How to Recreate a Live Event Experience in a Digital Venue


HopinThe Leading Shared Experiences Platform

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Marketers have had to quickly learn how to execute virtual events for B2B brands. Some best practices in managing physical events are adaptable to the digital experience. The past couple of years have also shown shared challenges in holding online events.

Article 5 Minutes
How to Recreate a Live Event Experience in a Digital Venue

However, in light of emerging practices in virtual events - along with the digital platforms that enable them - the possibilities are endless.

Here’s how you can recreate the engagement, success, and conversions of physical events in a digital virtual experience.

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1. Prime your audience

The expectations of your attendees can widely vary. Some may have already attended a few online events and some haven’t. What’s likely is that they’re more familiar with physical events than virtual ones. At the same time, they’re already used to - and fatigued from - daily online meetings.

Your objective here is to prime your audience. Get them excited.

Here are some suggestions to get your participants in the right frame of mind.

  • Make your promotions, invitations, and registrations stand out. Communicate that they’re joining a special live event, not simply another conference call.
  • Give updates, reminders, and program information.
  • Let them know what to expect but plan to surpass them.
  • Build a profile of your attendees as the event approaches. Data analytics from registration tools, whether internal or external to event platforms, helps with this.

While you’ve already targeted your event to a certain segment of participants, any new piece of information may still surprise you and help sharpen your event.

For example, in a professional or business context, decision-makers are more likely to make time for live video events. Perhaps unexpectedly, younger audiences tend to wait until the event is made available online, reflecting generational viewing habits with on-demand streaming.

2. Host with the right virtual event platform - and practice with it

The logistics of virtual events can be simpler than physical events. However, this shouldn’t give your organizing team license to be more complacent.

The cornerstone of any outstanding online event is the right virtual event platform that can deliver your event requirements and also present new and creative features that you and your audience might not have even encountered before.

Here are some key considerations with regard to your event platform.

  • Get a virtual event platform rich in functionalities that will generate and sustain participant engagement.
  • While both video and audio are important, pay special attention to the audio inputs on both the app and external microphones. A mediocre video feed will negatively impact user experience, but mediocre audio can be a showstopper.
  • If your event has sponsors, use a virtual event platform that can give them value for their sponsorship money. The best ones have the ability to display corporate branding and facilitate sponsor-participant engagement.
  • Think of yourself and your team as producers and directors of a live television show. Pay close attention to everything that will appear on your audience’s screens. No detail is small enough.

3. Prepare your presenters and speakers

The audience’s focus on speakers is much more heightened in digital venues. From their literal point of view, the event occurs between the four corners of their devices.

Brief and practice with your presenters and speakers more intensively than how you would usually do it in physical events.

Here are some tips to get the best out of their performance.

  • Make your presenters use a script. Better yet, prepare it for them.
  • Keep virtual event sessions brief. Online audiences more easily tune out than on-site participants.
  • Have a dry run with all speakers and presenters, if possible right before going live. Get them to test their equipment if it all works. Keep them in a virtual lobby while they wait for their turn so that they don’t have to disconnect and reconnect.
  • Have a way for speakers to keep track of time they have left. Prepare an elegant solution to remind them to wrap up should they be going beyond their allotted duration.

4. Be creative with audience engagement

In physical events, audience experience is tactile. They shake hands with other participants, get coffee from the bar, exchange business cards, and so on. With virtual events, the physical interaction is limited to their device.

To keep your audience engaged, virtual events actually present unique tricks that can make virtual events more of a staple than a temporary replacement for physical events.

Here are some ideas you can explore to keep your virtual participants highly engaged.

  • Conduct polls, quizzes, and Q&As. Virtual event platforms offer these kinds of micro-features that can break the ice or jumpstart active participation.
  • Allow participants to meet in virtual rooms even as speakers continue to deliver their talks. This could also be a formal part of the program in the form of breakout sessions or speed networking.
  • Set up digital expo booths for your sponsors. Not only does this add a layer of engagement for your participants, but it also brings marketing opportunities for the sponsors and commercial benefits for you, as the host organization.
  • Let participants know, at the right time and through the right medium, how they can further engage your organization after this event. For instance, links, banners, and prompts strategically placed on the user interface of the events app are simple ways to convert further down your sales funnel.

Reimagine what’s possible

Organizing virtual events comes with the baggage of best practices in managing physical events. While there are things that can’t be done in online events, there are also newfound tricks that can only be done virtually. This is why hybrid events leverage the best of both worlds.

Hosting virtual events is still in its early days. It’s likely that marketers, B2B companies, and platform providers are just beginning to scratch the surface of how to better engage and convert online audiences.

As events veteran David Meerman Scott says, “The best virtual events reimagine what’s possible rather than recreate what’s familiar.”

Further reading


Hopin now supports virtual, hybrid, and in-person events all on one easy to use platform. Built for you to build any event, Hopin makes planning, producing, and reliving event experiences easier than ever.


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