanding the pool of potential attendees.
This audience expansion means you can boost your number of attendees, generating more ticket sales, and increasing your audience and reach.
Go Virtual, Go Big
Your audience size isn’t the only thing you’ll boost by hosting a virtual corporate event.
You don’t face the same session limitations with a live-streamed event as you do with an in-person event.
Instead, you can have more speakers, sessions, attendee activities. You can run the event for longer or stagger your schedule to accommodate different time zones. You’re even able to deliver many content forms in various ways, from music, video, live chat, and more.
Virtual corporate events can be as big as you want them to be in availability, audience size, programming, and content. All that’s needed is the right enterprise video platform.
Get Greater Insight
When hosting an in-person event, do you know when an attendee stops paying attention during a keynote? Or, are you able to track the comments one audience member makes to another?
With virtual corporate events, you can monitor and analyze a plethora of data, from audience engagement to technical performance. With the right video analytics solution, you can get detailed insights in real-time and post-event.
With this data, you can identify topics resonating with your attendees. You’ll be able to understand better who your audience is, including valuable info such as their location and the technology they use.
There’s no comparison between the data you get from in-person events and the abundance of analytics you receive when hosting virtual corporate events. A live-streamed event will give you remarkable insight and visibility.
Lower Your Costs, Produce Higher Returns
Putting on an in-person show is expensive. You have to reserve a place, book travel, and accommodations. There are catering and other costs, too.
Many of these expenses disappear when hosting a virtual event.
While you might still need to compensate your keynote speakers, you may not have to pay for their travel and lodging. You’ll need to use an enterprise video platform, but that cost will be significantly less than renting a venue and paying for attendees’ food and drinks.
Lower costs with larger audiences? It’s easy to see how virtual events produce impressively high ROIs.
A Trend Grows Into a Crescendo
The pandemic has changed many facets of how companies operate, and virtual corporate events are a massive part of this shift.
But it’s a trend that predated, and will live beyond, COVID-19. That’s because the benefits of live streaming events are too great for enterprises to ignore.
Hosting a virtual event expands your potential attendee base, allowing you to reach larger audiences than ever before. And you can lower your costs, increase your revenue while gathering detailed data to help you make informed decisions.
Because of their advantages, virtual corporate events will become a critical component of many corporate communications strategies. It’s a trend that will only grow to a crescendo in the coming years.
Would you like to learn more about how corporate communications professionals can leverage video in 2021? Our new eBook lists ten ways video will make a difference for enterprises in the new year.