Experts Reveal How to Create Unique, Attractive and Engaging Virtual Events

While in the Digital Event Series by GEVME we tried to form a community around how we can create different and innovative experiences for the audience in the digital world, on the other hand, the Next-Generation Virtual Events series by GEVME is about going the extra mile. 

From a Zoom meeting to a hybrid virtual event experience, GEVME has come a long way with the insights showcased throughout this journey. The questions like ‘How to run a virtual event’ are now replaced by ‘How to go beyond the traditional format of virtual events to keep the audience engaged?’ or ‘How to create unique and unforgettable virtual event experiences?’ or ‘How to measure the success of a virtual event?’ 

“Virtual events are here to stay.”

To help people around the world be able to march towards more niche goals like engaging virtual event attendees and creating events that could stand out, in the Next-Generation Virtual Event series, GEVME aims to connect you with the event professionals who are the pioneers of delivering the virtual event experiences that are beyond the traditional ways followed earlier. 

The series will gradually unveil the 10 principles of Next-Generation Virtual Events by Veemal Gungadin, Co-founder and CEO at GEVME, which are as follows. 

10 Principles of Next-Generation Virtual Events

  1. Next-Generation virtual events should be unique
  2. They have a great user experience and aesthetic 
  3. They should be engaging and never boring 
  4. They are of broadcast TV quality
  5. They engineer serendipity and networking 
  6. They are measurable 
  7. They are monetizable 
  8. They are valuable to sponsors 
  9. They are localized and accessible anytime, anywhere 
  10. They forge community 

Guest Speakers at Episode 1 of Next-Generation Virtual Events 

As mentioned earlier, this series uncovers the 10 principles of Next-Generation virtual events in its subsequent episodes with the pioneers in the field as the guest speakers, and so in the very first episode, GEVME has Andrew Chia, Business Lead, Digital Activation Team, Pico and Alexis Lhoyer, Co-Founder, Chab Events and Chab LAB along with the host Keerat Singh, Digital Events Evangelist at GEVME.

Episode 1 of Next-Generation Virtual Events is about the first 3 principles of events of such kind. 

Key Takeaways From Episode 1 – Next Generation Virtual Events

1. Two Physical Events are never alike – the aim for virtual events 

Visiting various physical events or even the same physical event every year has made us realize that no two physical events are alike. This has led the pioneers in the field to brainstorm how two virtual events should never be alike either. For instance, a meeting taking place on Zoom and an event hosted on Zoom shouldn’t be the same experience. That’s what the numerous virtual event venues are for — multiple choices for virtual events to look unique and thus deliver a great user experience and aesthetic. 

Tomorrowland 2020 is a great example of how even a physical event like a concert that could never be imagined to be enjoyed as much digitally, in fact, can be experienced as a virtual event and not as a ‘virtual meeting’. Creating a 3D virtual world, allowed fans and artists to join from across the globe and witnessed double the audience it usually did when it was experienced physically. 

2. Virtual Events VS Entertainment Media

Another virtual event is not the mere competition of a virtual event. Streaming platforms, video games, and more media like these offer audiences an unmatchable experience that is as immersive as it could get. To make a user give up on content like that and get engaged in a virtual event seems like a task one should undertake seriously. 

One great example of creating engaging content in a hybrid virtual event for people to tune in live is a bartending session where Marina Bay Sands ‘raised the bar’ by allowing people to attend the show live digitally and order drinks online that the bartender would make live and the audience would get delivered the same later. 

Another example is APACMED 2020, a medical conference, that increased audience engagement through gamification that allowed users to gain more points as they were interacting with the site by maintaining a leaderboard. The goal was for attendees to strive to earn more points to be at the top of the leaderboard as they were interacting with the site. 

3. Measuring the success of virtual events 

Measuring success for physical events, according to Andrew, is different from the way we can measure success for virtual events today. Following the signature success measures would mean expecting the same results which might not be the case today. He goes on to add that when we look at virtual events and those experiences, at the end of the day, people come for a reason. Some seek connection, some seek good content, and so on. 

“The real measure of success that we try to track very aggressively in virtual events is in the terms of engagement – it can be the clicks, it can be about how many connections a user makes with someone else, and those are the things we try to track a little bit more closely.”

– Andrew Chia, Business Lead, Digital Activation Team, Pico

4. Usage of AR/VR for your virtual event – Yay or Nay 

According to Alexis, there is a key point in the AR and VR environment, which is technology adoption. At the moment, he says, VR is the limit, especially in the context of B2B events or brand experience. 

While everyone may not have a VR helmet, on other hand, everyone has a smartphone. Keeping that in mind, augmented reality is an amazing experience right now because it’s inclusive and every single user can experience it. On the other hand, VR goggles availability is challenging and on top of that, a lot of people from senior management or people, in general, get dizzy after wearing them for 5 minutes as it’s not very comfortable. 

“In terms of virtual events, I don’t see VR doing so well. It’s great for busy video games, for virtual events maybe not so much. For AR and VR mixed reality, it is supposed to be really cool.”

Alexis Lhoyer, Co-Founder, Chab Events and Chab LAB

5. Keeping attendees engaged during a virtual event 

Alexis Lhoyer says that at the of the day people are looking for an interactive experience and engaging experience, and that should probably be more the term. He adds that it’s not about choosing among 3D, AR, or VR and instead people are looking at retaining the users’ attention behind the screens. He has observed that people would spend 8 hours in a row watching Netflix or spending 3 hours in cinemas to watch Marvel or Avengers and would leave a meeting after 5 minutes with some excuse or the other really goes on to show how it is about the content. 

“It’s about content. It’s about being interesting, being snappy, sharp, and short action-driven storytelling. So that’s all about that. So I would not say clients are looking for 3D. I think they are looking for good and new things to engage users and keep their attention. 3D and AR can allow that because it becomes engaging as you have your phone and you are creating something in your environment and that’s interesting.”

Alexis Lhoyer, Co-Founder, Chab Events and Chab LAB

Conclusion

Alexis and Andrew, the renowned speakers at Episode 1 of Next Generation Virtual Events, agree that engagement is necessary for people to enjoy unique experiences and that goes beyond choosing the technology. It’s also about the kind of content that you create to grab the audience’s attention so that they ditch binge-watching series on streaming platforms or play immersive video games, for that matter. 

Want to push the boundaries of your virtual events? Get some inspiration from GEVME Studios events. Our Next-Generation Virtual Events series helps event professionals move beyond the traditional format and embrace the new possibilities enabled by technology. The entire series shows you how to turn boring virtual events into memorable virtual experiences. 

You can now watch the full episode 1 here

You can also watch the next episodes in the series here