Event planners around the world have changed their strategies in response to COVID-19. The popularity of hybrid and virtual events has soared.
This post will explore various strategies for virtual event participation. We review recent market research and technology developments to bring you a list if virtual event engagement ideas that will grab the attention of your audience.
15+ ideas for virtual event engagement to increase attendee interaction at your next event
1. Send event reminders.
Getting registered attendees to attend virtual events is the first step. Respondents to reminder emails and notifications saw an 83% increase of virtual event attendance according to a 2022 Nunify market study.
2. Use highly-rated virtual event software.
There are many virtual events technology tools on the market, so it is important to choose what suits your needs. Search for software that provides clear video-streaming, attendance tracking, interactive polling and data collection.
3. Segment your event into multiple sessions.
Alex Plaxen is the VP of Experience Strategy at Nifty Method Marketing Events and Events. He recommends event planners break down larger events into smaller sessions that last no more than 15-20 minutes each. Market research shows that attendance numbers drop after 20 minutes.
Tip: Keynote sessions can hold engagement for longer than other sessions, up 35 minutes.
4. Let attendees choose their own event route.
Invite attendees to create their own virtual adventure by allowing them to select the parts they want to attend.
5. Host longer events over multiple days.
Limit the length of virtual events to between 4-6 hours and a single day. If your audience is unable to stay engaged for more than six hours, plan the event over several days.
6. Use live Q&A to add live participation to pre-recorded events
You can add interactive activities to any virtual event, even pre-recorded ones. This will increase the likelihood that they will stay for the whole presentation and be attentive.
7. Send virtual event registrants pre-event gift bags.
Give a gift card and an event-themed swagbag to your attendees. Use the activity as an icebreaker for your event.
Tip: Only 30 percent of event organizers offer giveaways for virtual events. To build a relationship and maintain high attendance, send a pre-event giveaway.
8. Offer an exclusive eBook to event attendees.
Giving away resources prior to an event can help you attract attendees to your business, event pages, social media pages, and other online resources to establish authority with your audience, prepare a free eBook.
Link additional event pages to the eBook. Offer prizes to attendees who discover the hidden clues or riddles in the eBook.
9. Host a virtual contest.
Including a contest in your event promotes it and gives attendees the chance to win more entries.
Tip: Announce winners at the event’s end, but make sure attendees are aware that they must log in to win.
10. Use gamification.
Make a virtual experience for attendees through gamification. Invite participants to take part in challenges to win prizes or points.
Zippia’s market research found that employees feel an engagement rise of 60% when they engage in gamified work experiences. Give an energy boost to the audience and keep them interested with short bouts of friendly competition.
11. Provide a companion slide deck for your virtual event.
Give event attendees a presentation slidedeck that corresponds with the virtual event presentation. Participants who miss sessions can refer to the materials and continue with their questions.
Tip: Email the deck post-event to those who registered but could not attend.
12. Add an experience to your event that is out-of-the box
Event planners can get creative with in-event experiences. Surprise guests with out-of-the box or unusual experiences.
Tip: Host an event or Throw a party to celebrate the success of your event.
13. Incorporate video elements.
Change the visual presentation of virtual events regularly to maintain audience attention. Sixty one percent of marketers use videos to engage their customers during virtual events. Create new sessions with infotainment videos that include interviews and live Q&A.
14. Offer frequent breaks to prevent virtual fatigue.
Attendee fatigue can result from long virtual event viewing times and schedules.
15. Offer refreshments or a meal for attendees.
Offer food to all attendees of your event. Coordinate meal delivery with a company.
Tip: Check out DoorDash and Grubhub or Dineable for virtual catering services in your local area.
16. Include an interactive message board or Snapbar.
Connect with attendees at virtual events and encourage in-event communication via an interactive message board or virtual chatroom. Encourage attendees to share their favorite activities and “aha” moments during each session.
A Snapbar can be used to communicate with visual communicators. Snapbar can be connected to social media to allow users to quickly share content across multiple platforms.
17. Live-stream virtual events.
To expand your audience reach, use a live streaming event app to connect virtual event attendees with your social media audience.
18. Live polling is used to encourage and measure virtual event engagement.
According to a Markletic industry study, 81.8% of virtual event organizers said they use live polling for increased engagement. If live polls are spread throughout the event and engagement encouraged, people may be more inclined to log in to see how much they have participated.
Tip: Measure Virtual Event Engagement before and after the event.
These are some virtual event engagement ideas for your next event
Mix it up! Engage your audience by using a variety media types and interactive activities. Plan the event carefully and use the right virtual event software.