Whilst more businesses are embracing online events, they still face many virtual event challenges.
From keeping audiences engaged, to providing appealing sponsorship opportunities online, to providing a memorable experience, these are just a handful of the issues faced by event organisers.
And it’s not hard to see why.
When you remove the physical interaction of in-person events and replace them with a computer screen, it can be easy to assume that the experience of attendees is compromised.
However, by understanding how you can approach the top virtual event challenges head-on, you can be sure to organise a virtual event which keeps attendees coming back for more.
Just because a virtual event is remote, doesn’t mean that it has to be boring or impersonal. Instead, there are lots of ways you can transform the experience of your attendees and provide them with the same wealth of opportunities offered at in-person events.
Fortunately, most virtual event challenges can be solved by choosing the right virtual platform that helps organisers and sponsors realise the full potential of moving things online.
In this blog post we’re going to outline some of the top virtual event challenges, but most importantly, we’re going to explain how you can overcome them.
This will make any event organiser’s job easier, as it helps you to be prepared from the outset.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
Virtual Event Challenge 1: Maintaining Audience Engagement
Maintaining audience engagement has to be ranked number one on the list of virtual event challenges.
That’s because it is very easy for attendees to drift off when they are sitting watching a computer screen.
We’ve all been there. If your event is nothing other than a stream of presentations, it can become very tedious. Your mind starts wandering, and because you’re not actively participating in the session, you start to switch off.
As an event organiser, this means all of your hard work is going to waste if attendees aren’t paying attention. You could have put the best content together with lots of fancy facts and figures, but if you’re delivering it in a way that is not capturing their interest, then it’s pretty much pointless.
It’s for this reason that delivery is key when it comes to virtual events. Sure, it is important to create great content, but the way in which you present this information to your audience is crucial.
Choose a virtual event platform that is jam packed with features and functionality as this allows you to diversify the way you deliver your content.
When it comes to hosting virtual events, whether it’s award ceremonies or training programmes, you don’t want to simply read information from a screen. The key is to get your audience actively engaged so that they feel part of the session. Essentially, you need to create an immersive experience that draws your remote audience in.
Consider using Q&A sessions, live polling, surveys, and breakout rooms, as all of these features give your audience a voice and let them be part of the conversation. Instead of talking at them, you’re giving them a chance to explore the content further, whether that’s asking questions or voting on which topics they enjoy most.
Break out sessions also allow you to split attendees up into smaller groups which give them the opportunity to network on a deeper level.
Virtual Event Challenge 2: Lack of Technical Expertise
As an event organiser, have you been resisting hosting virtual events out of fear that they’re too complicated?
Do you worry you that lack the necessary technical expertise to host an effective virtual event?
Or perhaps you’re worried about having to install some fancy software or plug in when it comes to your chosen event platform?
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding virtual events, and many people think they are difficult to get to grips with. After all, if you’ve only ever hosted in-person events then it can seem quite daunting.
However, by doing your research and choosing the right virtual event platform, you can find a solution that is easy to use and manage.
With the iVent platform, hosting virtual events has never been easier.
Although the idea of virtual events might sound very technical, we make online events incredibly simple to arrange and deliver – and we will be with you every step of the way.
Our team of experts have 12 years of experience in the industry and we will walk you through the process from ideation to execution. Unlike some virtual event platforms, we don’t just offer a video call behind a login page – we produce custom-built events with features that will make you stand out. This means everything is bespoke and tailored to your requirements.
There are also no plug-ins to worry about either as our priority is making an integrated experience. To join an iVent event, all you need is an internet connection and a web browser. The rest is handled by our platform.
Virtual Event Challenge 3: Amount of Networking Opportunities
It can be more difficult to drive meaningful connections at virtual events if you don’t provide ample networking opportunities.
After all, being able to meet and network with other professionals is one of the main reasons so many people attend events in the first place. Being able to share ideas, learn from others, and increase connections are big driving factors for attendees.
So when moving across to an online setting, it’s important these opportunities are not forgotten about. You don’t want your virtual event to feel like a video stream with one person talking whils the rest of the people listen.
Instead, you want to get people thinking and talking about their ideas as this shows they are truly engaged in the experience.
As mentioned earlier in the post, breakout rooms are a fantastic way for attendees to network on a deeper level.
Instead of being in a large group where it can be difficult to speak up and get your voice heard, breakout rooms allow attendees to engage in conversations on a deeper level.
You can also use breakout rooms when gamifying parts of your event. For example, you might decide to host a treasure hunt where you scatter clues across your virtual event platform and then provide a prize to the winners.
Instead of asking attendees to do this individually, divide them into breakout rooms so they can work together to solve the puzzle. This requires attendees to put their collaboration skills to good use, as they have to work as a team to win the prize.
With iVent, you will also get access to ‘Meeting Manager’ which facilitates online networking. Delegates have lots of options as they can either take advantage of the ‘Instant Meetings’ feature which allows them to see who is online right now and invite them to a 1-2-1 video chat, or they can schedule a meeting in advance.
If delegates wish to edit or cancel a meeting, they can do so via the ‘options’ tab which keeps all attendees up to date and ensures the virtual event is a success.
Virtual Event Challenge 4: Security and Privacy
When hosting anything in the virtual world, you need to be aware of cyber attacks, and most importantly, how you can protect yourself from them.
In most cases, cyber attacks happen because organisations aren’t prepared for them.
Furthermore, event organisers might not understand what is deemed as a ‘cyber risk’, meaning they leave themselves vulnerable to malicious activity.
For example, they might open certain documents or links which lead them to an unauthorised website. This could cause a security breach, leading to some of their important data being stolen.
Whilst no business, big or small, is totally safe from cyber attacks, there are things you can do to ensure your virtual event is as safe as possible.
Event planners bear the responsibility to protect themselves and their attendees, especially in cases where people are likely to be exchanging confidential information. This is why a unified event management platform with security and privacy built-in by design is essential for keeping your events safe and confidential.
Virtual Event Challenge 5: Reporting and Analytics
When it comes to planning successful virtual events, you need to know what works and what doesn’t.
The way to do this?
Understanding the analytics behind your virtual event so that you can make better decisions moving forward. This involves looking at figures such as chat posts, link clicks, website clicks, and content activity.
Essentially, the more you know about your audience the better as this allows you to tailor your content to suit their needs at the next event. You want to double down on things that are working as these are the topics that your audience is resonating with the most.
However, whilst there is an abundance of analytics available when it comes to virtual events, you need to know how to leverage the data so that you’re drawing actionable insights.
Not all of the metrics are going to be important to you, so it’s about understanding which metrics are most important to you achieving your goals.
Choose a virtual event platform with built-in data and analytics capabilities. With iVent, you can access invaluable data 24/7 365 days a year through our easy-to-use dashboard.
This gives you total transparency to view your data at any time which is convenient for you so that you can see which areas are performing best.
You can also pinpoint your delegates on a map, so you know where attendees are tuning in from. This is super helpful as it allows you to see if you’re reaching audiences on a global scale. If you want to branch out into a new market then knowing this information is very useful.
Also as an event organiser, your exhibitors and sponsors will get dedicated access to just see their data and performance of their areas.
However your data is safe, secure and hidden from anyone who is not supposed to see it. If you choose to, you can restrict exhibitors from accessing reports at all.
Virtual Event Challenge 6: Sponsorship Programs
For many events, a lot of revenue comes from sponsorship as brands pay a sum of money to promote their products/services to attendees.
This means connecting sellers and buyers at virtual events is a big priority as there still needs to be opportunities for them to interact, otherwise there is no value for the sponsor.
However, some businesses are hesitant to sponsor a virtual event as they fear there is not the same level of exposure. They doubt whether the experience is truly immersive for attendees which would affect their ability to sell their products.
This can become a problem for event organisers as it’s your job to explain the number of sponsorship opportunities available, and to convince them that sponsoring your event is worthwhile.
Without sponsors, you are losing a steady revenue stream.
By choosing the right virtual event platform, you can offer sponsors a plethora of opportunities when it comes to promoting their product/ service.
From providing logo placements in auditoriums to sponsored sessions, banners, videos, prizes, and even food delivery, there are lots of ways to include your sponsors in your virtual event. It’s all about getting their name out there and increasing the amount of exposure they have among attendees.
The most important thing is to design an attractive sponsorship package which shows sponsors the value they’re getting for their contribution. We’ve covered this in detail in another post, so give it a read!
Another great benefit for businesses who are sponsoring a virtual event is that the exposure never stops. With the iVent platform, our 365 virtual environment means the content is readily available, meaning sponsors can engage with attendees for a longer period of time, most notably through ‘on demand’ content.
How To Overcome Top Virtual Event Challenges
The best way to plan (and deliver) a successful virtual event is to face any virtual event challenges head-on.
By knowing the difficulties you might face from the outset, you are in a better position to plan your virtual event and ensure it runs smoothly.
Any event is going to have its own set of challenges, so it’s about understanding how to overcome these. Whether it’s convincing sponsors that your event is worthy of their contribution, or thinking of creative ways to keep attendees engaged from start to finish, you need to have a plan.
At iVent, we’ve worked with various organisations from the pharmaceutical sector to the education sector to the financial sector, and we know what it takes to plan and deliver fantastic virtual events. Of course there are always going to be challenges, and this applies to both in-person and online events. However, our team of experts are constantly on hand to guide you through the process and ensure everything goes out without a glitch!
To find out more or to discuss your virtual event in more detail, get in touch with our team.