The human race has constantly found ways to combat any challenges thrown its way, from shifting entire industries onto virtual screens, to mass producing vaccines. However, every boon has its bane, every solution comes with its own set of challenges. Since work now is complementary with digital, contactless business continuity has led to a new set of problems for enterprises – digital fatigue.
For event organizers this means, we now have to find ways to virtually engage with an audience that’s already tired of the digital medium. The task is challenging, but not impossible.
Here are 7 things we can do right now to ensure our virtual audiences have a more lively experience at events:
#1: Make it a visual treat
With virtual events having been around for over a year now, speaker- presentation formats have become extremely mundane which leads to the audience getting bored and eventually distracted. At its core, a virtual event is essentially a visual experience. By mixing cinematic elements that add a little bit of surprise, some storytelling, and quality entertainment, you can keep the audience engaged and invested in your content.
#2: Make it relatable
While virtual events give us the benefit of expanding our reach across geographies and include audiences from all over the globe, as human beings we tend to be interested only in what is relevant to us. Relevance breeds attention, relatability begets engagement. Making the content relatable with local anecdotes, delivered in local language by a local influencer will create more relevance than keeping things openly global.
#3: Ignite conversations
Content aside, another major appeal of a B2B event is networking. However, it’s harder to get attendees talking to each other in a virtual construct than in a physical one. Providing opportunities for attendees to connect with like-minded peers can work wonders to spark meaningful conversations. Think in terms of AI driven recommendations that aim at bringing people with similar interests together, group activities that further the event agenda, and moments that unite people through emotions.
#4: Create a little bit of FOMO
With event content being available easily on demand, attendees often don’t see the value of attending an event live. It is important to give the audience something to be excited about, something that is exclusive and something they will miss if they don’t actually attend the event. To achieve this, we recommend limiting specific elements such as celebrity sessions, and exclusive content to the live event only.
#5: Keep it short
The average viewing time for most virtual events is 2 hours, post which attendance begins to drop. This is mainly due to the limited attention span of the audience as well as the monotony of the content on-screen. Considering the audience’s time as a valuable commodity, it is important to ask yourself what can be slowed down or fast-tracked? Must we include all the sessions at the live event? Do all of the technical content need to be showcased as sessions? Is there something we can keep only for on-demand?
#6: Think unique formats
To make the overall event experience standout amidst the flood of virtual events, employ event formats that raise curiosity and drive engagement. For example, breaking down content into region-focused tracks; breaking down an entire event into multiple episodes as opposed to a full-day event, or hosting conversational sessions and game-show formats.
#7: Humanize the experience
Human touch is the fundamental language of connection in our society, and is the most important ingredient that’s missing in a virtual format. While the lingering impacts of the pandemic prohibits us from shifting to a physical format entirely, there are still ways in which we can extend an online experience to the physical realm. For example, is another eDM really necessary or could it be replaced with something attendees could actually touch?
Be it virtual or in-person, the success of an event hinges upon whether your attendees took away what you wanted them to. If you’re looking for some interesting ideas to help you drive more engagement at your virtual events, email us at Rasheed.firstname.lastname@example.org, and let’s solve your challenge.