Digital Events are live events in a digital space. They provide us with an almost unlimited ability to extend target groups, regardless of their location, nationally as well as internationally and to reach everyone simultaneously and on equal footing. Digital Events provide versatile, scalable options for involving participants actively into a current event – invite them to become an essential part of something. Digital Events have an extremely small carbon footprint and are therefore events with an ecological focus. By means of professional dramatic structures, a variety of different and entertaining presentation formats, selective use of media as well as the possibility of pre-producing defined content, effectiveness of the conveyed contents, efficiency in preparation as well as a guaranteed performance can be notably increased.
Furthermore, the effectiveness of digital events can be easily and precisely recorded by means of systematic evaluations such as pre and post measurements as well as the measurement of activation rates during the event. Digital Events are mostly also economical events. Bigger investments in terms of content selection, media performance and preparation are counterbalanced by reduced travel expenses, lower catering costs and costs for accommodation. However, Digital Events also have a big disadvantage: options for all-important physical contact, straight forward communication, networking and socializing are missing. The range of Digital Events is huge: from management meetings through product launches, committee meetings and congresses to sales conferences with customers across the globe.
A hybrid event is an event in which a personal and live face-to-face experience is combined with an online component. To this effect, hybrid events, as they are commonly referred to, provide the best of both worlds – in other words: The perfect combination! The emphasis is not on the individual participants or guests, but on the concept of the event as a whole – including two components, that may take place at the same time, thereby reaching out to people in a real as well as a virtual environment. Professionally created hybrid events enable us to combine the essential benefits of on-site and online events. This means that an easily achieved increase in range and the interaction in online events can be linked with important options for direct networking and socializing. Furthermore, this results in outstanding scalability with regard to selecting groups of participants and the corresponding contents. In so doing, selected stakeholders, panels of experts, hierarchical levels and functions can, for instance, be added online, to address particular topics.
9 success factors for designing successful online and hybrid events
Successful online events begin before the event. Those who activate and involve participants prior to the online event, have already laid the foundations for success. A supportive effect is provided through the use of event apps, chat functions, opinion polls and enquiries about interests and video/statements, with the aim of involving participants beforehand.
2. Transparent user journey
A transparent user journey plays a central role. To define such a journey, leads to a holistic view of the event, its target groups/stakeholders as well as general and special requirements. Access to the event (authentification process) as well as all the event tools (from the stream with options for interaction to the virtual breakouts and the event app), must be easy for the participants to use and understand.
3. Focus on interaction, information exchange and shared experiences
Online events may not be shaped by one-way communication. At a first glance they may resemble a TV broadcast – but this is exactly what they are not. Targeted activation and involvement of the participants, interaction, exchange of information and shared experiences, shape the success factors of online-based communication.
4. Content is and always will be KING – but in a nutshell
High quality contents captivate participants, inspire and motivate them to take action. Those who deliver concise and diversely designed content, enhance the attention of their participants. Memorable messages are good messages. They can be understood and put into practice. In so doing, the online event remains gripping and firmly stuck in people’s heads.
Basically, the following applies: First the “What” and then the “Why”! First of all, the communication objectives, the core messages (five at the most), the contents and the players have to be defined. Only then the creative implementation can follow. The right mix of talks, panels, videos, interaction, gamification and emotionalizing moments is important to guarantee the success of the event. The development of a dramatic structure for an online event is likely to resemble that of a script. The significant difference to on-site events is that we need to think in scenes, camera settings and how participants interact. The director too has to be involved in due time.
6. Other times – other customs
Please note: The duration of an online event should not exceed four hours per day. Breaks should be taken after 60 minutes. Attention levels start dropping rapidly after only 20 minutes. At this point, at the very latest, a change in format should take place. A presentation should take between seven and maximum 15 minutes. A media shift, such as a video insert or an interaction, should follow after ten minutes at the very latest.
7. Professional technology as a basis
Consistency is imperative and the technology should work perfectly.
The saying “Often the problem is seated in front of the screen” has turned out to be true with regard to implementing online events. Nevertheless, particular attention should be paid to the entire technical architecture, including the streaming technology of the online event. Participants who are unable to log in are like participants waiting in front of a locked door at an on-site event, while the event is taking place inside: Not good. This is why the recipients and their IT environment also deserve special attention.
8. Surprising haptic moments
During the content-related design of the format, we should also consider the details and elements of surprise. As in real life, WOW effects also play an important role in online events. If participants are also provided with inspirational moments offline during an online event, it creates moments of emotional connection. These can be provided in the form of give-aways sent by post but also include a large range of other creative ideas.
9. Use follow-up options
Online events make it possible to benefit from information and food for thought from the participants. The use of options for interaction and the activation rates, also provide valuable information about the participants. A well thought through and objective dialogue is able to keep people captivated, even after the event is over.
Multi-hub streaming describes a type of inverted hybrid event. The idea is to either “broadcast” the contents from a central event studio to several locations or allow different event locations (hubs) to act as on par event studios. In every location there are different groups of participants. They watch the live stream. At the same time they can interact with other locations as well interact physically with the other participants in their respective hubs. Multi-hub streaming is particularly suitable if you want to for instance, involve various regions or branches and subsidiaries in one event, while the regions/functions work face-to-face on specific topics at the same time. They are also the first choice if there are limitations on group sizes for physical get-togethers or travel restrictions. Multi-hub streaming calls for significantly higher technical as well as organizational requirements and therefore also involves higher costs, since all hubs can be viewed as their own event locations.
Virtual Expo/Event Platform
A virtual trade fair or web i.e. online trade fair is an exhibition which takes place in a digital space and is therefore not bound to a specific location. The term “virtual” is very rightly applied within the context of online trade fairs. Virtual fairs are based on digital, computer-generated images (virtual reality = VR) of real conventional on-site fairs. This means that the 3D data room replaces the real, physical room right down to the integration of 3D avatars. Exhibitors and visitors basically have the same interests as they would at a conventional trade fair: To gain a comparative market overview, to make their companies better known as well as to buy or sell goods and/or services. Interaction during the trade fair is made possible online. This ranges from presentations and seminars to one-to-one video conferencing.
Products, features and good arguments! On a guided tour, customers, interested parties and employees can keep themselves up to date 24/7. A contemporary, media-supported journey through the company and product world.