Name the strangest, wildest, most exciting live event you’ve ever experienced?
You’ll get a range of responses when asking this question, from the person at a concert singled out by the singer to having an influencer from their industry show up to their trade show booth. A PurplePass report showed that the event industry has experienced staggering growth in the last decade reaching an astounding $1,135.4 billion in 2019. These events included concerts, festivals, trade shows, conferences, workshops, corporate events, training seminars, and other commercial-related operations.
With all these events, many were left with memories to last a lifetime and possibly change their lives for the better. Then, the pandemic struck.
Every business was impacted. The exhibit, travel, and event industry were perhaps hit the hardest due to restrictions. Yet the incredible thing about this industry is its adaptability.
Technology established a reach into residential and commercial buildings around the world. A McKinsey study delved into the IoT-linked growth available with over five billion smartphones, two billion computers, and one billion tablets owned worldwide, as this is spurring the device integration market opportunities and the possibilities of linking technologies to available cloud platforms and applications.
With this technological-reach, the event industry pounced on the opportunity to switch over to host live stream virtual events.
Event planners and managers are at a turning point with this emerging trend. Understanding how the industry is changing, live stream events’ growing popularity, and how the in-person and online event industry weather through changes caused by unpredictable events allow you to take the best opportunities to reach attendees.
Let’s check out what the event management statistics reveal about the state of virtual events.
Event halls, hotels, conference rooms, and other event avenues were ghost towns throughout 2020. For the few that stayed operational, they limited the number of occupants allowed inside to maintain the required social distances. Many entertainers took to social media platforms to hold impromptu concerts while businesses switched to video conferencing apps.
Forbes reported that virtual events boomed in 2020. They found that 52,000 events occurred strictly on one platform alone.
This figure was a 100x increase from 2019.
It’s no wonder that event industry growth looks so strong. An AnyRoad report found that 85% of event planning coordinators believed online experiences would stick around into the foreseeable future. In fact, next year’s budget is expected to grow for online experiences, with more than half (58%) seeing that more money will be pushed into this event segment.
What’s the cost for virtual events? This question is debatable based on the event size, length and number of attendees. It will also depend on the type of event, as complexity and resources also factor into costs.
Take, for instance, a standard corporate conference with scheduled events. Meetingsnet reports that for a two-day event with a typical general session, break out rooms, and multiple tracks would have between $20,000 to $75,000 average costs for a virtual event. This price includes a slew of services offered by the vendor which could differ in scale and pricing. The virtual event platforms for the event may range from $2,500 for tier one single events up to $30,000 for custom tier 3 full service platforms.
When considering these costs, also consider the savings from transportation, airfare, hotels, and food & board. Keep in mind that these costs are sometimes offset by the technology required to host the virtual event. An EventMB study found that roughly 45.9% of event planners are selecting in-house production of these virtual events to save on additional costs. Meanwhile, 32.5% of planners say they are outsourcing this work to external production companies, and 21.6% are using virtual event tech providers.
It’s understandable why event planners are taking the third-party vendor route with companies like True Film Productions. These companies understand all that is required and have the technology available not only to live stream the event, but also train employees on how to positively interact during the event to make it productive, fun, and engaging to attendees.
Hiring a third party vendor like True Film Productions’ Live Stream Platform can take any type of session and turn it into a highly-engaging virtual event.
Ever received an email from your manager wanting to discuss the latest company news, top-selling employees, or even a special networking speaker over Zoom? Congratulations, you’ve just attended a virtual event. Many different occasions, training sessions, and Q&As can be transformed into live virtual events.
Here are several others:
A webcast is simply a media presentation. You’re presenting one type of content, such as a meeting or event, to an audience while encouraging participation. They are pre-recorded and can be viewed on a person’s schedule.
A slidecast is a type of audio podcast utilizing slide presentations to convey media content. Typically both the slide presentation and the audio podcast are created separately as they are placed together at a later point.
A live streaming event consists of an event that is being broadcast, such as a musical concert, sports game, or other occasion, which is also recorded and streamed over online platforms.
On-demand user content allows viewers to watch the specific content based on their specific schedules. The variety of on-demand content is vast, including training material presentation.
Webinars are similar to webcasts. They offer presentations, and group meetings online while sparking engagement with the audience. The basic difference is that the webinar is hosted live.
Virtual trade shows and expos are events that bring exhibitors and attendees together to interact. Goods and services are presented to online visitors.
Online job fairs allow employers to engage with potential job lookers over the internet.
These virtual events allow keynote speakers to engage with attendees no matter where they are located while also hosting breakout sessions and networking opportunities.
When evaluating which virtual events are the most popular, Event MB found that smaller size meetings, such as webinars, are the most popular at 21%. Event MB also found that team meetings and training were common throughout North America (17%) and Europe (19%), and Central/South America (19%). On the other hand, only 6% of people attended incentive meetings.
Hosting a live stream virtual event isn’t without the occasional hiccup. An AnyRoad study reported that 46.6% of event managers find that virtual events are moderately challenging. Most survey respondents and event professionals agree that engaging attendees continues to be the dominating factor whether the event is virtual, in-person, or a hybrid meeting.
Another major challenge is technology. EventMB found that 51.5% of planners had difficulty sourcing the right virtual tech that is the best match for the live engagement. Other problems include not having the measurement tools to demonstrate impact of the event (46%) and budget with only 41.5% only willing to spend up to $5,000 on the event.
Some strategies to overcome engagement problems include having Q&A sessions, online chats, online communities, and product “reveals.” Meanwhile, holding less expensive virtual events and relying on third-party event vendor companies may help overcome budget and technology concerns.
The technology for event live streaming services has become pretty vast. The most common new technology for the events industry used today, according to the AnyRoad study, include:
Zoom is the top technology at a steady 50.3%. It is a video conferencing technology that is seamless to use. However, a Guardian report has found that privacy and security is lacking on this app.
MS Teams is a major competitor for Zoom as it is also a video conferencing tool used by students and professionals. Roughly 12.3% of respondents use MS teams due to its ease of use. However, it has limited flexibility when compared to other resources.
Coming up in 3rd place for most used technology is FB Live at 9.4%. There is a definite marketing advantage for businesses who are already established on the FB platform. However, any can leave negative comments and feedback on the live stream event, which could potentially create a PR nightmare.
Instagram Live allows you to connect with audiences who will be more eager and engaged with the content. A disadvantage to IG Live is that shows will disappear within 24 hours and any incoming calls or texts will show up in the feed.
GoToWebinar comes in 5th place at 5.3% in popularity. It has robust analytics tools and webinar replay features but lacks in registration customizations and audience interactions.
Some other honorable mentions include YouTube Live (5.2%), On24 (4.7%), and WebEx (1%). While these may also offer some advantages with ease of use and features, some like On24 and WebEX have higher price tags (except YouTube Live) compared to other platforms. In the case of YouTube Live, you give up rights to your own content to the platform.
When working with a live stream event provider, many companies will automatically offer or provide integration with live-streaming tools, platforms, registration tools, and mobile event apps. This gives you more freedom to pick the platforms offering the most audience reach and engagement.
Also, EventMB also states that most live stream event tech providers like TFP are able to facilitate both live sessions and pre-recorded sessions along with multi-track streams. Other advantages of live stream producers are that 58% of them offer mate apps as well as web-based access to virtual events. The remaining platforms (32%) have web-based solutions that are accessible via a browser or even presumably on mobile devices. So roughly 90% of the tech providers allow attendees to have full participation in the event on any chosen device.
Live streaming events are a reality that has advanced rapidly in the past decade. Event planners now have a range of technologies and opportunities to choose so their products, services, and training sessions reach their target audiences.
With the global, virtual events market size valued at $77.98 billion in 2019 and expected to have compounded annual growth at a rate of 23.2% CAGR from now to 2027, understanding the resources and technologies may put you at a competitive advantage.
Reach out to True Film Production to schedule a consultation when seeking to prepare and execute your upcoming virtual events.