Virtual Event Engagement Guide

In 2021, with the popularity of virtual events, audience engagement has an entirely different meaning. With attendees sitting behind the screen, it becomes more important to follow a strategic approach to keep your audience engaged throughout the event. 

So, let us go through a complete virtual event engagement guide for 2021;

What is Audience Engagement?

Audience or attendee engagement is the extent to which participants are fully involved and fascinated by your virtual event. You can measure engagement through the sessions attended, connections made, social media buzz, and many more. Online event engagement can also be estimated through metrics such as the number of clicks, chat room activity, poll or Q&A session participation, and more. The same approach applies to the hybrid event too, which involves both in-person and virtual attendees.

Commonly speaking, a satisfied attendee is the one who engaged and interacted the most during the event.

Best Practices to Keep the Attendees Engaged

With events happening online, distractions are only one click away. To eliminate attendee drop-off, let’s dive into some of the best virtual event engagement ideas;

  • Create an attractive 3D virtual stage

For immersive experiences, it is vital to keep the attendees involved right from the beginning. Create an attractive stage enriched with stunning visuals, eye-catching graphics, lively imagery, and powerful content. It is an effective strategy to help replicate the experiences of a physical event. You can also think of including dynamic banners, animated light at the lobby, GIFs, or 3D teleportation to deliver memorable experiences. 

Content will always continue to be one of the most vital means to engage the audience. The way it is created and presented virtually varies from what you would experience with in-person events. Along with exciting content, it is important to decide on the duration of the content. This approach is to avoid making the sessions boring or monotonous. You can also get incredible speakers or emcees on board who know the art of delivering the content uniquely. Speakers also play a vital role in keeping the audience engaged and hooked with the way they interact or deliver the content during the session.

  • Include breaks or keep shorter sessions

There’s a vast difference between the physical and virtual attendees regarding the attention spans. With attendees sitting behind the screen during an online event, it is important to check the session length to avoid any attendee drop-off or diversions.  You can think of keeping a break just before a crucial session, so the attendees can restore themselves and pay more attention in the after-break sessions.

  • Focus on attendee experience

You cannot expect all your virtual attendees to be familiar with the format and platform of online events. Your event might be the first opportunity for many attendees. Therefore, it is important to select a user-friendly virtual event platform that is simple to navigate. It should be simple for attendees to access or sign-up for the event. Make sure that the content is accessible and downloadable. You can also keep a FAQ section or offer small video tutorials that shall act as a guidebook for your attendees. 

Remember to ensure that your virtual venue partner has a 24/7 customer support feature to troubleshoot any connectivity or login issues. 

  • Include AI-based recommendations

AI matchmaking tool is an effective means to let attendees connect and interact with like-minded people. This tool allows you to set relevant filters to foster new connections with people who share the same interests and concerns. 

At online events, audiences cannot jump into each other, shake hands, or have face-to-face interactions. To make up for these deficiencies, we can include this feature along at any virtual event – be it exhibitions, conferences, meetings, fairs, or trade shows.

  • Virtual networking tables

Virtual networking tables include live chat, audio, and video features that facilitate 1:1 and group discussions. Attendees can use this feature to connect and interact with exhibitors and other participants. It is an excellent way for exhibitors to obtain more leads. Also, if some attendees feel shy and do not prefer talking to multiple people at a time, they can use the 1:1 feature to talk privately on the platform with their preferred exhibitor or attendee.

  • Conduct live polls, surveys, Q&A sessions

Live polls, surveys, or Q&A sessions are some excellent virtual event engagement tips. The more you conduct them, the more you make way for 2-way communications in real-time. Speakers can welcome relevant questions and answer them in real-time. It will keep the attendees hooked and involved throughout the event.

  • Gamification

Gamifying your virtual event is another creative way to keep your audience engaged and interested. You can think of some interesting games like spin the wheel, shooting games, crosswords, word games, tic-tac-toe, and many more that will add a fun element to your event and make them even more likable.

Everyone loves to play games – be it a physical, virtual, or hybrid event. Try to be a little more creative in designing your games. It will help you replicate the experiences of a physical or on-site event.

  • Photobooths and Social walls

Adding photobooths or social walls to your online event helps elevate the level of your event and delivers life-like experiences. A social wall curates information from different social media handles that posted pictures, videos, images, content, or made pages and profiles with event-specific hashtags. Then, it displays these posts on the social wall, enabling attendees to come forward and interact with others.

A photo booth lets you capture as many photos as you want using the branded booths and post in on social media channels. This way, it enhances the outreach of the event and helps create unique brand experiences.

How to Measure Attendee Engagement?

  • Opening/Closing Participant Count: The number of attendees who logged in versus the ones who stayed till the event was over, this number is crucial. Having more or less the same number of attendees indicates that the event was quite engaging.
  • Session Engagement: These sessions include the speaker delivering the content and interacting with the audience. So, the usage of a live chat feature and poll participation helps you understand if the attendees were involved.
  • Social Media Buzz: Social media is a super-efficient tool to reach a wider audience in today’s world. How many individuals are posting about the event? Are the event-specific hashtags trending? Keep a check on the number of times the event-specific posts are being reposted or retweeted.
  • Detailed Analytics:  An ideal virtual event solution will help you with comprehensive data regarding attendee navigation. It is a good approach to measure the success of your event and make the necessary changes required for conducting even better and memorable events.
  • Surveys/Feedback: You can ask your attendees to fill simple survey forms. It will help you obtain their valuable feedback and assess if the event was successful and if you could meet the expectations of the target audience. 
  • Number of Messages: The number of questions asked, or the messages sent to the exhibitors by the participants help measure the level of engagement.
  • Live Poll Response Rate: Polling is a potent engagement tool, especially where online events are concerned. The attendees can share ideas and actively engage in sessions throughout the event. This data is extremely significant in measuring audience engagement.

The Bottom Line

The success of any virtual event depends on the attendees and the experiences that they can take home. Therefore, it is important to look for some unique ideas to keep the attendees involved and engaged throughout the event.

Virtual event technology also has a vital role to play. So, make sure to look for an ideal venue partner that can help you conduct unique and bizarre events.