Virtual Events by the Numbers
As meetings organizers and event marketers continue to test, learn, and grow in the virtual world, the online events industry is getting smarter on what's working and what’s not in this unprecedented arena as people have turned their events virtual.
From quick facts and pre-event best practices, to engagement techniques and average costs, we’ve compiled some of the most-requested stats and industry findings to help you as you plan and execute your virtual event strategy. This event guide will help you create a fool-proof event plan and marketing strategy to execute an amazing and seamless virtual experience when planning your virtual event.
Take a look at these easy-to-read infographics – sharing the top statistics, helpful resources, and virtual event tips for virtual event success.
First, we wanted to outline some quick, easily applicable virtual event facts designed for businesses that are helpful when crafting an overall virtual event strategy.
Have you been trying to figure out the best time to run your virtual event? According to ON24, the best time to run a webinar is 2pm EST (11am PST). This is because it avoids the most conflicts coast to coast and is most convenient for all of the U.S. time zones.
And what about how virtual compares to in-person events? For example, Wild Apricot reports that 84% of organizations who had already had virtual events hosted in 2020 spent less money on virtual events than in-person events. Their research report also found that 52% of organizations reported seeing the same or more attendance than they’d expect at an in-person event.
The most popular type of event for the virtual setting? Markletic reports that it is a small gathering, followed by networking events and roundtable discussions.
But how do you get people to attend? Wild Apricot’s report found that organizations who had “much more” attendance at their virtual event than they would have had at an in-person one featured a guest speaker.
- Check out Leading Authorities worldwide speakers bureau to find the perfect speakers for your next event.
And Markletic found that 80% of people join virtual events for educational purposes. The next biggest reason for joining virtual events is networking.
So are virtual events just for the short-term? Not according to Markletic, who reported that 55% of virtual event organizers plan to invest more in virtual events next year as social-distancing continues to be the norm.
Now that we’ve covered some high-level virtual event stats, let’s dive into how to foster the most effective pre-event preparation and promotions possible for an upcoming event.
What is the most effective way to drive registrations for your virtual event through digital marketing? Not surprisingly, according to Markletic, 76% of marketers say that email is the single most effective way to drive registrations. In addition to email, EventMB reports that 89% of event planners use social media to engage people before the event, such as putting up a post on Instagram or posting an Instagram story.
And how long should you promote the event prior to your virtual program? It differs based on the size of your event. Markletic reported that for small virtual events, most people need between 3-6 weeks to successfully promote it, but for large virtual conferences, 65% of marketers need more than 6 weeks of promotion to drive the desired number of registrants. Be sure the event planner plans an adequate amount of time to promote the event and remember to utilize social media to create the best event experience possible.
How about the live event? Enacting best practices to deliver the best experience possible is crucial to the success of your virtual meeting. Some examples of types of virtual events that you could be hosting are a virtual summit online, an annual online conference, job fairs, a live webinar series, online courses, cooking classes, breakout sessions, virtual team building, virtual product launches, you name it! Whatever the event type or program, make sure your virtual attendees are wowed by following these event event ideas.
To have a successful event, event organizers say it is more critical to have good microphones (70%) than a good camera (ranked at 60% importance) during video production, according to Markletic. But overall, it’s important to take the necessary steps to mitigate the tech risks associated with a virtual experience on your virtual event platforms.
If you’re hosting a virtual roundtable discussion, 63% of Markletic respondents say the ideal time for live streaming the discussion is between 60 to 90 minutes, with an ideal audience size of 8 to 10 people.
The increased usage of event technology is also increasing efficiency. According to Bizzabo, 89% of businesses are reporting that it saves approximately 200 hours per year, with 20% of businesses seeing it save 360+ hours a year.
Once you’re set up for virtual event success, how do you ensure your audience remains engaged and interacts with your content? Is it through interactive entertainment on your event website or live tweeting? Because according to Markletic, 49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful event.
First, it’s important that you try to virtually engage your adience. In Wild Apricot’s report, organizations that didn’t try to engage virtual event attendees were 150% more likely to be unsuccessful.
So how do you try to spark engagement and keep attendees engaged? You allow attendees to engage! Markletic found that 82% of virtual event organizers use event polling to improve interaction, and that 71% of marketers utilize polling to make sure that their audience doesn’t lose attention. They also shared that 61% of marketers use video as an interactive element to keep people engaged.
Wild Apricot also reported that some of the most popular engagement techniques among organizations that had hosted virtual events were utilizing discussions and Q&A formats. However, the most successful technique was hosting a live hangout before or after the event, followed by conducting a survey or poll.
Finally, it’s important to understand how much investment is required for successful virtual events so you can plan your budgets accordingly.
Based on Markletic’s findings, 33.7% of marketers say that the average going rate is between $500 - $1,000 per virtual event attendee. But cost can vary depending on the size of the virtual event – where a large virtual conference is slightly higher at $1,000 - $1,500 average cost per attendee.
- For a new way to think about how to calculate the value of your virtual experience, and therefore how much to charge for event registrations, take a look at our virtual event pricing model.
So where is most of this budget spent? The majority of the virtual event budget is spent on the hosting platform (consider these factors when choosing a platform), with speakers and moderators representing the second-largest areas of costs.
Make sure to also factor in the hidden costs associated with executing a virtual event, including people, work, and opportunity cost.
We Can Help With Your Virtual Meeting
At LAI Live, our virtual meeting producers can help ensure that you still meet your event goals in an online environment, answer all the common virtual meeting FAQ’s, and guide your event strategy from start to finish.
There are several different types of events, from networking events to a virtual job fair, from standup comedy Zoom sessions to care planning webinars, from a marketing virtual summit to product management chats, expand your knowledge base and navigate virtual events with this ultimate guide to virtual events by the numbers. While we cannot attend events in person, and it will be some time before we can consider hybrid events, utilize event platforms and the virtual attendee hub, to create the best virtual events possible.
For some virtual event examples, click here.
Contact us today to start exploring the potential of your meeting and for more tips and best practices for delivering a successful virtual experience!