When planning a virtual event or experience, the biggest challenge is to understand who your audience is, and what they want to see. This isn’t always easy, as every event has a unique audience with different expectations.
Here are some insights on what we’ve learned so far about audience expectations across five different virtual event formats: Online training, virtual conferences, webinars, virtual exhibitions and online shows and concerts.
Let’s dive in.
- This is easily one of the most popular virtual events and this was the case well before the pandemic. Businesses are quickly becoming more adept at training and up-skilling remotely, reaping cost and efficiency benefits.
- Sessions should be neatly organized with enough gaps to learn and apply
- The trainer must be well versed in the topic
- The schedule should fit into the attendee’s routine
- Every session should be highly interactive and engaging
- The trainer should focus on building the learners’ capability to apply the session’s lessons in real life.
These involve from a few to thousands of participants engaging with multiple speakers and sessions, often running in parallel.
So, here is what participants expect out of a virtual conference
- The overall conference must have an interesting and valuable theme
- Expert speakers who can share deep insights on the topics
- The schedule must enable attendees to attend all the sessions that are important to them
- Flexible and intuitive networking user experience and the chance to engage with exhibitors, speakers and other attendees
- Webinars can be thought of as virtual conferences with only one (or a limited number) of sessions. They are perfect for organising fast, accessible events and also for learning about your audience before committing to full-scale conferences or shows.
- The webinar should be around a very specific topic and not generic
- The speaker or speakers must establish themselves as having experience and insight that is of value to the attendees, as well as public speaking and audience-engagement skills.
- A smooth, planned and engaging presentation by the speaker with opportunities for interaction
- Course material or a post-event summary delivered via mail.
Virtual exhibitions / Virtual trade shows
These are events that deal with large audience catering to diverse elements and audience. So, what is expected of a trade show:
- Should be experiential – an event that stands out from the crowd
- Immersive environment that conveys feel of attending an event – possibly using avatars
- Solid overall theme
- Robust networking environment enabling discoverability and interaction between all attendees, organisers, sponsors and stars
- Accessible and reliable e-commerce integration when generating sales is a target
Online music concerts and shows
These are becoming popular as the format of the live show translates very well to the virtual stage. Undeniably very different from attending an actual live show, but still offering fans a rewarding and immersive experience.
- Artists relevant to their interests and likes, who are aware of the different needs of an online audience
- An excellent choice of theme and flow of the event
- Great technical robustness – the platform must ensure high quality sound and visuals throughout
- Offer ways to interact directly with artists, through group chats or Q&A sessions
- Interactivity – live polling to request favourite songs or routines
Apart from the above event-specific audience expectations, here are some common audience expectations:
- The content must engage
- The technology interface must be smooth
- Post-event perks like course material, connect to all attendees etc., must be provided.
What type of virtual event are you planning to host?
Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you create the perfect virtual moment for your valuable audience and customers.
There are many kinds of virtual events and your audience will have different expectations for each one. We run through the five most popular and give some pointers of how expectations can differ.