The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for Virtual Networking Platforms in 2023
The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide for Virtual Networking Platforms in 2023
What is a virtual event platform?
A virtual event platform is an online tool that enables organizations or individuals to host virtual events. A comprehensive virtual event platform will provide a suite of tools and features that empower events hosts or facilitators to create engaging and immersive virtual experiences. In an attempt to remain current and appeal to the growing need for seamless online interactions, virtual event platforms are continuing to break down barriers while connecting people from all around the world.
It’s important to note that technology is ever-changing and not all virtual event platforms are the same. Some and built for specific use cases whereas others are all-encompassing. Some allow you to create a fully customizable experience complete with unique customizations and branding opportunities whereas others provide a cookie cutter approach.
How are virtual event platforms different from video conferencing tools?
Both virtual event platforms and video conferencing tools enable virtual interaction among people who are geographically dispersed. While they have this in common, the type of experience they power is different. Video conferencing tools are ideal for small groups of people that plan to interact as a group and virtual event platforms are ideal for hosting large virtual events with different formats and features including guest speaker presentations, and different options for audience interaction from paired networking to round table discussions. The core differences come down to audience size, enhanced tech features, and the platforms’ ability to support immersive virtual experiences. Which one you choose largely depends on your end goal or objective.
- Audience size
Video conferencing tools are often built to facilitate singular interactions. While Tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams are often used to host meetings, it becomes apparent that the interactions are no longer seamless when housing even 10 participants. What happens if you want to host a large group where everyone can communicate freely and without interruption? This is where virtual event platforms come into play. Virtual events platforms are designed for large audiences and can accommodate thousands of guests, depending on your platform of choice. When purchasing a license, its important to note event capacity in the product specs.
- Enhanced features
When compared to video conferencing tools, virtual event platforms host many more robust features that allow event hosts or facilitators like yourself to create a more immersive experience. These features include but aren’t limited to:
- Audience analytics
- Multi-session support
- More attendee controls
- Event marketing suites
- Sponsor expo showcase
- Enhanced chat capabilities
- Event registration and ticketing
- Video networking functionality
- Branding templates and customization
- Immersive experiences
Virtual event platforms also create a more immersive digital experience when compared to more traditional video conferencing tools like Zoom. Virtual event platforms provide event hosts or facilitators with the ability to create fully customizable immersive experiences that mimic in person environments. This allows attendees to explore different areas of the virtual event similar to the way they would at an in-person venue. When you’re shopping around for a virtual networking platform, it’s important to source a platform with immersive capabilities like allowing attendees to pop in and out of presentations, join small group-sessions, move from table to table to network as they please, and more.
What to consider in 2023: how is the experience for the organizer?
As an event host or facilitator, it’s important to choose a platform with ample functionality. This means having access to features that make it possible to promote the event, customize the event, and measure success. The best virtual event platforms will offer a seamless and intuitive organizing experience from initial setup all the way to your closing remarks.
For an organizer, it’s important to have features that let one promote, customize, and measure success on one platform. The best virtual event platforms offer a seamless and intuitive organizing experience with a low learning curve.
As an event facilitator, you should evaluate a virtual event platform based on the following parameters:
- CRM integrations.
- Session access controls.
- Backstage management.
- Ease of setting up an event.
- RTMP and social streaming.
- Sending and managing emails.
- Backstage to manage speakers.
- Tired Ticketing and registration solutions.
- Customization options like branded emails, landing pages, and virtual venues like reception and booths.
What to consider in 2023: how is the experience for event attendees?
Successful virtual events leave attendees feeling excited, motivated, and tethered to your brand. When choosing a virtual event platform in 2023, it’s important to choose a platform that provides exceptional guest experiences. The best virtual event platforms will empower you to create delightful experiences for your attendees from start to finish. Here are a few features you should look out for:
- Breakout rooms
- Speed Networking
- One-on-one meetings
- Rich attendee profiles
- Live chat and messaging
- Interest-based networking
- Virtual networking lounges
- Life-like networking avenues
What to look for when shopping for a virtual event platform
- Attendee engagement
You want your virtual event to be as immersive and engaging as an in-person experience, you must consider a platform that provides ample opportunity to engage your audience. You must provide attendees with easy and enticing ways to connect with one another as well as with your content. When choosing a platform, it’s important to look out for audience engagement features like:
- Live polls
- Q&A functionality
- An event-wide chat box
- Direct messaging capabilities
- One-on-one video networking
- Integration capabilities that can power additional engagement opportunities.
- Branding and customization
Your event should look and feel like your event. This means choosing a platform that makes it possible for you to make customizations and integrate your branding. Consider a platform that lets you:
- Add custom CSS to existing products.
- Modify logos, colors, and text to fit your brand.
- Build custom event websites and landing pages with no code.
- Customize all types of content including before and during your event.
- Multifaceted content delivery
You’re in search of a virtual event platform instead of a video conferencing tool because you want to provide your audience with an immersive experience where they can easily connect with one another as well as with your content. A comprehensive event management platform will offer many ways for you to deliver content, including:
- Live streams
- Multi-speaker sessions
- Event marketing and analytics
In order to garner sign-ups, you must market your event. Choosing an event management platform that will support your marketing endeavors while providing you with in-depth insights that can be used to inform future decisions is a must. The networking event management platform you choose should come with the following marketing and analytics capabilities:
- Automatic email reminders and flows.
- Analytics reports that clearly depict return on investment (ROI).
- Customizable landing pages with clear calls to action that drive sign-ups and ticket sales.
- Integrations with tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, to make use of post-event analytics for future marketing campaigns.
- Built-in customer relationship management functionality that helps you segment your audience and create personalized campaigns.
- Monetization and scalability
If you’re organizing events that are external facing, you may want options to monetize them. If you’re considering monetizing your events, you will want to look out for:
- Customizable ticket tiers
- Global currency options
- Advertising space and expo booths that can be sold to sponsors.
While virtual events do not pose the same kind of security threats as in-person gatherings, there are still risks. When choosing a virtual networking platform, it’s important to choose a platform that takes both yours and your guests security and privacy into consideration. To ensure the safety of you and your guests, your virtual networking platform should come with the following features:
- Chat moderation.
- Options to password protect events.
- Discover, JCB, Mastercard, or Visa credit cards.
- Automatic encryption for audio and visual streams.
It’s important to choose a platform that is easy to navigate, for both you and event attendees. It’s also important to have support when needed to avoid frustration and improve ease of use. For these reason, the following features are a must:
- Email, chat, and call support.
- Simple, clear interfaces and instructions.
- Pre-populated FAQs or knowledge centers.
- Dedicated account managers or event consultants
- In-depth guides and video overviews for key features.
Host your next virtual event with Remo, the premier choice for virtual event platforms
Where other telecommunication tools make it possible for you to host virtual networking events, Remo empowers you to take your event to new heights by creating customized virtual environments and unlocking access to intuitive tools that level up the experience. For the first time ever, you can create a captivating virtual environment specifically for your virtual networking event and keep your audience engaged with exclusive features.
We’re transforming the way people around the world experience virtual events by humanizing online interactions and we want you and your guests to experience it firsthand. Get started with your FREE TRIAL today or click here to learn more about how Remo can help you create the best possible experience for your guests.