Virtual Events: Stats and Trends You Need To Succeed

Arena logo

Virtual events have continued to increase in popularity in 2021. To put the year’s virtual events in context, this year in review will reveal the virtual event stats, key trends and opportunities you need to succeed next year.

4 Facts You Need To Know About Virtual Events

Recent industry research commissioned by LinkedIn reveals essential insights about the evolving nature of business events.

1. Majority of Event Organizers Have Launched Virtual Events. 

Across Germany, UAE, France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Germany, most event organizers arranged a virtual event, webinar, or online talk in 2020.

2. Fully Virtual Events Grow In Popularity. 

50% of events organized in the UK and Ireland have focused entirely on virtual events.

3. Critical Drivers For Virtual Events. 

Health concerns related to the pandemic are not the only driver for virtual events. In addition, one-third to one-half of event organizers think that virtual events are more cost-effective than traditional events. Further, saving travel time and environmental concerns are other key motivations for virtual events.

4. Virtual Event Content Quality. 

A significant number (44% in the UK and 38% in Germany) of event professionals agree that content development is a key priority. As expectations for event quality increase, there’s no need to start your virtual event planning from scratch. Download a copy of Arena’s Live Events Ebook to make your next virtual event more engaging.

Virtual Event Best Practices: 3 Ways To Maximize Engagement

In the past, organizing a virtual event or webinar was something of a novelty. That novelty has long since worn off. To keep your audience engaged in your content, aligning with the following best practices is vital.

1. Adjust Session Length. 

Asking attendees to sit through hour-long lecture-style events may not be effective any longer. Instead, consider adjusting your approach to emphasize shorter presentations. For inspiration, see the TED website, which features a significant number of presentations less than 20 minutes long.

2. Encourage Participant Interaction. 

Use live chat capabilities to allow attendees to ask questions. If there is no easy way to interact, you run the risk of attendees becoming disengaged. To get started in live chat, check out our post What Is Live Chat?

3. Invite Multiple Speakers. 

Offering diverse perspectives gives you more opportunities to connect with your audience. Use the live events script ebook to organize your content. Once your content is developed, invite multiple people from your company to give a presentation. If you have the budget, invite an outside speaker or influencer to deliver a short talk.

From Presentations To Live Shopping

Traditionally, virtual events like webinars and virtual conferences emphasized sharing content and networking. Those types of events are still important and worth organizing. That said, traditional virtual events do not directly drive revenue in most cases. If your company needs to grow revenue faster, you need a different approach: live ecommerce. In a live ecommerce event, you have the opportunity to present products to your audience and drive immediate sales. Livestream e-commerce sales in the US are projected to grow to $17 billion in 2022, up from $6 billion in 2020, according to Statista.

Livestream eCommerce Sales US

To plan your next live ecommerce event, use Arena’s Live Ecommerce ebook as your starting point.

Live eCommerce Done Right eBook by Arena

The Most Successful Virtual Events of 2021 And What You Can Learn From Them

It is easier to plan your next virtual event with your team when you have examples to discuss. Use this list of events

Collins Aerospace: Keep Events Focused With Moderation

Remember when virtual meetings were disrupted by “Zoom bombing”? In its most extreme form, some of these disruptive participants posted harmful and alarming content. This kind of disruption is a risk that needs to manage in virtual events. Thoughtful event moderation can go a long way to prevent disruptions and keep attendees focused.

The; Collins Aerospace’s Introduce a Girl to Engineering virtual event was aimed at young girls to encourage them to consider careers in aerospace and engineering. In February 2021, the company invited students from five local schools to meet engineers and Joan Higginbotham, a former NASA astronaut. By using moderation, special guests, and a small invite list, the company created an engaging experience.

Virtual Event Lessons

There are a few lessons to adapt from the Collins Aerospace experience.

  • Consider Small Events. Events with a few dozen participants can be successful. Large scale events with hundreds or thousands of attendees tend to get all the attention but smaller events
  • Family-Friendly Event Design. The company’s decision to focus on teenage girls meant moderation was important. Arena Live Chat offers built-in moderation features so you can create a family-friendly experience.

YouTube Launches Multi-Day Virtual Shopping Event.

Short duration events of 1-2 hours are popular, but they are not the only approach. In November 2021, the video streaming platform ran the event YouTube Holiday Stream and Shop. The event drew participation from multiple YouTube personalities like Gordon Ramsay, Patrick Starrr, Jackie Aina, and MrBeast.

Virtual Event Lessons

There are two key lessons to draw from YouTube’s live ecommerce virtual events.

Delivering surprises to attendees is the crucial learning from YouTube’s 2021 entrance into live shopping. In a recent survey, 75% of shoppers agreed that the video platform “enhances the traditional shopping journey by delivering unexpected inspiration.” This is a crucial lesson as you plan your virtual event. For example, how can you offer exclusive product news, limited editions, or access to exciting presenters? Take inspiration from YouTube’s live shopping development to engage customers.

Consider organizing events over several days and connecting those events back to a seasonal trend. In the case of YouTube’s virtual events, the event was tied to the holiday shopping season.

Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue

Held in March 2021, this virtual event was sponsored by Siemens Energy, ING Bank, and other companies. The event’s approach to attendee engagement included the event moderator highlighting comments from attendees.

Virtual Event Lessons

The Berlin event offers a key lesson for you as you plan your event. Event moderators encouraged attendees to post questions for speakers on Twitter. Seeking input from attendees is a great idea. However, there is a downside to relying on social media sites. Event attendees might get distracted by conversations unrelated to the event and disengage. A better approach is to use Arena Live Chat to keep attendees on your website while they ask questions.

Keeping attendees on your website also means you can form direct relationships with customers. Traditional Google cookies are disappearing due to privacy changes. Keeping virtual event attendees on your website makes it far easier to use a customer data platform to understand audience behavior.

Hybrid Events

In addition to entirely virtual events, many organizations and organizers are developing hybrid events. In this type of event, an attendee has the option to participate virtually or in person. For example, Social Media Marketing World is offering four kinds of tickets for its next event. The higher-priced tickets include in-person access to the event. At the same time, Social Media Marketing World also offers “streaming” and “on-demand” tickets to accommodate virtual-only attendees.

Without careful planning, keeping everyone engaged in a hybrid event can fail. Virtual event attendees may feel left out of the conversation happening in the conference center. Using Arena Live Blog to share live updates from your event as it unfolds makes it easier for virtual attendees to feel involved.

How To Get Started With Virtual Events

Virtual events and hybrid events are here to stay. Your only question is to decide when you will take advantage of this way to engage with customers. Adding Arena Live Chat and Live Blog to your website is fast to make your virtual events more engaging.

Arena Live Chat Free Trial. Boost your audience engagement now.
  • Products
  • Solutions
  • Resources
  • Pricing
  • Talk to Sales