Virtual events took center stage during the outbreak of COVID-19 during the global pandemic, as event planners and organizations had to pivot from in-person to digital experiences.
According to a study from Touchcast and BizBash, plans for in-person events in 2022 were experiencing a partial recovery. Roughly 76% of survey respondents reported having more than five in-person events on their calendars for 2022, and some expect to be quite busy: 18% have more than 50 in-person events planned for next year.
That said, virtual and hybrid formats have retained a significant presence and are on pace to continue being a significant part of the meeting and event mix over the next year. More than 62% of survey respondents reported having more than five virtual or hybrid events planned for 2022, while a plurality of 40% has between six and twenty on the books.
The benefits of virtual events are numerous. Investing in a virtual event experience to either replace or coincide with an in-person experience can drive engagement, increase audience attendance, and maximize ROI. The following is a complete guide to hosting a virtual event in 2022.
How To Host An Unforgettable Virtual Event In 2022
Step One: Set Smart Goals
Before you start researching virtual event platforms and delegating tasks to your team, you need to start with the most important question: what is the purpose of this virtual event?
For an investor conference, the goal may include clarifying your company's value proposition and growth strategy.
For a product launch, your goal might be to attract new customers and investors.
Having a clearly defined goal ahead of time will help anchor you to the purpose of your event as you navigate the specifics.
SMART goals are a great way to create a roadmap to success. SMART goals are an acronym for:
Once you have defined your goals, the next step is to define key performance indicators (KPIs) for your virtual event. What does success look like — and how will it be measured?
Developing virtual event KPIs will ensure that organizational efforts are contributing to the best possible outcome, and by outlining these ahead of time, you can efficiently measure the return on investment (ROI) of your event to key stakeholders down the line.
Step Two: Plan Attendee Experience
An excellent attendee experience is the backbone of a successful virtual event. Here are a few tips to create engaging and effortless attendee experiences:
- Know your target audience, and customize experiences for them. You can utilize tools like pre-event surveys and polls to gather helpful insights about your audience
- Choose a virtual event platform that is to easy-to-use for attendees
- Technology should fade into the background as your attendees focus on the event content; a poor performing platform can create technical issues that could derail your event
- Choose a virtual event platform that allows attendees to easily interact with speakers, sponsors, and each other
- Invest in a platform that provides real-time dubbing and language translations, so your audience can participate no matter what language they speak
The best attendee experience will be one that fosters human connection. It gives access to powerful event content and allows meaningful interaction regardless of language, time, or place.
Step Three: Budget For Your Virtual Event
A clearly defined budget for your event allows you to make decisions and plan ahead accordingly.
Virtual events can eliminate some of the main expenses associated with event planning, like renting a venue, printing materials, organizing food and drink, as well as paying on-site staff.
For attendees, eradicating the cost of travel, lodging, and food expenses can widen the playing field for those who wish to attend, but may not have the budget (or time) to travel. These cost-saving measures can be redistributed into investing in a quality virtual event platform and a higher caliber of event speakers.
A premium virtual event platform, like Touchcast, can create a fully immersive experience that will delight your attendees — and your boss.
Step Four: Save The Date
One of the key benefits of choosing a virtual event is the ability to host it on your terms. When booking a venue for in-person events, you may be limited by the venue’s calendar — which can cause major headaches if you have a specific date in mind but can’t find the right facility with open availability.
Touchcast allows you to host a live event and feature your event content in an on-demand platform, accessible to attendees — who may be in different time zones or have scheduling conflicts that limit their ability to engage with a live stream. With an on-demand content hub, attendees can view content after the event has finished.
Step Five: Build Your A-Team
The role of managing virtual events often falls to the same individuals who manage in-person events for organizations, but you’ll need assistance for fine-tuning specific details of the event.
Loop in marketing and design from an early stage to help develop the strategy of your virtual event. For large-scale events, technical support and event producers help deliver a seamless experience; but not many organizations have those resources in-house.
Touchcast's Showtime provides organizations with a dedicated virtual event production team, including:
- Creative services
- Event management
- Speaker onboarding
- Contingency planning
- Event production
This team assists with the planning, management, and execution of a digital experience — and it still costs less than an in-person event.
Step Six: Choose A Virtual Conference Platform
There’s a reason why the world’s leading companies choose Touchcast to host their virtual events. Here are some of the stand-out features that set Touchcast above the competition.
A Dedicated Professional Team
Touchcast’s team of industry experts can help you deliver a professional and polished virtual event. From event managers to creative services, Touchcast is with you every step of the way.
Stunning Customizable Virtual Venues
Choose from a selection of breathtaking virtual venues, fully customizable to incorporate your branding, presentations, and more. Touchcast can even create a digital twin of your corporate headquarters or office, providing a unique and unforgettable experience for attendees. View iconic venues here.
Real-Time Dubbing, Subtitles, and Translations
Make your virtual event inclusive and accessible to all with Touchcast. Touchcast can provide live translations in over 100 languages for a global audience, and provide dubbing and/or subtitles so you can be understood by a global audience.
AI-Powered Instant Articles
Turn your speakers into editorial content with Touchcast. AI-Powered instant articles allows you to repurpose event content long after the show is over.
Touchcast offers a browser-based event experience, removing the friction of additional devices or software required to access event content.
A virtual event in Touchcast allows for multiple camera angles, and the ability to zoom in and out, providing your virtual event with the production quality of a Hollywood studio.
Bring the social power of an in-person event to your virtual conference with Touchcast. Engagement features include:
✅ Polls and quizzes
✅ Public chats
✅ DMs and networking opportunities
✅ Q&As with moderator functionality
✅ 1:1 meetings
Virtual Event Analytics
Quantify the ROI of your event by accessing detailed analytics from Touchcast. Track registrations, view session attendees, view session engagement, track audience reactions, and much more.
Touchcast offers best-in-class security protocols, including:
🔒 Two-factor authentication for login (access code)
🔒 SSO available
🔒 Pseudo anonymization
🔒 Anonymous logins from external applications
Step Seven: Create A Marketing Plan For A Virtual Event
After all the hard work you’ve invested in planning your virtual event, you want to make sure as many relevant attendees as possible attend. Creating a marketing plan for a virtual event is an important step in amplifying your event registrations.
Consider the following marketing channels for promoting your virtual event.
Build a Website
Developing a custom website is an excellent way to market your event. Touchcast will build a branded high-level event page for you, where attendees can log in and view live speakers or access VoD (video on demand) content.
Prior to the event, Touchcast can create an event teaser page that can be shared with attendees before the event begins. This page can feature:
- Event description and relevant links
- An event agenda
- Featured speakers
- Key topics
When you’re ready to accept registrations, Touchcast can create a customizable registration page. The registration page allows you to customize and automate the registration process, with the ability to consolidate between event teammates. Attendee management and user analytics allow you to track registrations, and view attendee analytics all in the same place.
Some of the extra features of the registration page include:
✔️ Approve event registrants or grant immediate access
✔️ The ability to bulk approve registrants
✔️ Assign attendees to different content groupings
✔️ Customize registration fields
✔️ Send customizable confirmation and approval emails
After you’ve built your teaser page and opened up event registration, connect with registrants by launching an email marketing campaign to promote your event. Here are the five tips to boost your registrations through email marketing:
- Focus on subject lines: 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone, so keep your subject lines engaging and benefit-driven
- Use personalization: More than 20% of marketers say personalization can improve email engagement
- Consider segmentation: Different attendees may be captivated by different speakers or themes. Segmenting your audience can help you deliver the right messaging to an aligned audience
- Use a great call to action: Every great event email ends with a clear and compelling call to action, which motivates your audience to take the next step in signing up for your event
Choosing the right social media channels is crucial for connecting with a relevant audience. After examining your target audience, and making an informed decision about which platform they’re likely to be most active on, you can start promoting your event. Consider using branded and unique hashtags to drum up a conversation before, during, and after your event.
Virtual Event Best Practices
Once the planning stage is out of the way, the next step is executing a showstopping virtual event that will leave attendees feeling engaged and energized.
Read on to find out more about virtual event best practices.
Touchcast produces a Netflix-style event page, accessible through any device. High quality videos and intuitive and dynamic designs ensure a spectacular experience, no matter where your audience is located.
- Fully customizable: Every event is fully customizable, so your virtual event can be branded with custom images, logos, and colors
- Title cards: Introduce your speakers with beautiful title cards
- Trailers: Tease event content with trailers
- Translation capabilities: Translate up to 6 languages for live sessions and up to 10 languages for on-demand content, create on-demand articles in multiple languages, and create a truly inclusive experience for a global audience
- Welcome videos: A welcome video can play automatically every time a user logs in, or just the first time
- Multiple camera angles: Multiple camera angles, with sweeping shots, and the ability to view presentations up-close create a mesmerizing experience, worthy of a prime time television event
Virtual Event Engagement Ideas
Keep your audience engaged and active with these virtual event engagement ideas.
Polls and Quizzes
Polls and quizzes are a great way to engage your audience, and when used strategically, can help you identify what content is resonating.
With Touchcast, you can:
✅ Set up pre-timed or manual polls
✅ Create polls on-demand or available post-event
✅ Create pre-timed or manual quizzes
✅ Launch polls linking out to third-party polling websites or URLs
✅ Display results
✅ Get real-time analytics
Virtual Networking Ideas
Networking doesn’t have to be limited to in-person meetings. Here are some ideas for fostering connections at a virtual event.
- Direct Messaging: Touchcast allows direct messaging between attendees, with the ability to save contacts - allowing attendees to easily exchange information.
- Q&As: Send private questions to presenters or moderators, invite attendees with the best questions to separate rooms, and connect speakers and moderators to attendees easily.
- 1:1 Meetings: Encourage virtual networking with 1:1 meetings. Easily generate meeting links using Webex API, Zoom API, or add custom meeting links.
Measuring Post-Event Success
Once the curtain goes down on your event, you need access to tools that can help you measure how successful your event was — and report on your goals and KPIs set out in step one.
With Touchcast’s event analytics, you can learn more about how your attendees interact with your event and deliver deeper insights to key stakeholders. Here are some of the metrics you can measure with Touchcast analytics:
- Registrants: View names, emails, companies, job titles, IP addresses, and more information on your registrants
- Devices: Find out how people are accessing your event with insights on desktop, mobile, a d tablet usage
- Locations: View a map to see where your global attendees are located
- Live Session Attendees: Find out more about live session attendees, including names, emails, and companies, as well as discover the session they’re attending along with the duration of sessions watched
- Session Engagement: See how sessions perform by viewing a simple chart tracking session engagement
- Handouts: Find out how many clicks your event handouts (like speaker handouts or company agendas) generate
- VOD Analytics: Track total views vs. unique viewers, drop-off rate, and viewing history
By following these steps, you can create and execute a virtual event that will leave your audience captivated.
✅ Step One: Set clear goals. Know the 'why' behind your event — and identify KPIs to ensure you can measure success.
✅ Step Two: Keep your audience, and plan an attendee experience that will keep them engaged and excited.
✅ Step Three: Define your event budget, and invest in great technology.
✅ Step Four: Choose a date, and start planning your event.
✅ Step Five: Identify where you need help — and start building your team.
✅ Step Six: Pick a platform — or book a demo with Touchcast today!
✅ Step Seven: Streamline your event marketing plan.
Stay tuned for more insights from Touchcast on virtual events, or get in touch with our team today to discuss how we can help you deliver an elevated virtual event experience.