10 min read

Event Formats: On-Demand Events vs Live Virtual Events

live event meeting

On-demand vs live virtual events.

When it comes to planning your next virtual event, choosing the right format should be top of your list. It’s what most will decide on well before they start arranging speakers and planning out sessions.

Which format you choose will depend on a variety of factors that we’re going to break down for you in this blog post.

Live virtual events and on-demand events have a lot in common — as you’ll come to learn. And that’s without mentioning ‘as-live’ events which bridge the gap between the two.

How do we know so much about event formats? That’s easy. Our virtual event platform is optimised for all event formats, giving you total flexibility when choosing which route is best.

Stay tuned, as we unpack each of these broadcasting options.

Virtual environment meeting

Live Virtual Events

Live virtual events are simply that: they’re live. Nothing is pre-recorded and everything flows in the moment. This means you are all the more connected to your audience in an interactive sense. It’s a very natural way of approaching a virtual event despite the risk of a poor internet connection from delegates, which is something you can’t fully control.

Think of live virtual events as a highwire act. Your audiences appreciate the spectacle, and the ‘anything can happen’ undertone that lines these events — similar to the attraction of live TV.

The majority of live virtual events are rehearsed ahead of time to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Most of it is scripted, although there is room for improvisation when needed. This is mostly where the differences lie between live and on-demand events.

Benefits of Live Virtual Events

Engaging with your audiences is a lot easier in a live environment. The fact that you can open the floor to questions through a live chat, or Q&A, only adds to that live feeling and keeps attendees interested and connected.

Showing your audience that you can handle these questions in real-time is one way of demonstrating knowledge of a subject. Doing so will also establish a level of trust as you’re showing complete transparency. Live virtual events are as close as you can get to an in-person event in that way.

Voting and polling are just as important too. Which, again, goes back to what we were saying about adding to that live feeling. You can never be too sure on how delegates will respond, thus giving you space to improvise on the spot.

We should point out that just because something is live doesn’t mean you can’t record it.

The majority of live virtual events you see are often placed on demand within the platform itself, and some presentations are also uploaded to social media and platforms like YouTube. In other words, you take something that was once live, and give people the opportunity to watch it in their own time (otherwise known as on-demand).

Drawbacks of Live Virtual Events

Sure, you can be spontaneous during live virtual events, but this could be considered a blessing and a curse depending on who you ask exactly.

On occasion, delays and glitches do hamper live virtual event formats. It’s not the same as on-demand or as-live, where you have the opportunity to re-shoot certain sections if the speaker messes up, or loses his/her trail of thought.

One of the ways to counteract this is to ensure that you choose the right virtual event platform.

Choosing a platform capable of hosting multiple virtual event formats is key, as it means you aren’t limited to live events only — events that, as we’ve stated, can fall under human error.

At iVent, we have extensive experience in delivering virtual events to make sure the day runs as smoothly as possible. We’ve worked with various clients to transform the way they deliver events – whether that’s choosing an on-demand format or live.

on demand virtual event

On-Demand Virtual Events

On-demand virtual events are one of the best ways to drive consistent traffic to your website — or wherever you choose to share these events outright.

But what is an on-demand virtual event exactly? Well, any event that you capture and reshare with delegates qualifies as an on-demand event.

In other words, audiences get to pick and choose when they view these virtual events, whereas live virtual events tend to run at certain times and in varying time zones.

A significant chunk of audiences prefer this type of event format as it gives them more flexibility when it comes to viewing.

Benefits of On-Demand Virtual Events

Hindsight is 20/20, and not every virtual event will run as planned. Sometimes, things go wrong and you can’t help it.

A clear benefit of on-demand virtual events is it gives you the ability to edit as you see fit before it’s reposted or shared. Did someone swear? Edit it out. Is the time between sessions too long? Trim it down. Want to add more CTAs? Add on-screen messaging that does just that.

You get the idea.

On-demand content gives audiences who might be at work, or simply busy, the chance to view your events in their own time. When you take the on-demand route, your events can be viewed for many years to come. This means more people will see it eventually compared to how many people are sitting in for the live broadcast.

Sharing virtual events once they’ve occurred is a great way to maximise ROI for this very reason. The more eyes you have on your events, the more leads you’ll capture, in the case of businesses looking to promote products or sell their services to the masses.

Online training and on-demand are a match made in virtual event heaven too. Having access to these resources will ensure that everyone can complete it individually, thus saving you time as you don’t need to gather an entire team to begin. This will also improve data collection to make training a lot more effective in future!

Drawbacks of On-Demand Virtual Events

There aren’t many drawbacks to an event format that you can view whenever. Although, on-demand events can lack that spontaneity that makes live events so exciting. That’s not to say on-demand events aren’t interesting, we just think that live Q&A sessions are great at engaging with your audience.

You do lose out on that interactive element. However, you could encourage your audiences to reach out to you on social media to cover the interactive element of the event. Is it the same? Not really, but you’re still boosting your impressions.

That being said, live virtual events are great in terms of creating hype. Knowing that you can simply view an on-demand event whenever doesn’t create a massive sense of urgency and does not support interactivity amongst attendees and speakers, so engagement could be limited.

This could be an issue for events where marketing seasonal products is the main goal.

as live presenter

As-Live Virtual Events

This might seem complicated on paper, but it’s quite simple to grasp when you think of it as a mix of the two event formats we’ve just talked about.

As-live virtual events refer to pre-recorded presentations that simulate the live experience — they simulate it because they are live, at least from the outside looking in. It will be like your secret, as you’ll be the only one that knows about it!

You’re essentially taking the editability of on-demand content and mixing it with the fluidity of live content.

You’re getting the best of both worlds, which can come in real handy if you’re running a hybrid event, where multiple elements are at play.

Benefits of As-Live Virtual Events

Pre-recording an entire presentation will give you peace of mind, knowing that all bases are covered and that there are no mistakes in the broadcast. This could come in real handy for any corporate-led communications, where you can really hammer home your message and ensure that everything is accurate beforehand.

You could call it a cheat code when it comes to event formats. You’ll still need to record the initial footage, but there will be a lot less pressure to get it right the first time, as is the case with traditional live virtual events.

And remember, you don’t need to record the entire event.

Pre-recording a few words from a university lecturer during a live broadcast of an open day has countless benefits. Academics are often strapped for time, and this could be the only way to have them involved and for it to appear naturally within the flow of the event.

It all comes down to time with an event format like this. Everyone has commitments, and getting multiple speakers (some from different countries) to come together and speak one after the other live, like in the case of virtual conferences, could be a challenge.

Drawbacks of As-Live Virtual Events

Delegates are usually pretty good at working out what’s live and what isn’t in some cases —

like with hybrid events that involve guest speakers. Speaking over the top of a pre-recorded message and having them keep talking is game over as far as the illusion goes.

Remember, the goal is to appear as natural as possible. It’s why you should try out a few practice runs first, to ensure that the footage sews seamlessly into the broadcast.

Some of the drawbacks to on-demand events apply to as-live events too, as you can imagine. If your entire event is pre-recorded throughout, then polling a live audience or running a Q&A section at the end is a no go — unless you pre-record that too, which is risky in and of itself.

It’s like we said, delegates are pretty aware of when something seems super artificial. They’ll be able to tell who wrote the questions given how they’re worded and structured.

virtual event

Event Formats: On-Demand Events vs Live Virtual Events

On-demand vs live virtual events.

Which is the best format for your business? The answer to this question will depend entirely on your industry, the type of event, and what you’re hoping to achieve.

On-demand events and live virtual events both have benefits and drawbacks to consider. The same concept applies to as-live virtual events which takes elements from both live and on-demand formats and blends them together. Editing broadcasts ahead of time and presenting them as if they were live is great for establishing trust, as you can perfect your messaging and control the final edit.

It’s like we said, live virtual events are a highwire act, and are very impressive if you feel confident enough to get it right the first time. However, if you’re more anxious and want the option to edit your content first, then as-live is a great solution.

Want to know what else these event formats have in common? They all rely on choosing the best virtual event platform. At iVent, we not only offer top tier technology and a powerful proprietary digital platform, but we support you with a team of virtual event specialists that will assist you in tailoring out the best possible design, management, and delivery solutions for your virtual or hybrid event.

By partnering with us, you can deliver the best possible event, regardless of the format you choose. Get in touch with a member of our team to find out more.


Written by:

Ros - Director at Virtual iVentRos Oxley

See more by Ros Oxley

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