First Look: The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Event Engagement

March 4, 2021

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Four out of five Stova clients report engagement as a top challenge for virtual events – but that’s only because they haven’t yet read our new guide to virtual event engagement. In this comprehensive, fun-to-read e-book, you’ll learn why engagement matters, break down the four types that are critical to implement in your virtual events, and get inspired by examples and ideas you can implement for your own virtual events right now. Before you download, here’s a preview of what’s inside.

Rules of Engagement

Engagement is a buzzword these days. But what is it, really, and why does it matter? Why should you care? First, you need to understand that there are two sides to engagement with any virtual event:

You have the event organizer (that’s you!) and how he or she is observing engagement. The higher the level of each of these, the more successful you’ll perceive the event to be. You’re considering questions such as:

  • How much are attendees interacting with the event’s content?
  • How much are they interacting with sponsors?
  • How much are they interacting with each other?

You have your audience – your virtual event attendees. They’re thinking about a different set of questions, including:

  • How much do I like the event?
  • Am I getting out of this what I expected?
  • Am I comfortable with what is being talked about, and with using the virtual platform?
  • How do I meet other people?
  • Do I have a voice?

The bottom line is this: Engagement at virtual events comes down to giving attendees a voice that they don’t have in virtual events. The truth is, though, creating true engagement at virtual events isn’t easy, given the innumerable number of distractions we all face on a daily basis.

That’s why we break it all down to provide you with The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Event Engagement. Each example challenge and solution provided in the e-book can be tailored to your company’s events to help you meet your own unique goals. The result? Greater ROI for your organization, and a greater voice for your attendees – leading to higher engagement and satisfaction on their part.

4 Types of Virtual Event Engagement

Within virtual experiences, there are four engagement touch points you should be familiar with and strategize for. While individually important, the collective point in all of these is to give attendees a greater voice than they’d have in a face-to-face event – and it’s on you as the event organizer to provide that through creative event design. Don’t forget to be considering each of these four points from three different perspectives, too: before, during and after your virtual event.

Virtual Engagement Type I: Between attendees and your event’s content

The primary way to spark this type of engagement is through a Q&A component of your virtual event: Enabling attendees to ask questions and have moderators or speakers answering them live. Think about translating the face-to-face to virtual experience here. When you are able to take a live stream and have panelists address a question from the audience, that brings those two worlds together – it’s that “Eureka!” moment. When people realize they’re being listened to, they’ll want to engage further.

Example: A team collaboration tool company used Stova’s virtual event platform to deliver content in various formats and incorporated a social wall that can most simply be summed up with the fire emoji. The result? Nearly 80% of attendees rated the event as 8/10 or higher. (Read the full example by downloading the e-book)

Virtual Engagement Type II: Between attendees and exhibitors or sponsors

Exhibitors and sponsors are paying to get quality time with your event attendees, and often, there is some hesitation on their side in terms of how they’re going to get interaction and see ROI on a virtual platform. You want to be able to show them that they can not only still “talk” with attendees, but that they’re going to get a lot more information upfront about who’s interacting with their booth, and therefore have more touch points to reach back out on after the event.

Example: An IT service management company held a one day event for customers and partners on Stova’s virtual event platform, setting up booths for its new security suite products that attendees could “visit” virtually and have live interactions with product experts. The event enabled a 287% YOY attendance increase and expanded to reach a global audience. (Read the full example by downloading the e-book.)

Virtual Engagement Type III: Between attendees and your organization

Consider this the experience your audience has when registering for your event. Engagement here is extremely important because these are the first touch points your event attendee has with your organization, so you need them to have a positive experience. For the event organizer, this starts with creating an ultra-smooth experience, start to finish. A virtual event platform should enable easy registration and log-in, and clearly and concisely communicate to attendees about what features are available to them, where to go and what to do. The ultimate goal is to make them feel comfortable on the platform itself so they can enjoy the event. If they have a smooth experience, that will reflect well on your organization.

Example: A global hotel brand held a hybrid event for a mix of in-person and virtual attendees, utilizing the Stova virtual event platform to demonstrate its safe pandemic protocols (including a proprietary seat selection tool) and establish itself as a leader in the return to live events. Post-event, 90% of attendees said engagement in the virtual platform and mobile app increased their overall enjoyment of the event. (Read the full example by downloading the e-book.)

Virtual Engagement Type IV: Between attendees and other attendees

The final type of engagement to consider when planning virtual events is how your audience members will be interacting with each other. If some attendees are having a great time, there’s a good chance others will feel comfortable and free to have a good time, too. Whether your event experience is intimate or on a massive scale – say, thousands of people – you must curate opportunities for attendees to engage with like-minded individuals or gather around a shared topic of interest. Beyond the content itself, these forged connections will leave the attendee walking away feeling like he or she gained more value from the experience.

Example: A data and AI company held a five-day event for tens of thousands of data and artificial technology professionals from around the world on Stova’s virtual event platform. Through employing strategic virtual networking opportunities, the company nearly doubled its registration goal, and attendee engagement rates remained as high on day five as they were on day one. (Read the full example by downloading the e-book.)

How Stova Can Help?

Using Stova’s virtual event platform empowers your attendees to have a greater ability to influence content, ask questions, receive live answers, shape sessions and feel like they’re part of a connected group – all leading to higher engagement and higher Net Promoter Scores. Here are some of the features that can help you to deliver high engagement (and therefore high ROI) for your company:

  • Built-in system check to ensure attendees have a smooth, comfortable user experience
  • Virtual networking tools such as matchmaking questionnaires that pair attendees with like-minded individuals or connections based on your goals, as well as on-demand video calls and private messaging
  • Exhibitor tools such as connecting sponsors or exhibitors with attendees who interact with their booth, data collection and lead exporting
  • Audience response tools that offer the ability for attendees to ask questions, “vote up” questions, engage privately with other attendees, polls, and quizzes
  • Social tools such as a proprietary social wall where attendees can post comments and photos, integration with other social platforms through aggregate providers, and virtual photo booths
  • Gamification tools, such as point systems, swag stores to redeem points, and customized leaderboards
  • Proprietary webcasting software that enables attendees to stay in the platform for the duration of the event, with integrations also available
  • A diverse range of content delivery methods, including live video, downloads, pre-recorded content that can be simulated live with a countdown timer and have a live Q&A component
  • Meeting concierge service with live team to manage any technological difficulties for you before or during the event

If these features sound like exactly what you’ve been wishing existed for your virtual event, download our e-book, then request a demo with our experienced team here. We look forward to partnering with you to help make your next virtual or hybrid events the most engaging events you’ve ever planned.

Ready to learn more?

Whether your event is virtual, hybrid, or in-person, enhance your attendee’s journey with an event ecosystem built for your audience. Ready to walk through Stova's event technology solutions? Schedule some time with us today.