Best virtual event platforms

Virtual Event Platforms: Which One is Best for Your Event?

Are you ready to elevate your virtual or hybrid event experience? Here are the best virtual event platforms & what features to look for to host your next event.
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November 19, 2022

Selecting the best platform to use during your event is a big decision, because it ultimately determines your audience’s overall experience. Virtual event platforms play an important role especially for your attendees because it allows them to easily join and engage as if they were a part of the live event. When researching for the perfect event platform to use, you want to look for softwares that offers advanced features that enable you to host a memorable, multi-faceted and interactive event. 

What is a Virtual Event Platform?

A virtual event platform is software containing advanced audio, visual and interactive elements used to replicate the “feel” of a live event. The overall goal when using an event platform is to promote audience engagement through the use of immersive environments and features.  Similar to in-person events, attendees arrive at a designated time, listen to industry leaders, enjoy guest performances and network with one another. Because the audience is exposed to a lot at once, you want to ensure your event platform is able to smoothly transition from the different types of content that is presented.

What Can You Do with a Virtual Event Platform?

There are several different things you can do such as create event schedules or review event analytics with a virtual platform no matter the type of event you are looking to host. We’ll cover 9 great features that you can add to your virtual event with the right platform

1. Q&A Sessions

An efficient event platform should include an integrated Q&A feature so that the audience has a chance to ask guest speakers or moderators any questions that may have come up during the event. This feature is also valuable for when you are hosting a live large crowd and may not be able to answer everyone’s question; that way audience members will still have the opportunity to send questions via the platform. 

2. Interactive Workshops

Also referred to as “break out sessions,” interactive workshops are intimate gatherings where audience members are able to deeply discuss a wide range of topics, ask questions and overall actively engage with each other.  

3. Virtual Events

Perfectly convenient for virtual or hybrid events, having a reliable virtual event platform will make your job easy as the host. A good thing about virtual event platforms is that they are effective for different types of event styles. Whether you want to host a small, private training or a large, public conference; virtual event platforms have the ability to transform your event’s experience to be more immersive.

4. Live Streaming

A valuable component to have within your virtual event platform is to be able to live stream. Live streaming is convenient because it allows you to broadcast your event to different attendees around the world which can improve your reach. You also have the ability to record your event in its entirety and make it available for people who were unable to attend for the people who want to review the content again. 

5. Audience Chats 

Giving your audience members the freedom to ask expert leaders, administrators or questions amongst themselves is a great asset to have within your event platform. That way, people are able to connect without disrupting the event. 

6. Custom Landing Pages

When landing pages are made it is typically to explain the purpose behind the event, as well as allow people to register or pre-purchase tickets and allows you as the host to collect contact information. Having a custom landing page integrated within your event platform software can benefit you in the long run because you can embed relevant documents, content, widgets, and decorate this online space with a color scheme to match your brand.  

7. Event Marketing

One good thing about using a virtual event platform is that most of them include marketing promotion tools to help you spread the word about your upcoming event. Such features could include: widgets, email, SMS or social media marketing.

8. Complimentary Deliverables

No matter the meeting, it is inevitable to have handouts available for your guests.  Whether it be the event agenda, relevant business documents or tokens of appreciation, giving free handouts during your event is a quick, valued way to connect with the crowd and express your appreciation. 

9. Audience Polls

Opposite from an audience chatroom, audience polls allow the host, guest speakers or administrators to ask attendees questions. This too can encourage engagement and can be utilized before, during or after the event. 

How to use a virtual event platform

Using a Virtual Event Platform vs. a Video Conferencing Tool

Video conferencing tools are ideal for someone who is looking to host meetings or webinars for an intimate group of people in different locations. With these types of occasions, the host or administrator is responsible for the limited permissions and features as well and the guests share one common space.

Virtual event platforms differ because they allow hosts to have the flexibility to interact with attendees in a variety of ways. With virtual events platforms you can enable breakout sessions, questionnaires, Q&As, chat rooms, and more. Unlike video conference tools, online virtual event platforms are best for presentations amongst a panelist of speakers, where the audience members are tuned in via webcams and silenced microphones.

Though video conferencing calls are just as handy, virtual event softwares have an advantage because they are designed with the consideration of interactivity.  Due to having access to so many different features, your event platform can assist with kicking off conversations and essentially forming business relationships. Some virtual events platforms may even allow you and your guests to attend as a virtual avatar or experience the event in a virtual venue.

What To Look for in a Virtual Event Platform

If you are a beginner, using virtual event platform features may not be the easiest to navigate. No matter the event you’re hosting, you’ll want to make sure you’re using software that is advanced and effective to create a pleasant experience. Below you will find list of aspects your virtual event platform should include:

1. Customization

An event platform strategy you can apply to stand out from your competition is to incorporate customized elements into the experience. Using virtual event platforms with endless features will give you an advantage because you are able to be creative and immersive using different colors, audio, video or imagery content. That way, you can customize your event to your liking and still give a personalized experience to your audience.

In addition, customized event platforms can also catch the attention of exhibitors and sponsors which could then lead to a potential partnership. If interested, they too could benefit from customized materials such as the inclusion of their logo, branded banners and animated content around the virtual venue. 

2. Pricing

Before deciding on a virtual event platform, be sure to do some research and come up with a budget because the prices can vary.  You want to ensure you are purchasing quality software that meets your needs while also not spending beyond your means.  Some online platforms can cost a few dollars per attendee whereas others can cost you depending on the demand and innovation of your event. 

Most event platforms require a monthly or annual subscription so if you aspire to host hybrid or virtual events frequently, this may be a good investment for you. Before you commit to a software, look to see if there are any free trials or demos available for you to explore.

3. User Reviews 

Seeking out consumer reviews about different virtual softwares is also great feedback to look into when deciding on an event platform. Reviews are valuable because you can receive an opinionated answer about how the platform works from someone who actually used it.  For the most part, you can trust that user reviews are credible and honest because marketing tactics shouldn’t be involved. Usually, you can find user reviews on the webpages of specific platforms but you can also utilize software review sites as well. 

Review websites can come in handy because you are able to search the specific platform you are interested in and not only research reviews but also the ratings previous consumers have left. That way you can get a better understanding of some platforms advantages, disadvantages and top used features.

4. Scalability

Although you may not be looking to host a large number of people, it’s still important to know if your platform would be able to handle such an event if need be. As a host, you want to be sure your guests don't come across any challenges with trying to join the event or view any content that’s presented. Luckily, there are a wide range of virtual event platforms to choose from so if you are wanting to host a smaller group, there are platforms available to give your guests a private, cozy experience. 

On the other hand, if you are interested in hosting an event on a larger scale, research event platforms that are designed for this matter because they’ll have features that will best cater to you and your audience’s needs. If you find yourself running into any challenges or difficulties, there should be a customer support team that can assist you before or during your event.

5. Easy to Navigate

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to ensure the event platform you use is easy to navigate so that you are familiar and prepared when the time comes to launch your event. It’s also important that the platform is easy for your audience to engage with because that’s a major influence that can determine their overall experience as well. Actions you’ll want to take into consideration as you prepare for the event are: evaluating the login process, being able to join and exit sessions, seeing if the platform is compatible with different devices and exploring the option of having a mobile app designed.  

Easy to use virtual event platform

6 Best Virtual Event Platforms

You may be wondering, “how do I choose a virtual event platform?” Well, the best way to start off your decision making process is to research and compare different types of virtual event platforms that are available. 

1. Hubilo 

Hubilo is an advanced virtual event platform built for innovative technological needs. Hubilo provides a virtual venue for organizations to bring people together and provide an interactive event experience.  This platform allows both local and global attendees to not only engage but also transform the way people network and host events. Hubilo provides innovative experiential events for popular brands such as Coca-Cola, Verizon Media and Deloitte. 

Features:

  • Event marketing
  • Partnerships
  • Event analytics
  • Broadcast studio
  • Branding
  • Sponsorships

Cost:

Cost can vary:

  • Advanced Plan
  • Pro Plan
  • Enterprise Plan

2. HeySummit

Perfect for tech savvy professionals, HeySummit is a platform that offers outstanding capabilities and is easy to use. Due to it not being as advanced as other virtual platforms, HeySummit is super beginner friendly and is an ideal software to start off with. 

Features: 

  • Event analytics
  • Live streaming and recorded sessions
  • Landing page Builder
  • Speaker dashboards

Cost: 

  • $29 - $291 per month (can be paid annually)

3. Hopin

Hopin is a software platform that allows you to engage with your audience members with virtual common spaces such as reception, stage, sessions, networking and expo areas. You’re also able to live stream webinars during your event and broadcast it to a wider audience.

Features:

  • Customizable, brandable
  • Interactive common spaces
  • Webinar sessions with chat and polls
  • Flexible event schedule tool

Cost:

  • Starting at $99 per month per user

4. SpotMe

This engagement platform offers you the opportunity to create live events on-demand. With this platform, you’ll be able to utilize customized event agendas, breakout sessions and communication channels amongst the attendees and the event committee. 

Features:

  • Create and broadcast events with incredible flexibility features
  • Available add-ons for assistance
  • Simple user interface

Cost:

  • $400 to $26,700 per month

5. BigMarker

Considered to be one of the top used virtual event platforms, BigMarker is commonly used for conferences, summits and webinars. BigMarker happens to be popular amongst other platforms because it offers popular features and easy integrations. Well known brands such as Panasonic, Google and McDonald’s use BigMarker as their choice of event software. 

Features:

  • Embedded surveys
  • Social media streaming
  • Email marketing
  • Audience handouts

Cost:

  • $79 - $299+ per month

6. GoToWebinar

When using the multi-functional platform “GoToWebinar,” you have the opportunity to plan, promote and host an interactive gathering online.  Successful companies such as Mention, Gainsight and Unbounce have chosen this specific virtual platform to support the launch of their event. 

Features:

  • Webinar templates
  • Custom brand content
  • Audience surveys and polls

Cost: 

  • $49 - $399 per month (can be paid annually)

Conclusion

You want to be sure you are hosting an event that is fun, efficient and memorable for your audience, so take into account the different features that are offered once you are ready to choose a virtual event platform. Recognizing the difference between video conferencing tools and virtual event platforms is key when deciding what type of software you want to use for your event. Depending on the occasion, the number of people you invite, where you would want to host and your overall budget helps determine which tools would be a right fit for you. Now that you’re ready to start planning your event, check out the many services Hubilo has to offer as a virtual event platform. 

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