How Do I Choose A Virtual Event Platform?
There are a ton of virtual event platform options out there, so it can be often overwhelming to research and determine the golden egg out of the bunch. To help make it easier to delve into this new era of virtual transition, here are a couple of factors to consider while searching for the right virtual event platform for your event!
1. Start by identifying the type of experience you want your viewers to have.
The intended experience of your event plays an enormous role in the type of platform you want to use. From virtual conferences to educational webinars, the experience differs based on not only the content that'll be presented during the show, but also the capabilities delivered by your event technology. Read below for the most common virtual event experiences to consider in your search:
- Strictly Informational – If you're looking to host an event that's heavily focused on information and delivering content, you may want to utilize a platform that specializes in basic talking-head views with simple Q&A features.
- Engaging & Interactive – This type of experience requires more creative features with a more advanced platform to get your audience involved. From polling and live chats, to networking rooms and virtual exhibit halls, consider what's important to both your viewers and your stakeholders and then find the live event platform that is able to deliver on those experiences.
2. Rank these three virtual event elements in order of importance to you or your organization.
In addition to experience, there are a couple of vital factors that come into choosing the right online event platform for you and your team. Depending on you and your organization's goals, ranking the three below elements in order of importance can help guide you to prioritize the right technology for your needs.
- Price – Is sticking to your event budget the highest priority to your organization, or are they willing to pay more for more advanced capabilities? Will you be hosting multiple events and should invest in a subscription, or is this a one time experience? When determining price, make sure you take the different levels of packages into consideration. Most of the time with event technology, you get what you pay for.
- Features – The features your platform offers will present either a strong barrier or leverage, in terms of experience. A couple of features to look into are: customization abilities, variety of space types, networking, payment capabilities, as well as analytics and reporting.
- Aesthetic/Ease of Use – If you or your team members are handling the logistics and management of your show, it's important to understand how easy it is to do-it-yourself. Some platforms are as easy as drag-and-drop, and others requires a professional. Often times, the easier to use, the less features are available, so keep that in mind when prioritizing this list.
3. Now, let's talk about function.
Much like any other technology offering, virtual event platforms scale their pricing based on the frequency and length of usage. Also, with the increased popularity of virtual meetings, many platforms are overwhelmed and may not have the bandwidth to take on new clients. Ask yourself these questions when deciphering the of your virtual event platform:
- Timeline – Is this something that you need ASAP or do you have at least 8 weeks to build a virtual event platform?
- Length of Use – Will this be a one time event or are you hoping for a platform that you can do events on throughout the year?
4. Put the pieces together.
After configuring which features and elements are most important/necessary for your event, it's now time to put your findings together to decipher the level of platform your event will need. If yours is strictly informational and price is important, you’ll probably fall into the Basic category.
If Engagement & Interactivity are important with aesthetics, but your timeline to produce the event is short, you may fall into Business Level platforms... but in more of the ‘Do it Yourself’ realm where you are responsible for pulling the pieces together on your own.
Or if you're looking to put on a unique, highly produced event that is focused on delivering an engaging and interactive experience with many different features, you may fall into an Executive Level platform. Consider partnering with a production company to help project manage the deliverables and execute your experience flawlessly.
Let Us Produce Your Next Virtual Event!
Wherever you land, keep in mind that a platform is just a vessel for your program (sort of like your AV company). And if you think that you're learning towards more of a hybrid approach, take a look at our virtual and hybrid event platform comparison. What truly differentiates a virtual event is how it’s produced. A virtual event producer is the added factor that can push the creative and technical boundaries on what your platform can deliver.
At LAI, we can work with you on determining the right platform for your event needs and can also offer the insight and production value to utilize whatever platform you choose to its maximized potential. Contact us today!