Virtual Events Guide: How to Take Your Conference Online

A woman watching a livestream during a virtual job fair on her laptop, indoors on a table

Achieve Virtual Event Success

While many planners haven’t yet had the opportunity to run a virtual or hybrid event, pivoting from an in-person to virtual format offers new opportunities to engage attendees and sponsors—all while extending your event’s reach.

When you remove the physical venue from the mix, your event experience design will require a rethink. However, it may actually make it easier for you to create the perfect flow with the right mix of presentation content and interactivity.

Same Goals, New Tactics 

While your event goals and objectives will remain the same, you’ll need new tools and tactics to achieve them. In an in-person format, technology is often peripheral to the hustle and bustle of the on-site activities. In a virtual format, your event tech will take center stage. Your event flow and interaction between attendees, speakers, and sponsors will be dictated by the capabilities of the virtual event platform you choose.  

A flexible, intuitive virtual events platform will give you the most latitude when designing your event experience. You should also be able to use the same platform to pivot to a hybrid or in-person format as travel and health restrictions change.

Learn More About EventMobi’s Virtual Event Space and GoLive! Professional Services

Consider how you will be able to align content and complexity with the right level of engagement. For example, small internal meetings may simply require a central hub to showcase a single live broadcast and pre-recorded video content with engagement features like group chat, while larger conferences may need to run multiple livestream and simulive sessions (pre-recorded content with live interaction) with video breakout rooms for maximum engagement. 

Over the past few weeks, the EventMobi team has had hundreds of customer conversations as planners around the world explore how to create engaging virtual events. To help you understand how you can adapt your meeting, conference or trade show to an online format, we’ve outlined the most common event types we’re helping to go virtual, and listed the tools and professional services being used to create an engaging virtual event experiences. 

Virtual Event Space with multi-video livestream session and Registration Website

Virtual Event Type: Internal Meeting

You’re planning….A short and focused meeting, e.g.
Quarterly review
Policy update
Internal training
You hope to…Educate, inform, gather feedback
Create a content library (including session slides and recordings) that will be accessible after the event ends
You’re looking for…A self-serve, easy to setup virtual event platform
Must be able to integrate with our existing webinar, livestream and registration platforms
Size & Scope: 50-500+ attendees
Event Duration:2-4 hours in a single day, or series of short events
Agenda Format:Fairly linear – single video stream of continuous plenary, educational sessions and lectures
Desired Level of Engagement:Low – limited to live polls and Q&A during live broadcasts

What’s important:

Video Options:••Integrate with and stream from preferred video conference or video hosting platforms
Attendees can watch broadcasts and provide real-time feedback with live polls and Q&A
Link to recorded videos pre and post event
Sponsorship:Not required
Networking:••Basic chat and group discussions about session topics
Engagement:•••Polls, Q&A or gamification to gauge audience retention and gather feedback
Session surveys to get feedback on speakers and content
Private and group chat to provide networking opportunities
Entertainment:Not required
Success Metrics:•••Percentage of registrants that logged in
Number of online attendees watching livestreams and pre-recorded videos
Engagement rate (participation percentage)
Transfer of knowledge tested via pre/post surveys or live polls during broadcasts

What you need: 

EventMobi Virtual SpaceSelf-serve
• Integrates with any registration platform (Swoogo, Cvent, Eventbrite, etc.), or let EventMobi build your website and registration forms
Includes live session polls, Q&A and group discussions
Livestream and video conference integration from Zoom, GotoWebinar, Wistia, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitch, On24 or any RTMP streaming source
Upload pre-recorded videos to create a video-on-demand gallery pre or post event

Virtual Conference

Virtual event success hinges on effective monetization, high quality video production, and the right engagement tools. 

Virtual Event Type: Conference

You’re planning….A mid-size event, pre-registered attendees e.g. 
User conference 
• Sales kick-off
• Premium training events
You hope to…Offer attendees and sponsors/exhibitors a variety of opportunities to connect
You’re looking for…Event marketing and registration
A sleek and professional virtual platform, easy for attendees to navigate
Set-up and day-of support
High quality production and a smooth content flow is critical
Size & Scope: 200-1000+ attendees, plus a handful of exhibitors
Event Duration:Single or multi-day program
Agenda Format:One or two broadcast channels to livestream continuous sessions, moderated by a digital emcee
Lots of pre-recorded or simulive breakouts so attendees can explore what they want, when they want
Desired Level of Engagement:High – creating fun opportunities for networking is key
Encourage 1:1 connections
Incentivize engagement with raffles or giveaways, delivering value to sponsors
Create smaller workshops or moderated roundtables to increase engagement
Enable live chat, polls and Q&A during live broadcasts

What’s important:

Video Tools:•••A mix of livestream and pre-recorded video, with tiered access to exclusive content
Integrate with preferred video conferencing platform for workshops and roundtables
High quality livestream production for key broadcasts with live engagement polls and Q&A
Sponsorship:•••Everything from virtual exhibitor booths to sponsored giveaways and banner ads
Embed sponsored videos within livestreams, or overlay sponsored messages on pre-recorded or live broadcasts
Networking:•••Multiple forums for attendee chat and to connect attendees with sponsors
Potential use of moderated workshops and roundtables
Engagement:•••Tools to encourage participation in sponsored events with gamification
Live polls and Q&A during live sessions
Live raffle prize giveaways between sessions
Entertainment:•••Sponsored virtual cocktail hour
Live music before main session opening
Gift/swag baskets will be mailed to remote audience to be opened during the live event
Success Metrics:•••Attendee log-in and video play counts
Engagement rate (participation percentage)
Transfer of knowledge tested via pre/post surveys or live polls during the broadcast
Sponsor video play counts and banner ad clicks
Strong post-event use case

What You Need:

Event Marketing Website and RegistrationChoose a pre-designed template or fully custom design
Integrate teaser videos, sponsor banner ads and robust sponsor profiles 
• Agenda sneak peak
Offer tiered ticket types, allow registrants to sign up for sessions, manage session caps, etc.
Social Media DashboardMonitor social media posts and track social account data
Identify and understand the impact of event influencers
Embed a live social media wall in your event marketing website and virtual event space
EventMobi Virtual Event Space and GoLive! ServicesSetup, design and build out of virtual event space 
Agenda with links to video sessions, entertainment and social activities 
Video and livestream integration
Add live polls, surveys, Q&A to sessions 
Gated video roundtable discussions
Gamification challenges
Sponsor logos and banner ads 
Exhibitor Management Complete setup of virtual exhibitor booths:
• Exhibitor logo, description, contact info
One-on-one chat
 Production of a 1-hour sponsor presentation
Lead capture raffle strategy
Speaker Management Pre-session preparation and virtual space setup 
Day-of support for live streaming or pre-recorded content capture 
Session Pre-ProductionProduction of pre-recorded (simulive) sessions includes:
Title card
Branding, text and graphics overlays
Add pre and post session sponsor video
Live ProductionShow flow preparation
Live support for hosts and speakers
Live Support for AttendeesLive chat to assist with access, features and general troubleshooting

Virtual booth for virtual event

Virtual Event Type: Conference & Expo

You’re planning….A large scale event, e.g. 
Annual meeting
• Conference
Expo
You hope to…Offer a variety of educational sessions in different formats
Help to connect attendees and sponsors/exhibitors
Create brand exposure and lead gen opportunities for sponsors
You’re looking for…All the bells & whistles and full support
From design and video production to day-of execution and live support – this event will require all hands on deck
Size & Scope: 1000-20000+ attendees, 100+ exhibitors
Event Duration:Multi-day program
Agenda Format:Open – multiple concurrent streams, breakouts and some scheduled sessions
Flexibility to ‘choose your own adventure’ for attendees, with recorded content pre and post event
Desired Level of Engagement:Mediumonline session participation is important for some sessions but not all broadcasts
Opportunities to connect sponsors and attendees via chat or sponsored workshops or roundtables
Attendee networking can be facilitated with pre-scheduled appointments, chat and video calls

What’s important:

Video Tools:•••Anything and everything from pre-recorded sessions and livestreams to video-on-demand with live Q&A but the quality must be top-notch
• Ability to simulive (play pre-recorded videos) and then bring the host and speaker live to take Q&A
Sponsorship:•••Critical for revenue generation
Require unlimited opportunities to drive brand awareness and generate leads for partners
• Depending on ticket price and sponsorship package, potential opportunity to mail out swag box in advance of the event
Networking:•••Create an environment for spontaneous, organic networking between all participants – whether attendees, speakers or sponsors
Engagement:•••Interactivity is keyvirtual roundtables, sponsored webinars and live panel sessions with real-time Q&A
Entertainment:•••Everything from live shows to virtual social mixers
Success Metrics:•••Attendee log-in and video play counts
Engagement rate
Sponsor video play counts and banner ad clicks

What You Need:

Event Marketing Website and RegistrationChoose a pre-designed template or fully custom design
Integrate teaser videos, sponsor banner ads and robust sponsor profiles 
• Agenda sneak peak
Offer tiered ticket types, allow registrants to sign up for sessions, manage session caps, etc.
Social Media DashboardMonitor social media posts and track social account data
Identify and understand the impact of event influencers
Embed a live social media wall in your event marketing website and virtual event space
EventMobi Virtual Event Space and GoLive! ServicesSetup, design and build out of virtual event space 
Agenda with links to video sessions, entertainment and social activities 
Video and livestream integration
Add live polls, surveys, Q&A to sessions 
Gated video roundtable discussions
Gamification challenges
Sponsor logos and banner ads 
Exhibitor Management Complete setup of virtual exhibitor booths includes:
• Exhibitor logo, description, contact info
One-on-one chat
 Production of a 1-hour sponsor presentation
Lead capture raffle strategy
Speaker Management Pre-session preparation and virtual space setup 
Day-of support for live streaming or pre-recorded content capture 
Session Pre-ProductionProduction of pre-recorded (simulive) sessions includes:  
Title card
Branding, text and graphics overlays
Add pre and post session sponsor video
Live ProductionShow flow preparation
Live support for hosts and speakers
Live Support for AttendeesLive chat to assist with access, features and general troubleshooting

These are just a few of the event types using the EventMobi end-to-end platform to pivot to virtual. From event promotion and registration to going live on the day, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Book your personal demo to learn more about the EventMobi Virtual Space and GoLive! Professional Services.

This article was co-authored by Amanda Toms, EventMobi Sr. Account Manager, Global Enterprise & Key Accounts. Connect with her on LinkedIn