Last year took most of the businesses on a journey we didn’t imagine we would have to take. With all physical events coming to a stand-still, the year 2020 was all about survival or nothing. We have come on a long journey since then. All these years, we have been so used to having physical events, and the success it brought with it every time, hosting Virtual Events, keeping aside virtual one was out of the question.
None of us envisioned then that we would ever want to sit behind a screen and meet people on the other end of it. For most of us, hosting a digital event, keeping aside a virtual event was out of question mainly because we didn’t know how our audience would behave after a shift to a digital event until we had no option left but to shift to digital.
It has been almost a year since GEVME has made this shift to digital events. We have concluded that while digital events have been able to make a space for themselves in the industries, physical events will definitely not disappear completely. Similarly, just because an event is digital, it does not mean that we cannot enhance the user experience by giving them an emotional experience as they would otherwise have at a physical event. As we have realized now, these events are unique alone and can run together as well, giving the customers a wholesome experience.
All this while GEVME has experimented with conducting an event in the digital space. We didn’t have much time to think about the ideal user experience. It was all about surviving by making the best use of resources. Now, it is time to revamp the user experience we give to every stakeholder of the event.
To wrap out all that we learned last year from our trial and errors, we have come up with a set of ten ultimate guidelines to help you make your next event a success. These guidelines can be used for the success of events across any industry.
“The next generation of virtual events should be unique, have great user experience and aesthetic. They are engaging and never boring. The next generation of virtual events is of broadcast TV quality. They engineer serendipity and networking. They are measurable and monetizable. The next generation of virtual events is valuable to sponsors. They are localized and accessible anytime, anywhere. And finally, the next generation of virtual events forge community” – Veemal Gungadin.
GEVME’s Unique Virtual Venue
Let’s dive into our “Next Generation Virtual Event” hosted the previous month on the GEVME Virtual Event platform. This was the first episode of the “Next Generation of Virtual Events” hosted by GEVME. The virtual event had an engaging interface for its users. After registering for the event, the users would automatically check into the 3D lobby from where they could visit the lounge, the main event, and the exhibitions.
The user could move around and enter different rooms within the virtual space. The main event room was a virtual auditorium from where the viewers could watch the main event. Hosted by Keerat Singh, Digital Events Evangelist – GEVME, who interviewed our two speakers of the event, Mr. Alexis Lhoyer, Co-Founder, CHAB Events and CHAB LAB, and Mr. Andrew Chia, Business Lead and Digital Activation Team, PICO.
The main event was followed by the breakout session with the speakers, where the speakers answered questions of our attendees. The attendees could also participate in a live Instagram game conducted by GEVME. We got a great response from our audience for the live game, and the top three winners of the contest got a chance to win exciting prizes.
That was not all; our virtual event even had a live exhibition of the GEVME, Chad Lab, and Pico stalls. The audience here could visit different booths and learn more about what each business was.
The event was unlike any other event hosted by GEVME before. The virtual event was designed to keep our audience engaged and, at the same time, not have them drifted away from what the main event was about. Besides the event, the lounge, and the exhibition, GEVME had more informative resources available to our audiences, such as an e-book and other informative videos.
In conversation with game-changing event professionals, we discussed.
Their approaches and strategies in creating some game-changing events in their respective virtual event agencies.
“Why do people watch Netflix for 8 hours in a row? Or watch Marvel for 3 hours in the cinema? But go to the bathroom after 5 minutes in a meeting? It is all about the content. It is all about being interesting, action-driven, story-telling. That’s all about that. 3D and AR can allure that.” Said Lhoyer
Giving the example of the famous music festival Tomorrowland, Keerat pointed out how, after taking the event virtually, the event’s viewership increased to more than double what would otherwise be expected at the physical event.
Andrew Chia, in his presentation, gave us the example of the DBS Asian Insights Conference, SWITCH, Army 55 virtual exhibition, and Hideout: The Prelude.
In the discussion about if digital events can create an emotional experience for guests, Lhoyer pointed out that it is possible to develop a great emotional connection with the audience with the help of multiple touchpoints via Augmented Reality, great content in the form of engagement. However, he also pointed out that you would be making a mistake if you try to make a digital event similar to an in-person event.
On the other hand, Chia pointed out the importance of the consumer’s proper understanding to create an emotional response.
“You want to design an experience that keeps the user hooked and makes them come back again, and again and again,” says Lhoyer
When asked about the most crucial matrix to measure the digital event’s success, Viewership, and how long they have been watching the content was Lhoyer’s reply. While engagement, clicks, and how many connections a user makes with someone else was Chia’s answer to the question.
The harsh reality of hosting a virtual event is that it is not easy to keep an attendee hooked for too long onto the screen. “Let’s be honest, what you want to create is short and impactful content and not 8-hour sessions. Unless you have the budget like Game of Thrones or the Lord of the Rings to create content and keep your audience hooked for 8 hours long.” Says Lhoyer.
“As long as there is a good story to the content, it will keep the audience hooked for a longer period. It is important to keep various interactive sessions available for the audience such as QnAs, polls,” says Chia.
Lhoyer, in the discussion, explains the two most essential tools to be kept in mind while crafting an event are the goals that you want to achieve and your broadcast-quality content.
After the main event, we had a fun breakthrough session with our attendees where our attendees answered various questions put into the chat box by our audience.
The most crucial speciality of any event is to make sure that the audience can build a connection. A Hybrid Event should be able to include everyone! One of our attendees asked an interesting question about how one can make digital events friendly for an audience with a physical disability? Automated captions, having surround sound were some of the responses to the question.
Events are important to bring people together. As we are exploring the digital event side of the world, we will be able to come up with more solutions to address the needs of all people.
Last year was a whirlwind of hurdles and opportunities together. We jumped into a whole new different world mainly because that was our only choice. We now understand that there is so much more than just going digital to make digital events a success. We have to learn to not only attract an audience but make them stay. We have begun to understand that the value and experience we give each person at the event are critical.
Content is everything. Our content should be designed in a manner that will serve our audience, give them something to look forward to, and it should be able to help us build a connection with them. Episode one of the Next Generation of Virtual 3D events is a step ahead towards GEVME, making its user experience one of a kind and something valuable for our audience to take away from.
The progress of tech has made it possible to harness and bring to life what years ago we had only dreamed of. We have officially entered an era where things are about to change, probably in ways man wouldn’t have thought of a couple of years back.