Hybrid Events

Hybrid Events

Dive into the building blocks and best practices you need to know to deliver a fantastic hybrid event experience for virtual and in-person attendees alike.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Are your events digitally secure?

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

It's clear that digital events are here to stay, either as a completely virtual one or as part of a hybrid event. With companies hosting and sharing a lot of information on such events, one of the important factors that marketers must take note of is the level of digital security of the event platform. This post can serve as a reality check on the present state of a company's events and also suggest improvements to fortify security.

Virtual events came to the world’s rescue during the pandemic. They served as a safe way for companies to continue to engage with their internal and external stakeholders remotely. Later, when in-person events came back into the picture, companies still found it valuable to retain a virtual element as part of their event, as the latter proved to be a scalable, cost effective and measurable way of running events. The insights that planners were getting from virtual event platforms changed the way they strategized events; and this created the perfect situation for hybrid events.

Virtual elements are here to stay

Virtual events are here to stay

What can we learn from these developments? It’s simple; virtual events or elements are here to stay. Their relevance has gone beyond the pandemic. Companies have acknowledged the unique benefits of going virtual or hybrid. Now, since we’ve already highlighted the boons of virtual events above, one must wonder what are the more challenging aspects of going virtual? For one, of course, it’s the need to upskill and understand event technology; this is where a robust virtual event platform plays a huge part. However, there’s one more crucial aspect to any event that organizers cannot compromise on - the security of an event.

Event security needs have evolved

Event security needs have evolved

Different ways of running events bring their own challenges. You can see why a virtual event is a desirable cyberthreat target; cyber criminals stand the chance of tapping into important attendee data and company information if the event is not robust enough to keep them at bay. In the past two years, there have also been instances of cyber criminals posing as attendees and joining a virtual event. Once they succeeded s, they were capable of doing anything from sharing risky links and inappropriate content with attendees to heckling the speakers at the event.

We’re sure that all this information is scary enough for planners to make sure they prioritize event security and not take it for granted. Thankfully, securing your event doesn’t have to be difficult. 

Here’s an easy checklist of best practices for you:

  1. Choose a virtual event platform that is certified and highly secure so that there are no chances of software vulnerabilities within the platform.
  2. Ensure that the event platform you choose has periodic audits in place to ensure the confidentiality and security of event data.
  3. When picking the event platform, another thing you should look for is how much control it gives you as an organizer; you should be able to restrict and limit the content shared during your event.
  4. While inviting guests to your event, generate unique URLs for each attendee and unique access codes too.
  5. Inform your attendees that all communications related to the event will only come from your official trusted email address and information from any other source must be ignored.
  6. Inform attendees whenever you plan to record a session; it always makes them feel at ease when you get their consent.

How attendees can make sure they attend secure virtual events

If you’re an attendee, you can add another layer of safety to your event experience by ensuring the security of your personal information by:

  1. Verifying the source of all the emails and communications you received about the event
  2. Using a reliable browser that is aptly patched to handle security vulnerabilities
  3. Creating a password that you don’t use anywhere else (if the event requires you to create one)

To sum up… 

As we see the world embracing virtual elements in every walk of life from education to large-scale events, it is our responsibility to be aware of the risks of going virtual in order to reap the many many benefits that virtual events bring us.

Want to make your next virtual event secure? You can't go wrong with Zuddl - book a demo today.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Six challenges faced by virtual event organizers

7
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Virtual events have introduced a whole new world of benefits to event organizers worldwide, but this hasn’t necessarily come easy. Find out the typical obstacles that event organizers face when running a virtual event.

The virtual realm has not only been a savior to companies since the pandemic but also become a beneficial addition to their event strategy. Virtual and hybrid events are all the rage today because they possess the ability to make any event inclusive, scalable, accessible, convenient and insightful.

However, as with anything else, hosting a virtual event comes with its own set of challenges and limitations, especially if you’re running it on widely popular but basic streaming platforms.

Here are 5 challenges you’re likely to face or have faced as an event organizer while running a virtual event:

  1. Engagement 

Your virtual attendees are typically individuals who have been working and attending meetings virtually for a long time now, so it’s no surprise that the phrase ‘Zoom fatigue’ is being mentioned more and more these days; they’re tired of attending meetings online, and this is why engagement is one of the biggest challenges faced by virtual event organizers today.

Going virtual is not just about knowing how to run an event virtually, but more about knowing how to make the event engaging and interactive. When companies run events on basic virtual platforms, the scope for engagement is very limited.

In order to overcome this, event organizers must prioritize features such as Chat, Polls,Q&A and live networking if they want event attendees, exhibitors and sponsors to all have a fulfilling experience.

  1. Technical know-how

There is a common tendency for event planners to assume that a virtual event is no different from another Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting, and who can blame them. With these basic tools, they may be able to run day-to-day activities just fine, but that’s about it.

To overcome this obstacle, organizers need to not just upskill themselves but also have access to the right technology as well as the right tech support in order to produce studio-quality events without breaking the bank. 

  1. Lack of control over proceedings

As an event organizer who’s working with basic technology, you’re left with no option but to make the best of what you have. What this implies is that you’re restricted by limitations of your tool when it comes to managing your speakers, sessions, attendees and of course, the overall event experience. 

The only thing that can make a difference here is a virtual platform or tool that allows you to take charge of the event behind the scenes - that way you can control the event rather than the other way around!

  1. Lack of scope for branding

One of the most limiting things about a virtual event that’s run on a basic virtual platform is that every event pretty much looks the same. You can never really make your brand’s presence felt since the scope of customization is quite low. 

This can be a deal-breaker especially if you’re expecting a good return on investment from your virtual event. Branding at a virtual event can only be enhanced when you have a powerful virtual studio on your side.

  1.  To go live or to pre-record

This is the question that would boggle Shakespeare’s mind if he was around today.  As an event organizer, it’s important to understand how your attendees like to consume their content. While live streaming  offers a real-time experience, pre-recorded content offers flexibility and an on-demand edge to your event that is sure to appeal to today’s Netflix-watching audience.

This is why many organizers are going in for a blended approach these days. However, you need to have the right technology to make this possible.

  1. Latency, latency, latency

Last but not the least, most streaming platforms are vulnerable to latency. This one problem is powerful enough to derail a virtual attendee’s entire event experience. With engagement already a challenge on its own, latency can just pile up to the problem and make an attendee feel totally lost and disconnected.

Banking on technology that can give you near-zero latency streaming capabilities is the safest way to dodge this bullet.

So, what’s the solution?

No matter how much event organizers upskill themselves, they will always be limited by the technology available to them.

If your business has  already invested in an event platform or streaming tool  like Hopin, Hubilo, Teams or  Zoom, can you still find a way to upgrade your event production and attendee experience  without breaking the bank?

The answer is yes!

Zuddl Studio is built for the modern day event organizers. Seamlessly manage the backstage speaker transition to and from the stage, add lower thirds animation - all this while retaining complete control of your brand. 

Zuddl Studio will work seamlessly with your existing event stack, and change your event game forever.

Psst... join our waitlist before May 31st, 2022 to get special privileges and early-bird giveaways!

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Fantastic virtual conferences and where to find them

9
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Check out our list of must-attend hybrid and virtual events this year.

There are plenty of exciting hybrid and virtual conferences lined up this year. We’ve put together a list of different types of events you can attend and will be continually updating this list. If we’ve missed out on any you think we should include, do let us know and we will add it in.

JANUARY

CES® 2022

A image promoting CES's virtual event
Image credit: MacRumors

Dates: Jan 5-7

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: CES is an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).  Virtual attendees will be able to access livestreams of keynotes and select conference sessions, and will also be able to connect with onsite exhibitors and other attendees. Those who attend in-person will also be able to use the platform to plan their event agenda and connect with each other and virtual participants. Networking and on-demand content will be open to all attendees until the end of January.

Digiday Media CMO Summit

Dates: Jan 25 – 26

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: The Digiday Media CMO Summit brings together marketing leaders in media, advertising and retail to discuss behavioral trends that they are counting on to find opportunities and share tips — from how they’re navigating new trends such as a surge in OOH advertising to ever-evolving challenges in brand safety — and best practices.

VentureBeat’s The Future of Work Summit

Dates: Jan 12

Event type: Virtual 

Why attend: At VB’s Future of Work Summit, we’ll discuss with top executives how organizations are reimagining and re-architecting their technology stack and strategies to allow for this new virtual world of work. This transformation enables powerful, transformative AI/ML, metaverse technologies such as AR/VR, and AI-assisted intelligent chat and virtual assistants for more collaboration. But it also requires a new kind of workplace culture, emphasizing trust and independence. The Summit will extract specific takeaways, including strategies, tactics, technologies that the boldest and most successful companies are leveraging to pave the way for this new future of work.

FEBRUARY

The Nasscom Technology & Leadership Forum

NASSCOM's virtual event NTLF


Dates:
Feb 16-18

Event type: Virtual 

Why attend: NTLF 2022, with the theme 'Shaping the Techade: The New Now and the Next', will bring together diverse voices from around the world to focus on topics like - reimagining the art of the possible, leadership differentiators, scaling growth, and building a fairer world.

The Virtual MarTech Summit 

Dates: Feb 22-23

Event type: Virtual 

Why attend: This 2-day summit with a focus on B2C & B2B two tracks spanning pressing topics like Cookieless, Gamification, Social Media & Influencer Marketing, CX, Customer Data Platform, UGC, Personalization, Precision Demand. You’ll hear from leaders working in a cross-section of industries whose stories illustrate unique company pain points, breakthroughs, and triumphs.

MARCH

South by Southwest (SXSW)

A banner for SXSW's virtual event
Image credit: SXSW

Dates: Mar 11-20

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: The event features Conference sessions, Film Festival screenings, Music Festival showcases, world-class Exhibitions, networking opportunities, competitions, awards ceremonies, and much more. The array of guests spans from major entrepreneurs like Michael Dell, health professionals like Pfizer CEO Dr. Albert Bourla and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.

Adobe Summit

A banner of Adobe's virtual event
Image credit: Adobe

Dates: Mar 15-17

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Be inspired by influential leaders and expert Experience Makers as they share industry trends and insights. Speakers this year include AlbertBourla, CEO of Pfizer, Meghan Heather who is the Global IT Portfolio Director of The Coca-Cola Company, and Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe.

Social Media Marketing World

An image Social Media Marketing World uses to promote hybrid events

Dates: Mar 14-16

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Join thousands of the world’s smartest marketers and influencers at the only marketing conference you need to attend and walk away with real business-building ideas that you can put to work for your business or clients right away.

APRIL

Microsoft Envision

An image of a lady attending Microsoft's virtual event
Image credit: Technology Records

Dates: Apr 12

Event type: Online

Why attend: Microsoft Envision is a digital series where you'll join thought leaders from across industries to explore the latest business and technology trends. Get ready to discover the new wave of digital innovation and connect with peers from across the globe.

MAY

IBM Think 2022

Dates: May 10 – 11

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Think is an ever-evolving, inclusive, accessible, horizontal conversation about human ingenuity, its advocates, and the tools they employ to break paradigms and create new ones.  It’s more than just a conference — it's how IBM engages with the world. And you can place yourself right at the center of that ever-evolving conversation.

Ad World 2022

Dates: May 2-3

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Join 50,000+ of the world’s brightest minds in advertising to learn, share secrets and connect online. For two days on 2-3 May 2022, Ad World will stream 10+ Digital Advertising Tracks, consisting of hyper-focused speeches, panels and live Q&A sessions to help take your business to the next level. The all-in-one advertising event will bring you closer to leading marketers and brands than ever before from the comfort of your home.

JUNE

Gallup at Work Summit

An image promoting Gallup's virtual event about the workplace
Image credit: Gallup

Dates: June 7-8

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: The Gallup at Work Summit is for anyone seeking learning and development opportunities. More specifically, the Summit is for individuals whose job it is to develop other people or who are seeking individual development. Join leading experts in improving employee engagement, wellbeing, manager development, and other business topics that influence every workplace.

Bloomberg Technology Summit

Dates: June 8

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Digital transformation has touched every sphere of life. We are all immersed in a world of data. This data facilitates our healthcare, business and government activities, commerce and entertainment. The Bloomberg Technology Summit: Looking Forward highlights the ways in which society has been changed by digital disruption and provides the roadmap for what lies ahead.

Women in Tech Global Conference 2022

An image promoting the virtual conference by Women In Tech

Dates: June 7-10

Event type: Hybrid 

Why attend: ​​​​​​The hybrid conference will bring women in tech, minorities and allies from all over the world together through an interactive platform featuring live educational & training content, keynotes, engaging panels, breakout rooms, technical workshops, and networking with virtual and in-person sessions.

Cisco Live 2022

Dates: June 12-16

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Cisco Live is the networking company’s major event for customers, CIOs, and technology executives. The event is set to ignite creativity, deliver practical know-how, and accelerate the connections that fuel the digital future.

JULY

DigiMarCon West 2022

Dates: July 11-12

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Join your peers in-person or online for 2-days jam-packed with digital marketing best practices, latest trends, practical solutions, strategy, and networking, also check out the next generation of technology & innovation; Internet, Mobile, AdTech, MarTech & SaaS Technology.

AUGUST

BLACK HAT USA 2022

Dates: Aug 6-11

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: Black Hat is the most technical and relevant global information security event series in the world. For more than 16 years, Black Hat has provided attendees with the very latest in information security research, development, and trends in a strictly vendor-neutral environment. These high-profile global events and Trainings are driven by the needs of the security community, striving to bring together the best minds in the industry. Black Hat inspires professionals at all career levels, encouraging growth and collaboration among academia, world-class researchers, and leaders in the public and private sectors.

SEPTEMBER

SAASTR ANNUAL 2022

An image showing Saastr annual event
Image Credit: Duplocloud

Dates: Sep 13-15

Event type: Hybrid

Why attend: 10,000+ SaaS executives, founders, and VCs will come together for SaaStr Annual 2022, the world’s largest SaaS community event on the planet.  Get ready for specific, SaaStr-style actionable advice and learnings to help grow your business from $0 to $100M ARR with less stress and more success. No commercials, no paid content, no boring panels. Every session is hand-screened and vetted to help you learn.

OCTOBER

Reuters Impact

Dates: Oct 3-7

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Solving the climate risk challenge requires a significant, and coordinated private and public-sector effort. Reuters IMPACT is a free virtual global conference that brings together world leaders, big business and forward-thinking pioneers to inspire, drive action and accelerate innovation towards the global economy’s top priority: the climate emergency. No matter what role you perform, or the size of your organization, Reuters IMPACT will help you identify how you can influence business driven climate action.

NOVEMBER

HRPA 2022 Fall Conference

Dates: Nov 22-24

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: HRPA exists to ensure that HR professionals have the tools to act as champions for positive change, leading Ontario’s workplaces into the future. The association brings together business leaders from around the world for their series of annual conferences. A fall conference has been scheduled for November 22-24 and will mark the last major event in their 2022 calendar.

DECEMBER

AdWeek: Publishing Week 2022

An image of Adweek's virtual event

Dates: Dec dates TBC

Event type: Virtual

Why attend: Adweek's Publishing Week is an elite summit designed to cut through the noise and connect the most forward-thinking minds in publishing to solve challenges unique to this evolving industry. With the need to add scale and create personalized experiences for their audiences, publishers have had to embrace a more agile mindset. Learn how these companies are leveraging the power of technology to enable multi-channel subscription and ad revenue strategies.

Hybrid Events

A guide to making events more inclusive and accessible

8
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

The need for inclusive and accessible features in virtual spaces is of great importance. Read to learn how Zuddl elevates attendee experiences by providing just that.

Think about the last time you went to the theater to watch a movie. 

You probably went in, sat down, dutifully put your phone away (we hope), looked up at the big screen, and enjoyed the show. A simple and easy experience.

Now consider the POV of someone who goes into the theater to watch the same movie but is hard of hearing, or who speaks a completely different language than that shown in the theater. It would be a completely different, more difficult and exclusionary experience.

Why should you care about this?

One of the biggest benefits of virtual events is that as an organizer, you are no longer hampered by geography. There’s no need to worry about factoring in travel for attendees or speakers, or being constrained by venue capacity when you’re hosting a virtual event. This means that people from all over the world can attend, and where previously you might have been able to host only 1000 people at an in-person event, you can now reach tens of thousands. 


But with great capability comes great responsibility.

You  now need to ensure that each of your tens of thousands of attendees has an  equally amazing experience at your event, whether that’s a virtual  conference, company offsite, virtual office, ora virtual tradeshow. And  central to this is ensuring that each person - from different countries and  diverse backgrounds - can actively participate, contribute to discussions,  and have equitable opportunities.

But this isn’t without its challenges.

When planning virtual experiences for constituents, organizers may fall prey to  an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. No longer being able to ‘see’ the needs and requirements for different types of attendees can make it harder to address them. 

And this is definitely an issue when one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control notes that: 61 million adults – or 1 in 4 – people live with a disability. These statistics alone makes leading with accessibility and inclusivity the mentality to have as a hybrid or virtual event organizer.

Attendees from different backgrounds or with disabilities will want to consume your content, ask questions to speakers, chat and interact with their fellow attendees - just like everyone else. This means that you not only need to be purposeful and empathetic in the way you organize your event and present your content, but that the virtual event platform partner you work with needs to be able to be fully accessible and inclusive - it needs to put all attendees on an equal footing.

The good news: Zuddl makes your virtual event more accessible and inclusive!

Event Hosting Platform - Zuddl

Central to hosting a virtual event is making sure the content of your event can be understood by all your attendees. This is especially important when it comes to live sessions or recorded video that you or your speakers are sharing during the event. But, as illustrated by the movie theater example, if attendees at virtual meetings are non-native speakers or are hard of hearing, they may find it difficult to follow along and stay engaged.

This is where Zuddl can make a difference. 

Multilingual audio support

Multilingual Audio Support with Zuddl

The reality is that not everybody can speak English or speak it well. So if you have people joining the virtual meeting from France, Finland and Fiji, using multilingual audio support is a great way to ensure that all attendees will still be able to understand speakers and the content that is being presented, which in turn helps to create a more inclusive, egalitarian virtual space.

This, of course, is especially important for companies with remote, multilingual teams. When hosting virtual company offsites, sales kickoffs, company meetings or any other internal events, multilingual audio support can help non-native speakers to better comprehend and retain information, and feel more connected to the workforce.

It makes business sense too. 

According to a survey conducted by the Common Sense Advisory, a market research firm, 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their own language. The same piece of research states that 72% of consumers are more likely to buy a product that is offered to them in their own language. Need we say more?

Live captioning

Live Captioning with Zuddl

Live captioning works hand-in-hand with multilingual audio support. This results in a real-time visual aid that helps attendees at your event better decipher what’s being said on-screen. 

The feature helps to improve accessibility for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, but can be useful for everyone, including those who join the live event late, or who are multitasking during the event. 

This is useful when you’re hosting a virtual meeting for your company or team as giving employees the option to read-along live captions in their native language makes it simpler to absorb information and therefore increase focus and engagement. In fact, 80% of consumers are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available.

Protip: Make presentations and video sessions available for attendees to watch after the event is over. This way they can revisit the information shared as per their convenience and make sure they don’t miss what was shared during a meeting.

Chat function and Emoji Reactions

Emoji Reactions - Zuddl

The use of live chat and emoji reactions at your event gives your attendees the freedom to interact with and react to speakers and content shared as per their convenience, and it means there is equal opportunity to ‘speak’ and ask questions. For those who find written language a bit restrictive, they can easily express themselves through an easy emoji reaction.

To sum up…

Virtual and hybrid events are only as inclusive as they’re made to be; while event platform partners like Zuddl can make a great difference, creating spaces and experiences that make everyone feel welcomed and valued needs to be an active effort on the part of organizers. Talk to our team today to learn how to get it right!

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

5 ways to determine which event platform is right for you

8
Mins Read
Kishore C S

With virtual and hybrid events taking over the events industry as we know it, organizers and businesses need to know how to pick the right virtual event platform to best suit their specific requirements. This article recommends a hassle-free approach to this decision-making process and much more.

If you’ve been staying updated with the latest trends that are changing the event industry, you’ll already know the relevance of virtual and hybrid events in today’s digital-first world. With workplaces and workforces going remote over the past two years, it’s not just  events that have taken a virtual form; day-to-day activities such as team meetings, hiring processes as well as training modules have all done so too.

From an organization's perspective, the need of the hour is knowing  how to tap the potential of the virtual realm to best suit business needs. One of the essential aspects of taking this step is to lock in on a virtual events platform that can turn this idea into a reality, easily and seamlessly- which brings us to our main point.

If you’re looking for a virtual event platform but don’t know where to start in terms of exploring your options, this article is just about to make your life so much easier.

For starters, it helps to have a basic checklist in place in terms while you’re exploring and comparing platforms. 

What should you look for in a virtual platform?

  • It should be easy to use

No matter how much a platform boasts of its capabilities, it won’t make a difference to you as an organizer or as an attendee if the platform is not easy to use. This is why finding an easy-to-use virtual platform should be the first condition on your checklist.

  • It should be scalable

Next, ask yourself how your events are going to be in the near future. While you don’t have to zero in on the exact details, you can still gauge certain things such as the size of your events. This will help you choose a virtual platform more suited to your needs. For instance, let’s say your event plan has a mix of smaller focused events as well big conferences with a typically high attendee expectation. In this case, you’re going to need one platform that can help you run it all.

  • It should be customizable

Another important factor to keep in mind while choosing the platform is the scope of ownership and branding. To say it in simpler terms, always pick a virtual event platform that will empower you to own the event rather than the platform owning you! 

With the trend of decreasing attendee attention spans, customization goes hand in hand with engagement when it comes to delivering memorable and immersive experiences, so if these are things you consider important, don’t choose a platform that will limit you from making your events epic.

  • It should suit your budget

As with anything else, pricing plays an important part when it comes to choosing your virtual event platform too. Once you’ve checked the previous items in the checklist, you can now further filter your search to find a platform that offers the features that you love within your budget. Keeping a flexible budget makes sense if you feel there’s a platform that more than meets your expectations.

  • It should have good reviews

As much as technology takes over our lives, there is one thing that a human being values more than anything else; it’s the firsthand experience or story that another human being has to offer. It’s no different when it comes to choosing the right virtual event platform. User reviews can really inform you about the pros and cons of any platform from a lived experience perspective, so while this is our last point on your checklist, it is surely not the least!


Popular virtual event platforms for you:

Now that we’ve told you how to pick a virtual event platform, here are some big names that are making waves in 2022!


Zuddl

If you’re on the hunt for a platform that puts your brand ahead of anything else, Zuddl might just be the perfect choice for you. 100% customizable and super easy to use, it’s hard not to see why this virtual event platform could be your obvious choice - it can help you create impactful and immersive virtual experiences that are on par with in-person events.

Some of the highlights that set Zuddl apart are that it is latency-free, scalable to an attendee capacity of 1,50,000 and features a drag-and-drop editor that makes adding widgets such a breeze. From an organizer’s perspective, the all-powerful virtual greenroom ‘Backstage’ lets you take control over your virtual event like never before.

“How do I engage my attendees?” is possibly one of the key areas of concern for many event organizers in any virtual event is the level of engagement. Thankfully, Zuddl’s event-wide gamification. Chats, Polls, Q&A and a host of other features can help you not only reach your engagement goals but also surpass them. (Click here to read more about our gamification feature)

On the networking front, the AI-powered interest-based matchmaking feature makes networking a simple, fun and meaningful experience rather than an awkward obligation that you’d otherwise dread.

AES 256 encrypted and GDPR compliant, Zuddl has consciously been built keeping data security and attendee privacy at the core of its design. 

To complete the whole experience, Zuddl also provides you with actionable insights with realt-ime analytics and post-event metrics that are sure to take your future events to a whole new level.

Hopin

Hopin is another popular virtual event platform that emulates the in-person experience. With an attendee capacity of 1,00,000, it offers basic tools such as chat and polls to get your engagement going. 

Its standout feature is the event schedule tool which allows you to swiftly plan a series of events by giving you a top-down perspective. With Hopin, there is scope for customizing your event to an extent; you could work with the default themes and partial drag-and-drop capabilities to add your stamp to the event experience.

vFairs

vFairs offers a 3D virtual environment for your virtual event needs. With features such as 1:1 networking and group networking, video and document hosting, the platform offers a value-driven alternative to traditional or in-person events. 

Like Zuddl and Hopin, vFairs too is integrated with useful add-ons to further customize the event experience. When it comes to networking, attendees may enjoy the choices it offers: striking up a conversation on the spot or scheduling a conversation for later.

BigMarker

BigMarker is a popular choice for those hosting small to medium scale virtual events. This browser-based platform offers standard features such as polls, surveys and screen share while the chat function is enabled based on the organizer’s preference?permissions. 

While this platform may not have the best audio and video quality, it fairs well in terms of its email marketing, landing pages and social media streaming capabilities.

Airmeet

This virtual event platform can host a virtual event of up to 1,00,000 attendees. As an organizer, you’ll be able to accept up to 300 sponsors on Airmeet, so it’s a good choice if you’re looking for extensive sponsorship. 

Its networking tables and usage-based pricing are notable, and it is also available as a free version, which is limited in its capacity but still offers networking features such as the social lounge and 1:1 networking.

Hubilo

Another notable platform for virtual and hybrid events is Hubilo, which allows you as an organizer to focus on attendee and sponsor experience by offering engagement features such as a leaderboard and points for participation. 

Apart from the basic essentials of a virtual event, Hubilo also offers full-time customer support and event insights that organizers can leverage.

So there you have it, folks. Choosing a virtual event platform doesn’t have to be difficult, and we’ll make sure it never will. Want to make your decision even easier? Talk to us today.

Hybrid Events

5 ways to drive more value for your hybrid event sponsors

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Attracting new sponsors and retaining existing ones is no cakewalk for event organizers. But the shift to virtual and hybrid events has made this easier. Learn how.

Amongst the many challenges faced by organizers is that of driving value for event sponsors. 

Every organizer knows that sponsorship is critical to a successful event - not only in terms of financial backing but also because of positive publicity, increased brand awareness, reach, and prestige that it powers. So, after bringing a sponsor on board, it’s extremely important to be able to give that sponsor the ROI that you’ve promised them - or else you risk losing them for future events. 

But the growing popularity of hybrid events and the fact that 86% of B2B companies see an increased ROI of their hybrid events within 7 months of conducting it—presents a great solution to tackle this challenge.

Gone are the days when you would slap sponsor logos on merchandise. Thanks to the virtual and in-person components of hybrid events, organizers have more and better opportunities to drive both brand awareness for sponsors and lead generation as well. 

Here’s how to go about driving value for sponsors at your next hybrid event:

1. Understand what your event sponsors want 

Virtual Meets with Zuddl

Mike Butcher, the Editor-At-Large at TechCrunch, explains how sponsors’ expectations have changed over the years while reiterating the importance of understanding them from the beginning, stating "A lot of these sponsors don’t just want to have a sponsor sticker slapped onto an event. They want to do something that has a real conversational element to it.”

So discussing your sponsors’ objectives from a hybrid event at the outset will allow you to produce tailor-made sponsorship opportunities and results. Keep in mind that an essential part of managing sponsor expectations is clarifying what you can and cannot do with this event.

For instance,  sponsors could be seeking a high level of interaction with the target audience but may be unsure of what results could be achieved through a hybrid event. Accordingly, you can share engagement metrics from previous virtual or hybrid events you’ve hosted as well as touchpoints you’ve planned for the upcoming event with them. This can help you and your sponsors agree on a goal that you are both comfortable with.

2. Choose a virtual event platform that offers branding, engagement + analytic tools

Virtual Event Platform - Zuddl

Whilst you are having these important discussions with your sponsors, you will also need to be scouting and evaluating virtual event platforms that can help you drive the results you desire ie. happy attendees and happy sponsors.  What are the basics that your virtual event platform will need to have?

  • Branding - Just as your physical venue has banners and signage showcasing your event sponsors, so should your virtual venue. So your event platform needs to have the capability to allow you to customize the venue as per your wishes. If you want to put up banners in your lobby dedicated to sponsors, you should be able to. Want to highlight that a sponsor is sponsoring a specific Stage or session by changing the background image of the Stage? You should be able to do that too. Basically, you should have free rein to be able to drive brand awareness for your Sponsors throughout the venue.
  • Audience engagement tools: The more you make a hybrid event memorable for attendees, the better it reflects on your event sponsors, so choose a platform that can elevate engagement. Look out for these:
  • ~~Chat, Polls and Q&A: These tools can make a huge difference by turning what can feel like a video playlist of lectures into a lively and exciting two-way conversation. Whether an attendee is sitting at the in-person venue or tuning in from home, using the same tools helps everyone feel part of the same experience and boosts participation.
  • ~~Gamification: This feature can encourage attendees to do more at the event by rewarding them for every action they take during the event. 
  • ~~Virtual Breakout Rooms: These can be used to host small group conversations and curate more focused discussions. So you could for instance dedicate a room per Sponsor; this means that they would have a representative sitting in the Room and striking up conversations with attendees interested in the company or a service/product of theirs. This allows your sponsors to gain more qualified leads and interact with their target audience at a deeper level.
  • Analytics: One of the biggest advantages of hosting a hybrid event is the data that can be collected. The virtual component of the event means that attendee actions - such as questions they ask, Polls they answer, booths visited etc can all be captured. In this way, sponsors can see how many attendees watched a product video, for example, or visited a sponsored Stage, Booth or Room. This insight can help in post-event follows and in better understanding feedback or sentiment about a product or service.

3. Give sponsors their own virtual Expo Booth 

Virtual Expo Platform - Zuddl

An exhibit booth is perhaps the oldest strategy for driving value for sponsors at an event - and that holds true today. By enabling sponsors to set up booths at both the physical and virtual venues, you double the exposure they receive. 

Each booth acts as a hub for sharing branded content, marketing collateral, and downloadable assets. And as each booth can be staffed by a company representative, sponsors can offer product demos and hold private conversations directly with attendees. 

Importantly, each virtual booth comes with a ‘Register Interest’ button for attendees to express their intention. This is a simple but powerful way for Sponsors to collect leads. 

4.  More touchpoints and activities that give sponsors more exposure

Virtual Team Building Activities - Zuddl

Plan in activities and touchpoints that drive visibility and awareness for event sponsors. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Strategically create in-show placement at different places in the virtual and in-person venue, such as the lobby or breakout rooms zones to boost the sponsors’ visibility organically.
  • Add representatives from sponsoring brands as moderators or presenters for event sessions and involve them in panel discussions or forums as well. This is a great way to highlight your sponsors’ domain knowledge.
  • Plan in sponsored sessions targeting the brand’s primary audience. 
  • Play videos by event sponsors in between sessions to educate your audience about their companies, and offerings.
  • Offer educational content and downloadable assets from sponsors in your event lobby to reinforce their thought leadership and collect leads in exchange.
  • Host trivia quizzes that include a question or two about sponsors. For instance, a tech-related trivia session centering around your sponsors from the software technology domain. 
  • Hold a raffle with prizes from sponsors for the winners

Protip: Gamification is your best friend here as it can nudge attendees into completing actions that can drive value for them and your sponsors. 

5. Give your sponsors actionable insights

So far, we’ve focused on creating value for your sponsors during the event. But what happens once the event is over? Post-event insights are crucial to retaining sponsors for the long run as it can help aid strategy, product development, decision-making, and budget allocation. To this end, event organizers can share attendee data, survey and poll results, and insights from other activities to reveal what resonated the most with the sponsors’ target audience. 

Here are some crucial metrics you can share with your sponsors:

  • Total number of participants
  • Leads generated
  • Audience engagement
  • Results of sponsored surveys and polls 
  • Sponsored sessions with the most engagement and attendance 

 To sum up…

The key to attracting more sponsors lies in creating value for them by building brand awareness and accelerating lead generation. Their primary interest lies in accessing your audience base, establishing their domain expertise, and capturing qualified leads.
Hybrid events give you ample opportunity to deliver these demands. Start by recognizing your sponsors’ needs, and then using the unique benefits of a hybrid event to meet them. All it takes is a little creativity, a little thoughtfulness, and a powerful virtual hosting platform like Zuddl to pull it off.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

A message from our CEO: Building the future of enterprise events

3
Mins Read
Bharath Varma, Founder, Zuddl

A message from our co-founder and CEO, Bharath Varma announcing Zuddl's Series A funding, and his vision for the future.

Today, we have some exciting news to share — we’ve raised $13.35 million in our Series A round!

Alpha Wave Incubation led our Series A round with participation from Qualcomm Ventures, GrowX Ventures, Waveform Ventures. We’re thrilled to work with investors that believe in our long-term vision of the future of enterprise events and I wanted to take a moment to celebrate this milestone and share my thoughts on Zuddl’s journey and our plans for the future.

Our Journey

When Vedha and I first talked about the idea of Zuddl, we could not have imagined that mere months later COVID-19 would propel us on a dizzying journey to turn that idea into reality. We started Zuddl in May 2020 and spent the next couple of months in the YC summer batch racing to launch our MVP. Since then, we’ve been working hard to improve our product, grow our team and get Zuddl in front of as many potential customers as possible, growing 30x in the process.

In the last 18 months, we have launched a lot of features and improvements to enable organizations to run awe-inspiring events all the while putting their brand front and center. Event organizers have built digital replicas of their physical office spaces, recreated their favorite venues, and built completely themed event spaces.

All of these lead back to one theme: organizers are ready to embrace the world of hybrid and virtual events. What started out as a begrudging exercise forced on organizations by the pandemic has unlocked a host of new possibilities that organizers are embracing. For the first time ever, it is the norm that access to events is not dictated by where you are. Going back to our favorite analogy, imagine being unable to watch a football game because you can’t attend in person. Wild, right? For a long time, that was an accepted reality for business events. Expectations have shifted now and we are excited to empower organizations to embrace that change.

More than anything else though, I am so humbled by the team of A+ players that have pushed us forward on this incredible journey. The Zuddl family has grown significantly in the last year. We have grown from a team of 7 to over 75+ across the globe working together to empower organizations to deliver remarkable live experiences.

The Road Ahead

With this new funding, we’re excited to continue to empower organizations to build remarkable live events. More and more, teams tell us that they are feeling the fatigue of boring virtual meets and are struggling to keep their attendees engaged. Zuddl enables organizers to bring the energy back to their live events with a backstage studio that delivers high-quality production and drag and drop widgets that stay true to their brand.

Our vision is to be the one platform for all enterprise events, whether that’s internal or external, hybrid or virtual. This new round of funding will enable us to continue building on the foundation we have built so far and help us achieve our next few goals:

1. Double down on product

Organizations have just dipped their toes into the possibilities of hybrid and virtual events. That’s why we’re committed to building the best enterprise event platform - more interactive, powerful and integrated into the other tools you use.

We are investing in data and integrations to enable data-driven post event decisions. We are revamping the organizer event setup experience to be simpler and more intuitive. We are doubling down on our feature set for hybrid to really break the barriers between virtual and in-person attendees. We are launching new product lines.

2. Scale our team globally

Zuddl started after the pandemic and we’re proud to have built a talented remote-first team. With this funding, we’re thrilled to be able to continue to grow the team and have more people join us on this journey.

We are also opening a new office in Abu Dhabi this month. This will be our headquarters for EMEA region sales and support and will also allow us to tap into a larger market of engineering talent. You can view our open positions here.

3. Accelerate our growth

We’ve been so fortunate in the last 18 months to work with customers like Kellogg’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Microsoft, NASSCOM and over 15 Fortune 500 companies. We know that this is just the beginning and we have so much more work to do. We want every large organization and every large event to be powered by Zuddl. We’re beyond thrilled to enter this new phase of growth and take a step closer to that goal.

To all Zuddlers, thank you for everything you do. I couldn’t have imagined a better bunch of people to embark on this journey with. I learn from you all every day. To our customers, thank you for the trust and faith you have placed in me and in Zuddl. We at Zuddl, remain committed to your success.

With gratitude,

Bharath Varma
Co-founder & CEO, Zuddl

Hybrid Events

Help! How can I boost attendee engagement at a hybrid event?

7
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Keeping both virtual and in-person attendees interested, engaged, and satisfied can be a tall order, but equipped with these best practices, you’ll be able to keep everyone riveted.

First,  let's get this out of the way: hybrid events have been around for years.

Take any example of a major sporting event that has been televised worldwide. On the one hand, you have plenty of people enjoying the game in person at the stadium, and on the other hand, you have millions of fans watching the game at home. This is an example of an event that is hybrid thanks to its virtual and in-person components. So, why the hype now?

Over the past year, event marketers have seen first-hand the benefits that come with virtual events -  the ability to reach a broader audience, drive more engagement, track metrics easily, and improve event ROI. So even though people are able to meet again in person now, the success driven by virtual events have ensured that organizers will want to bring together elements of both to host a hybrid experience; as per the EventMB´s State of the Event Industry Report, 67.5% of event planners believe that future events will mostly be hybrid. 

But there’s one major caveat: in order to take advantage of everything that hybrid meetings and events have to offer,  focusing on ways to keep attendee engagement high is critical. But this can seem daunting - how are you going to keep thousands of online attendees along with in-person attendees invested throughout your event? 

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Set expectations for both live and virtual attendees

Regardless of whether an event is in-person or virtual, letting attendees know what they can expect at the event beforehand has always been a priority for organizers. In the case of a hybrid event, this is especially important.

Keep in mind that your attendees may be confused about how the hybrid setup will affect their event experience. They may not understand how to attend it, how to consume content, or how to and interact with others.

Setting the stage, therefore, is the first step in driving better engagement. Educating attendees about how to access the event, what in-person and digital elements will be present, how they can participate, and how they can connect with other attendees will go a long way.

2. Choose the right venue for your event

Hybrid Event with Zuddl - 1

From the seating plan to technological capabilities, the venue you choose can play an important role in your ability to keep all your attendees captivated and engaged. The essentials: seating capacity for your in-person attendees, Covid-19 safety considerations, full audiovisual production ability or live studio setup, and secure and reliable WiFi. 

You have to ask yourself: How can I use the venue space and its capabilities to create an immersive experience for all attendees? Does it have the equipment I need to produce a high-definition Netflix-like event experience? Does the venue provide enough bandwidth to prevent any buffering or AV lag?

As hybrid events become increasingly popular, more venues are starting to offer the services that enable hosting them. Today, it’s not surprising to find hybrid events venues that come equipped with a full live studio setup with Augmented Reality, XR effects, LED backdrops, and more. These may be a little more expensive, but the experience they provide is sure to increase your session engagement tenfold.

3. Be mindful of timezones when planning your schedule

Virtual Meets with Zuddl

It’s quite possible that you’ll have attendees from all over the world tuning into your event, in which case, how can you make sure your attendee from Alaska is able to have an event experience as satisfactory as an attendee from Australia? How can you ensure that everyone has access to your event content? And has the opportunity to connect with other attendees and speakers? Planning your event can seem pretty complex.


But it doesn’t have to be. 

One solution is to create on-demand content or set up simulated live sessions. You can release pre-recorded videos or workshop tutorials each day which means you can accommodate attendees in different time zones easily. You can then follow it up with live Q&A sessions with the speakers featured in the on-demand content, which keeps everyone interested and involved.

Another is to host the event over a couple of days - why not? The virtual component to your hybrid event allows you to do so with agility. As long as you have an event schedule that clearly spells out what sessions or activities are going to be going live at which times, your line-up can scale up or down.

Click here to read about how one of our clients held their virtual conference over an incredible 10 days. 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

And by creating more chances for your attendees to access and consume your content, the better your engagement rates will be.

4. Choose the right virtual event platform

Keeping hybrid attendees engaged is already a challenging task, so don’t complicate it further with cumbersome technology. You can assume that just like you, your attendees and speakers and sponsors will also be a bit unaccustomed to a hybrid event setup, so your first priority should be to find a virtual event platform partner that makes the entire process as simple, straightforward, and stress-free as possible.

Second, if the event platform you choose has features and tools that will help you drive engagement, that’s half the work done. Live Polls, Q&A, and Chat facilities are the bare minimum you should look for. Then there are platforms like Zuddl that will give you enhanced features like Raise Hands, Breakaway Rooms, and AI-powered Networking that raise the bar. Also critical: a mobile app that in-person attendees can access while at the venue that lets them connect with virtual attendees.

The more spaces and pathways you give your attendees to connect, chat, and interact, the more engaging your event will be as they are constant reminders of being part of something bigger than themselves.

5. Facilitate shared and inclusive experiences 

The last thing you want is for any of your attendees to feel left out. Leveraging the capabilities of the virtual event platform and the in-person venue you choose, you can then host activities and sessions that bring your in-person and virtual attendees together.

Here are a couple of ways to do this:

Networking -  Give your attendees the opportunity to meet and connect with each other at their own pace by setting up networking sessions, and Breakout Rooms.  Zuddl offers Smart Networking through which attendees are matched based on mutual interests such as a session topic, a job role, or an industry. Once matched, attendees can schedule a 1:1 video meeting, and get to know each other better.

Breakout Rooms - These virtual rooms can be used to facilitate small group conversations. Attendees can use these rooms just to socialize and relax or get together to discuss a specific topic. These are particularly effective as they bring together small numbers of like-minded peers who can easily form connections with each other.

Stage Interactions - While it’s important to offer content that is accessible to attendees as per their convenience, it’s paramount to have live sessions that shake things up, get everyone energized and create a greater sense of connection. At these sessions, you’ll need to play the role of a thoughtful moderator - using Polls to remind attendees that their opinions matter in real-time, take as many questions as you can by the audience to Speakers, or even using Raise Hands to bring attendees onto the stage.  These simple actions can go a long way in making an attendee feel ‘seen’ and valued, and will encourage them to keep participating.

6. Use gamification to make engagement more fun!

Attendee Engagement with Zuddl

Gamification is a simple and effective way for you to prompt and encourage attendees to participate more at your event. Set points to different activities and actions your attendees can complete such as asking a question or answering a Poll, and set prizes for those who top the leaderboard. This introduces a lighthearted sense of competition that will keep energy flowing throughout the event. (Click here to read more about Zuddl’s gamification feature)

To sum up…

The popularity of hybrid events is only set to grow over the next few years, so it’s important that you know how to get the most out of any hybrid event you host. Through thoughtful planning and the support of the right venue and a virtual event platform, you should be able to create an event experience that has all of your attendees excited and tuned in - no matter if they’re attending in-person or online. 

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Why NFTs are a gamechanger for hybrid and virtual events

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Through NFTs, your attendees can “own” a unique part or moment at your event instead of just attending it, enabling you to tap into new revenue streams and boost brand loyalty. Read to find out the what, why and how.

Look out event organizers! NFTs will change virtual/hybrid events forever.

When a digital artwork called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” sold for $69 million at Christie’s in March this year, it became clear that the time of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) had arrived. Although they have been around for years, the hype around NFTs has skyrocketed recently; there’s been $2.5 billion in NFT sales already in 2021. 

Wait, what is an NFT?

First, to address the elephant in the room, an NFT is a crypto asset (similar to a coin) representing an intangible digital item such as an image, audio file, video, gif, meme, or moment. An NFT is made and stored on a blockchain platform, which is the same technology that powers Bitcoin. The digital asset is traded online and cannot be duplicated.</span That’s why NFTs are so valuable.

What place do NFTS have at virtual or hybrid events?

NFTs have the power to disrupt the landscape of the events industry. Brands can now create unique, engaging, and interactive experiences for attendees, and give them  a token of ownership — something meaningful from the event that they can cherish forever.

Take the example of the music album ‘When You See Yourself’ which was released by the band the Kings of Leon in the form of an NFT. The group released tokens for special album packages, front-row seats at their concerts for life, and exclusive audiovisual art. This way, they gave all those who bought their tokens a piece of a one-of-a-kind and personal moment in time that any fan would have been proud to own.

Event organizers and marketers can employ a similar strategy at virtual and hybrid events. But while there are plenty of ways to use NFTs at your event - from ticketing to giveaways - providing value to your attendees and driving loyalty should be central to your strategy. Here’s what to keep in mind when you make your plan:

Allow the audience to “own” a moment and not just remember it 

By enabling your attendees to take home a unique NFT from the event aka actually “owning” an exclusive piece from the event experience, of which only a specific number will ever exist. With scarcity and uniqueness comes value.

Take digital artist Ahmed, for example, who attended a Clubhouse event on digital assets and NFTs. Instead of doing things the traditional way, he decided to capture a special moment from the event and turn it into an NFT. The ability to “own” this moment—through an NFT—made people buy it for 0.24 ETH from him.

Pique interest and nurtures brand loyalty 

Using an NFT as a virtual/hybrid event ticket lets you give attendees rewards, assign prizes to particular seats, or even offer additional event perks such as an invitation to an exclusive virtual after-party. Such a unique and exclusive brand experience can pique attendees’ interests and nurture brand loyalty. 

Virtual and hybrid event with Zuddl


5 ways to use NFTs at your next hybrid or virtual event

Here are a couple of suggestions to get you thinking about how to use NFTS at your event, and how they can work to your benefit.

1. Leverage NFTS as part of your pre-event promotions

With countless virtual events being held every week, it’s not easy to stand out. You’ll need to create a customized and valuable event experience to truly give attendees more than what they signed up for.

This is where NFTs can come into play. You can use them as a major Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for your virtual event. They can act as a tremendous pre-event marketing strategy, help you create buzz around your event, boost brand and event awareness, and give your audience yet another reason to sign up.

To this end, The Preakness Stakes, a legacy American thoroughbred horse race launched a range of digital souvenir NFTs this year, to market an old sport to a younger audience. Soft NFTs are digital such as full race videos and a digital rendering of the trophy, while others come with real-life experiences at the 2021 Preakness, such as VIP tickets and naming a race on the undercard.

2. Create digital assets and collectibles for mid-event giveaways

Virtual event engagement can be challenging, especially when Netflix and online shopping are just a tab away. NFT giveaways are a great way to keep your attendees’ attention firmly at your event and boost their event experience. Creating and offering digital assets and collectibles around the event theme or cause will further cement brand loyalty and bragging rights for attendees. Win-win.


3.  Use NFTs to create a unique ticketing system with add-ons and ticket tiers

Traditional ticketing systems are becoming increasingly unsafe due to online scams and phishing (12% of customers buying concert tickets end up being scammed). So using NFTs as tickets to your event not only adds an interesting element to your event, but makes the ticketing process safer as well. Here’s how:

  • Straightforward authentication, as blockchain stores the ticket’s code. 
  • Preventions of resale frauds and transfer of tickets by making tickets non-transferable.
  • Ability to offer value add-ons to specific ticket tiers such as rewards and prizes enables curated experiences drives enthusiasm and loyalty
  • Better security and protection as  NFT ticketing systems have top-tier access restrictions, privacy, and anti-scalping measures

Not to mention, it takes less than 5 minutes to generate NFT tickets, and for less than $2.

4.  Offer NFTs as gamification rewards

Virtual event gamification is a simple and fun way to encourage attendees to participate more at hybrid and virtual events. Organizers can set points to specific attendee actions, such as asking questions, answering a Poll, or visiting an Expo booth. Attendees who rack up the most points can then win themselves an NFT. In this way, you can drive engagement and steer audience behaviour.(Click here to read more about how to leverage gamification at your next event).

NFT with Zuddl -1


5. Give attendees NFTs as virtual event swag

Lastly, NFTs can be used as “I was there” event souvenirs for attendees. Think limited-edition iconic pieces that celebrate memories and moments from the event itself - a charismatic moment from a keynote address, a stylish product launch, a bold prediction by an industry leader, a high-energy musical performance, or an unexpected moment of hilarity. Others who were not able to attend the event themselves may be able to access or view these moments, but only your attendees will own them.

Virtual event NFT with Zuddl.


In conclusion...

Plenty of opportunity lies within the exclusivity and value that can be generated by NFTs. The five points highlighted in the article will help you use NFTs in exciting and innovative ways—to drive conversions, boost attendee engagement, deepen consumer relationships and drive new revenue streams.

If you’re interested in learning more about enhancing your next hybrid or virtual event experience through NFTs, gamification and other engagement solutions, talk to our team! We’ll walk you through best practices used by some of our clients like Microsoft and Kellogg’s, and give you a demo of how to use our platform to achieve your event goals. 

Just book a demo to get started.

Hybrid Events

How to improve the ROI of your next virtual or hybrid event

8
Mins Read
Komal Ahuja

Follow the seven strategies highlighted in this article and you’ll optimize your quantitative and qualitative results from your hybrid event.

The COVID-19 pandemic put virtual events front and center, but as things are slowly opening up again, in-person events are making a comeback. In this phase of transition, hybrid events — a combination of live and online events — are becoming popular, and for a good reason. 

They give your audience the flexibility to choose the format that best suits them. And like virtual events, they also allow you to reach a wider audience and at reduced costs because you don’t have to make arrangements for hundreds of people on-site. 

The technology used for virtual events also helps you track valuable information on your attendees and gauge their level of engagement with your brand and event. Moreover, they open doors to numerous sponsorship opportunities—making it a win for both you and the audience, who get access to expert speakers while sitting comfortably at home.

All these benefits combined can massively boost your ROI from the event. But don’t just take our word for it: 86% of B2B organizations say they’ve experienced a positive ROI on hybrid events within months of hosting them. 

But as lucrative as they seem, hybrid events can only be profitable if you follow some strategies before, during, and after the event. This article will explore seven such strategies that can help you capitalize on ROI in a hybrid format. Let’s dive in!

Before you start: Define your goals 

Calculating an event’s ROI can be challenging, given how many of its benefits are intangible and don’t always show immediately. 

However, you can still measure its ROI to an extent. The first step is to determine why you’re hosting the event, as well as the metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPI) you need to track for the same. Now, your goal behind hosting a hybrid event could be:

  • Brand awareness: for which you will need to track metrics like event registrations, social media engagement, and website traffic. 
  • Lead generation or sales: so track product/service inquiries and leads and customers acquired.
  • Audience education: look at KPIs like sessions attended, and attendee engagement levels
  • Earning revenue: track the number of event tickets sold and the revenue earned through sponsorships and new customers.

Determining event ROI becomes much simpler once you have a clear idea about your goals and the KPIs you have to track to measure them. 

Then, all you have to do is compare the expenses incurred to the gains (quantitative and qualitative), and you can assess the success of your event.

7 strategies to capitalize on ROI in a hybrid format

We’ve talked about calculating ROI, and the prerequisites for measuring event success. Now, let’s explore what you can do to boost your return on investment from hybrid events. 

1. Plan and market the event in advance 

One of the most significant benefits of hybrid events is the massive reach they bring. You’re not restricted by your audience’s location, ability to travel or the venue capacity and can get many people to attend the event. And the more attendees you get, the greater your ROI will be.

So the key to increasing registrations is to start marketing your event in advance. Ideally, all your marketing campaigns should include a call to action (CTA) to register for the event 6-8 weeks before it’s set to happen. Some ways to promote the event are: 

  • Build a dedicated website that provides all vital information.
  • Promote the event on your company website, social media channels, and newsletter.
  • Reach out to industry influencers and market the event through their channels.
  • Create value-driven content (like blogs, social media posts, YouTube videos) that positions you as an expert and builds trust with your audience. 

Although it was entirely virtual, content marketplace Pepper Content implemented many of these strategies and started marketing their Elevate Summit more than six weeks before the event—the result was 10,000+ global attendees


Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 1


2. Choose an interactive virtual event platform 

Hybrid events have both live and virtual audiences, so to deliver a successful event it’s essential to keep both engaged. For your on-site audience, you can use tools like surveys, Q&A, and networking sessions. But for your virtual audience, it’s the event platform you choose that will play a significant role in determining their engagement and experience at your event. 

Choose a platform that offers interactive features, like live streaming, polling, chat, and breakout rooms to keep your attendees interested and involved throughout the event. Zuddl, for instance, offers matchmaking features, discussion rooms, and 1:1 meetings to help attendees interact with each other, the speakers, and sponsors. 

This helps attendees derive more value from your event and create positive experiences, which ultimately boosts returns for you.

3. Charge for your event 

A straightforward way to maximize ROI and generate more revenue from your event is to host a paid event.

The idea is to price your event in a way that covers your costs and justifies the value your audience will receive from it. This will be much easier if you’re bringing well-known speakers to your event and have an established audience that will be ready to buy from you. 

But regardless of that, there are many ways you can increase ticket sales. The first is to create ticketing tiers—offering different access levels at different prices. This will give your audience the flexibility to choose as per their needs and budget and can thus increase registrations for you.

Another strategy to get more attendees is to offer an early bird or group discount—this will encourage more people to sign up fast and even build hype around your event. 

4. Create sponsorship deals

Finding sponsors can reduce the costs you personally incur on organizing events and help you invest in better tools and arrangements for attendees. 

But the question is, how can you convince people to sponsor your event? The best way is to educate them about the increased exposure and visibility they’ll get through it. Sponsorships are beneficial for both you as the event organizer and for the brand that is providing you resources. You can add their logos to event banners, landing pages and Stage backgrounds, create virtual sponsor booths, and encourage them to offer attendees giveaways or digital swag bags.

Moreover, you can give sponsors access to the attendee data you collect during the event and give them in-depth insight about their target audience, so they're further motivated to collaborate with you. See how AdWorld has clearly stated the benefits of being a sponsor on their website.

Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 2


5. Leverage attendee data 

The good thing about hybrid events is they allow you to collect a vast amount of data on your attendees, including:

  • Registrations and attendance 
  • Demographic information 
  • The sessions they attended
  • The topics they were interested in 
  • How long they participated in a session for
  • The sponsor booths they visited

This information can help you understand what your target audience likes and doesn’t, create detailed buyer personas, and thus, more targeted marketing campaigns. You can also use real-time feedback and polling features to assess your event’s performance and make improvements on the go—this can further enhance attendees’ experience and customer sentiment. 

The bottom line: Such insights into your audience can help you optimize your marketing efforts and current and future events. 

6. Focus on lead retrieval 

A Marketing Charts survey revealed that events generate qualified top-of-funnel leads. And hybrid events make tracking and retrieving information on leads even easier—since all your attendees (in-person and online) register through a single platform. 

Collecting and storing information on potential leads is also where your event platform plays a crucial role. Zuddl, for instance, helps you track attendee data, engagement, and buyer intent and prepares solid lead sheets for you. You can immediately start following up with these leads after the event ends. 

Now, some ways you can enhance your follow-up efforts are:

  • Sending out thank-you emails with a feedback form.
  • Sharing keynote speakers’ clips or relevant articles through your company newsletter.
  • Connecting with participants and prospects on social media platforms like LinkedIn.
  • Sending targeted ads to their IP address.
  • Creating exclusive post-event communities.

The idea is to integrate these leads into your marketing campaigns and keep your brand on the top of their minds. This can not only help you convert leads but also build meaningful relationships and retain them.

7. Repurpose event content 

If re-used intelligently, your event content can bring you returns for months after it ends. Here’s how you can go about this: 

  • Share event recordings with attendees so they can revisit sessions. This will further improve their experience with you. 
  • Turn sessions into gated content on your website—ask for email addresses to access it so you can build a list of leads


Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 3


Click here to watch a recording of Zuddl and ETP’s hybrid event about hybrid events, SHIFT 2021.

  • Create a paid content library to let people watch sessions on-demand, like HubSpot’s Inbound does.


Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 4


  • Turn video content into a webinar series or online course
  • Use event materials to market your next event, like ONECelibre does here. 


Virtual Events with Zuddl


With these strategies, you can generate leads and customers from your event content and turn it into a recurring revenue source for yourself. 

Conclusion

By reducing operational costs, expanding reach, and providing valuable data, the hybrid format can considerably boost your event ROI and provide benefits long after the event ends. 

Follow the seven strategies highlighted in this article and focus on improving attendees’ experience—whether it’s through the speakers you bring onboard, the content shared, or your event platform—and you’ll optimize your quantitative and qualitative results from the event. 

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

5 must-have integrations for your virtual and hybrid events

9
Mins Read
Komal Ahuja

From ticketing to registration, software integrations offer automated solutions that can help you more efficiently manage every stage of the event lifecycle. Here are integrations that are a ‘must-have’ for your next event.

When you’re organizing a hybrid event for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are hundreds of moving parts that you need to keep track of, last minute changes, and plenty of challenges you need to deal with. 

These key challenges include: 

  • Managing the increased cost, complexity, and risk associated with different technologies and platforms. 
  • Offering attendees bespoke experiences specific to their interests and roles. 
  • Creating inclusive, engaging, and memorable event experiences for both in-person and virtual audiences. 

Enter integrations.

From ticketing to registration, software integrations offer automated solutions that can help you more efficiently manage every stage of the event lifecycle. When used together, virtual event platforms and powerful integrations can help your business save money and time, and create a smoother and seamless experience for your attendees.

In this article, we take you through several integrations you can use to address the challenges faced during hybrid events so you can conduct them successfully. Let’s get started!

1.Ticketing 

With a hybrid or virtual event, you no longer need to worry about scanning tickets at the entrance or reducing long lines at the check-in tables.Incorporating ticketing integrations can smoothen the registration process for your audience.

With an integrated ticketing system, your event guests can purchase tickets online and download or print the ticket in real-time. Such streamlined one-stop event shopping can encourage event participants to buy one or multiple event tickets. Here are two tools that offer ticketing integration and which you can use for your events: 

  • Cvent is an effective tool that streamlines registration through its Express Ticketing Event solution, allowing you to customize the registration process and fields per your event’s needs. 
Image Source: Cvent


  • In addition, Eventbrite offers an integrated ticketing solution for your virtual events with an easy promo code creation for improved marketing and sales strategy. 


Image source: Eventbrite


Pro tip: When your audience performs registration using these tools on a ticketing platform, the registration can be automatically imported into Zuddl.We also offer a webhook API for ticketing, so you can use that to integrate with any ticketing platform for registrations.

2.A social media wall integration 

When you host a virtual/hybrid event, a social media display integration can help you make your events more interactive, appealing, and engaging. 

How? You can use a display screen to integrate your social media feeds, brand or event hashtags, which means that you can broadcast User Generated Content (UGC) like visuals of users using your products, customer reviews or testimonials, and ratings at your event. Attendees can then browse through your social media or use your event hashtags when posting on their social media to contribute to your virtual/hybrid event. 

Taggbox Display is a popular display integration tool that allows you to integrate social media with your hybrid and virtual events for a unique and interactive user experience. 



For this very reason, we have proudly partnered with Taggbox to offer a Zuddl x Taggbox Display integration which allows you to: 

  • Amplify your brand awareness and virtual event’s reach by putting up a social media wall for real-time user interaction and encouraging participation. 
  • Build a sense of sociability and community by displaying specific event hashtags. 

3.Email marketing 

Image source: Rebrandly


According to Markletic, 76% of virtual event organizers consider emails their most critical marketing medium. Email marketing is an efficient way to promote your virtual event, gain a good number of registrations, and send event reminders to ensure maximum participation. 

However, performing this process manually can get tedious and time-consuming, often resulting in human errors. Human errors are common during drafting an email and cost a lot to your business. For example, including the wrong name of your guest can not only seem unprofessional but lower the chances of them showing up to your virtual events. 

It’s a good thing then that you can use email marketing integrations to send and deliver highly personalized and branded emails. A ticketing integration can also help smooth your email marketing process and make it more efficient and accurate.

Here are two ticket integration tools that can help you automate your email marketing strategy for your virtual or hybrid event: 

  • Marketo offers an automated and highly scalable email marketing tool that lets you interact with your customers through their unique online behavior and drive maximum results with personalized emails. 


Image source: CRM Directory


  • Mailchimp is another example that offers marketing automation applications and tools to let you reach your customers with smarter and faster marketing and drive sales. 

Image source: Mailmunch


Pro tip: When your guests register for an event on Zuddl, we push them into an existing mail campaign within your email marketing tool. This takes away the trouble to add recipients manually or scratch your head over coordinating ticketing and marketing efforts.

4.Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Integrating your virtual or hybrid event platform with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can be the key to a successful event as CRM software facilitates the management and interactions with your event attendees. This is also why Gartner named CRM tools as the world’s biggest and largest software market. 

When a user registers for your virtual event, you can use the CRM to log their personal information (name, email, phone number, address), unique food or transport needs, and any other details. You can use this recorded data to interact with your guests on a personal level post-event for further promotion, marketing, or other campaigns. Instead of using outdated paper-based or email systems, you can leverage the CRM integration for event management.

Using CRM integration with your event management platform, you get a centralized view of all your attendee’s data, their engagement rate, and how long they attended your event for more operational accountability. 

You can use the following effective tools that offer CRM integration: 

  • Salesforce offers a wide range of CRM categories that help you manage over 150,000 customers with a full range of functionalities and features at a scalable price per your business needs. 

Image credit: Salesforce


  • Hubspot offers a free and easy-to-use CRM software with features including pipeline management, reporting dashboard, deal tracking, and company insights. 


Image credit: Hubspot


By integrating these tools with your event management platform, you will be able to record and track your guest’s data with ease. 

Pro tip: One of the critical features of these tools is that all the attendee information like how much time they spent on your virtual/hybrid event, can be pushed back to augment CRM customer information. Through this information, you can lead better and personalized post-event campaigns with enhanced customer relationship building.

5.Accessibility

As an event organizer, you need to accommodate the needs of every abled and disabled event attendee.

Thanks to the ADA Act (Americans with Disabilities Act), organizers have options like closed captioning for hard of hearing and deaf people and audio recording for the visually impaired and blind people. Integrating these options or services with your virtual/hybrid events promotes a sense of inclusivity, making your events highly accessible to every present attendee. 

Here’s how you can create highly accessible virtual events: 

  • Keeping 4:5:1 color contrast
  • Including alt-text for all images 
  • Providing audio description or transcript for all video content 
  • Describing visual representations as crafts and charts
  • Using clean and easily readable text fonts

Here are two effective integrations for accessible virtual/hybrid events:

1. Interprefy (multilingual audio capabilities)

Thanks to Interprefy, clients can now turn on multilingual audio capabilities, which can be done at a stage level. Interprefy is a Zurich-based partner company that facilitates multilingual audio support by removing language barriers through cloud-based solutions which make real-time interpreting accessible from anywhere.The audio translation will be human-driven and not AI ( human translators will be translating the audio in real-time and not driven by an AI), and thus the lag will be approximately 5 seconds.


2. SyncWords (closed captioning capabilities)

Your attendees can now turn on closed captioning capabilities, which can be done at a stage level through the partner company, SyncWords, to facilitate closed captioning capabilities. 

SyncWords Live meets Section 508 Compliance, a primary tool to help hard-of-hearing and deaf attendees effectively engage in the events. Once turned on, the attendees can choose the preferable language in which they want to see the captions on stage.The closed captioning will be human-driven and not AI ( human captioners will be feeding in captions in real-time), and thus the lag will be only 2-3 seconds. 


Conclusion 

From planning hybrid/virtual events to post-event lead retrieval, choosing the right event integration tools lets you efficiently connect, manage, and interact with your attendees from start to finish. 

It can be challenging to streamline the registration process without powerful integrations, keep your attendees engaged and involved, or effectively follow up with them through emails. Thus, making these tasks more tedious, time-consuming, and expensive. 

Integrations ensure that you can have an engaging and user-friendly registration process, deliver relevant marketing materials, and offer interactive and appealing experiences.

From creating a branded virtual event set up, tracking attendees to post-event recordings, Zuddl’s easy-to-use and highly customizable virtual event platform gives you complete control and flexibility to build your virtual event and deliver an immersive and engaging attendee experience. 

Book your demo today and leverage the benefits of the aforementioned powerful integrations to conduct memorable, interactive, and profitable virtual or hybrid events for your business. 

Hybrid Events

6 most important factors for choosing a venue for any hybrid event

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Choosing a venue for your hybrid event is one of the biggest decisions an organizer has to make. How do you determine which one is the right one amongst hundreds of options? We break down the criteria for you.

Planning hybrid events is a combination of keeping track of small details and taking some big decisions. The venue? It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make as an organizer, because the smallest oversight when picking the venue can blow up, causing huge issues on the day of the event. And if you’ve never hosted a hybrid event before, it may feel a little overwhelming trying to figure out which is the right venue for your event.

There’s a lot to think about and a lot riding on your choice, but don’t stress. If you carefully evaluate the following factors, you’ll end up with a wishlist that you can use to start your search

  1. Internet connectivity
  2. Space and equipment
  3. Power supply
  4. In-house support
  5. Dry runs
  6. Safety measures

Now, let’s break each of these down.

1. Internet connectivity

This one’s a no-brainer. 

79% of event professionals feel that wifi performance and availability are a big issue in the event industry according to a study by EventMB. 44% of the participants also said that having poor wifi was one of the main frustrations they faced when dealing with venues. 

Internet connectivity will be central to hosting an integrated event experience for both your in-person and virtual attendees. You’ll need excellent connectivity and bandwidth so that live-streamed sessions and pre-recorded videos play without interruption for your virtual attendees. And your in-person attendees will need to be able to access your event app to access virtual content, post to social media, and connect and network with virtual attendees.

To this end, the venue should have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) that is capable of processing high bandwidth and can keep the connection secure, even in a high-density environment. It’s best if you confirm with the venue that you have dedicated bandwidth and not shared bandwidth, as this will guarantee that you have consistent internet connectivity throughout the event. A venue that doesn't offer dedicated bandwidth will most likely not have fiber optic cable either. 

Here are some other considerations related to internet connectivity that you should look for:

  • A streaming speed of at least 10 Gigabytes (GB) with low latency
  • Dual-band WiFi that offers a frequency of 2.4 GigaHertz (GHz) and 5 GHz for certain users
  • A latency speed or ping of 30 milliseconds or less along with a rate of 2 MP per 100 users
  • A networking engineering team that is available on-site to assist you during outages

Be sure to screen your venues with these requirements in mind, and vet their online streaming capabilities through the online event platform you are using so there are no issues later. When you’ve chosen a venue, work with them to finesse your requirements.  Even if you have to pay more for a larger streaming package, it will be worth it to avoid any stress and hassle on the day of the event.

2. Space & Equipment

When you’re organizing a hybrid event, the venue space is just as important as the right equipment.  Not only does your venue need to accommodate the number of attendees you’re expecting, but it also needs to have the space for any setup you’re considering - like a stage for instance, with lighting and cameras. 

Think about these questions when evaluating the space of a venue:

  • How are people going to walk around the venue during your event?
  • If you’re planning to showcase any products via booths or a special setup, is there adequate space to do this?
  •  If a stage isn’t available, can one be set up? And is there space to accommodate your AV requirement?
  • Does the venue have high-definition cameras for your live-streaming needs, including ones that can support a wide range of screen sizes? Do they provide high-quality microphones?
  • Where will attendees register or check in?
  • Is there space for your main stage as well as areas for smaller group discussions and for networking?
  • Where should audio and video equipment be stationed?

From AV capabilities to dedicated studio space, the right venue can help you take advantage of the expertise and infrastructure they offer to ensure that your audience is able to have a good experience.

3. Power supply


No one wants a power cut to bring everything to a halt, so check that your venue has the capability to support your power needs, including entertainment, lighting, decorations, video and audio equipment, photo booths, band, catering, etc. And don’t underestimate the value of a good power backup system.

4. In-house support

Hosting a hybrid event that caters to a live as well as remote audience at the same time can be challenging because  not all companies have a team that is large enough to take care of both your virtual attendees and your in-house attendees.


Hybrid event with Zuddl.


Having an in-house support team will make the job easier for you. 

Having a capable and friendly venue team to work with means that they can help address issues attendees face at the physical venue, allowing you to focus on other pressing issues of your hybrid event like attendees engagement, integrating sponsorships into your event. If you’re working with a studio partner to produce your hybrid event, keep in mind that you’ll be able to leverage the talent on their team as well.

Either way, ensure that you have the following professionals support the event, regardless of whether they are on your team,  or work for the studio partner or the venue: 

  • A video operator who can ensure that the video is recorded at all times and who can work with your team to live-stream the sessions.
  • An AV operator who can set up and operate equipment used to enhance hybrid events, such as microphones, video recorders, projectors, lighting and sound mixing equipment
  • Technical support to help in case internet connectivity goes awry

If the venue does not have in-house support, you can negotiate your venue package pricing since you will be sourcing support yourself, and which - though necessary - can take up a significant amount of your budget. 

5. Dry runs

For ultimate peace of mind, choose a venue that lets you hold practice runs before the main day. There are 100 different things that can go wrong on the day of your event, so having the opportunity to hold a dry run, check all the essentials like the internet speed, audiovisual equipment etc, and fix any issues is invaluable. 

Protip: Keep in mind that many of your speakers may not be 100% comfortable with interacting with a live and virtual audience and other speakers simultaneously, so allowing them to practice at the venue will help them feel more comfortable and confident on the day of the event as well. 

Most venues should give you the time you need to set up and practice the day before your event. However, if you are getting access only on the day of your event, you’ll need to consider whether your team will be able to combat major problems on the spot or not. 

6. Safety measures

With variants of the pandemic emerging every other day, you’ll now have to deal with twice the safety issues as before. For in-person attendees, the venue will have to conform to the safety regulations of their respective local and national governments. 

Pro-tip:  Look for a venue that has well-documented and clear safety policies and protocols. When your attendees see that the venue is committed to keeping them safe, your on-site attendance will improve.

In conclusion…

Keep these factors in mind when evaluating potential venues, and you should end up with one that’s the perfect partner for your hybrid event. And if ever in doubt, just think about the venue from an attendee’s perspective. How would you feel if you were attending a hybrid event in the space? Does it have everything that would make an attendee feel delighted to attend the event, as well as looked after during it? Is there anything that would cause discomfort or stress?

Keep customer-centricity in mind when picking the venue, and you won’t go wrong.

Hybrid Events

9 popular hybrid events to inspire your next event

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Hybrid events come in all sizes and shapes. Take a look at some of the most imaginative and unique ways companies have held hybrid events for some inspiration when planning your own.


Contrary to popular assumption,  hybrid events have been around for years. 

Just look at the Super Bowl. Thousands of fans would watch the game at the stadium, and many millions more would watch the game from their homes. It's a classic example of a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual components.


It’s taken the pandemic for businesses and corporations to realize that they can hold hybrid events, and the unique value they offer. Hybrid events combine the irreplaceable feeling of connection of in-person events with the amazing data-based insights and reach of virtual events.

But, not all hybrid events are created equal!

Hybrid events come in all shapes and sizes, delivering unique and memorable experiences to their attendees. We found 9 of the coolest hybrid events that really showcase how versatile the format can be. All it takes is a little bit of creativity.

1. Austrian Wine Marketing Board

What’s a wine company to do in a middle of a pandemic? The Austrian Wine Marketing Board seems to have taken the question as a personal challenge. Instead of shutting shop, the company decided to hold a hybrid Austrian wine tasting event in Moscow instead!

Marketing Board Event with Zuddl
Image credit: The Drinks Business


At the in-person event, wine professionals were given their own socially distanced tables on which they tasted several hybrid wines from Austria, and learned about each product. Using an online app, the tasters could connect virtually with suppliers in Austria through 1:1 video calls in private video meeting rooms or live chat at virtual booths, that had easily accessible documentation and technical specifications. This allowed the tasters to place orders directly from suppliers they would never have known existed, without the event.

2. Meeting Professionals International: WEC Grapevine

It’s no surprise that the largest meeting planner and event planner industry association worldwide held one of the most successful hybrid events to date: WEC Grapevine. The association's flagship event brought together more than 600 in-person attendees in Grapevine, Texas, along with 1,000 virtual attendees. It garnered a 93% satisfaction rate from attendees.

Virtual Hybrid Event with Zuddl
Image credit: Meeting Professionals International

The reason? All WEC Grapevine sessions ensured that both the in-person and digital formats complemented one another. This includes keynote sessions structured like a late-night talk show, where an emcee engaged with the speakers and in-person audience, while virtual attendees participated online. Break-out sessions, midday broadcasts, and Zumba workouts boosted the virtual side, with 23 concurrent sessions.

3. Twitch’s GlitchCon

Twitch, an online streaming service for gamers and content producers, hosts a conference – usually in San Diego – that attracts thousands of attendees from around the world. TwitchCon 2019 focused on community-building regardless of where their attendees were. Virtual attendees are able to participate in the event through live streaming, panels, tournaments and more! There were also keynotes, dozens of heavily-produced gaming tournaments, and even a Blink-182 performance. 

Virtual Conference with Zuddl
Image credit: Sports Video Group


4. SHIFT 2021

What better way to impress upon event marketers and organizers the benefits of virtual and hybrid events than host one yourself? Shift 2021 did exactly that.  Powered by virtual and hybrid events platform Zuddl and studio partner,  Entertainment Technology Partners, the event was held at a physical venue in Orlando and virtually on Zuddl. 

The event boasted speakers from companies like Google, Hubspot, LMG, Viacom, Invision, Redstone, VEI, and more, talking about all things hybrid, as well as online networking sessions too. As a consequence, although this was Zuddl’s first hybrid event, it was a resounding success. More than 55% of in-person and virtual attendees actively participated during Shift, asking questions to speakers, upvoting questions asked by other attendees, and connecting 1:1 to network with each other.

Watch a video recording of the event here.

5. Empower 21

Soon after Texas opened up in early 2021, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention successfully held a Christian mission-inspired conference titled Empower 21 as a hybrid event. The target audience for the event were the members of the 40,000 Southern Baptist churches under the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (STBC) spread throughout the country.

The organization used a single platform for both in-person and virtual attendees instead of a patchwork of different programs. Because of this, SPTC was able to promote the event over 100 channels to the families and individuals of the community. Virtual attendees tuned in from the safety of their homes, and attendees who went to the event in-person in Texas, followed social distancing guidelines and wore a mask. 

All attendees were able to attend 29 sessions that included panels, luncheons, workshops, and keynotes. And thanks to enhanced integration, virtual attendees were able to network with their in-personal counterparts. Empower 21 is one of the top examples where a unified audience was created across virtual and in-person so that attendees could share the same experience, communicate, and interact with each other. 

6. Apple Special Events

When it comes to events with power and pull, Apple is, of course, one of the front runners - and it’s no different when it comes to hybrid events. For years, the company has live-streamed product launches and special events to thousands of technology enthusiasts and Apple fans all around the world in addition to on-site attendees. 


7. Growth Marketing Conference

There are some who believe that hybrid events disproportionately favor in-person attendees over virtual participants.  The Growth Marketing Conference is one hybrid event that disproves that. Organizers created a ‘Virtual Access Pass’ that gave their virtual attendees bonus content, such as access to more than 200+ webinars, to make sure they felt included and valued.  

8. Gainsight Pulse Everywhere

 This conference has been running every year since 2013. Last year, because of the pandemic, the organizers decided to pivot to a hybrid model. Key staff members and speakers attended the event in person, and thousands of attendees were able to watch the event live and online free of charge. 

Organizers used a virtual event platform to keep attendees excited, engaged and make them feel taken care of. When attendees logged in, they were greeted by DJ Skemaddox, top-notch swag, and puppies of Pulse to set that tone of excitement.  And welcome video popups shared helpful tips for navigating the virtual platform to make the experience as frictionless as possible.


Organizers used their virtual event platform to great effect - organizing networking sessions for all attendees, driving virtual event engagement, and capturing attendee feedback. It was one of the most sophisticated hybrid events held to date.

9. INBOUND by Hubspot

HubSpot's annual INBOUND conference is usually a three-day affair held in Boston that brings together business professionals from almost every industry. The company’s hybrid event featured all its trademarks.  


Known for its great entertainment - stand-up comedians, actors and industry leaders regularly feature on its roster of excellent speakers - this year, both in-person, as well as virtual attendees were able to interact with presenters like Kerry Washington, Bob Iger, and John Legend. It doesn’t get more star-studded than that. 

The event blended live sessions with on-demand recordings. Additionally, during the event, both audiences could connect and speak and mingle, which was one of the aims of the event.

In conclusion…

As can be seen, hybrid events offer companies a myriad of ways to leverage the blend of virtual and in-person to their advantage. Whether broadening your reach like in the case of Empower 21 or attracting more star power to bolster your brand like in the case of INBOUND, the unique attributes of a hybrid event lets you work towards your business goals in creative ways.

If you have any questions about how to host a hybrid event of your own, and how to drive the best business outcomes from it, we’re happy to help! Let’s talk.

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