Virtual Events

Virtual Events

Learn how to host unique, engaging and high-impact virtual event experiences that drive incredible business results.

Virtual Events
Product

Our best results yet: Zuddl wins 30+ G2 Fall 2022 awards!

3
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Zuddl wins 30+ new G2 Fall 2022 awards, including Virtual Events category Leader, as well as High Performers, Best Support, Easiest To Do Business With, etc. for multiple categories in this quarter.

A new season means new G2 awards! 🏆 🏆 🏆

We’re thrilled to share that Zuddl has won 30+ awards from G2, the world’s largest software review platform - including High Performers, Best Support, Easiest To Do Business With, etc. - for multiple categories in this quarter.

30 individual badges received by Zuddl
What's new in our trophy case

The awards Zuddl received include:

Virtual Events Platform category: 

Leader Fall 2022

High Performer: Enterprise

High Performer: Small Business

High Performer:  Mid-market

Webinar category:

High Performer Fall 2022

High Performer: Enterprise

High Performer: Mid-Market

High Performer: Small Business

Best Support Fall 2022

Best Support : Mid-Market

Best Support: Small Business

Easiest To Do Business With: Mid-Market

Easiest To Do Business With: Small Business

Easiest Setup 

Easiest to Use

Best Meets Requirement

Easiest Admin

Event management category:

High Performer Fall 2022

High Performer: Asia Pacific

High Performer: Mid-Market

High Performer: Small Business

Best Support Fall 2022

Best Support: Mid-Market

Best Support: Small Business

Easiest To Do Business With: Mid-Market

Easiest To Do Business With: Small Business

Easiest Admin Fall 2022

Easiest Setup Fall 2022

Event Registration category:

High Performer Fall 2022

High Performer: Small Business

Best Support Fall 2022

We are proud and honoured by this recognition from G2 Crowd, and the reviews that have been instrumental in helping us win more awards this quarter (we won 6 awards the last time around). Our team looks forward to continuing to delight our customers by enabling them to run successful events that generate revenue with ease. We’re aiming for even higher on next quarter’s leaderboard.

But first, a quick refresher on G2 quarterly grid reports 

G2 releases reports every quarter based on a company’s market presence and authentic reviews and ratings from real and verified users. These reports are used by more than 3M buyers when making software purchasing decisions. 

“Rankings on G2 reports are based on data provided to us by real software buyers,” said Sara Rossio, Chief Product Officer at G2. “Potential buyers know they can trust these insights when researching and selecting software because they’re rooted in vetted, verified, and authentic reviews.”

Highlights from the G2 Fall awards that Zuddl won

1. Ranked as Leader in the Virtual Events Platform Category

Zuddl received the G2 Fall Leader badge
Zuddl received the Leader Badge

The people have spoken! Zuddl continues to outperform competitors and be a leader in the virtual events platform category, maintaining our momentum from when we first received this award three months ago. 

Hosting a successful virtual event means delivering at all stages of the event lifecycle —pre-event planning, engagement during the event, and post-event activities. We’re thrilled that our virtual and hybrid events platform has enabled our small business, mid-market, and enterprise clients to drive the results, ROI and revenue that they desired.

This is what a happy client had to say about our virtual event platform:

2. Won High Performer awards in Event Management, Event Registration, Webinar, and Virtual Events Platform categories

Zuddl's High Performer G2 awards

Our wins in the categories of ‘Event Management’ and ‘Event Registration’, ‘Webinar’ and ‘Virtual Events Platform’ across Enterprise, Mid-Market, and Small Business highlight the success our clients have had in leveraging Zuddl to drive high performance across the event lifecycle - and regardless of the format.

Because Zuddl enables you to orchestrate and control all event activities from one platform and with all your tools in one place, efficiency improves, you can easily see when something is underperforming and take steps to optimize instantly. This means better ticket sales, attendee turnout, engagement, and lead generation.

Take a look at how our G2 reviewers rated our features:

The results, as you can see, are better than average performances - even our lowest-performing features outperform our competitors!

3.Won ‘Best Support’ awards in multiple categories

We consider this a big win because we put a lot of effort into ensuring that we’re there to help our clients keep everything at their webinar, or virtual or hybrid event running smoothly and everyone - sponsors, stakeholders, executives, and attendees - having a positive and value-driven experience.

Here’s why our G2 reviewers rated our Support so highly:

4. We’re also the ‘Easiest to Do Business With’! Not to mention, the Easiest to Use, and the Easiest to Setup!

When you find a company that meets your needs and is effortless to work with, it makes for a better relationship. These awards show our commitment to going above and beyond for our customers and platform users, driving a smooth, seamless, and stress-free experience all throughout the event.

Here's what our G2 reviewers had to say:

Leave us a review

If you’re a Zuddl user and would like to share your feedback on your experience of using Zuddl, you can leave us a review on G2 or feel free to visit our page to go through what other users have to say 🙌 

And if you want to know more about how our event solutions can help your business, don't wait to schedule a call with one of our representatives.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

What are micro events and how can they grow your business?

8
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Learn how to improve your virtual and hybrid events for engagement and involvement to create more profitable and memorable experiences. Discover how you can tap the true potential of micro events.

It’s no secret that events are one of the best ways to source leads for your business. In fact, one study even found almost 7 out of every 10 respondents (68%) used events to generate qualified leads. Hybrid events, in particular, present tons of opportunities for marketing, because they combine the advantages of both in-person and virtual events. 

Against that, B2B marketing is turning more complex. Stiffening competition, compliance, and a host of other factors are leading to sales cycles that are longer than ever before. 

Fortunately, marketers have found that micro events are just the right solution to drive growth.

But before we talk about how micro events can grow your business, let’s understand what micro events are and what benefits they bring to the marketing table.

What are micro events?

Micro events are small sized events that are designed to drive better engagement and connection with a smaller audience.They are more often virtual or hybrid than in-person, and that’s for a number of reasons. For instance, attendees at virtual microevents don’t have to worry about health hazards or social distancing regulations. Even if there is in-person attendance, with hybrid micro events the small number of in-person attendees makes it easier for the organizer to manage and comply.

What is perhaps most interesting about micro events is that they can be either completely independent, stand-alone events or run-up events leading to a bigger, overarching event. In the latter case, they provide both a window during which to better engage the audience and a promotional activity with which to drum up the excitement ahead of the marquee event.

Consider the annual Salesforce conference that will be held in San Francisco very soon. Despite being a big, respected brand, Salesforce doesn’t want to take chances in making the event a big success. As a result, they will arrange multiple micro events whose different themes will dovetail with the goal of the annual conference. 

How micro events can grow your business

Some of the benefits of organizing micro events are pretty obvious. For example, they are easier to organize and promote, since you are looking at a much smaller number of attendees. 

In addition to that, micro events present very real, very achievable opportunities to grow your business. Here are the five important ways your business can grow with micro events

1. Micro events provide better interaction

Over 45% of marketers target generating pipelines through virtual events. That can be possible only when the event provides you with opportunities for quality interactions. 

By the very virtue of their small size, micro events make it possible for every attendee to participate. Smaller group sizes encourage people to interact with one another. Detailed conversations help you understand the pain points of your target audience at a deeper level.

Later, you can use these insights to frame your solution in the language that resonates with your audience. And don’t forget that better interaction is also a major reason why micro events are easier to sell!

2. Micro events offer complete flexibility

So what happens when we say micro events give you better opportunities to interact? Collecting insights is a great outcome, yet there’s more: flexibility to re-pivot.

Let’s imagine you’re holding a micro event where you originally intended to discuss how your digital platform can offer competitive intelligence. But right off the bat you figure out that the challenge your audience faces is not so much of the insights as is of interpreting those insights. 

While it may appear to deviate from the original goal, you can actually repivot the event in order to walk your audience through how to use the insights. This helps your audience get real value from the event, value that translates to superior attendee experience. 

If you were to be organizing a big event, chances are such a pain point may not have reached you - and even if you could figure it out, it’d not be possible to shift the focus because of the sheer size and preparations for the event.

3. Micro events means more hands-on activities

Imagine your Chief Product Officer is on the stage, the in-person audience is 100 strong and there are another 350 virtual attendees. How easy would it be for your CPO to carry out a deep-dive  product demo and hold the audience’s attention for an hour?

Chances are, it’d be tricky. That’s because in front of a large audience, such product demos can quickly slide into being one-way communication - the speaker talking and the audience listening (or at least politely giving that impression). Engagement levels can drop pretty fast, you know.

On the other hand, detailed product demos can be interactive and engaging in micro events. Because of the extremely small number of people attending, everyone gets an opportunity to ask questions and get involved. What’s more, the smaller numbers enable the presenter to easily gauge the non-verbal cues of the audience and make extempore changes.

In essence, product demos are one of the many hands-on activities that you can carry out in micro events but probably not in huge events.

4. Micro events means you conserve resources

This one’s so obvious that we don’t need to elaborate this too much.

Micro events, because they involve small numbers, are very budget-friendly. A location that could accommodate, say, 250 people could itself cost you upwards of $3,000 for the venue alone. In contrast, micro events are far less expensive. 

Besides, when you have very small numbers for in-person event, or an entirely virtual event, your cost of compliance for pandemic related regulations drops drastically. Don’t forget that social distancing norms in certain locations could require you to hire twice the size of the venue you’d otherwise need, which could be a big drain in your budget.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you’re skimping on the efficiency or data security of the event. At Zuddl, for instance, we take data security very seriously. We regularly conduct third-party penetration tests, vulnerability testing and similar audits so that your attendees and speakers get a completely safe and pleasant experience. 

5. Micro events allow you to respond faster

The past decade or so has been marked by disruptive forces and few, if any, industries are left untouched. In that context, organizing huge events that require months of planning and organizing face an unpleasant risk of being labeled obsolete.

The pace of change everywhere creates an unusual challenge. You plan to add value by drawing attention to and discussing a major industry challenge. However, some unprecedented changes that happen elsewhere can suddenly reduce the value of what you were trying to deliver.

Let’s say you begin organizing a huge event around a big problem your industry is battling with. But when the actual event happens three months later, things might have changed enormously. Regulations might have changed, some disruptive startup might have at least partially solved the problem, some alternative methods might have emerged, rendering the problem largely irrelevant… any of these can take the steam out of your event. While this doesn’t happen often, the risk is always looming large.

Micro events represent agility. You plan, promote and make it happen in a matter of 2 or 3 weeks. This speed presents a dual advantage. One, you are not at a risk of being seen as outdated. And two, you can respond faster and enjoy the early mover advantage. 

Opportunities ahead

What The New York Times said in 2010 remains true today … “(events need) to generate interest and convert that into actual leads...” Virtual and hybrid events of all sizes do exactly that and that’s why they are here to stay; each kind comes with its unique strengths. 

So if you’re wondering where to begin, learning about how a powerful end-to-end platform can hugely simplify things for you is a good place. And because technology has grown sophisticated than ever, be demanding in what to expect from the platform. The security of the platform, its integrations, its ability to encourage and smoothen networking, give you a consolidated solution for your entire event lifecycle… all this and more will tell you if the platform is a good fit for you.

Marketing
Virtual Events

4 marketing lessons from our chat with Dave Dabbah

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

Here are 4 marketing lessons you'll love from our recent webinar with Dave Dabbah, CMO of Robocorp

If you’ve been following our webinars, you’ll know that we recently featured Dave Dabbah, CMO, Robocorp on a fireside chat about marketing, events and beyond. In case you missed it, you can always watch it on demand here or listen to this podcast that captures the essence of the conversation.

Tell you what, let us spoil you silly by telling you the best parts of our conversation with Dave Dabbah in this blog. It can’t get easier, can it?

Here are four lessons you can take away from our webinar with Dave Dabbah:

Let your passion and curiosity fuel you

Follow your passion

According to Dave, it's important for marketers to let curiosity and passion drive their work. He gives his own experience as a kid to illustrate this point.

“Back in the day, my friends would get copies of Sports Illustrated while I was getting copies of Ad Age and Media Week as a child. It was fascinating, you know, cuz like you'd be reading about products and then, two months later you'd actually see the television spot, you’d feel like you had some, some inside sort of knowledge about what was happening with brand development even at a young age.”

Don’t be afraid to explore different avenues

Explore and experiment

Dave also highlights the usefulness of having worked in different roles before taking up a marketing role, highlighting how knowledge and experience in other functions can add a lot of value to storytelling.

“Having had a bit of a sales background and a business development background, sort of coming into the Silicon Valley, I felt like that really benefited me, um, a lot. And, and one of the things I tell young marketers today who are just graduating from college, is this; don't be afraid to go into sales, for, for a couple years, you know, experience what the sales people are experiencing. And that will make you a, a far better, especially B2B marketer.”

Don’t go for a one-size-fits-all approach

One size doesn't fit all!

Some of you may already know this, but what Dave says about distinguishing the marketing needs of a big corporation from a B2B startup is worth reading multiple times.

“B2B marketing is significantly harder than marketing a consumer brand. Those are, you know, sort of two different things, entirely. A lot of what we've seen with some of the really successful big brands in the Silicon Valley and the enterprise software space over the years is [that] they end up using a lot of consumer marketing tactics to put their brands into the marketplace. 

And, that's great, when you are, you know, IBM and you have, a hundred million, television budget for a 12 month period, but when you are a startup in the B2B space, how do you really get your brand message out in an effective way? I think, you know, over, over the years, that's something I've gotten, you know, pretty good at, um, trying to figure out.”

Repurposing content is the way forward

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!

As he talks about getting back to doing events, Dave makes a great case for repurposing content as a long-term marketing strategy.

“When we got back to events during the pandemic, we were not just spending money on the event, you know, before the event or during the event, but also actually getting content out of the event that could be repurposed and reused, down the road.”

Want more of these marketing gems? Go watch the webinar on-demand now. 

Virtual Events

5 similarities between a virtual event platform and a superhero

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Virtual event platforms and superheroes are more similar than you realized! Read on to learn how.

Just last month, the marketing head of a utilities company told us over a relaxed business lunch how she so deeply wished she had some superpowers - like being present at more than one place at the same tme. She wasn’t an exception by any standards, because almost every other person you run into wants some kind of superpower - the power to work faster, the power to learn things swiftly, the power to be more efficient … the list is endless. 

While there was no magical meteorite or radioactive spider in sight, we realized that we had something that came pretty close: virtual event platforms. 

There are some uncanny similarities between online event platforms and superheroes. The range of features that these advanced platforms bring to your events can easily match some of the superpowers of those women and men in their flowing capes. Here are the 5 similarities you can’t miss!

1. Teleportation AKA zero latency streaming

Zuddl's zero latency is a superpower similar to teleportation

Teleportation is the power to move from one place to another, magically. More importantly, it doesn’t matter what you are moving, so with teleportation, the efforts to move a pin are no different from moving a 16-wheel truck. 

In the context of virtual and hybrid event platforms, teleportation holds a key application. It is about teleporting information and data. All the audio and visual data that presenters and attendees share are ‘teleported’ to any corner of the world with minimal relay lags. For instance, Zuddl has zero latency streaming, which means your real-time streaming  and back-and-forth communication is truly real-time.

Like Blink, the Marvel superheroine, who can teleport herself and others at will, your ability to what you can achieve with the superpower is only limited by your imagination.

It’s also about bringing your presenters and attendees on the same platform, even though they may be a couple thousand miles from each other in reality. That unmatched immersive experience makes everyone feel they are fully a part of the event.

2. Shapeshifting AKA customization

Virtual event platform's shapeshifting power is customization

Bruce Lee once famously said, “Be water, my friend… Be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle…” Which is what an event platform is - it takes the form of what you want it to be.

You can use the platform to host a company offsite with the same ease (and platform) as you can host a career fair. You can conduct a virtual conference, an all-hands meet, a trade show, a product demo, and so on with the same platform. All it takes is a little bit of creativity. 

3. Size changing AKA scalability

Zuddl's ability to scale to any size is a superpower

Lots of marketing and promotional activities have a great ROI, but the moment the size of your target audience grows, the costs go through the roof. Alternatively, some other channels become prohibitively expensive when you want to scale down. Wouldn’t it be just great to have something that’d be both extremely affordable and effective, whether you go from 10 to 1,000 or the other way round?

The DC comics created Bumblebee  - a superhero that could grow tiny at will and accomplish a mission. A sophisticated virtual event platform can do the same, only it’s real and easily accessible. 

Imagine you have a meeting with your distributed team of nineteen people spread across nine countries and three continents. A platform like Zuddl would be just fine for this purpose. Or imagine you’re planning an annual conference, where you expect an in-person attendance of 100 and a virtual attendance of another 500. No problem, virtual event platforms like Zuddl can help you scale up or down with equal ease.

The amazing scalability of modern day virtual platforms makes them just the right fit for events of all sizes. In hybrid events, where you aren’t sure of the number of virtual attendees, it’s really comforting to know that your event platform has your back. That last minute tweet by a celebrity marketer might suddenly shoot up your signups, but you don’t have to worry because you know the platform will deliver the same extraordinary experience no matter how big your audience grows.

4. Invisibility AKA working perfectly behind the scenes

The power of invisibility for a virtual event platform is running smoothly behind the scenes

Remember how Spiderman appears from nowhere, quickly goes about saving the day, and then swings away afterwards? All done in a blink of an eye. That’s what your platform for virtual events does today. Just think about how the platform can make the virtual attendees and presenters feel they are in the same room, at the same place. That’s possible because although the platform is the medium, it connects people from different locations so seamlessly you don’t notice its presence. 

The real strength of a technology is how much it can get done behind the scenes, out of sight,  without getting in the way. If you need to go back to the platform admin with requests for every feature, it’s just not efficient. 

Powerful platforms deliver, yet stay invisible. A sophisticated platform for virtual events is one that is so user-friendly and intuitive that it appears like it is a native platform.

5. Immortality AKA on-demand events

On-demand events are virtual event platform's equivalence to immortality

Superman is indestructible. And this is one his most enduring charms.

The platform for events offers immortality in the sense that once you’ve conducted an event, their recordings are available forever. There doesn’t have to be any mandatory expiry date.

So it’s quite simple. You have organized an event that was hugely successful. And you want more prospects, more suppliers, more partners and more team members to benefit from it. So what do you do ? After the event has ended, you transform it into an on-demand webinar, for instance. If someone wants to watch that event and its presentations, all they need to do is to simply sign up. And the recording will be available for a long, long time.

This is a brilliant way of getting more juice out of every event you organize, every dollar you spend. This immortality also helps your brand build a leadership position, because visitors to your website will notice that you’ve shared numerous on-demand videos and are letting people benefit from it.

To sum up …The platform holds the key

‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.’ Arthur C Clarke’s observation may not have been made in the context of virtual event platforms, yet it fits in pretty well. The amazing capabilities of the modern, sophisticated event platforms easily match the superpowers of our fantasy heroes.

To be sure, your virtual event is only as good as the functionalities the event your chosen platform offers. Which means that the outcome is pretty much decided the moment you choose the platform - a great platform virtually ensures that the event is going to be a huge success.

As the trusted virtual event platform for enterprises, Zuddl uses industry-leading technology in order to ensure your events offer seamless experiences to attendees. To understand if Zuddl is a good fit for your next event, drop us a line. We’d love to show you around!

Virtual Events
Engagement

Driving value co-creation at virtual events: with the attendee, for the attendee

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Attendees are no longer passive bystanders but partners and constituents with the power to co-create content with their community. Here's how organizers can help them express themselves

In 2014, the LEGO Group launched LEGO® Ideas.

The goal was to create a platform where passionate fans and creators could share ideas for LEGO products, give feedback and vote, with the most convincing ideas turned into official LEGO® kits. And as a result, it is why today we have the brilliant Vincent Van Gogh: Starry Night, the intimidating Earth Globe, and the iconic Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. These are direct results of co-creation.

What is co-creation and why is it worth reading about

Prahalad and Ramaswamy in their journal article ‘Co‐creating unique value with customers’, define co-creation as “the joint creation of value by the company and the customer; allowing the customer to co-construct the service experience to suit their context.” In simpler terms, it is when a company and a group of its customers, jointly produce something that is mutually valuable.  

The value, it’s important to note,  is in the experience. And as J. Pine and Gilmore put it in their piece ‘Welcome to the Experience Economy,  “An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.”

Why is co-creation especially important at virtual events?

In today’s digital-first world, with attention-spans shrinking and Zoom fatigue so prevalent that it has its own page on Wikipedia, consumers need more than traditional audience engagement strategies in return for their attention, time, and energy. That’s where co-creation can make a difference at your virtual events.

Because co-creation involves the participation of stakeholders, they switch from being mere consumers to active contributors. It’s a shift in perspective, but an important one. Attendees are no longer passive bystanders at virtual Stages, listening to speakers present at sessions, and simply watching on.

They now become partners and constituents with the power to co-create content with their community.

This is why Twitch, the American video live streaming service, is incredibly popular - with 30 million daily active users and 2.5 million people watching Twitch streams. Co-creating entertainment is at the heart of its success. “For unfamiliar audiences, Twitch is certainly a platform that is heavy on interaction and different types of input, and that is part of its formula and beauty for dedicated users”,  writes Dr. Nicolle Lamerichs in a paper titled ‘Material Culture on Twitch’. “Each stream is perhaps best read as a community or experience, rather than a content or story. It is in the interaction that Twitch becomes interesting, and in the ways in which audiences actively tune in and out of different streams.

This is the approach to engagement that virtual event organizers now need to adopt.

Three ways to improve co-creation at virtual events

1. Tools to empower co-creation

[Consumers] want to engage, interact and influence brands, seeking to ‘exercise their influence in every part of the business system’ (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). Extrapolating this to virtual events means that every single attendee has influence,  so event organizers need to be proactively looking for ways to help them express themselves. To this end, engagement tools in-built on a virtual event platform like the following are invaluable.

  • A Chat function on your virtual event platform for instance enables multiple individuals to have a dialogue. Attendees can let speakers, each other and you as an organizer know what they really think about the content being shared. It also helps to create the effect of a shared experience regardless of how the attendee is joining the event, and in turn, a sense of community. For the individuals involved, the value of contributing to the group chat can be psychological, driving feelings of appreciation, and higher self-esteem.
Example of the Chat tool used at a virtual event
  • A Raise Hands feature (like Zuddl has) that lets an attendee join speakers on the virtual stage to ask them questions directly ‘face-to-face’ and join in conversations in  a way that makes the entire experience more immersive.
An example of the Raise Hand feature used at a virtual event
  • A Q&A tool emboldens attendees to ask questions as part of a group in a way that they might have felt uncomfortable doing so at a traditional in-person event.
Example of the Q&A used at a virtual event
  • Polls in particular actively promote an interactive viewing experience. They maintain that human connection by preserving the in-the-moment experience.
  1. Speakers, for instance, can use a Poll during a session to gauge opinions of attendees, and use the results to steer the direction of the remainder of the session so as to truly drive value and insights for attendees. 
  2. Organizers can leverage Polls as the beginning point of a back-and-forth exchange to collect feedback and market research from attendees and use the input and insights to improve your features, brand or business.
An example of the Polls tool used at a virtual event

2.  “What’s in it for them?” is the question you need to answer

Gamification used at a virtual event

Getting hundreds of attendees to do more than drop by your virtual event platform can be daunting. Not surprisingly, incentivization is one motivation. For virtual event organizers, gamification is the best way to achieve this. Simply put, just like with any point-based game or video game, gamification is the application of elements like the completion of tasks, earning badges, points, rankings, and the setting up of leaderboards with prizes for the toppers to visually encourage participants to achieve goals.

What this means is that you, as the organizer, can use gamification in virtual events to nudge attendees towards meaningful interactions that produces high-quality content and which can boost engagement among a wider audience. It’s a simple and fun way to drive value for all stakeholders - attendees, sponsors, partners, and your organization too. For instance, if the purpose of your event is to highlight a new product at a virtual conference or summit, you can incentivize actions to get feedback from attendees or suggestions on features to help improve it.

Keep in mind though that compensation is not necessarily the only motivator. McKinsey’s research on ten co-creation projects found that most participants  (28%) were  driven by curiosity and a desire to learn, followed by those who were driven by entertainment and social play (26 %), and a third motivated by building skills (26 %). Therefore, using gamification based on these motivations might result in a more valuable experience for attendees and in the long run, for your business.

3. Zero latency is mission critical

There is absolutely no room for live streaming lags or delays at your virtual event. Even a 30 second lag can make the difference between your attendees feeling like they’re watching a great looking Youtube video that gets stuck buffering, or  the intimacy and sense of community created by a speaker/presenter reacting to questions, suggestions and comments by attendees in real time.

The  immediacy provided by a zero lag platform is integral to generating more authentic interactions between co-creators.

To sum up…

Embracing co-creation isn’t easy, but the potential rewards can be significant. If virtual event organizers are able to provide modern consumers with the specialized viewing experience that they’re looking for, it can help build a culture of innovation and collaboration, strong relationships with invested constituents which in turn can result in business benefits down the road. Just ask LEGO.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

5 Ways Employers Can Stand Out in Virtual Career Fairs

6
Mins Read
Kishore C S

With the recent shift from in-person recruiting to virtual recruiting, employers are on the lookout for new strategies to make their brand stand out online and attract the best talent. Here are some quick tips on how they can achieve just that.

While a virtual career fair brings top talent to your doorstep and initiates the first candidate-employer interaction, there are thousands of other employers vying to do the same. 

So, how do you make yourself stand out? 

Here are 5 ways employers can stand out in virtual career fairs and attract the best candidates.  

 1. Create a virtual expo booth: 

 

Typically, there are two types of virtual career fair avenues: 

  • One is a simple webpage with a chat window where attendees can interact with recruiters at a chosen time. 
  • The other is a virtual platform where you can build an elaborate design that mimics an in-person career fair with exhibition halls, expo booths, and a resource center.  

Obviously, choosing a more robust design with extensive features and an immersive booth design is a great way to build your employer brand and bring about excitement among your attendees.   

 Talk about a sure-shot first step in drawing candidates in! 

2. Perfect your employer brand 

 

Nowadays, job seekers want to know whether their job is going to be impactful. Much like how employers evaluate a potential candidate’s background and experience, candidates heavily focus on evaluating an employer’s brand before applying for a job.  

Therefore, a key tactic to make yourself stand out in virtual career fairs is to outline how every talent can add value to your organization.  

Being crisp and clear about your long-term business goals and mission is surely a good thing. This gives attendees an idea of what would be expected of them and how they would be able to contribute to the company’s mission.  

3. Conduct a session for your sponsors

 

Socializing and networking are something job seekers look forward to when they attend your virtual event. An effective way to boost attendee engagement is to consider conducting a live streaming sponsor session that allows them to present to your audience in real time.

Your sponsor could choose career and company-focused topics, providing insight into what it's like working for a company like yours. Also, they can answer any queries that people may have about the benefits, work culture, and other best practices for their first interview.  

4. Make your virtual booth interactive 

Gamification is one of the best ways to stand out in a virtual career fair and make your mark. Passive activities such as watching a video (yawn) are simply not as effective as incorporating interactive elements such as virtual games.

Set up virtual trade show games, with the likely opportunity for attendees to win a prize. This would keep people immersed plus buy more time for your booth reps to interact with potential candidates and build rapport.   

5. Employ immersive design options 

 

A virtual job fair is much more than running a plain old webinar. Setting up an immersive 3D virtual booth can go a long way in standing out to candidates. It creates a memorable experience for them as it is inherently more immersive in nature.

Think about it, 3D booths are something that virtual job seekers hardly ever see from other employers, and this allows you to really cash in on impact and recall.

Of course, the possibilities are endless when you have a good virtual event hosting platform that will help make all the right features pop out with intuitive and engaging virtual experiences. 

Career fair coming up? Hit it out of the park by running it on Zuddl - talk to us.

Virtual Events
Engagement

Tips to make your virtual workshops more impactful

5
Mins Read
Kishore C S

When it comes to training virtually, there are a different set of challenges and possibilities. Read this article to learn how to make your workshops work for your company!

Have you ever sat through an overly long workshop event and counted down the minutes until it was over? We’ve all been there. With virtual events here to stay, adapting to the changing landscape and learning how to throw a successful online event is of utmost importance.

When it comes to training virtually, a different set of challenges and possibilities exist in this space. Read this article to learn how to make your workshops work for your company!

Be prepared

Being prepared might seem like a no-brainer. However, running a successful workshop takes a lot of planning. A sense of organization and keen focus are key to pulling off an engaging workshop. You’ll need plenty of creative preparation before diving into the day-of agenda. 

Some items to keep in mind that can help promote a smooth, impactful experience:

  • Plan for breakout groups in between sessions
  • Send out any set-up and navigation instructions prior to starting
  • Create and list out your main discussion points
  • Know how to get a hold of technical support if needed 

Choose the right platform

You’ve prepared your pre-workshop checklist, your speakers have been lined up, and you’re ready to host an impactful day of learning. Having the right tools to enable your agenda will make all the difference in making sure attendees feel engaged. 

For virtual events, you’ll want to utilize a platform that enhances the learning experience for all involved. This could mean choosing a platform that allows for in-session chat capabilities to enable participants to ask questions easily and collaborate with each other effortlessly.  Perhaps you’re hosting a large event and need to accommodate numerous attendees. Start off on the right foot by choosing a platform that allows you to do so.

The right platform will look different depending on the event in question. Choosing a platform like Zuddl that brings attendees together seamlessly is a good place to start.  

Get people involved

It can be difficult to sit for hours on end listening to a speaker, regardless of how invested you are in the topic. To that end, having an interactive component during training can be helpful. This could be a group discussion during break times, or it might be something as simple as a group question and answer session at the end of a section.

The more enjoyable an event is, the more memorable the information becomes, thus helping to solidify the information presented. A few ideas on ways to get attendees involved:

  • Rooms for networking sessions
  • Audience surveys or quizzes
  • Interactive games
  • Collaborative brainstorm sessions

Additional tips

Eager to offer even more to your virtual attendees? A few additional options might look like:

  • Offering virtual swag or “a gift bag” much like an in-person event
  • Hire a virtual event entertainer
  • Create a theme around your event
  • Limit the time the actual event runs 
  • Provide food for your virtual attendees

Checking your list…

Remember, a successful training workshop is one that keeps people engaged and learning. By following these few tips, your next event is sure to be an impactful one.

Psst… there are a variety of tools and features on Zuddl to help you provide a valuable online training experience. Feel free to book a demo with us and go over them in real-time!

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

5 virtual event platform issues that need to be solved ASAP

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Here are the top 5 grievances organizers have with virtual event platforms - and one single way to solve them all.

Necessity is the mother of invention.  

Over the past two years, event organizers have had to quickly adapt to the changing times, and embrace two years' worth of digital transformation in about two months. This has meant figuring out how to use broadcasting software, and streaming platforms like GMeet, Zoom, Skype and more to host conferences, summits, sales kickoffs and more literally overnight. 

This had led to many great boundary-pushing virtual experiences being held, such as Tomorrowland Around the World which had eight stages for performances by artists, chat rooms, games, and interactive meetings, and was attended by more than one million people. Another example is  Salesforce Live: Australia and New Zealand that had keynotes, interviews with industry leaders and partner product launches, which was held for over more than a month.

As a result, organizers are now fully aware and appreciative of the benefits that only virtual platforms can afford such as increased reach, improved engagement and better analytics. 

But that is not to say that it's been all smooth sailing. In many cases, organizers find themselves compromising on event vision or messing up on event execution because of the platform they are using. 

Here are the top 5 grievances that if solved would make life so much better for organizers.

1. Not being able to prefigure sessions

When you create a live session at your virtual or hybrid event, you pull together speakers and content, make choices, react to changes, and generate a professional livestream in real time.  

The classical way to achieve this is to familiarize your speakers with the platform, create transition videos, prepare content to share during the session etc, and then pull it all together on the day of the event, praying that nothing goes wrong. 

But today’s event organizers need a better option than relying on crossed fingers. 

https://giphy.com/gifs/RosannaPansino-ro-rosanna-pansino-8GmUS2rjYl3aZ6e3vy

2. Getting it done yesterday

So much to do, so little time. With each event - regardless of size - consisting of 100 and more moving parts, event organizers are always pushed to the maxim, especially since B2B companies typically spend only 5-8 weeks planning events

Organizing virtual events can add to this stress because organizers - besides confirming the line-up of speakers, overseeing registration and email follow ups, and promoting the event on social media - have to set up the entire virtual venue on their virtual event platform of choice. For organizers unfamiliar with this type of technology, it can take weeks to set up their event - time that they just don’t have.

An ideal solution? A platform that enables virtual events to be set up in minutes instead of days or months, so organizers can concentrate on finessing  rather than implementation. 

3. Customizing your event without coding

Coding is ubiquitous; it is used everywhere, from the website you are on right now to the app you use to order your groceries every week, and is central to many essential services and online solutions offered today. This is why many event platforms too require some knowledge of coding - to make the virtual venue look a certain way for instance, or to create online forms for attendees to fill during the event.

However, coding is not as ubiquitous as literacy - as yet. Many people just do not know how to code - as yet. So to make coding a requirement of building and customizing a virtual event is just another source of frustration for event organizers. 

In a perfect world, a platform would not require event organizers to become amateur coders in a span of a month in order to create a virtual event exactly the way they envision it. 

4. Making the event look professional and high-quality when you have a small budget

All event organizers want their hybrid and virtual events to have professional production quality but unfortunately often end up with PowerPoint visuals. 

This is because it usually takes a team of studio professionals or requires the hiring of expensive tools to produce an experience that is polished, cohesive, and sleek - think branded backgrounds and sharp graphics, different stage layouts to present speakers - similar to TV news segments.

So if event organizers were ever granted three wishes by a genie, we’re sure one of them would be spent wishing intro reality a way to create a high-quality professional livestream  without having to break the bank ie. a solution that democratizes production like a pro, just like how Canva made beautiful design accessible to everyone.

5.  Dealing with a 30 second lag 

It is a truth grossly unacknowledged that lags or delays are part-and-parcel of most streaming platforms  used to host virtual and hybrid events. 30 second delays between speakers and attendees is simply considered the norm - when they really shouldn’t be. These delays mean that your virtual attendees will only be able to consume and react to content later than in-person attendees…

… which can make them feel like second-class citizens, and which contributes to a negative event experience.

One of the most critical needs for an event organizer is a zero-latency live streaming platform that seamlessly connects remote and in-person audiences in real-time.

So what’s the solution?

Event professionals like you will be pleased to hear that there’s no need to rely on prayer, wishes, crossed fingers or anything of the like anymore. 

Zuddl’s new solution ‘The Zuddl Studio’ is here to address all your virtual and hybrid event woes and fulfill all your event needs. From ZERO LAG to NO CODING REQUIRED, it’s guaranteed to be your new favourite go-to for virtual and hybrid meetings, conferences, sales kickoffs etc. 

The best part? It’s fully compatible with all manner of streaming platforms, from Microsoft Teams to Zoom and Hopin to Hubilo. 

Curious? Sign up for the beta launch of the Zuddl Studio before spots run out.

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 to get special privileges and early-bird giveaways!

Virtual Events

4 virtual wellness activities for remote teams

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

A quick look at some ways that HR teams can use online events to boost mental health for their remote workforces.

Stress. 

Burnout.

Isolation. 

Anxiety.

This vocabulary has been seeping into our lives over the past two years. 

The new and multifold challenges brought about as a consequence of the pivot to remote work and lifestyles - of balancing work and childcare, working longer hours, or feeling socially isolated to name a few - have been brutal. 

People are unable to focus and are unproductive, they’re lonely or are utterly exhausted. Employed workers are 3 times as likely to report mental health problems now than before. 

Fast forward to today and most lockdowns have been lifted, businesses are reopening and people are returning to offices; a new era of a hybrid mode of life is being ushered in.  People are bouncing back, but as the world confronts new waves of COVID-19 variants, ongoing political disruption and uncertainty, the struggle will continue to be real.

That’s why HR teams cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to creating a supportive employee mental health environment for hybrid workforces or remote teams. It’s easy to slip into an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach but you risk a brain drain if you do, especially considering most companies are beefing up their approach to wellness.

So how can you keep your remote team from becoming too fried, frayed, and frazzled? 

Let’s dive in.

1. Organize a mental health awareness online training session  

Whilst this may seem quite basic, it is probably the most important activity you can carry out.

Being able to talk about mental health is a must.

Employees who experience unanticipated mental health consequences may be unable to describe their challenges and can be uncomfortable discussing them with colleagues. They may not know when to ask for help. And as with a remote team, when video-on calls are rare and most communication happens over Slack, it’s entirely possible for a team member to appear well, but struggle with these issues internally. Team members may not be aware that a person needs help.

Hosting a virtual training session that’s led by a mental health professional will:

  1. Reduce stigma
  2. Help employees better understand a) risk factors and triggers of mental health issues b) how to recognize signs and symptoms
  3. Provide insight into different assistance and accommodation measures
  4. Leave team members better equipped to know how to offer support to each other

Protip: If you’re using a virtual event platform to host the session, gamify the event to make the event a lively conversation-filled one. Set points for questions asked, Polls answered, and any other activity you can think of, and then reward those on top of the leaderboard. This is a simple but effective way to gently encourage and embolden your team members to speak up and clear their doubts. 

2. Host well-being Mondays

Or any other day that ends with a y during the work week, actually.

On each wellness day, plan activities or workshops that give employees a chance to take a break from work, and which helps boost their morale and workplace attitude. 

There’s no end to the different kinds of virtual activities you can plan; a blend of stress-relieving activities, energy boosters, and positive self-motivation would give employees something new to look forward to each week. And if there’s an overwhelmingly positive response to any activity in particular, you can offer it weekly. Here are some quick examples:

  • Morning yoga flow to settle into better posture
  • Mid-day meditation to refocus and get back to a calm mental space
  • An evening Zumba break to lift team spirits 

 The more your employees feel looked after, the happier and more engaged they will be.

3. Launch team fitness challenges

We all know we should probably exercise more even though we don’t want to hear it. But just to illustrate, 50% of remote and hybrid workers have reported an increase in lower back pain, 48% in shoulder pain, and 52% in eye strain as a result of a more sedentary lifestyle.

So a fun and smart way to get your team to stop being a bed/desk potato and to get up and move around more is to launch a team fitness challenge. Simply set some fitness goals that the team can work towards together within a specific timeframe, and introduce a lighthearted sense of competition through gamification. 

Using a virtual event platform, you can set and award points for different goals from step challenges to squat challenges and reward those with the most points on the leaderboard! Remember that the goal is not to turn your team into fitness freaks. It’s all about building mindfulness about living a healthy lifestyle and building camaraderie along the way.

Protip: Physical fitness challenges might not be everyone’s cup of tea, so plan for different kinds of micro-challenges that remote employees can work towards. This can be anything from getting 7 hours of sleep each night to doing kind things for team members or even drinking enough water.

https://media4.giphy.com/media/PD1fDlIKyXz1UTCcHA/200.webp?cid=ecf05e47z0web59c9495akfvovda34u9bcyfh1y09ot5j3yy&rid=200.webp&ct=g

4. Use virtual booths as gratitude hubs

Just so we’re on the same page - a virtual booth that you set up on a virtual event platform looks exactly like it would at an in-person event. 

A zuddl virtual booth that you set up on a virtual event platform looks exactly like it would at an in-person event. 

You can customize the booth as per your needs and requirements, with company branding and signage.  And you can equip the virtual booth as per your use case. For example:

Information booth

So for instance, you could create a central on-demand hub for employee mental health awareness information, you could upload any relevant documents to the booth, such as company policies to the latest health advice. You can upload a video of your mental health awareness online training session. And you can upload videos of team members taking part in the activities you’re holding as well as a leaderboard tracking the progress of employees engaged in team or company-wide challenges. 

What’s great about this is that all the employees in your organization will have easy access to important information and constant motivation to prioritize their mental health any time they need it.

Gratitude booth

We’re all a little needier than we’d ever state. In fact, a Deloitte study found that a whopping 85% of workers want to hear a simple thank you in their day-to-day interactions.  At the most basic level, being appreciated makes us feel valued; it’s validating and energizing.

Using a virtual booth to share gratitude and appreciation is perfect for teams of all sizes, but could also work great in a conference setting or company offsite. Then all you need to do is ask employees or teammates to write down notes of appreciation to each other, and upload them to the virtual booth. There’s something very uplifting and binding about being able to look at a collection of thank you notes written between your team. 

To sum up…

As you can see, there are a variety of activities you can incorporate into a virtual mental wellbeing program for your remote team. Whichever you choose, empathy is key.

When employees have the ability to openly talk about their challenges and struggles in a safe work environment and management puts in the time and effort to make sure that everyone feels taken care of and valued, it builds trust and keeps them healthy and engaged. And this will result in a healthier and happier organization.

Virtual Events

Virtual event organizers, here are the 4 new key skills you need to know

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

The future of events is continually evolving. With changing times comes the need for event marketers to learn and stay updated about the tech and skills crucial to hosting successful and impactuful events. In this piece, we break this down for you.

A new era of events requires a new playbook. 

Today,  events of all shapes and sizes - from business conferences to a virtual  tradeshow, music festivals to company offsites - are now increasingly virtual  or hybrid. These formats are the future of events. But you already know this.

The upside is that this gives an event marketer the ability to capitalize on the many benefits of these new types of events, from increased reach to better return on investment. 

However, this sea-change has meant that many event professionals, who have traditionally organized in-person events, do not have the requisite knowledge or skills to leverage virtual or hybrid events effectively. You simply cannot copy-and-paste in-person strategies and formats to virtual experiences.

So the need to upskill, and reskill for event planners and marketers has never been more urgent. 

So what are the most critical things you now need to know to ensure that you’re well ahead of the curve rather than being left behind? Keep reading to find out.

1. Event production and platform technology 101

According to EventMB’s The Future of the Event Industry 2021 Outlook,  only 53% of event professionals consider themselves “comfortable or savvy” with virtual event technology. That’s a huge number.

It’s understandable because there are different aspects to producing virtual and hybrid events; you’ll need to know how to work with audio, video, light, broadcasting and your chosen virtual event platform. But, to give your attendees the best experience possible, familiarity with the technical equipment used for virtual or hybrid event production is essential. There’s no way around it. 

Virtual events

Let’s look at an example. Say you need to plan a virtual university alumni reunion. You’re looking for a way to have an introductory session, play videos about the university, notable alumni, and projects requiring alumni support. You’d like to set up ways for alumni to reconnect in class groups and 1:1 as well. And you’d also like a way to enable alumni to donate to the university. 

Unless you have a familiarity and an understanding of a virtual event platform’s capabilities and crucially, the ways it lends itself to new online attendee behaviors and needs, you won’t be able to pick the one that best suits your requirements and delivers the results you want. 

For the virtual university alumni reunion, here’s what the platform will need to have:

“It’s important to start training on the latest technology available to us. We have been using AI-powered matchmaking platforms to connect with potential customers and have meetings throughout the year, which eventually results in a face-to-face business opportunity at a live exhibition.” – Nick Dugdale-Moore, European Regional Manager, UFI.

Knowledge is power. 

Hybrid events

Organizing a hybrid event will require you to not only work with a virtual event platform but with lighting, sound, and broadcast equipment at your in-person venue. 

You can, of course, take the easy way out by working with an event production company (like Zuddl’s partner, Entertainment Technology Partners) that will handle all aspects of the production for you. Using studios and set design, production companies can enhance the visual experience and immersive-ness of your event and showcase your message and branding. 

But it’s best to know about the various parts of the production so that you can guide your partners to achieving the experience and results you want.

Troubleshooting

It’s inevitable to experience some hitches before or during the event, so having a solid understanding of the tech involved will help you quickly fix any issues. 

2. Digital content strategist 

It’s just not feasible to apply in-person strategies and processes to virtual and digital experiences. The two are worlds apart. 

For instance, while previously a 5-hour in-person event may have been the norm, it’s unreasonable now to expect virtual attendees to sit in front of a screen for that amount of time. Or, while your in-person attendees may have been content to sit in the audience watching an interview between two speakers onstage, it’s very probable that your virtual attendees will get bored in 10 minutes watching this online and will just switch to another tab. 

This is why an event marketer or organizer needs to be able to wear a digital content strategist ‘hat’ so to speak. In a virtual event environment, attendees no longer have the in-person distractions of a large and noisy venue crowded with sessions, expo halls, and plenty of other attendees. Their focus is going to be solely on the content you provide and the experience you curate.

As a digital content strategist, you’ll learn how to :

  1. Create content that supports your event goals
  2. Make your content more accessible and participatory
  3. Plan content delivery to accommodate online behaviors

To illustrate, let’s say you’re planning to host a virtual summit. Giving attendees a mix of content formats during the event can help to hold their attention and boost engagement with your content. For example:

  1. Host thought-leadership sessions around your event theme.

Pro-tip: Use your event platform engagement features to give attendees the ability to ask questions and interact with speakers and get exclusive insights they won’t find anywhere else.

  1. Organize virtual workshops based on event sessions

Pro-tip: Send attendees into virtual Rooms for post-session workshops. Give them problems or activities to discuss in small groups, and then invite them back to the Stage to present their findings. 

  1. Make content recordings and supplementary info available at all times

Pro-tip: To accommodate busy work days and different time zones, make your content available on your virtual event venue for attendees to access at their convenience. Virtual Expo Booths are a great way to house case studies, white papers, video tutorials, and other forms of shareable online content. You can even make this available throughout the year to extend the life cycle of your virtual event.

With the right mix of content formats and engagement spaces and tools, you can fight the dreaded ‘goldfish attention span’ and keep attendees interested and invested in your content. 

3. Data analytics

One of the biggest benefits of holding virtual events for an event marketer or organizer is the ability to track the movements and actions taken by your attendees in real-time - something not possible with in-person events. You’ll be able to see how long attendees stay at your event, which sessions drew the most interest, which content formats are getting higher rates of engagement, etc. 

But you’ll need to have a grasp of analytic tools in order to take advantage of the data you collect, make changes on the fly, and improve the ROI of future virtual events.

4. Speaker Management     

At in-person events in the past, you may have just needed to brief speakers before their event and called it a day. Managing speakers for your virtual event however requires a little more care and effort. 

Keep in mind that your speakers will be unfamiliar with a virtual platform and will need help accessing and utilizing its features for their presentations. So to ensure that your speakers have a great experience at your event and to empower them to host engaging, interesting sessions, you’ll need to spend some time taking them through the platform and the tools they can use to drive better audience participation. 

A dry run or two will be indispensable in building their confidence and yours as well. 

Zuddl’s Backstage is a game-changer when it comes to Speaker management (#shamelessplug). You can use this virtual greenroom to prep speakers before they go ‘On Air’, and have a direct line of communication with them during the presentation. This will let you help with any unexpected issues, keep them on schedule and assist with audience engagement.

To sum up…

With virtual events here to stay, event marketers and planners need to reskill and upskill in order to stay ahead of the competition and reach more customers. There’s plenty to learn, but a fundamental understanding about tech, digital content, and management is a good start, coupled with stepping out of the “not how things are done” mentality. It may be a pain now, but it is sure to pay off in the long run. 

Virtual Events

Why asynchronous communication will save your virtual event

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

It's no surprise why on-demand content has gained popularity in the world of virtual events. The control that it gives the audience is unparalleled. Through this post, learn why you need to factor in asynchronous content before rolling out your next event.

We are no longer prisoners of geography.

This means you now can have attendees from Palo Alto to Perth joining, participating, and collaborating at your virtual event. That’s incredible.

But once you’ve (virtually) high-fived everyone in the marketing team, and start thinking about the logistics of it all, there’s one big challenge that you’ll notice immediately: how can you create an engaging and exciting virtual event experience for all your attendees if they’ll all be tuning in from different places and different times? After all, when your attendees are all set to go at 10:00 AM in Palo Alto, other attendees will be snoring away in their beds at 2:00 AM in Perth. Hardly ideal.

And even if your attendees were all located within your timezone, it’s still improbable that every single one of them will be able to stay throughout your event. Thanks to busy workday schedules as well as the blurring of home-work life, we are all working more nowadays which means that your attendees may have to miss out on parts of your event.

So, how do you ensure that all your attendees are able to attend your event and derive value from it? 

Asynchronous content delivery.

Wait, what does asynchronous mean?

‘Asynchronous’ simply means not existing or occurring at the same time; it’s the opposite of something ‘synchronous’ which is used to describe something happening in real-time. For instance, if you send someone an email and they reply hours later, that’s asynchronous while a video call, a phone call, a face-to-face meeting is synchronous.

How do I use asynchronous content at my virtual event? And why should I?

In the context of virtual events, this means that you can plan in some asynchronous content that everyone can consume and engage with regardless of different time zones i.e. instead of specific times for a live session or conversation, attendees can watch pre-recorded content or consume pre-made materials like PDFs or presentations and answer questions or prompts on their own time (think Netflix vs. TV).

The  advantages are undeniable:

  1. Offers flexibility and convenience for organizers and attendees

Organizers no longer have to deal with the headache of finding times that work across multiple time zones. And attendees don’t have to deal with having to join an event at strange times; there’s no need for anyone to tune in at 3:00 AM. Everyone can enjoy the convenience of joining when they can, engaging and contributing on their own time.

  1. Gives people the ability to learn at their own pace

Asynchronous content gives your attendees more time to digest information and formulate ideas, and as your event content can be produced in multiple formats— such as blogs, research reports, and video presentations — your attendees have more freedom in the way they want to learn about a topic. This is “very learner-centric. It’s for me to consume when I can consume it and how I want to consume it,” says Derrick Johnson, director of event strategy and development and chief diversity officer at Talley Management Group.”

  1. Enables diverse input

By giving attendees from different geographies and disciplines access to your event content, you can receive broader and deeper responses and insights. Additionally, because there’s no pressure to immediately respond, more attendees and especially introverted participants can feel more emboldened to share their opinions. 

It’s very clear that ‘anytime, anywhere’ content is integral to ensuring that no attendees miss out on important parts of your event, and in this way, it helps to build a shared experience for all your attendees. 

But this is not to say that your entire virtual event has to consist only of asynchronous content.  When speaker and attendee dialogue, or real-time attendee connection and collaboration are essential to the goals of your event, planning in synchronous content is needed too. 

Striking the balance between asynchronous and synchronous content 

The appeal for blending learning and engagement is that your attendees will benefit from the advantages of both: content they can access at any time and real-time meetings that are focused and productive.

Derrick Johnson, director of event strategy and development and chief diversity officer at Talley Management Group, sums this up succinctly, commenting: “For me, in this event space, the best model is a collaboration between synchronous and asynchronous learning, where you have the opportunities for the learners to [learn] at their own pace, at their own leisure, engage with the pre-recorded content that exists in the space,” he says. “But you’re providing opportunities of adapting this synchronous learning together so that people can connect at a later point and build upon the learning and on the concepts that they’ve gathered during that independent time.”

Here are some simple ways to incorporate both at your event:

  • Simulated live sessions

With a simulated live session, a speaker or panel’s presentation is pre-recorded and played on a specific date and time during the event. But it has a live component as well. While the presentation is played, a speaker/speakers will be available to talk in real-time with a virtual audience and answer their questions. Simulated live sessions can accommodate different regions and time zones - with local presenters available for the real-time chat - to generate the same excitement and immediacy for all your attendees.

  • Pre-recorded stage presentation + live workshops/group discussions

Playing recorded content on Stages or creating a content hub using a virtual Expo Booth is an easy way to get all your attendees to consume the material as per their convenience. Then organize workshops in each time zone for attendees to discuss the pre-recorded content and share their opinions with each other. 

Pro-tip: Zuddl’s virtual Rooms enable you to host and moderate small group conversations. This feature is particularly useful as it has an option to view the content playing on a Stage, so attendees can refer directly to it during their discussions. 

  • Training sessions

You can turn the last suggestion on its head. Hosting live instructor-led training sessions for attendees in each of your timezones is a great way to drive value, especially since it gives attendees the ability to ask questions and get real-time feedback. You can record these sessions and make them available to attendees in other timezones as well, so everyone can learn from each other.

Real-life examples of asynchronous and synchronous content at virtual events

Example 1:  The University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland’s Kongress zur Begabungs- und Begabtenförderung (IBBF)

FHNW, one of Switzerland's leading universities of applied sciences and arts, hosts an international event every three years for all teachers and specialists interested and involved in the promotion of talent. Usually, talent centers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland hold sessions with world-leading experts to enable an exchange beyond regional and national borders; international speakers present current school developments and findings for discussion.

With the pivot to virtual, the organization had to rethink routine practices. With experts from the US as well as teachers with busy school schedules joining the event, organizers needed to bring in some flexibility within the fixed schedule. So live presentations, as well as pre-recorded workshops, were on the agenda and organizers made the program available as a recording for several days afterwards. Attendees could also download the presentation slides from the virtual event platform.

Example 2: German Society of Periodontology DG PARO’s hybrid 2020 Annual Meeting

DG PARO is a leading German dental organization that hosts a meeting for professionals every year. Responding to the challenge of the pandemic, the organization decided to host a "hybrid congress" instead, combining in-person and online events. This meant that up to 100 attendees could attend the event from the physical venue in  Stuttgart while virtual attendees could join via a virtual event platform. 

Organizers were careful to ensure that all attendees were able to derive plenty of value from the event; networking and chat rooms were set up throughout to encourage attendees to get to know each other and make professional connections as per their convenience; furthermore, in-person attendees were able to attend live presentations that were streamed to the virtual venue so attendees joining in from home could also access and engage with the content. The sessions were recorded and made for subsequent on-demand viewing for those tuning in from other time zones.

To sum up …

With asynchronous content, you can spread your event over longer periods of time, hold repeated sessions for attendees in different time zones, and keep that content available for consumption and lead generation after the official event ends. This gives your attendees more flexibility in selecting and consuming content and can help you drive more registrations,  participation, and member value.

But it’s not a be-all.

It’s important for organizers to consider both synchronous and asynchronous content delivery in planning, and be purposeful in creating opportunities for both to complement each other. Without asynchronous content, attendees in multiple time zones can feel like second-class citizens, but with synchronous content you can add more energy, excitement, and real-time feedback.

Providing both options offers attendees a balance between content and community and gives them the ability to choose how to consume and interact.

Virtual Events

Virtual event tools: how to make your events more efficient

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

What do a carpenter, a chef, a coder, and a virtual event organizer have in common? Well-made tools that make work more efficient and streamlined. Learn the must-have tools for virtual event hosting such as registration & ticketing software, landing page builder, email tools etc. that you should already be using.

At first glance, planning a virtual event can seem pretty easy. All you need to do is curate an amazing line-up of speakers, rope in a fantastic virtual event platform partner, and you’re good to go, right?

Well, not quite. 

Just like catching a roadrunner, organizing a virtual event can seem deceptively simple. Think through all the activities associated with the event lifecycle: from making an event landing page to setting up ticketing, and creating your virtual event venue to sending out post-event emails, there's quite a lot to do (not that we’re trying to scare you).

But the fact of the matter is that every part of your event lifecycle is a separate activity in itself. And if one fails, it’ll have direct consequences on every other activity - in the end, impacting the overall success of your event. 

The best way to cut through the planning and logistical stress: virtual event tools that make your work more efficient and streamlined. Here are the essentials that you should already know about:

The virtual event tools you need to use

Ticketing

As you know, the event experience starts as soon as your prospective attendee shops for tickets to your event, which means that you can’t afford for the ticketing experience to be anything other than smooth and clear. That’s where an event ticketing tool can be invaluable. 

Tools like Aventri, or Eventbrite will streamline the entire ticketing process for you. You will be able to 

  • Create a dedicated landing page for your event with ticketing incorporated (the amount of customization offered depends on the tool you choose)
  • Put different ticket tiers, and corresponding prices in place
  • Set up payment options
  • See real-time ticketing performance data so you can improve and optimize sales.

The tool you choose will determine how creative you can get with ticketing; some organizers for instance are offering  NFTs as a virtual/hybrid event ticket which is a unique and exclusive way to drive sales and nurture brand loyalty. (Click here for more on the inventive ways NFTs are being used in virtual events).

Payments

In the world of ever-increasing impatience and frustration, speed and effortlessness are the name of the game. If your attendees face any issues at the point of purchase, they’re likely to back out and have a negative view of your brand. That’s why domestic and international payment tools like  Stripe, Razorpay, Paypal or PayU are so important. A fast, easy and reliable checkout shortens the time from interest to purchase and helps to create a good brand impression. 

CRM

Today’s attendees are more demanding than ever before.

Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” report spells this out, stating that attendees expect “proactive service, personalized interactions, and connected experiences across digital channels.” And 71% of those polled said that they would make a purchase decision based on experience quality.

What this boils down to is once an attendee purchases a ticket, you’ll need to make sure that they feel like a VIP. To this end, CRM tools such as Hubspot, Marketo and Salesforce are an organizer’s best friend, enabling you to manage your attendees through the entire event lifecycle and streamline communication with them. This means you’ll be able to:

  • Send out automated ticket registration emails, event notifications and reminders, and session recordings post-event to create a personalized experience - there’ll be no chance of attendees receiving an email addressed to the wrong person.
  • Keep tabs on attendee activities throughout the event and provide more opportunity for fostering leads 
  • Automate tasks and optimize your time and effort

Leverage a CRM tool to its utmost and you’ll be able to give your attendees an event experience that’ll earn you rave reviews on social media, make them more open towards a future purchase, and foster brand loyalty.

Streaming

An overload of virtual sessions with talking-head programming just won’t cut it anymore. For your virtual events to be more engaging and impressive than a PowerPoint presentation, you’ll need to be able to play video during your sessions. Here’s why its indispensable:

  • With the help of a production studio, you can leverage technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Extended Reality (XR), and other virtual sets to create a unique and immersive experience
  • Live-streaming also helps to build community. Speakers can interact with attendees, and answering questions, and taking Polls which bring an immediacy to the proceedings
  • Playing pre-produced video content ensures that there are no hitches during the event

Thanks to streaming tools such as Youtube, Vimeo, GoToWebinar, Zoom, and Teams, you’ll be able to stream videos in and out in real-time with ease.

Translators

One of the biggest advantages of virtual events is the ability they give you to reach a larger audience than was previously possible; one that is spread throughout your country or even around the world. 

However, with this ability also comes a responsibility that all your attendees regardless of location or the language they speak, are equally able to access and consume your content. 

This is where translation tools like Interprefy, SyncWords, and Google Translate can make a big difference:

  • Multilingual audio support enables attendees who speak different languages to still be able to read and digest the content presented at your event
  • Live captioning allows you to make every spoken word in the videos you share at the event consumable for attendees who are hard of hearing

What’s the secret to getting all the tools you need for your virtual event?

From making your life easier to creating a better experience for your attendees, it’s easy to see the benefits of virtual event tools. So why aren’t all event organizers using them? Sadly, not all virtual event platforms offer integrations with these tools forcing organizers to depend on paid tools to manage such integrations, which is neither a flexible or scalable solution.

To resolve this integration headache for organizers, Zuddl offers out-of-the-box integrations to the most popular CRMs, ticketing systems, payment gateways, and translation tools which means that you’ll have every tool you need in one place at your fingertips. And furthermore, our team will also work hand-in-glove with yours to build custom integrations for homegrown systems.

To sum up

While creating  a virtual event experience that your attendees will remember for all the right reasons can be challenging, virtual event tools can play a vital role in getting it right. But this can be made more complicated by clunky integrations or the lack thereof for your favourite tools. 

Which is why Zuddl will work with you to develop the integrations your organization needs specifically. Working together, we can ensure that your next event is dynamic and impactful. 

Want to learn more about Zuddl?

If you’d like to discuss how Zuddl can help you produce a flawless event experience, book a demo with our team today. 

Engagement
Virtual Events

Keeping burnout at bay: 4 strategies to drive better attendee engagement

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

A packed day of sessions at a virtual event only leads to an endless "sit-and-watch" cycle that will drain attendees and lead to event abandonment. Prevent this from happening by employing this virtual event attendee engagement strategies.

Online burnout. It’s been increasingly cropping up in casual conversation with colleagues and friends, in Forbes articles and LinkedIn thought pieces, to say nothing of Twitter. And it’s no surprise. 

Ever since easing into a remote world of work and a virtual-first way of life, we are now all spending inordinate hours online, attending back-to-back meetings, replying to countless emails and messages, and jumping from tab to tab to tab. It can get overwhelming pretty quickly, leaving you exhausted and unable to focus. Everyone has had at least one of these days.

What does this have to do with virtual event attendees?

It’s the same principle.

Assuming your virtual event runs for 1-2 days, with each day filled with sessions and activities, there’s a high probability that your attendees too will experience online burnout. There’s no point in putting all that time and effort into organizing your virtual event only for your attendees to tune out and drop off during its run. 

It’s clear that while well-meaning virtual event organizers are working hard to make their events unique and worth attending, not all understand that simply having a great line-up is enough; that’s only one part. The other is really paying attention to the attendee experience and doing whatever you can to make sure that they feel engaged and energized throughout the event.

Here’s how to make this happen:

Attendees remember experiences over information. So when you’re organizing your virtual event, look for ways to improve the quality of attendee engagement through strategy and virtual event platform tools. Here are 4 suggestions that are simple to implement :

1.  Vary your content strategy

A “one-size-fits-all” content strategy won’t work anymore given that people prefer to consume content in different ways at different times today. Attendees want to and will consume content in a format, time, and place of their choosing. Some learn by reading, others by listening, some by watching, and some by experiencing, so the content that you offer must be customized to engage this newly empowered attendee. 

This can be accomplished by creatively using the features and capabilities of your virtual event platform. For example:

  • Invite a guest speaker to lead a session on an important topic on a Stage
  • Simultaneously set up Rooms in which small groups can watch the session on Stage whilst discussing it with other attendees
  • Set up an Expo Booth with downloadable material such as PDFs, checklists, guides etc
  • Make video recordings of the session accessible to attendees even after the event ends so they can watch whenever they want

This way, by creating different touchpoints and experiences around your content, your attendees will be able to actively engage in consuming your content according to their preferences.

2.  Get attendees involved 

Let’s be honest. How many times have you drifted off during an online meeting - checked your phone, browsed Netflix, or caught up on chores, etc.? We’re not judging. 

As per the 2020 Amex report, around 54% of event planners have already shifted their focus to enhancing the attendee experience, against the backdrop of virtual fatigue. What this means is that given the tendency for people to disconnect one’s attention, especially when they aren’t speaking, it’s critical for organizers to make attendees still feel involved and integral to virtual event sessions. 

This can be achieved by leveraging your virtual event platform’s engagement tools to turn them from passive viewers to active participants.

Zuddl, for instance, has a variety of tools designed to make attendees an active part of the conversations on Stage:

  • Chat, Q&A, and Polls can make attendees feel like their voice is heard, especially if the questions, comments or results are incorporated into sessions. 
  • Raise Hands lets attendees  talk face-to-face with speakers on stage
  • Emoji reactions are an easy, quick, and fun way for attendees to indicate enthusiasm

The upshot is that these tools help attendees quickly feel like they're part of the proceedings and realize that their voices matter - a simple but powerful way to make them want to continue attending and engaging at your event. 

3. Use gamification to the fullest

Getting your attendees involved in the first place is one thing, keeping them involved is quite another. While attendee engagement tools make it easy for attendees to participate in your virtual event, gamification will encourage them to keep at it. 

Organizers can set up a point system, wherein attendees can earn coins or points by completing actions or activities at the event,  set up a leaderboard to encourage friendly competition, and award prizes to the top performers.

It’s an extraordinarily fun way to remove the drudgery that can come from attending many online sessions, and instead make your attendees feel excited and motivated to keep their focus on the event.

4. Give attendees downtime to recharge

It’s only natural for people to get a bit virtual-ed out so break up a packed day of long sessions with mini-breaks for attendees to recharge their bodies and minds.  Not taking this into consideration is a virtual event planning mistake you’ll want to avoid.

  • Use push notifications on the platform to remind attendees to get up, stretch their legs and make themselves a cup of coffee. 
  • Plan in micro self-care activities, such as yoga or meditation
  •  Set up gaming zones within the virtual venue 

This will definitely earn you goodwill from your attendees and as an added bonus, it will also help to increase attentiveness after the break. Research shows that taking brief mental breaks when faced with long tasks can dramatically improve one’s focus. 

To sum up…

Now more than ever, virtual event organizers need to remember that attendees are already inundated with talking-head programming; they’re looking instead for an exciting, engaging attendee experience that feels valuable and memorable.

A combination of the right strategy and the tools and features of a customizable virtual event platform can help you deliver a memorable attendee experience. Book a demo with Zuddl today to learn more.

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.

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.

Virtual Events

Learn how virtual reality is changing the game for virtual events

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Virtual reality technology has changed the definition of audience engagement for event organizers. Learn more about how you can leverage VR to host an unforgettable event and seek inspiration from brands that have effectively used this technology.

When global superstar Marshmello was invited to headline at the UEFA Champions League 2021 final Opening Ceremony, the DJ hitmaker wanted to give the 380 million fans watching, a show the likeness of which they had never seen before; and so he turned to virtual reality (VR). 

From VFX and game engine technology to 3D cameras and real-time virtual production, Marshmello’s  6-minute VR set was designed to “bend reality” - and it did. Fans looked on as a giant Marshmello walked through the streets of Europe’s capitals and danced with an army of fellow Marshmellos; he played guitar while fireworks went off behind him, and raised the volume as the stadium filled up with water. 

It was an electrifying virtual event experience. 


Marshmello’s incredible performance is just one of the many ways in which the events industry has embraced the transformational potential of virtual reality—and rightly so. VR offers a remarkably sensory experience to boost engagement and entertainment for any event. It can attract greater participation and deliver better experiences than a presentation or discussion.

VR at virtual events: what you can do

Ever since Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR, some of the biggest names in tech, such as Google and Samsung, have already entered the VR tech market. So, this futuristic technology is becoming increasingly accessible for the events industry.

Brands and event organizers worldwide are already creatively using VR technology to supercharge their virtual events. Let’s look at how you can too.

For knowledge sharing—conferences, seminars, training

Virtual Conferences with Zuddl

In a world where businesses aspire to focus more on showing than telling, VR is the perfect tool for organizers to create immersive and educational experiences for attendees. Instead of keynote pontifications and dull powerpoint presentations, organizers can easily bring a subject alive through a VR experience. For instance, learning about a new and innovative piece of medical equipment is so much more impactful if you can ‘watch’ it being used in surgery rather than just hear it being described.


That’s precisely what AltSpace achieved through its VR-powered conference, vMed20. Participants could attend this conference virtually through the organizer’s free VR social tool, AltSpace—to learn about the multiple use cases of VR in the healthcare industry; an excellent demonstration of  the game-changing potential of immersive technology in the healthcare sector 

For marketing—product launches and demos 

A basic presentation will no longer cut the bill when you’re launching a new product and want to keep your audience hooked and wowed. Showing off your products at a virtual event can be best accomplished with VR technology that lets your attendees appreciate it from 360 degrees.

And that’s exactly what OnePlus pulled off with its  first-ever VR product launch.Speaking about the decision to use VR,  Carl Pei, Co-Founder of OnePlus said “ In our industry, product launches tend to be the same. An auditorium, a keynote, and a seated audience. For the OnePlus 2 launch, we didn’t want that barrier between us and you; we wanted to invite you into our world, because you’re a major part of it. That is why we decided to unveil the OnePlus 2 to the world completely in VR.”

To this end, the event was shot entirely with 360° filming technology ahead of launch. In it, users were welcomed into the  OnePlus office, leading to the unveiling of the product. Attendees could tour the office, meet the team and other fans. On the day of the launch, fans were able to watch the launch on their Android app or on Youtube. Those using the app were able to see detailed specifications of the new smartphone and interact with its features.


And it’s clear that the strategy paid off with 45,000+ concurrent viewers in 170 countries tuning in during the launch, and the VR event racking up 750,000+ views in the first 24 hours.

For entertainment—live games and concerts

Virtual Reality Concert - Zuddl

For the entertainment industry, VR offers organizers a way to replicate the excitement and energy of in-person events at a virtual one. Putting on a headset can transport the wearer to the front row of a musical festival - an experience that you can’t really get from watching a Youtube video for instance. 

A great example of this in action is  FOX Sports VR-powered broadcasts of NBA games. Attendees wearing Oculus headsets can experience the thrill of watching basketball greats live in action. 

Halestorm’s virtual reality concert is another great example of how the entertainment industry is adopting this technology.

For charity—fundraisers and charity events

VR lets non-profit organizers bring their causes to life. Through 360-degree video, donors can step into the shoes of those who need their aid.  It’s a form of emotional storytelling that can prompt a donor to make a financial contribution more than powerpoint presentations and data can do.  

The Royal Trinity Hospice, for instance, created a VR video tour that takes viewers through the entire grounds of the hospice, and highlights its services. Through this, potential donors can understand the impact their aid will have. This movie is displayed in several of the organization’s virtual events, including its annual celebrations and fairs. 

Challenges in using VR for virtual events - and how to tackle them

As can be seen, VR has played a significant role in virtual events across industries, but some organizers are still hesitant in embracing this innovative technology for their events. Here’s how to tackle some of the challenges that come with VR. 

Keeping costs low: While the tech required to produce VR and for your fans to access your videos can seem daunting, the good news is that VR technology keeps getting better, and less expensive. Facebook’s Oculus Quest 2 headset at $299 has already significantly lowered the entry price point for VR devices. And with a $15 price tag, Google Cardboard allows users to experience VR with just a smartphone

Accessible to everyone: VR technology does provide a way for audiences to access new experiences, but it still has a long way to go in terms of accessibility. This high-powered technology is not feasible for users living in low connectivity areas. But this is easily addressed by partnering with venues that have the requisite bandwidth and power, or opting to use more accessible technology like smartphones.

Sharing is caring: Unlike the universe of ‘Ready, Player One’, at the moment, users cannot enter virtual reality with anyone else - for the moment atleast. But, if you have the budget, you can create group VR experiences. When Jaguar launched its electric I-PACE concept car for instance, it was through a  shared virtual reality experience. Groups of attendees sat together at round tables, wearing their helmets to take a virtual ride in the driver’s seat. They could see the hand controllers of attendees to their right and left, and hear the comments and reactions of everyone else, contributing to the group experience feeling.

To sum up...

Like any technology, VR continues to change and evolve, and so organizers using the tech need to be as equally avant-garde in their creativity in its use. While the brands and the events they held can serve as inspiration, be sure to think about how you can use it to further the goals of your event. 

Virtual Events

10 unique and fun ideas for your virtual holiday party

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Need to quickly come up with ideas for virtual holiday get-togethers for your team? Here are 10 festive activities that will bring your colleagues together for a fun time.

The holiday season is around the corner but you’re short of ideas on how to bring your remote team together for some fun and festive activities that everyone can enjoy. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 10 easy activities you can organize that will bring all your team members, regardless of their location, full of cheer. From holiday scavenger hunts to cocktail and cookie parties, we’ve got your covered.

1. Holiday Scavenger Hunt


Holiday Scavenger Hunt - Zuddl


Organizing a virtual scavenger hunt is one of the easiest ways to bring your team together for a fun, exciting activity that makes everyone feel included. 

How to play: Put together a list of holiday-related items that your teammates have to find within a certain time such as something red and green,  their favourite Christmas item, or a cup of cheer; it’s best to keep your requirements a bit broad so that teammates can use their ingenuity to find items within their house or in the office that fit the bill. 

You can create different lists for different teams, with the fastest team to collect all items winning a prize. Take a look at how the Digital Schoolhouse team enjoyed a fun scavenger hunt session!

2. Watercooler trivia

Virtual watercoolers have become the new go-to’s for remote teams to have casual conversations about everything from holiday plans to TV shows that they’re watching; you can turn these fun conversations into a fun trivia night activity.

How to play: A watercooler trivia night is similar to your usual trivia games where teams answer  a set of general knowledge questions. But the rather enjoyable twist here is that the questions will be about your teammates. Prepare a list of fun questions about some common subjects of conversations at the water cooler, such as “Who’s known for the best Dwight Schrute impression?”


Even better if you use a virtual event platform like Zuddl that has an inbuilt gamification feature which means that you can use a leaderboard to track and tally points for you, and let everyone know who’s they have to beat to win! 

3. Holiday-themed karaoke night


Holiday-themed Karaoke Night - Zuddl

What’s a holiday party without some festive music? Bring your virtual team together for a karaoke night where they can let loose and spend the evening belting out the classics. 

How to host: Invite your team to a virtual meeting space or use a virtual breakout room like we have on Zuddl, play karaoke tracks and ask colleagues to duo or solo one after the other. There’s nothing like singing an off-key rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ to bring a team together.

Here’s the KGW8 team hosting a great virtual karaoke session


Virtual Karaoke Session - Zuddl

4. Gingerbread-making contest

Nothing says Christmas like gingerbread - but most people have more experience in eating it than making it. So why not host a fun gingerbread-making contest?

How to host: Send everyone a DIY gingerbread kit ahead of time, or if that’s not possible, ask everyone to stock up on the ingredients needed for baking gingerbread men. Invite a chef to your virtual baking session or play a video whilst everyone follows the instructions. Encourage everyone to get creative with their baking and celebrate successes and failures too! End the evening by eating your gingerbread ‘together.’

5. Wreath-making workshop

With work and home time bleeding into each other, many people don’t have the time to decorate their homes for the holidays. For such workaholics, a wreath-making session is the perfect way for some ‘me time’ that gets their creative juices flowing - that gets them an incredible wreath to hang on the door in the process!

How to host: Similar to the gingerbread contest, you can either send your entire team the items for making a wreath or ask them to collect these items beforehand. Organize a virtual hangout session for everyone to learn how to make their wreaths (even better if you hire an instructor), and laugh through the wreath-making fails and wins together.

6. A holiday talent show

Find your in-house Beyonce or laugh out loud with your comedians—an end of the year talent show is the best way for your team to get to know and bond over each other’s hidden talents.

How to host: Use a virtual platform, ideally with a Stage feature, that your team can use to run the show. Performers can take to the stage one after another to share their talents and wow your team. Even better if the platform you use has engagement features that those watching can use to encourage their teammates (Zuddl has Emoji reactions for instance). You can use Polls to ask attendees to vote for their favourite performance. 

7. Virtual holiday photobooth

If there’s one advantage of remote work besides working in your pyjamas, it’s the ability to take fantastic team photos easily. No matter how big your team is, you can take the best group pictures at a virtual party that you can display at your virtual office (and poke fun at) all throughout the year. 

How to host: Set up a virtual photo booth with holiday-themed backgrounds - one with Santa and reindeers or even a Home Alone style one - and ask teammates to dress up according to the theme! Think ugly Christmas sweaters or funny reindeer headbands. 

8. Improv comedy night

Improv Comedy Night - Zuddl

Get everyone in a great(er) mood with a fun improv comedy night. Bring out the comedian in every team member and have a huge laugh together.

How to host: All you need is a fun and friendly host for the improv session. Just like in Who’s Line Is it Anyway, the host will give your team different scenarios to act out that are sure to cause some laughs.

Take a look at ArtsQuest’s improv comedy sessions for corporate teams to inspire your own.

9. Holiday Escape Room

A holiday-themed escape room is actually a fun team building activity that will also test your team’s collective intelligence. The premise of this game is that a team is locked inside a room. They must solve clues or puzzles in order to complete a mission and then ‘escape’ out of the room before time runs out. 

How to play:  Book a virtual holiday escape room online and spend an hour or so putting your brains together to help rescue Santa or find the Naughty or Nice list. 

10. Cocktail and Cookie Party

Getting everyone together to celebrate the holidays by sharing food and drink is the perfect way to relax, chat, laugh and spend time with each other as a team. 

How to host: As with the gingerbread baking or wreath-making sessions, send cookies and cocktail ingredients to your colleagues’ houses or ask them to pick up ingredients before your party. For the first half of the party, everyone can mix their cocktails or pop cookies in the oven to bake, after which you can enjoy an evening of drinks and food and conversation. 

To sum up…

This holiday season, take the opportunity to celebrate the people around you with a fun-filled virtual party. Whether it’s a trivia session or gingerbread wars, create an unforgettable experience for all your teammates with these game ideas that will strengthen team spirit and spread holiday cheer.

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

Virtual Events

Which 4 industries benefit most from holding virtual events

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Over the past two years, businesses from every industry have come to realize the unique benefits that virtual events offer. We take a quick look at the different ways organizations have leveraged virtual experiences and the results they have achieved.

Virtual events - whether trade shows, seminars, conferences or musical festivals - have grown to be so popular and impactful that 45% of future B2B events will be completely virtual. 

For most event professionals, this should come as no big surprise as the benefits of virtual events are obvious: better reach, branding, engagement  and ROI. Because of this, hosting a virtual event has become an evergreen marketing strategy that is worth cultivating, regardless of the size of your business or which industry it belongs to. 

Let’s quickly look at the ways different industries have benefited from holding virtual events, so you can learn from them and follow in their footsteps.

1. Education industry

When the pandemic made it impossible for students to go to school, college or universities, educational institutions were forced to pivot to virtual spaces and classrooms instead, and reimagine methods of teaching, engaging, motivating and inspiring students. 

While educators were hesitant and untrusting initially, most have come to realize the surprising ways in which virtual events and platforms can create supportive and collaborative environments that enable more efficient teaching and learning.By virtue of the digital medium, educators can create exciting new virtual experiences for their students; they can invite guest lecturers from all over the world, facilitate small-group student learning via virtual Breakout rooms, and even set up networking sessions to drive  social interaction and camaraderie.

Not to mention, educational institutions can hold a variety of virtual events, from university lectures to job fairs, open houses to networking events, with ease online - and at a fraction of the cost, and logistical effort. Take for example the virtual open day experience offered by the University of Stirling. Prospective students watched presentations about student life, funding, accommodation, and applications, and were able to chat with current students, lecturers, and directors in course-specific virtual Rooms. There was also a virtual tour that showcased the campus and university's facilities.

Thanks to virtual events and platforms, educational institutions now have unique ways to power better learning and engagement with students. 

2. Hospitality industry

As with the education sector, the hospitality industry was forced to pivot to virtual solutions in order to continue to create memorable experiences for guests without compromising health and safety.

The adoption of virtual event platforms to host events, exhibitions, meetings, and conferences in particular has led to hotels and restaurants discovering how to leverage them as new avenues of expression, communication and connection with guests, and of course, maintain cash flow.

Take for example, the RPM Restaurants group in Chicago. The group hosted a variety of virtual events, ranging from cooking classes led by one of their chiefs to a drink-making session with a hotel mixologist. They also created meal kits for their classes that contained all the ingredients needed for the dish or cocktail that could be picked up or delivered to event attendees. The sense of social connection and community is strengthened when everyone cooks or drinks together online. Indeed, having received a strong positive response to these classes, the RPM group plans to hold more of these events.

Cooking classes are just one example of virtual events hosted by the hospitality industry. Businesses have also held a variety of healthy lifestyle classes such as yoga, meditation, physical fitness and even gardening. Using ticketing tiers was an avenue to drive revenue.

Larger MICE events were also successfully held online. Food & Hotel Asia for example, held a virtual Food & Hotel Digital Week that consisted of sessions and product showcases. Because of the medium of the event, it was attended by more than 5,000 industry players from more than 20 countries and regions. Quite an achievement for the company’s inaugural event.

So even though the ease of lockdown and social distancing has meant the rise of in-person gatherings once again, it’s clear that the hospitality industry will benefit from continuing to hold virtual events or hybrid ones. Not only does it give establishments a way to stay top of mind, it also provides convenience for guests and helps to keep profit margins up. 

3. Marketing and communications

Perhaps no industry has benefited from the rise of virtual events as much as the marketing industry. While the benefits of hosting virtual events remain the same for this industry as the hospitality and education industry ie. better branding, and more reach and engagement, one of the greatest benefits enjoyed particularly by marketers is the ability to capture data.

Unlike in-person events where tracking attendee micro-moments and calculating revenue is difficult (click here to read more about how to calculate ROI from a virtual event), thanks to virtual event platforms, marketers can keep track of engagement metrics such as time spent at the event or individual sessions, the number of Polls answered or Q&As asked.

If the virtual event platform offers organizers the ability to create Expo Booths like Zuddl does, marketers will also be able to see which attendees clicked on the ‘Registered Interest’ button, and which marketing collateral was the most or least consumed. This enables organizers to make changes on the fly that leads to better rates of engagement and to collect information on leads for post-event follow ups.

This in turn can lead to more leads and revenue. (Click here to read more about how NASSCOM generated 1000+ leads for their event sponsors).

4. Tech industry

Unsurprisingly, the tech industry took to virtual events like a duck to water, with companies like Salesforce, Consumer Technology Association, G2 and IBM pivoting to large-scale virtual conferences and summits with ease and reaping the benefits. (Click here to find out which of these companies made our list of 12 virtual events done right.) 

The perfect example of this is Gainsight’s Pulse. In May 2021, the company decided to transform their traditionally in-person event to a virtual version. The event featured 25 sessions presented by the leaders of top companies like Adobe, VMWare, and LinkedIn, and was attended by over 22,000 Customer Success and Product professionals from 50+ states/countries. In stark contrast, the same in-person event held in 2019 was attended by only 5,000 people. 

The company shared pre-recorded sessions and switched to live Q&A with the speakers right after the session, an engagement strategy that seemed to have paid off; the company tracked one million viewer minutes over the two half-days. Indeed, Stephanie Robotham, Chief Marketing Officer at Gainsight, pointed to the availability of real-time tracking of virtual attendees as a tremendous advantage, as it allowed them to take action immediately and have richer data for sales follow ups. 

As a consequence of better reach and engagement and tracking, the tech industry has been able to hold more impactful and valuable events.

To sum up...

All kinds of businesses, forced to throw out their playbooks completely due to lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions over the last year, discovered a silver lining amidst the chaos: virtual events. 

Regardless of industry, it became quite clear that through use of virtual and digital event solutions, organizers and marketers were able to hold immersive and creative virtual experiences for their customers and clients that drove energy, enthusiasm, meaningful connection and engagement for attendees, and delivered on business goals for organizers.

Even though in-person events are on the rise again, it’s a surety that virtual events or hybrid ones (a blend of virtual and in-person components) will remain. The benefits of virtual events are just too obvious to walk away from.

Virtual Events

6 common complaints about virtual events - and how to prevent them

4
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Prevention is better than the cure. Learn how you can minimize the causes of potential problems and attendee complaints at your virtual event even before it begins.

As an event organizer or marketer, the one thing that probably keeps you up at night is worrying about the attendee experience — as you should.  

It’s never anyone’s intention, but even the most experienced organizers can overlook some details that can contribute to a not so great virtual event experience. Just think back to the last event you attended. 

  • Was it riddled with sluggish loading times and technical glitches? Or did everything run perfectly?
  • Were the speakers and sessions able to capture your attention - and hold it? Or were you on your phone 60% of the time?
  • Did you find yourself enjoying the event? Or were you making a mental note to never attend an event held by the organizer ever again?

Clearly, it’s easy enough to identify issues that could crop up at your own event and work on measures to prevent them. It’s a simple exercise in thoughtfulness that can pay dividends.  With that in mind, let’s look at 6 of the most common complaints attendees have about virtual events with some actionable insights to tackle them.

1.“I can’t sit still for hours on end”

Virtual Meets with Zuddl

Say you’ve decided to attend a virtual conference over the weekend. The 3-hour long conference seems taxing, but you’re banking on the speakers’ exciting insights to help you power through it. But even with your highest concentration, you couldn’t make it past the first hour. 

If you’ve been there, you’re not alone.

The biggest challenge of hosting a virtual event is often the responsibility of engaging the audience. Even with this goal in mind, most organizers fail to address that an average virtual attendee will only pay attention to 68% of the event if it’s longer than 20 minutes.

So, the first and most crucial complaint deterring participation in your event is your audience’s short attention span.

How can you solve it?

The best way to tackle this challenge is to understand your attendees better. Use pre-event or during the event surveys and polls to identify their preferences regarding the length of the event, as well as timings for sessions and event activities.

Once you have this information, plan out your event schedule to be accommodating and inclusive (this is especially important if you have attendees joining in from different time zones). Planning regular intervals between sessions are important as they allow everyone to take a break and relax. Multiple short sessions are better than a single lengthy and endless session any day.

Moreover, you can use Zuddl’s innovative gamification feature to keep them hooked throughout the event. Set up an attendee leaderboard and set points for activities completed by attendees to maximize participation. Even better if you announce that you’ll be awarding prizes to the top three scorers. (Click here to read more about our Gamification feature in detail).

2.“I find it challenging to listen to the speaker and read the chat simultaneously.”

For some, it can be difficult to listen to speakers and type out their responses at the same time. More importantly, this constant back and forth between listening and writing can affect their takeaways from the session — reducing the value of the event.

How can you solve it?

Ideally,  you want your participants to first listen to the speakers and then air their views. This can be facilitated by the virtual event platform in a couple of ways. Zuddl, for example, has in-platform engagement features that allow attendees to easily express opinions or questions. 

  • Emoji Reactions: Instead of having to type out text replies to real-time moments on Stage, emoji reactions are an easy, quick, and fun way for attendees to indicate enthusiasm - it's a natural extension of a reaction language we use almost everywhere else in our digital lives.
  • Raise Hand: Eschewing any need for typing, with this feature, attendees can go from the audience and right onto the Stage alongside speakers, upon approval by organizers.

With these, you’ll be able to give your attendees a chance to consume as much information as possible while also enabling them to share their takes and ask questions.

3. “I am bored out of my mind” 🥱

Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl

Imagine putting in weeks of energy and effort to organize your event only for the audience to space out because of boredom. Many participants complain that they zone out during virtual sessions because it’s not intriguing enough to grab or retain their attention.

The primary reason for this is the lack of a solid audience engagement strategy. 

How can you solve it?

First, create an audience engagement strategy aligned with your events’ goals, speakers, and audience preferences.  Use virtual event platform tools like Polls and Quizzes to keep your audience excited and tuned in during event sessions. As mentioned earlier, Gamification can play an important role here. 

Next, leverage your event platform to create a virtual venue that your attendees will enjoy exploring. One of the greatest benefits from using a platform is the different virtual sections or zones you can create within it - such as an event lobby, Breakout Rooms, an Expo zone, and networking areas. 

Attendees who want to take a break can visit each of these areas to participate in different kinds of activities, from 1:1 video calls with peers to small group discussions to taking pictures at a virtual Photobooth. The more avenues for interaction you have at your virtual event, the greater engagement you create for your audience.

Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 1

4. “I want to meet and mingle with speakers post-session”

Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 2

While online events have replicated the in-person experience in many ways, some aspects are more challenging than others. One such element is post-session interaction with speakers. Getting to meet or talk directly with industry leaders and experts is one of the best parts of attending a conference or summit, but usually at virtual events, organizers overlook facilitating this important experience.

How can you solve it?

Set up networking sessions for everyone at the event - attendees and speakers alike. Our networking feature is perfect for this. Via Quick Networking, your attendees will be matched randomly with others at the event - just like when at an in-person conference, you would walk up to the nearest person you saw and strike up a conversation. 

Smart Networking on the other hand allows for more targeted matchmaking. Attendees can list interests on their profiles, as well as specify who they’re looking to meet -eg. Startup investors, Bitcoin experts (who might be speakers at your event), and Zuddl’s feature will match them automatically to those who list themselves as such. 

Another Zuddl feature that helps with this attendee complaint is the Raise Hand feature. As described earlier, you can bring some attendees onto the virtual Stage alongside a speaker so that they can have a direct conversation.

5.  This event feels more like a presentation than a virtual conference 

Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 3

Another key differentiator between a virtual and in-person event is the delivery of every session.

While a physical event gives a clear glimpse of the speakers walking from one end of the stage to the other, a virtual event boxes them into a small part of the screen. This can detract from the effect their presence has on the audience. And network issues, buffering, and audio glitches can always add to their misery.

The lack of this immersive experience—both for the speakers and participants—reduces the entire event to a presentation. Your audience expects a greater degree of involvement and interaction in every session.

How can you solve it?

Deliver a more immersive experience by partnering with a premium audio visual and event production company. Zuddl’s partner Entertainment Technology Partners (ETP) for instance, helps to execute all your audio-visual desires and push the envelope just a little further in engagement.  

Leveraging a combination of live and virtual event technologies, that can include Augmented Reality, Extended Reality, and other virtual sets, your studio partner can help you create unforgettable experiences that keep attendees coming back for more.

6. I miss that feeling of bumping into people and making connections

Virtual And Hybrid Events with Zuddl - 4

Those moments of meeting someone at the buffet or the ticket queue or even at the line for the bathroom are actually opportunities for attendees to interact with unexpected people, ideas, or businesses - that can translate into long lasting business relationships. At virtual events, these serendipitous moments are a little more tricky to facilitate but more so the reason for organizers to pay extra attention to this.

How can you solve it?

Organizers of virtual events are tackling this concern in many interesting ways. With an intuitive event hosting platform like Zuddl, you can try some of these best practices to encourage more interactions between participants:

  • Create a directory of all participants on the event’s website. This will allow every attendee to know who they can network with ahead of time. 
  • Enable attendees at your virtual event to set up 1:1 meetings with others. 
  • Leverage the AI-powered match-making feature on Zuddl to bring like-minded people together to start a conversation.
  • Add activities before and after every session for participants to talk about their experiences such as happy hours, learning circles, or open mics that can be hosted in virtual rooms. 

By giving your attendees agency and choice to meet others from a variety of ways, you’ll be empowering them to mingle and connect with others as per their convenience.

To sum up...

The virtual event industry is expected to grow beyond $500 billion by 2028. In such a rapidly growing market, you can guarantee your success only when you know what your attendees want and need from your events. Start with the tips above to make your events more interactive, fun, and audience-friendly.

Zuddl’s suite of features and partnership with ETP can make your virtual events stand out from the crowd. Talk to us today about how to get started.

Virtual Events
Hybrid Events

Reasons Why To Use NFTs at your Next Hybrid or Virtual Event

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.

Virtual Events
Engagement

Networking not working? Use these 6 ideas to connect virtual event attendees

7
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

It’s no secret that people attend events with the intention of meeting new professionals in their field, but facilitating these interactions can be challenging. That’s why we’ve come up with 6 simple ideas you can use to curate your attendees and bring the right people together.

If you’re an event organizer or a marketer for your business, you’ll already know that networking is one of the most integral parts of virtual events.

In fact, a survey by Markletic  points to networking being the second most popular reason people choose to attend events, with educational reasons being the first. And it’s easy to understand why.Networking gives you the opportunity to build business relationships and learn more about different industries, and new job prospects. It opens up new doors for your career and business.


However, facilitating this at an event is also one of the trickiest to get right. 

At in-person events, a multitude of factors can result in a networking session proving ineffective. The challenge for organizers has always been to create a space where attendees feel comfortable and confident, and are able to meet the right people. Now, thanks to virtual event platforms like Zuddl, organizers can do exactly that.

But finding a conducive virtual networking platform is just one part of the equation. Organizers need to be creative in coming up with ways to effectively leverage the features of the platform.  Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work already and come up with 6 ways you can boost networking at your next virtual event.

Virtual networking ideas for external events (virtual conferences, trade shows, summits, etc.)

1. Pre-event/Pre-session chat

There’s no rule stating that networking needs to occur at a specific time at your virtual event, so why not start even before your event begins? Create a private space for attendees to connect and chat with each other ahead of the event kickoff. This makes socializing at the virtual event less awkward for attendees.

Creating a pre-event chat can help to take the stress away from having to find someone to talk to at the virtual conference. Connecting with even one other person ahead of time can make attendees feel more comfortable and confident in attending the event and meeting others, and can even embolden them to participate more during the event.


Setting up a pre-session chat is another way to create a low-pressure, fun space where like-minded attendees can make connections.

2. Birds of a feather sessions

Organizing birds of a feather sessions is one of the most effective virtual networking event ideas you could implement. It’s basically hosting a breakout activity that is based on a shared interest during the event.

Similar to the pre-session chat, the birds of a feather session act as an informal and relaxed town hall-like space where like-minded attendees can chat about their interests, leading to potential collaboration. You can choose to invite a speaker to the session to facilitate group discussions, or you can make it more informal and simply encourage attendees to have unconstrained conversations about the topic. 

An important factor to be considered while organizing a BoF session is limiting attendance. This should be an intimate gathering so that every participant is comfortable and can talk easily.

3. Speed Networking

Speed networking, which works in a similar fashion to speed dating but with the advantage of AI-matchmaking, helps attendees connect with the right people at your virtual event.  For this activity, you will need a virtual event platform like Zuddl that has this feature capability (Click here to read more about our Zuddl’s Smart Networking platform feature in detail). 

Prior to entering Speed Networking, attendees will need to fill out profiles on the virtual event platform, that include their interests. When they enter the Speed Networking session, they will then be matched with attendees who share those interests for 1:1 video calls. It’s a great way for attendees to network with those in the same industry, or who are trying to solve the same problems. When matched attendees connect for their meeting, they can skip the small talk and get right down to business.

Speed Networking is great for use at internal events as well as it’s a simple yet effective way to bring together a remote workforce, and build connection and camaraderie. Zuddl, for instance, organizes a Speed Networking session every Friday so that colleagues from different teams who may not have much opportunity to connect and speak throughout the day, can meet and learn about each other. 

4. Pre-event photo competition

This simple activity can be a great way to interject more energy and fun into your online networking events. All you need to do is to ask your attendees to share a photo ahead of time - but keep in mind that this should be in line with your event. For example, if you are organizing a virtual wellness summit, you could ask attendees to share a photo of how they unwind after a long day. 

You can set up an Expo Booth at your virtual event venue (check that your virtual event platform has this feature), at which you can display the photos, and promote a visit to the Booth via social media or email to registered attendees. This way, attendees will be able to learn the names, businesses, and personalities of other attendees before the event begins - and can seek them out for 1:1’s if they spot a potential business collaboration.

Virtual networking ideas for internal events (company offsites, company meetings, team building, etc.)

5. Gamify your event

Gamification is one of the most effective and fun networking ideas on our list because of the way it encourages attendees to get to know each other. Through gamification, you can assign points to specific activities to be carried out by attendees, such as taking part in a group conversation in a Breakaway Room, or connecting with an attendee for a 1:1 video call. And you can award prizes to attendees with the most points!

Using a virtual event platform like Zuddl which has a Gamification feature can make this entire process even easier. Simply create your point distribution list, set up a displayed leaderboard, and you’re ready to go! (Click here to read more about how Zuddl’s gamification takes engagement to the highest level.)

6. Virtual watch parties or karaoke

If you’re looking for a lighthearted and fun way to get colleagues together as your virtual company meeting winds down or during the day when people need a breather from sessions, a virtual watch party or karaoke session might be just the ticket. There’s nothing like singing a terrible rendition of ‘We are the champions’ to bond a group of people together.


While you can run this activity in any virtual meeting space, you might find using a virtual event platform that has Breakout Rooms (like Zuddl) advantageous. In a Room, a small group of people can chat with each other via a video call - but that’s not all. You can also at the same time watch a presentation or video being played on Stage. So, just like a virtual watch party, you can take in a movie and react to it and discuss it in real-time. 

In conclusion...

One of the most integral parts of organizing a virtual event is providing your attendees with an opportunity to network with each other. This can be in different shapes and forms as you can see.  With the virtual networking ideas, we’ve shared, you should be able to create a delightful experience that your attendees will value and remember. 

If you need any help setting up networking at your next event, or want to know more about how to make all aspects of your event more value-driven and effective, just let us know. Talk to our team!

Virtual Events

Virtual event analytics: how to use data to drive leads and sales

7
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

What good is collecting event data if you don’t really know how to use it? Read this piece to get the low-down on the metrics you need to track and guidance on how to leverage this data to drive leads and sales for your business.

Data has become so central to every part of every business, that none can run efficiently without it. That’s indisputable. 

More controversial: not every business knows how to leverage the data they collect- and it’s no different in the events industry. 

Event data that you collect at virtual or hybrid events can help you understand if it is helping to achieve your overall business goals. Event analytics can gauge if your attendees are enjoying the event, and what kind of content is resonating with them the best. It can tell you the kinds of products or services your attendees are interested in, and whether or not they are performing critical actions and completing the tasks that lead them along the customer journey. 

There’s a wealth of information available. You just need to know what you can do with it.  Read on to learn how to start.

Data to be collected at every stage of your event 

Before we move on to how to use your event data, let’s take a moment to highlight what data you should already be capturing at every stage of your virtual or hybrid event. 

Pre Event

  • Registration - Virtual event registration data that you can collect via ticketing or landing pages is a great way to get as much information about your attendees as possible, such as their demographics, and interests about your industry and product/service. So don’t forget to collect the following:
  • Data of the attendee (Name, Job title, Name of the company they work at, Email address, Industry they work in, etc.)
  • Data of their plus one
  • Secondary data (Personal information, Preferences - eg. their favourite product)
  • Data of people who declined to RSVP
  • Promotion - Collecting details from your pre-event campaign promotions can help you get more information about awareness, reach, interest, and potential footfall at the event. 
  • Source (how they found out about the event)
  • Engagement (clicks, opens, etc.)
  • Event website (views, bounce rate, conversion rate, etc.)

Day of the event

The primary data you need to collect during the virtual or hybrid event is event engagement data. And the best way to do this is through the use of a virtual event platform like Zuddl which has the ability to track attendee traffic, engagement, and buyer intent across the event, all in real-time. Things you can measure include:

  • Traffic (at which sessions or event zones are your attendees spending the most time)
  • Engagement (which content drove the most interest and participation)
  • Buyer intent (see which Expo Booths had the most traffic and the most interest (see how many attendees clicked ‘Register Interest’, what questions they asked at the booth, what marketing material was downloaded the most

Post-event

The event doesn’t end when the last visitors leave the venue. You can send out surveys (click here to learn what questions will get you exactly the information you need to collect) and solicit feedback via email or on social media to learn if they liked the event, what was the best part, and what was a big no-no. 

  • Feedback (favourite speakers, favourite sessions, etc.)
  • Promotion - Engagement (clicks, opens, etc.)

How to use this event data to drive leads and sales

  1. Import your data - Now that you’ve collected the data, the next step is to use a tech tool or integration that can take the data and import it into workflows that you can use to follow up with your attendees. (Click here to read about the most important integrations your virtual event platform should be able to accommodate) It’s important to look for integrations and a virtual event platform that enables the following:
  • Captures event data easily and consistently.
  • Syncs data in real-time to the existing system.
  • Sync bi-directionally with all systems for easy collaboration.
  • Ability to scan cards and import data automatically to the system in real-time.
  • Add new registrants easily to ensure data is collected from late participants.
  1. Automate and segment your attendee list - With the help of software that can automate communication and segmentation of event data, you’ll be able to group attendees in different buckets in a way that helps you better understand their background, pain points and business needs. For example, if you hosted an event on medical technology and had medical professionals as your attendees, the software should be able to segment them on the basis of the department they work for, their designation, the city they live in, etc. You can then look at your engagement data to determine which attendees are high, medium or low intent. 
  1. Send out personalized follow-up post-event emails - Marketers will already know that regular communication with attendees via email is critical to nurture leads from the event.  This can be as simple as a three email sequence, starting with a simple ‘Thank you for attending the event’ email that reminds them of the event’s highlights. Don’t forget to add a link to the post-event web page that has more resources and information for your participants to access such as video recordings of sessions. In this email, you can add a link to a post-event survey to learn even more about the attendee’s opinion of the speakers, session, event content and platform. You can also email people who RSVPd for the event but didn’t turn up, albeit with a ‘Here’s what you missed’ angle to it. Let them know they were missed and highlight the resources that they can still access. It’s a great way to build goodwill and can motivate them to register for your next event. Follow-up emails can share more personalized and targeted content based on an attendees behaviour at the event - which we’ll cover in the following points.
  1. Share relevant content - Based on your insights on attendee behaviour - the questions they answered via Polls, the Expo Booths they expressed an interest in, the sessions that were the most attended, you should be able to get an idea of what matters most to them in reaching their goals. (This is information your sales teams should have too). In your follow-up emails, you should therefore share content that shows them how your product or service can help them. This can be in the form of videos, ebooks, case studies etc, which will be especially effective with medium intent leads. Prompt high-intent attendees to sample your product by signing up for a demo, or make a direct purchase in your emails. To sweeten the deal, you can offer attendees exclusive discounts or premium offers on your services, gift cards, and even a VIP invitation to your next event. 
  1. Engage attendees on social media - Thanks to integrations like Taggbox which lets you display a social media feed populated by attendees’ posts and tweets, you’ll have a goldmine of user-generated content (click here to read more about Zuddl x Taggbox’s social media display integration). You can reshare this content to highlight attendees’ favourite moments of the event, follow up with attendees post-event to keep conversations around the event going. It’s a simple but effective way to raise more awareness about your event, brand and partners, and stoke FOMO for your next event.
  1. Invite attendees to your next event - Use the feedback data you collected to improve your strategy for the next event you plan to hold. If you are able to finetune everything based on attendees’ suggestions and recommendations (and communicate that too), they’ll be more likely to join in. Think of your virtual events as a funnel to find out which of your attendees are the most invested and engaged. Using events data from each concurrent virtual event will help you discover this. 

To sum up...

Your virtual event metrics and event-based analytics will only be helpful to you if you are able to gather the right data, analyze it thoroughly, and use it effectively.

Yes, it will take a lot of careful planning to ensure that your data is not lost in a sea of spreadsheets. But keep in mind that you’ve made a significant investment in organizing your event and you need to use event analytics data properly to make the most out of this investment. Those who are able to do so will have a considerable advantage over the competition


Virtual Events
Engagement

The secret to creating introvert-friendly virtual events for a higher ROI

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Introverts make up at least half of your event attendees yet only a small percentage of event organizers consider introverted needs and behaviorisms when building event design. Read on to learn what strategies you can use to organize a more inclusive event, which can help to make your event ROI more profitable too.

Did you know that introverts make up nearly half the world's population (a recent MBTI® global sample puts it at 56.8%), and therefore form half of an event’s attendees? We’re not surprised if you don’t. It’s a quiet detail that event organizers often overlook; after all, most activities at events are typically high-energy formats and activities that lean towards extroverts.

But when it comes to virtual events, putting the experience of introverts at the core of event planning is important for organizers, in more ways than one. 

Besides the obvious reason that virtual events should be exciting, engaging, and impactful experiences for all attendees, paying a little attention to introverted needs and behaviorisms when building your event design can help to make your event ROI more profitable too.

To this end, there are three statements that organizers need to keep in mind:

  1. The crux of success for a virtual event lies in how engaging it is for attendees.
  1. While extroverts inherently look to form social connections, a trait that lends itself well to virtual events, introverts are known to prefer one-on-one experiences and intimate interactions, according to Psychology Today.
  1. Introverts are truly empowered by digital and virtual platforms. The internet, writes Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, offers introverts “the chance to connect — but in measured doses and from behind a screen.”

Therefore, as a virtual event organizer, understanding how to leverage the features and capabilities of a virtual event platform to better connect and engage with introverts is key to driving better results from the event. Here are a couple of suggestions.

Tools that encourage communication are critical

Think back to the last in-person event you attended. Chances are that when the floor was opened up to audience participation, attendees who wanted to ask a question or offer their commentary were handed a mic and asked to speak up in front of the audience. Not an ideal situation for introverts who usually hate being put on the spot.

Introverts can be critical of their social performance, as per Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, and may even “second-guess what they have said in social settings.” With virtual event platforms, organisers can give introverts tools that make it easy, comfortable and fun for them to share their thoughts and opinions. With the right tools, an introvert will use technology as a way to participate more fully.

Polls, Emoji reactions and text-based Chat help to remove inhibitions to participation that stem from fear of social judgment and self-consciousness. These tools make it far easier for introverts to take part in a discussion and join in on a conversation when they want and choose to; typing a question in a box on a screen, expressing support and enthusiasm via a 😃 , and answering a Poll, may seem like small actions, but they can make introverted attendees feel seen, heard, and most importantly, included.

By ensuring that all your attendees feel comfortable and empowered enough to speak up, you can derive more insight about your event - for instance, you can ask which topics they enjoyed the most, and which they wish had been covered. This can help direct your strategy for future events as well as your content marketing efforts.

Furthermore, attendees whether introverted or extroverted who take the time to respond to Polls or interact in a Chat, are usually engaged and invested. They’re more likely to convert into leads. If attendees use your app or platform tool to express interest or register for sessions, you can capture their data. This in turn contributes to more targeted marketing campaigns, and more effective lead nurturing.

Safe ways and spaces for interaction = more ROI

While extroverts inherently look to form social connections, a trait that lends itself well to virtual events, introverts are known to prefer one-on-one experiences and intimate interactions, according to Psychology Today. If organizers can build their event with this in mind, they can make their introverted attendees feel more confident and empowered to meet and connect with new people. Here are a couple of ways to do this:

Searchable attendee list - Introverts are natural planners, reveals research by Dr. Laurie Helgoe, which helps them ease into social interactions. Contrary to popular belief, they aren’t really antisocial; in fact, they can be extremely social — with people they know or want to interact with. That’s why a searchable attendee list, a feature provided by some virtual event platforms, can be such a great way to get them to engage right at the onset. 

Interest-based social Rooms - When attendees walk into an event, they tend to sit with the people they know. So in-person events can make joining cliquey groups and socializing challenging for introverts. Virtual event platforms give organizers a way to make group socializing easier for introverts via Rooms. Interest-based rooms facilitate small group conversations within a larger 10,000+ audience.

These are spaces where introverts can relax and connect with other attendees who share their interests, whether that’s Mutual Stocks or TikTok Trends. Introverts can really open up when they’re truly interested in a topic. With only a limited number of interested people attending, everyone can bring in their experience and knowledge. Furthermore, some platforms like Zuddl even allow attendees to create their own private rooms, invite other attendees, watch sessions together, have discussions and more. All this makes for quality attendee engagement!

Anxiety-free networking - Think of an on-ground event, and it is not surprising to see that most attendees are naturally anxious about going up to someone and striking up a conversation, especially if that person is already conversing with a group. The easier you can make this for introverts at virtual events, the better. Smart Networking is a gamechanger for virtual events in this regard, and one that serves introverts as well as their more gregarious counterparts. It takes the guesswork out of the network-building process and allows attendees to book 1:1 video calls with top matches. (Click here to read more about ature).

This AI-driven feature aids the process of fostering deep and thoughtful interactions, something that is cherished by introverts. Other tools like those that allow attendees to share contact information easily or those that offer the convenience of pre-booking meetings, for instance, can facilitate easier connection and better conversations as well.

Why does this matter for your ROI? 

Firstly, research shows that if a conference attendee can make 10 good connections in the first3 hours, that person is 92% more likely to return to the conference. So, helping your attendees make valuable connections is a no-brainer. 

Second, you can measure which networking activities and/or areas were most popular, as well as specific attendee feedback. 

And third, helping your introverted attendees connect with others is a way for them to feel a part of your community. Community management efforts work to create positive references about the business, drives organic leads and referrals.

Interactive Expo Booths elevates brand awareness and gets you leads

Introverts hate being put on the spot, whether that’s taking part in a conversation or making a decision about a purchase. This is where interactive Expo Booths come in. Unlike in-person events where you have to jostle with a crowd and compete for attention with a salesperson or a company representative, virtual Expo Booths make life much easier for an introverted attendee. 

Introverts can visit Expo Booths to learn more about a company and its offerings. They can watch product demos. They can download marketing materials such as documents, audio/ video clips, website links, surveys, business cards, and more. And, features like the live chat manned by booth staff put introverts in the driver’s seat. Never has it been easier to access info and make a decision.

To sum up...

It is no surprise that virtual events can be a boon for introverts, allowing them to interact, listen, learn and participate at their pact tools in your virtual event platform arsenal, you can not only boost engagement for introverts, but drive more and better-qualified leads and create loyalists. 

While most attendees of your virtual event will fall along the introvert-extrovert spectrum rather than at the two ends of it, planning to maximize engagement with something for everyone isn’t just clever — it makes better business sense too.

Virtual event hosting platforms like Zuddl offer all the features you need to make introverts feel like they’re at home. Find out more with a demo.

Virtual Events
Product

What would Super Mario do? Virtual and hybrid event engagement made easy with gamification

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Want to boost attendee engagement at your virtual or hybrid events? Gamification is what you need. Read on to learn how you can use gamification to get your attendees participating more at your event, and how you can leverage it to drive value for all stakeholders.

‘Thank You, Mario! But Our Princess Is In Another Castle!’

Sound familiar?

If reading that line conjured up memories of red overalls, and green pipes, it’s a safe bet to assume that you - just like tens of thousands of others - once fired up a Nintendo console and piloted a small man wearing a funny hat through a world full of gold coins and Goombas on a mission to save a princess.

And it’s no surprise that you remember this line from Super Mario so well; the game is a classic because it hooks you right from the moment you appear on the screen. As you make your way through the game, you experience the rush of collecting coins, jumping on turtle shells, and finally, jumping on the flagpole next to the castle to finish the level, complete with victorious music playing loudly in the background.  A satisfying experience!

The mechanics of the game - overcoming obstacles, killing bad guys, and earning rewards - make Super Mario exciting and fun to play; it keeps players glued to the screen and encourages and pushes them to go from one level to the next.

Virtual and hybrid events can also implement game mechanics to make virtual events more engaging and drive higher ROI.

But we’ll come back to this in a second.

Why bother? The importance of keeping attendees engaged at your virtual or hybrid event

When you host a virtual event or a hybrid event, one of the challenges you’ll be up against is retaining the attention of your attendees. 

There are a hundred and more things online that can distract attendees from your virtual event - Netflix, busy inboxes, social media platforms, and online shopping are just a click away. To cut through the noise, your event will have to be more interesting and engaging than a FRIENDS or Breaking Bad rerun; remember getting attendees to your event is only half the battle, keeping them hooked on the virtual event platform - ‘virtual event stickiness’ so to speak - is another thing completely.

So, how can you stop them from abandoning your event halfway? How do you keep attendees interested and enthusiastic about spending time at your event? 

Virtual event gamification is one of the most effective ways to get your attendees doing instead of simply watching. 

Indeed, a study by Gigya and its partners including Pepsi, Nike, and Dell, found that gamifying your website boosts engagement by the third. There was a boost in the number of comments by 13%, social sharing by 22%, and content discovery by 68%! There’s no reason why you can’t do the same at your virtual event.

But let’s backtrack for a second. What is gamification? And how does it work?

What is gamification?

One of the best definitions comes from Michael Wu, Chief AI Strategist at PROS, who defines it as: “the use of game elements to drive game-like player behavior in a non-game context with predictability”. Think of the coins and superpowers in Super Mario, which create a loop of progress and reward.

Simply put, just like with any point-based game or video game,  it’s the application of elements like the completion of tasks, earning badges, points, rankings, and leaderboards to visually encourage participants to achieve goals. For instance, consider how the language-learning app Duolingo operates. Users earn virtual currency when they complete lessons which can then be spent at a virtual shop. This is a great motivator to help participants keep learning, and it keeps engagement at high levels for the company.

Gamification taps into psychological motivators like competition, exploration, and curiosity - which form the basics of gaming dynamics. When participants achieve something related to these motivators, they get pulled into a powerful reward-compulsion loop that makes them want to keep playing. This is how it works:

How gamification works

1. Perform a desired action

 2. Receive a reward for performing it

3. Triggers a “feel-good” dopamine hit  

4. Incentivizes participants to repeat action

Now, let’s see how you can apply gamification in virtual events:

How gamification works at virtual events

1.  Attendees perform a desired action (eg. answering a Poll) 

2. They earn points, badges or coins for completing the action 

3.  They enjoy their success aka the ‘winner effect’ 

4. Attendees are thereby motivated to complete more actions 

What this means is that you, as the organizer, can use gamification in virtual events to nudge attendees towards a desired action or outcome. It’s a simple and fun way to drive value for all stakeholders - attendees, sponsors, partners, and your organization too.

How to use Zuddl’s gamification feature to drive the highest levels of engagement 

With Zuddl’s gamification feature, you can now make virtual events more engaging -  almost as much as your favorite game, whether that’s Super Mario or Candy Crush. Here’s how:

  1. Digital Leaderboard:  Create a digital leaderboard to incentivize learning and engagement. The leaderboard is visible to everyone at the event, on the virtual event platform. It updates in real-time to show attendees how many points or coins they have earned.

Result: Boosts attendee participation

Attendees are motivated by the visual aspect of getting more coins and points, and reaching the top positions on the leaderboard. Plus, it just makes your event even more fun and interactive for virtual event audiences.

  1. Reward Systems : Reinforce high-value behaviour, such as commenting, networking, setting a display photo, etc. with predefined reward points, to drive desired actions and interactions.

Some other examples of high incentive behavior could be :

  • Asking a question during a session
  • Answering a Poll
  • Visiting an Expo Booth
  • Connecting with another attendee during a Networking session
  • Visiting a Breakaway Room
  • Watching a product demo video

You can be as wildly creative as you want in blending gamification with the features available on your virtual event platform . For instance, you could set a riddle to which the answer (ideally your brand’s product or service) points to a specific Breakaway Room on the virtual event platform or even the name of a person attendees will need to find at a Networking session.

Result: Increases conversion rates

Rather than feeling marketed or sold to, using gamification at your virtual event lets you nudge attendees towards performing specific actions that contribute towards your event KPIs, like audience engagement, participation, loyalty, in an authentic way. It’s the ideal way for you to achieve larger event goals strategically  Here are some examples:

  • Is the purpose of the event to highlight a new product at a virtual conference or summit? Tie this to actions that help an attendee learn more about it.
  • Is it to drive networking opportunities for attendees at an internal company event? Connect this with actions that nudge attendees towards connecting with others on a 1:1 or group basis. 
  • Do you want to increase your social media footprint? Give attendees points for sharing updates about the event with your event hashtag. (As a bonus, you’ll know how effective this tactic is thanks to our social media wall integration! With it, you and your attendees will be able to see their posts in real-time. This also provides positive reinforcement for the targeted behavior.)
  • Or do you need to drive leads for sponsors? Set points for visiting the sponsor’s Expo Booth. Not only are you driving value for the sponsor by sending them traffic, but you’re also driving value for an attendee , and driving value for your own business. Win-win-win.
  1. Set prizes for those who rack up the most points and reach the top of the leaderboard. While the dopamine rush will encourage attendees to keep participating, prizes and rewards will drive even more motivation and make virtual events more engaging for them.

Result: Makes your event even more memorable

This one needs no explanation - everyone loves rewards! Giving attendees awards is just one more way for you to solidify that sense of achievement. Prizes can be tied to product education and lead generation efforts.

Hopefully, over time, you can use gamification to turn these actions into habits, resulting in sustainable engagement.

In conclusion...

Whether you’re looking to boost inter-company camaraderie at your next virtual company offsite, or looking to drive leads for a sponsor at your upcoming virtual conference, Zuddl’s gamification feature can help you achieve your event goals when you host a virtual event.

But keep in mind that just like in Super Mario, your ultimate goal is to make your virtual event more engaging and fun for your attendees, and make them eager to attend your next event.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to gamification in virtual events, but it takes the right tactics and the right virtual event platform to see measurable results. Talk to our team today to learn how to get it right!

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. 

Virtual Events
Engagement

Solve 6 Key Challenges of Virtual Events with Zuddl

6
Mins Read
Komal Ahuja

Learn what the six key elements missing from most virtual events are and how Zuddl can help address these issues.


From training sessions and team huddles to business conferences and networking events, everything has turned digital — and events are no exception.

For businesses, virtual events have become an avenue to stay connected in a still largely remote world. And the success that organizers have seen from virtual events is evident by the fact that 65% of marketers now plan to reallocate most of their live budget events towards organizing virtual events. 

But hosting a memorable virtual event is no cakewalk.

The long-drawn process of researching, strategizing, rehearsing, and conducting an event requires intensive effort. Bridging the gap between an offline and online event to give your audience a memorable time is perhaps the biggest challenge organizers face today.

Besides, it’s difficult to optimize your efforts for measurable results without the right event management software. Enter Zuddl – a 100% customizable event management solution for event organization and management. From summits to company offsites, conferences to virtual offices, we’ve helped our clients host incredible events by ensuring that key elements are addressed. 

Read on to learn what are the 6 key challenges of virtual events and how Zuddl can help address these issues.  

1. Audience engagement

How often have you found yourself wondering "when will this be over" while attending an online event? You’re not the only one feeling bored listening to one speaker after the other.

Even the most intricately planned virtual events can turn dull without the right tools to keep attendees engaged. And keep in mind that you’re already fighting for your attendees’ attention. With distractions like email, online shopping, and social media platforms just a tab away, you’ll need your event to be more attention-grabbing than anything else.


The bottom line is — if you don’t involve your audience in the event, their participation levels are bound to dip gradually, which directly impacts event success and retention.

Fix it with Zuddl

The platform enables organizers to boost participation and attendee engagement using a variety of tools. With them, you can encourage group discussions, invite people on stage, gamify your event, and more. Here are some of our most popular engagement features:

  • Gamification: With this, you can incentivize participation and encourage your audience to take part in your event more. By assigning points to actions such as asking questions, answering polls, visiting booths, and awarding those on the top of the leaderboard, you make engagement fun and valuable. 
  • Live polls: Everyone has a voice. Using polls, you can give your audience a chance to share their views and make them feel valued. 
  • Join the stage: Replicate the in-person experience with this unique feature that lets attendees join the stage alongside speakers to ask them questions.
  • Breakout rooms: Create the perfect atmosphere for attendees to interact within small groups, drive meaningful conversations, and network in Rooms.

2. Effective lead capturing

Events are an effective marketing tool so it’s a no-brainer that being able to track the number of leads or demo requests, etc. is critical. But this has always been difficult to do at in-person events. And at the same time, organizers have struggled to find avenues to drive lead generation at virtual events because of a lack of opportunities to give product demos, and address visitors face-to-face. 

Many events end up as nothing more than a lengthy video stream with no interaction among the audience, which hurts your ROI. (Click here to read more about how exactly do go about calculating ROI at your virtual or hybrid event)

Fix it with Zuddl

With Zuddl, you have the ability to customize your very own Expo Booth, and to give your partners and sponsors the opportunity to do so too. Here’s how booth features help with your lead generation:

  • Tiered sizes: Have the ability to choose from booths of three sizes with different customizations and options for configurability, branding, and messaging.
  • Showcase your brand: With widgets like videos, image carousels, files, and call-to-action buttons, you can play attendees product demos,  share marketing collateral with them, as well as exclusive perks like coupons. 
  • Live booth staff: A live representative can staff the booth and connect 1:1 via video call with your attendees to immediately answer any questions or doubts, and drive more interest in your products. That human connection is invaluable. 
  • Register interest: Participants have a ‘register interest’ button to convey their interest in any brand in a booth. Once a participant has registered their interest in your booth, you’ll be able to see their name and email address which can effectively help you run more targeted post-event lead nurturing campaigns.

3. Lack of proper control for organizers

Organizing an event - any event - with hundreds and thousands of participants is never easy. Besides bringing so many people together, running an event seamlessly is a daunting task. 

Platforms like Zoom and Google Meet don't offer the intuitive control you'd expect for maintaining the rhythm of your event And while event management platforms give you far more control over how your event pans out, using the software in itself is a challenge.

Fix it with Zuddl

With Zuddl, you can steer the flow of your event with ease and confidence. Organize meetings, conferences, and summits of any capacity with Zuddl's intricate and easy-to-navigate moderator features.

  • Completely self-serve: Zuddl is 100% customizable, meaning that you can customize every aspect of your event, from lobby to networking. There’s no coding required at all.
  • Virtual backstage setup: Ensure everything goes as per the schedule with intuitive backstage for every live session. Give your speakers a space to practice and do a quick run-through before going live.
  • Manage multiple sessions: You can easily oversee different live sessions with a separate backstage setting for each session. Experience the backstage feel of an offline event with the control options to manage every detail of the session.
  • Seamless control: Make your live events power-packed with pre-recorded videos, panel discussions, product launches, and presentations. Display these elements with moderator control for all your stages.

4.  Result-oriented and seamless pre-event marketing

With pre-event marketing, your goal is to increase registrations for your event while also generating more and more interest in it. 

To achieve this, your marketing efforts should essentially focus on creating curiosity about the event while making it easy for the audience to register. However, carrying out event-related activities manually can become time-consuming and chaotic with a lot of planning and data handling. 

Most event platforms only ‘step in’ after the pre-event phase, leaving organizers stressing out about how to integrate their registrations with email marketing with the event software. It can be a huge mess.

Fix it with Zuddl

From creating appealing landing pages to convenient registration and reminders, Zuddl offers an easy and efficient alternative to take care of your end-to-end pre-event formalities. And thanks to ticketing and email integrations, you can manage registrations and pre-event marketing easily and seamlessly within one platform.

  • Landing pages: You can create customized landing pages and share all relevant information about the event. Drive your audience to this page and increase registrations.
  • Ticketing: Create customized tickets based on the days and sessions people wish to attend. With the ticket customization feature, you can offer your audience the choice to register only for the days or sessions of their interest.  
  • Email integrations: Send your registered participants announcements, reminders, and countdown emails before the event to keep them updated and ensure maximum participation. 

5.    Storyboard and presentation options

The lack of attractive presentation options is another critical challenge for virtual events, directly impacting audience retention. 

Most virtual speakers deliver their talks with a presentation. But research shows that 79% of people believe presentations are boring.

Without an immersive setup to present visual content, you miss out on opportunities to make your event more interactive and impactful.

Fix it with Zuddl

Zuddl offers game-changing features to deliver content in a virtual setting. You can use multiple formats for your sessions, allow speakers to share their presentations and content easily, and transition between images and videos with ease—taking your events a level high above boring presentations.

  • Play pre-recorded content: Add pre-recorded videos to your event to make it more accessible for participants and speakers from varying time zones. 
  • Smooth transition: Whether it’s an image overlay or a push video, keep your attendees engaged in between sessions or speakers.
  • Zero lag: Audio-video lags have no place at a virtual event. Thanks to zero lag at Zuddl, you’ll be able to live-stream and share content with no glitches, buffering, or audio issues. Offer a seamless experience to your speakers and audience alike. 

6. Event management and coordination

A significant reason why organizers avoid event management software is the struggle of operating the tool. A lack of tech support from the company only adds to the inconvenience.

With little knowledge of the tool, you can neither make the best use of it for planning your event nor help your participants with any queries. Besides, any glitches during the live event can end up spoiling the entire experience.

Fix it with Zuddl

The Zuddl team offers you support throughout the entirety of your event —before, during, and after. 

The platform was designed and built by leaders in the event industry; our CEO Bharath Varma used to run an event management agency called Phoenix Live which hosted live events for companies like Microsoft, Deloitte, Google etc. So we know how important it is for you to have a partner who counts your success as our own.

From onboarding to a knowledge base to assistance during your live event, the team is always there to help.

In conclusion…

Virtual events are a key ingredient of any marketing and lead generation strategy. Hosting an unforgettable online event can do wonders for your brand. So before planning your next event, think about how you can include these six elements and make your event flawless.

While the backend process of planning the details of your event can be taxing, the right event management software can help you host the event of your dreams. Ideally, the software should allow you to engage with your audiences, organize multiple sessions simultaneously, and offer seamless control of the live show.

With Zuddl, you have a simple and efficient solution to ease the process and your experience of running the show! We’d love to show you a live demo of the platform. Just click here to set up a time to chat with us.

Virtual Events

Virtual event industry trends: what you should already know

9
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Will you watch the event industry change around you? Or be the one leading it? Learn about the latest trends and tech to stay updated and one step ahead of the competition.

To quote every article published in the last year, these are unprecedented times.  

The whole world pivoted quickly to meet the demands of a new reality, accelerating digital transformation that would normally have taken 10 years to accomplish.  Of course, everyone has known the importance of digital and virtual platforms for years, but no one assumed that it would become the center point for our lives almost overnight.

And the pace of change keeps accelerating. There are always new technological advancements just around the corner, especially in the events industry. And you risk losing a competitive edge if your event seems outdated. To quote George Stalk, Jr. in the Harvard Business Review, “The best competitors, the most successful ones, know how to keep moving and always stay on the cutting edge.”

So to help you stay a step ahead of the competition, these are the latest virtual event tech and virtual event trends.

Trend 1: Facial recognition

Facial Recognition with Zuddl
Source

Most people have seen facial recognition used in movies and TV shows for decades - in Star Trek, Robocop, James Bond for instance; Batman had facial recognition software way back in 1966.


Today, facial recognition is becoming an increasingly common element at virtual and hybrid events. Here’s why:

  1. Better analytics
    Facial recognition technology can help in identifying the emotional responses of attendees. At virtual event booths, for instance, facial recognition software can help you track how long attendees visited,  and how they felt learning about your products and services. This is incredibly valuable information that can help you create more targeted lead generation campaigns post-event.
  1. Increased security
    You can't forge a face, not yet anyway. Using biometric data for entering guests at your event will ensure that you have a high-security level because it ensures that really only authorized attendees are allowed to enter the event. (Here’s hoping no one from Netflix is reading this piece and gets any ideas).
  1. Shortened queue times at registration
    Giving attendees the ability to check-in at your event via facial recognition is a simple way to smoothen the registration process. If you’ve ever spent time at a high-traffic trade show, you’ll know what an advantage this is. 

Now, keep in mind that not everyone will be okay with their face being scanned and analyzed as they might find this an invasion of privacy. So, you will need to be as clear and transparent as you can be. Put information about using facial recognition throughout the event, on your landing page, and in your post-registration emails as well. Attendees should be able to easily access guidance on specifics like who will have access to the submitted photos, where you will be storing the information, and for how long.

Trend 2: Event Apps

Apps make everything easier - and the same goes for virtual and hybrid events. With a powerful event app that acts as an extension of your virtual and hybrid event platform, you’ll be able to deliver a seamless and integrated experience for your attendees.

Using the app, your attendees can easily register for the event, access the schedule, explore speaker profiles, and send notifications before, during and after the event. It’s a great tool to keep event activities top of mind, and drive engagement. 

Especially in the case of hybrid events, your app is what will keep your in-person and virtual attendees on the same page. Regardless of whether they are on-site or 1000 miles away from your location, they will be able to consume the same content, network with other attendees, ask questions to speakers, etc.

And of course, using an event app makes it more likely that you’ll have more attendees tuning into the event, especially the virtual ones who can join sessions whether they’re at home, or in transit. 

Trend 3: Projection mapping

With projection mapping, you’re definitely levelling up your event. 

Think of it as painting with light. You can use it to create exciting indoor stage effects, manipulating lighting to turn common objects into 3D interactive displays. You can add as many colors and textures to your environment. You can project anything - from cinema-style narratives to sponsor branding.

Furthermore, you can also use holograms to create lifelike images of keynote speakers who are not at your in-person venue. Brushing aside the travel and accommodation expenses you’ll save on, this allows you to make attendees at different venue hubs feel like they’re all having exactly the same event experience. How impressive is that?

Trend 4: AR & VR 

As many people confuse the two terms, let’s first distinguish between AR & VR. 

Augmented Reality (AR) is defined an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information - like with Pokemon Go.  Virtual Reality (VR) on the other hand, is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world - like in Ready Player One.

Both enable you to create extra layers of experiences for your event. In fact, according to the PwC's Future Forecast report, XR (Extended Reality) will add £1.39 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Many big brands like KFC, Hilton, Deutsche Bahn, and others are currently working with XR experts to unlock the power of AR and VR technology to organize virtual events. Here’s why adapting it into your event strategy can pay off:

  1. Expand your physical events
    With XR solutions, you will be able to create exciting, interactive real-world spaces that your audience can explore and interact within. For immersive VR experiences, you would need to send attendees VR headsets, or you can opt for interactive web-based 3D experience platforms like Zuddl. Either way, this means that you are no longer dependent on one in-person venue, meaning that you can boost your event reach x 1000.
  1. Truly immersive experiences
    There are plenty of creative ways you can use AR for your events. With AR, you can give your attendees a try-before-you-buy experience. For instance, you can give attendees the ability to virtually ‘place’ different pieces of furniture or home decor in the houses. And you can also show attendees your services and products as interactive 3D experiences during your event. This works well for products like automobiles or travel. 

With so many distractions online, now is the time to leverage new technologies to create experiences that thrill attendees and have them coming back for more. AR and VR is a great way to accomplish this.

Trend 5: Language translation

When you organize an event attended by attendees from different countries, you may find that language can become a barrier. Even though English is the most common language used for events,  ideas will be better communicated if your attendees have the option to understand the content that is shared at your event in their native language.

With Language Translation, you can make your event more accessible and inclusive. Platforms like Zuddl provide live captioning and live audio translation in multiple languages in Stages. With this feature, each attendee will be able to engage with content in a language that they're proficient in. It’s a small but significant way to make sure that everyone has a good experience at your event.

Additionally, because your content is now more accessible to everyone, you can invite speakers and attendees from all corners of the world, boosting your prestige and reach. 

Trend 6: New event industry roles

The popularity of hybrid and virtual events has caused the creation of new specialist roles in the industry.  Here are a few you’ll need to factor in and budget for:

a. Chat and engagement features moderator 

Virtual and hybrid event software  like Zuddl have Chat features that can be Stage-specific and event-wide as well, which means that you’ll need team members to moderate the chat. People can get rowdy online and fearless behind a screen - not the best combination.

Your moderators will need to screen the messages on Chat, helping attendees follow guidelines, delete, inappropriate content, and keeping everything going smoothly. 

You’ll also need moderators for other engagement features. Zuddl, for instance, has a feature called ‘Raise Hand’ which attendees can use to ask organizers if they can ask Speakers on stage to ask them questions. In this case, your moderator will first need to connect 1:1 with attendees to screen their questions first before approving their request. 

This role is more important than you think. A great moderator nurtures that social and community feeling by making a chat feel comfortable and inclusive enough for attendees to confidently engage with fellow attendees, speakers and organizers as well. 

b. Virtual event hosts and emcees

Your host or emcee is the one steering the event so to speak, so they’ll need to be someone comfortable with your platform, event goals, and with engaging with in-person and virtual attendees. 

c. Technical producer

This is the person who will advise you on whether you should be recording or live streaming your event, etc. They are responsible for the production of the entire event. They will have to work with your A/V team or tech support to ensure that the cameras and mics are functioning properly and have to arrange the sets and lighting for your speakers at your in-person venue.

d. Tech support

There are A/V technicians and tech support for in-person events. But at virtual events, they play a more prominent role. They handle your event's technical aspects like protecting the event from cyberattacks, creating a response plan for any incident, and ensuring internet connectivity. Some technical glitches are expected in a virtual event but you need someone who will ensure that it doesn't disrupt the flow of your event.

Trend 7: Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms are no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’ because of the value they add to the attendee experience. As breakout rooms allow attendees to interact in smaller groups, they facilitate more focused discussions and interactions and help attendees to get to know each other just a little better.

Breakout rooms that also let attendees in the room view what’s happening live on a Stage are extremely useful. Instead of just listening to Speakers, within the room, attendees can express their thoughts about what is being spoken about, listen to the opinions of other attendees and just have a great conversation. On Zuddl, you can ‘tag’ Rooms based on the industry and topic, to help like-minded attendees connect better.

Organizers can use breakout rooms in a variety of ways - for discussions, for simple socializing or for quiz rooms, trivia rooms, etc. You can be as creative as you like.

Trend 8: Gamification

Gamification is a fun and interactive way for you to drive attendee actions while simultaneously creating value for them, for yourself, and for your sponsors. By simply assigning points to actions like answering a Poll, visiting an Expo Booth (thereby driving traffic for a sponsor or partner), and asking questions during sessions, organizers can encourage attendees to get more involved, especially if the top three attendees on the Leaderboard win a prize! 

Here are a few ways to use gamification:

  • Drive interaction with speakers
  • Boost posting on social media about the event
  • Photo contests
  • Scavenger hunts

Keeping attendees engaged during your event can be challenging, especially with the many other distractions easily available online. Gamification is a great way to address this.

In conclusion...

Knowing the latest trends and tech will help you to not fall behind, but keep in mind that digital and technological acceleration is a continuous cycle, so event organizers will need to continually evolve their event strategies and production to meet changing expectations. 

Virtual Events
Product

A brand new collaboration - Zuddl x Taggbox

4
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Our latest app integration enables you to put up a social wall at your virtual event! 🎉 Learn about all the excellent ways this benefits your events, your brand, and your business.


If you didn’t post about your event on social media, did it even happen?

It almost goes without saying that in our digital world built on attention and visibility, social media has become an indispensable, irreplaceable way for businesses to cut through the noise, and be seen, be heard, and be memorable.

This is especially true when it comes to virtual events, because consumer attention online is a scarce commodity.

Remember, your event is not only competing with the many other virtual events out there, but Netflix, Amazon, Twitch and Youtube as well. 

Types of apps - Zuddl
Image via Forbes


So, how do you get people away from Netflix and to your event?

For your virtual event to stand out in this sea of online distractions, social media can be the ace up your sleeve. 

As most event marketers already know, sharing UGC - all the activity, conversations, and reactions by attendees during your event - is one of the most powerful ways to grab attention and stoke FOMO. Retweeting and resharing their tweets and posts is a simple but effective way to showcase your speakers and content. This, in turn, will help drive attendance, hype, and engagement up. 

That’s why we’re excited to announce our latest app integration: Taggbox Display!

Zuddl x Taggbox Display!

With Taggbox Display, you now can add social media walls to virtual events hosted on Zuddl. 

The app collects content from 15+ social platforms into a stream of user-generated content in real-time, making it easier to amplify moments that matter from your virtual event.


How does this partnership help your virtual event?

1. Amplify your virtual event’s reach


Putting up a social wall at your virtual event is a simple way to encourage attendees to talk about your event in real-time, because it highlights their participation and makes them feel valued. And after all, it’s only natural for attendees to be motivated to post more, when they see their posts appearing immediately on the social wall. 

And with every tweet, retweet, like, share, and comment from the social wall, you increase your event’s reach, making it more visible and stronger than your competitors - and thereby making it more likely that prospective attendees will want to join in.

2. Boost visibility for event sponsors

Zuddl already gives virtual event organizers plenty of creative ways to showcase event sponsors. For instance, organizers can put up sponsor logos in their virtual lobby, or put up a partner’s branding at a Stage that has been sponsored. 

Additionally, organizers can enable sponsors to put up Booths in the Expo Zone. As each Expo Booth can be customized, a sponsor can make full use of image and video widgets to showcase their brand and products.

Now, with a social wall, boosting visibility for your sponsors becomes even easier. Sponsors can use the wall to post tweets or Instagram updates during the event so that their logos and social handles can be seen by everyone at the event. 

Bonus: you can add these stats to your event sponsorship packet.

3. Build a sense of community and camaraderie

Using specific event hashtags that attendees can use when sharing their content to the social wall is a simple way to connect people at the event with each other, and to those who are not present but are following your updates online. By doing so, you also help to create a sense of collective buy-in. 

Instead of your event attendees feeling like they’ve just spent time at your event, the social wall, displaying their updates, can help them feel like they’ve actively contributed to it; instead of merely attendees, they become valued collaborators with the brand.

How to integrate the Taggbox Display at your virtual event on Zuddl

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Signup, or log into your Taggbox Display Account (14-days free trial available)

Step 2: After logging in, you’ll be taken to the Taggbox Display dashboard. Click on ‘Start Now’.

Step 3: You'll see a pop-up stating 'Choosing Your Source Network'. 

Choose a source for your social wall from 15+ social media platform options.

For instance, let’s say you want to choose Instagram.

  • Choose the tools provided: Hashtag, Handle, Stories, Mentions, Tags and Personal Account to collect content from Instagram
  • Click on ‘Create Feed’. A preview for your social wall will appear on the Taggbox Display dashboard.
  • Click on the Display icon at the bottom-left corner in the dashboard.
  • Choose ‘Virtual Events’ from the options to generate the embed code.

Step 4: Login to your Zuddl account. 

Step 5: Go to 'Zone Setup' and click on 'Lobby'.

Step 6: Choose 'Lobby Widgets' from the header menu.  Now click on ‘'iFrame'.

Step 7: Name your widget, and past the copied social wall URL there.

Step 8: Click on 'Create Widget'

And that’s it! You’re done! Your social wall should appear populated by the content pulled from your platforms.

In conclusion...

Happy and engaged attendees are the best advertisement for your virtual event  so letting them post about their experience and submit authentic UGC via Zuddl x Taggbox Display can fill your event with participants, reinforce credibility and trust in your brand, and influence purchasing decisions too.

Talk to us about how we can help level up your next virtual event.

Virtual Events

10 videos that teach you how to be a better speaker in 2022

8
Mins Read
Komal Ahuja

Nobody is born with the skills to be a great public speaker. You have to work towards it. Here, we share lessons from 10 impactful speeches to help you begin.

Imagine you have to address a crowd. After preparing long and hard for this speech, you’re ready with everything you wish to share with the audience — knowledge that you’ve been curating and practicing talking about for a while now. But as soon as you near the speaking session, you end up in a sweat, and fear delivering a boring and ineffectual speech. 

You’re not alone.

Whether  you’re meeting with a group of investors, leading a discussion with your  team, or presenting at a conference, speaking your mind clearly and  confidently can be challenging for anyone.

But how exactly can you build your speaking skills and make it second nature to you?

Speaking well essentially comes from listening well. Listening to other speeches and lessons from great speakers across different fields can help you transition into a naturally effective speaker. 

By looking at their body language, the words they use, how they weave words into a story, and their impact on the audience, you can understand a lot about what it takes to be an impactful and memorable Speaker.

Deepak Pareek, the CEO of Career Keeda and a 5-time TedX speaker says:

“Being a public speaker is difficult. Every speaker who steps up on stage is scared, nervous, excited and all other emotions combined. But what matters is you take the first step, walk up on stage and embarrass yourself because that’s the only way you learn. You learn from making mistakes on stage, some irreversible ones, but all that’s a part of the journey.
One tip from my side: go ahead and expose yourself, face your fear and you’ll thank me later when you see yourself overcome stage fright and come out as a confident public speaker.”

And with this stellar advice, we have compiled ten lessons you can learn about speaking confidently from some of the best speeches out there.

Lesson 1: Explore and cultivate a confident mindset

Speaking in public can trigger anxiety for many. It’s natural to fear the prospect of speaking to a crowd when you suffer from stage paralysis.

But the best antidote to this is to find confidence within.

A University of Wolverhampton study concluded that confident speakers are considered more knowledgeable, accurate, and credible.

So, your journey to becoming a good speaker begins with confronting your fear of public speaking. Break down the nervousness that holds you back, and nurture inner confidence in your ability to communicate.

Watch and learn: Caroline Goyder’s Ted Talk

An accomplished voice coach, Caroline Goyder, presents the perfect path to transition from an under-confident, fearful speaker to an expressive one in her TED talk. She shows how you can use your voice as a prop to deliver better speeches and speak with greater confidence.

Lesson 2: Learn active listening

Active listening hones your thought process. It helps you better understand and interpret what is being asked of you, making it easier to provide an answer. When you listen with concentration, your mind is able to process every piece of information more comprehensively, thereby allowing you to speak with more clarity and precision.

Watch and learn: Brian Chesky’s interview

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky’s interview with Fortune magazine demonstrates the practice of active listening and responding thoughtfully to questions.

Lesson 3: Hook your audience through storytelling

If there’s one practice you can always rely on for speaking effectively, it’s storytelling.

Creating a narrative about your experiences is a great way to gain your audience’s attention. Whether you’re talking numbers at a stakeholder meet or delivering a valedictorian speech, weaving storytelling into your speech will create an impact.

Great speakers excel at storytelling because through stories, you can show your message instead of just telling it.  

Watch and learn: Arnold Schwarzenegger speech

In this speech, Arnold Schwarzenegger talks about his life and shares the lessons he’s found on the journey. He weaves multiple life stories into his speech to make it more hard-hitting. There’s a clear narrative flow, starting from his life in Austria to that of an actor.

Lesson 4: Speak candidly about your personal experiences

Delivering a speech or addressing a crowd becomes a lot simpler when you’re sharing your story. The best speakers always hit a chord with their audience by sharing their personal experiences. Instead of complicating your talk with industry jargon, just share what you have learned, and your experience in doing so.

This will be more relatable for the audience you’re addressing. Talk like you’re one of them, offering the knowledge and ideas you’ve learned so far.  

Watch and learn: Barack Obama’s convention speech

Barack Obama’s speech at the DNC Convention 2004 exemplifies how you can share personal experiences. His story is inspirational for many and shows him as a human being rather than a presidential candidate.

Lesson 5: Learn the art of making presentations 

Fact: 91% of speakers feel more confident speaking with a slide deck.

Presentations can be the best resource to help you deliver a great speech. However, a bad presentation can also break your flow.

Designing good presentations is a skill in itself:

  • Create an outline for your speech and divide it into multiple slides.
  • Include a mix of textual and visual content in each slide to add more context to your speech. 
  • Practice with the slide deck multiple times to become familiar and comfortable with the presentation. 

Watch and learn: Steve Jobs introducing the iPhone

The iPhone launch event perfectly shows how you can use presentations to your advantage. Jobs uses his presentation to add a visual dimension to his speech, which significantly helps the audience understand and follow along with what he is saying.

Lesson 6: Maintain a calm and composed body posture

What you speak is equally important as how you say it.

The way you present yourself to the audience can make a huge difference. Your body posture and gestures convey your conviction and confidence. Even if you are not instinctively confident while speaking, your poses and body movement can make your audience believe otherwise.

Watch and learn: Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard, talks about the pivotal role of the body in speaking confidently in this TED talk. She sheds light on how power posing can help speakers grow while showcasing postures of a confident speaker—a great attribute to include in your speaking skills.

Lesson 7: Vocal delivery matters

Perhaps the most significant lesson to speak effectively is the delivery.

To become a good speaker, you have to hone your ability for vocal delivery. The process involves a few crucial aspects like:

  • Articulation: How precisely you enunciate the words, like "going to" vs. "gonna."
  • Pronunciation: How correctly you pronounce every word.
  • Pitch: Your ability to speak about different ideas in different tones.
  • Rate of speech: Your ability to find the right balance for speaking to the audience.

Watch and learn: Donovan Livingston’s convocation speech

In his graduation speech at the Harvard Business School, a poet and spoken word artist, Donovan Livingston presents an excellent example for this lesson. He delivers a speech with precision on all fronts—right from the tone and speed of his speech to diction and expression.

Lesson 8: Structure your speech for the layman

Good speakers know how to capture and keep their audience's attention. The best way to accomplish this is by speaking their language.

You can speak effectively and actually be heard when you are talking to and for the audience.

Here's what you can do to practice this:

  • Identify your target audience, their pain points, and their needs. 
  • Shape your speech around these ideas and talk from their perspective. 
  • Serve your thoughts in a digestible platter and simplify the process of connecting the dots. 
  • Add humor and relatable context for your listeners.

Watch and learn: Tim Urban’s Ted Talk

Tim Urban, a blogger and illustrator, talks about procrastination in the most relatable manner in this speech. Peppering it with examples and scenarios, he creates very realistic and relatable scenarios for his audience.

Lesson 9: Speak with emotion and empathy

An essential yet often overlooked aspect of speaking well is an emotional appeal.

Build a level of understanding and empathy with your audience. Connect with them on a deeper level and convey a moving story to influence their senses.

Here are few ways in which you can become more empathetic as a speaker:

  • Identify what your listeners want to hear from you.
  • Listen to your audience to gain more clarity about their concerns.
  • Speak from their perspective.

Watch and learn: Simon Sinek’s speech

Simon Sinek, an author and motivational speaker, displays the perfect blend of emotion and information in his speech on understanding empathy. 

Lesson 10: Share actionable ideas

The show, don't tell writing technique works well for speaking effectively.

Don’t just share ideas without giving your listeners a basis to implement them. It’s always better to share examples and ways to help the audience use your information.

If you aim to make your communication more actionable, identify the problem you're addressing and make it crystal clear from the beginning. Offer potential solutions for the same and explain with examples.

Watch and learn: Mark Cuban’s speech

Mark Cuban's interview video shows how entrepreneurs can make the best of their businesses through actionable insights and examples. He uses the example of Dirk Nowitzki early on to explain how discipline and dedication can outweigh talent — among other examples that support and add more clarity to his statements.

Conclusion

Effective communication is one of the most sought-after skills today, so use the lessons detailed in this article to upskill and enhance your ability to communicate.

If you are a complete rookie, start by building confidence and a fast thought process. Then you can work towards the content and delivery of your speeches. As a more experienced speaker, pay attention to how you're talking to your audience.

Virtual Events

10 Questions to Ask in Your Post Virtual Event Survey

7
Mins Read
Hrishikesh Pardeshi

Post-event surveys are the best way to collect feedback directly from your attendees, gauge the success of an event, and to learn how to improve and plan future events. But what exactly should you ask? Here, we share 10 post-event survey questions to help you get the info you need.

While it appeared as though virtual events were a temporary fix to in-person event cancellations a year ago, the success businesses have gained through them have ensured that virtual events are now here to stay

What this means is that businesses who previously approached virtual events as an interim solution, cannot afford to do so anymore. With virtual events now a critical element in marketing strategies, it’s imperative to get better at successfully conducting them. 

How your attendees can help you improve your virtual event

The best source of information on how to improve is, of course, people who attended your event(s). Getting data on their experience and accordingly tweaking and optimizing your event strategy is key to continuously hosting great events online. 

And to get this data, post-event surveys are your best option. 

It’s not as simple as creating a form and sending it out en masse via email, however. Your surveys will have to be engaging so as to entice attendees to answer your questions, and secondly, you’ll need to carefully think out exactly what information you need, and frame your questions accordingly.

To this end, to get the maximum number of attendees to answer the survey, it’s best to inform them about the survey towards the end of the event. Now, we’re not saying that you can’t ask attendees questions before the event or during it - in fact, doing so will help you build a more comprehensive view of your event. 

For instance, pre-event, you can ask the audience which event they are most looking forward to, and if they have any specific requests. During the event, using Polls to ask if sessions have met their expectations can help you gain real-time data & insights, and make changes on the fly. Post-event surveys can help you assess overall opinions and expectations. They can also let you better see whether changes you made during the event have resulted in favourable outcomes.

Event Survey with Zuddl


So post-event, do send attendees a request to fill in your survey and a link via a push notification in-platform, or mail them right after the event is completed. This way, there’s a higher chance that they will commit to answering the survey right away.

You also need to ensure that your respondents do not lose interest midway through the survey. For this, your survey questions have to be framed smartly, while getting you the details you require. To help, we’ve put together 10 questions that you need to ask in your virtual post-event survey so that you can level up your virtual events game.

10 questions to ask in your post virtual event survey

When building your post-event survey, keep in mind that you can ask both quantitative and qualitative questions to get data and insight about your event.

Here are ten questions that you can use as a reference when making your own post virtual event survey.

Question 1: Please rate each aspect of our event as per your experience

Type: Rating

Rating different aspects of the event experience on a scale of 1-5, with being ‘unsatisfied’ and 5 being ‘very satisfied’ or using radio buttons, is a simple but effective way for you to understand which areas need the most improvement. 

Feel free to choose which areas you want to ask to be rated, but we would recommend that you include the following:

Event logistics - Ask the audience to rate their satisfaction with the ease of registration. It would be wise to put in a qualitative question below the rating scale as well, asking if there was any point of confusion regarding the landing page, credentials or any other details that they received before the event.

Accessibility - Ask your attendees to rate accessibility to the event as well as content in-platform. Your follow-up question can be more suggestions on ways to help you make your next event even more inclusive ((for instance, providing live captioning and live audio translation in multiple languages).

Engagement - No one has time for boring events these days, so ask your attendees how engaging they found your event. This can be further drilled down into how engaging they found the speakers and sessions, and also whether they found in-platform tools to interact with speakers and attendees sufficient.

Question 2: Please rate the speakers at the event based on the value you gained pertaining to the topic

Virtual Meets with Zuddl

Type: Rating

Ask attendees to rate individual speakers on a scale of how much they learnt from them. You can accordingly pick speakers for future sessions.

Question 3: Please rate the sessions at the event based on the value you gained pertaining to the topic 

Type: Rating

Similar to the previous question, ask your attendees to rate individual sessions based on how much they learnt from them. Take the responses to this question as a judgement of the content offered at the event, and factor this into your next event strategy.

For a follow-up question, you can ask attendees ‘which session was your favourite, and why?’ This is an excellent way to learn what those components that go into a great session are. 

Question 4: Did you find the event platform satisfactory?

Type: Rating

Event Platform with Zuddl

   Virtual Meets with Zuddl


This is perhaps the most critical question to include in your survey, as the platform you use can make or break your event. From smooth login and seamless live sessions to amping up the fun factor, your event platform can be the deciding factor in audience experience.

Question 5: How likely are you to recommend this event to a friend or colleague with similar interests?

Type: Rating

Attendees can use ratings between ‘extremely likely’ and ‘extremely unlikely’ to answer this question. A majority of ‘extremely likely’ tells you that you’re on the right track, and suggests that you could even repurpose content from your event to reach a wider audience. 

A follow-up question would perhaps be to ask the attendees likely to recommend the event to others, to share the email addresses of friends who would find recordings of the event helpful - this way you can build your database.

Question 6: Please rate your overall experience with the event

Event Rating with Zuddl

Type: Rating

Again, asking attendees to rate your event between ‘extremely satisfied’ to ‘extremely unsatisfied’. You can use this as an objective metric to rate your event in total.

Just this metric won’t tell you where you need to improve or the changes you need to make. To understand these things better, having open ended questions where the audience can give their opinions is important. However, you can use this to see the percentage of your audience that was satisfied with the event, to compare with future events.

Question 7: What did you like most about the event?

Type: Open-ended

Positive feedback is not just congratulatory. It also serves the purpose of telling you what should not be discarded from future events, or shows you the areas that you can capitalize on. 

Question 8: What did you dislike about the event?

Type: Open-ended

Look at getting negative feedback as an opportunity to improve your performance. Take the feedback constructively and work on these aspects for future events.

Question 9: What changes can we make to improve future events?

Type: Open-ended

Question 8 will already give you an idea of what needs to be worked on, so use this question instead to gauge exactly what is expected by attendees at your events. 

For example, if in question 8, attendees mention that they found the sessions boring, it can be tough to narrow down exactly why. However, with this question, your attendees could suggest a variety of ways to make sessions more interesting that you might not have thought of.

Question 10: Please share any other thoughts or feedback you have about the event

Type: Open-ended

Although questions 1-9 cover most things you need to know from your attendees, keeping an open-ended question at the end of your survey, which lets them share anything they wish, can be a good addition to your survey. This way, attendees can freely speak their minds about anything related to your event; the responses just might surprise you!

In conclusion

Understanding the audience's take on the event is the best and perhaps the only way to conduct better events in the future. Feel free to make use of the questions we’ve shared when building your own post-event survey. Once you collect your answers, it’s time to analyze your survey data and use it to plan your next event.

 Hrishikesh Pardeshi is the co-founder at Flexiple, a fully remote bootstrapped company with $2 million+ revenue. He's passionate about remote working and has also built Remote Tools & Buildd.co.



Virtual Events

7 ways to achieve fundraising goals & raise money at a virtual event

8
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

With audiences having become accustomed to a digital and virtual-first world, a virtual fundraiser is a great way to leverage this medium to match (or even outdo) the best in-person fundraisers in terms of reach and donations raised.

The last year has been one of pivots and possibilities for organizations across sectors, and around the world, especially when it comes to driving new online revenue streams to supplement projected revenue from in-person events. And this has been particularly beneficial for companies whose fundraising efforts have been affected by COVID-19.

Virtual events are one of the most innovative ways nonprofits can fundraise today. In fact, a study on Fundraising Through a Pandemic indicates that 62% of businesses converted to a virtual fundraising event over the last year and that the majority of those who did, described the event as successful.

And with audiences having become accustomed to a digital and virtual-first world, a virtual fundraiser is a great way to leverage this medium to match (or even outdo) the best in-person fundraisers in terms of reach and donations raised.

In this article, we’ll tell you how to go about planning, promoting, and executing a successful virtual fundraising event.

1. Set a fundraising goal

What are your organization's current goals? Are you looking for more members, volunteers, or donors? For which projects are you raising money? It's important to keep all of these things in mind when setting your fundraising goal. Once you’ve done so, you can start planning sessions and activities at your virtual fundraiser that will help you reach your objectives.

2. Make a list of donors and keep them engaged pre-event

It's best to start your list of donors by compiling a database of all the people who have donated at past in-person events. These can be people, businesses, community members, etc. You'll want to make sure you note why they gave and what sparked their interest in doing so. But this list isn’t just of people who have donated to your cause, it’s also important to have an idea of people who are interested but may not yet be ready to donate. Make sure you keep everyone engaged before you host the virtual fundraiser using social media and email marketing. You’ll need to acknowledge and thank the efforts and money raised towards your cause thus far, and what you’re hoping to achieve with your upcoming event, so potential donors can feel aligned to its purpose.

3. Decide what type of event you will host

Part of the beauty of virtual events is that you can choose from or blend together different types of formats, for instance, a webinar, crowdfunding, live stream, or even a virtual race, which you can all host on a virtual event platform. Here are a few examples:

  • Webinars or educational lectures: Organize interviews or panel discussions pertaining to your fundraising goal, with experts in the industry, volunteers out in the field, or even leadership at the organization. Skid Row Housing Trust did a Facebook Live video with the CEO of a nonprofit organization that provides 1,040 beds every night at different shelters and talked about how they can help end homelessness. A link and code were provided so attendees could watch the discussion happen and even donate or ask questions if they wished to do so.
  • A virtual silent auction: Try out a virtual silent auction where attendees are given access to an online catalog of items that are available for auction and then bid on items that interest them. Unlike in-person auctions, virtual silent auctions can happen for a longer period, like a week - just like on eBay. Usually, auction items that receive the most bid activity are ones that appeal to a donor’s needs or interests, are unique, and of course, are reasonably priced.
  • Hold a virtual gala: This is a great way to connect with and thank your supporters when you can’t do that in person. With a virtual gala, you’re essentially inviting your supporters for an interactive program that showcases your mission and your program. Using the right virtual event platform, you can schedule a program of speakers, live appeals, videos, and even entertainment to keep your attendees engaged and enthused. In fact, you could even incorporate the virtual silent auction here if it suits the purpose.
  • Virtual/hybrid tours: Whether a university or a museum, taking your supporter and donors on a guided tour through the space or exhibit can give them an insider’s view of the work that your company is doing, and help them feel more connected to your goals, and increases the chance that they will donate to your cause. And unlike hosting an only in-person event, there’s no limit to the number of attendees you can take on your tour.
  • Crowdfunding via virtual activities: First, you need to set up a page with information about your cause. Then organize an activity for which participants can pay a registration fee and then take part in, like a virtual race. This event is best done as a peer-to-peer fundraiser where the participants can seek donations for how far they’ve run or the time they’ve been running for. Afterward, you can use a virtual event platform to hold an awards show, celebrate the participants, and give them the opportunity to connect with each other.

4. Pick the right event technology

You’ll want to make sure that your virtual event platform supports whichever virtual fundraiser format you’re choosing to go with. And to that end, you’ll need a platform that gives you the ability to easily customize it to execute your vision.

Keep in mind that your event can have different components - a live presentation or discussion, an area where attendees can connect and chat, and an area where you can showcase your organization’s work. So on your event platform should be able to have a lobby area where attendees can wait before the event begins or interact with other attendees.Then there should be a Stages area where you can livestream sessions or play recorded videos, and pull together a real-time audience with whom you can communicate your fundraising goals. It’s also good to have breakaway rooms or networking areas where your attendees can mingle and chat. 

And in all areas of your event, it’s beneficial if your virtual event platform gives you the ability to use widgets or buttons that link to your website, landing page, or crowdfunding page, to promote in-the-moment donations.

5. Promote your virtual fundraiser

Go on social media, plan an email blast, advertise on public radio – whatever it takes to get the word out about your event. This will only encourage more donors to come forward You'll want to promote it at least one month in advance so that people are aware of the event dates and format, and can make space in their schedules.

6. Make the attendee experience a seamless and enjoyable one

This point might seem like it goes without saying, but what we mean to say is to leverage the advantages of a virtual platform to deliver an experience that is authentic and relevant for your attendees, and is high-impact for your business. This can be as simple as putting up images of your volunteers in the lobby, or playing a video of everything you’ve achieved for your cause so far.

Keep in mind that because you’re no longer hampered by geographical constraints, you can now invite Speakers to your virtual fundraiser who were out of your figurative and literal reach before. For example, if you are raising funds to build a park, you can invite a high-profile athlete to talk about how important outdoor activities are for children or if you’re raising money for wildlife conservation, you can try to recruit famous conservations to make a virtual appearance at your event - who knows, maybe even David Attenborough?

And a smart way to leverage high-profile speakers would be to set up private roundtable discussions or a 1:1 meet-and-greet that can be accessed by specific ticket tiers.

7. Prioritize audience interaction

Level up participation and engagement by leveraging the features and tools of your platform, such as a social media wall (that makes visible the posts and tweets about your event). This allows you to amplify the activities and energy of your attendees, thereby boosting your reach and interest in your cause.

Using interactivity tools will also go a long way. When hosting a live session with high-profile speakers, encouraging two-way dialogue via Polls or Chat is a way to make your attendees feel more involved and engaged. And you can have a virtual emcee to remind your donors why you’re raising money and give them an easy way to contribute by clicking on a donation button on the page.

Another  way to ‘level up’ your audience interactions is by introducing gamification  at your event. Simply put, gamification introduces game mechanics to a  setting, and can be used to   increase attendee engagement. So you can use it at your virtual  fundraiser to educate and entertain your audience. You can award points for  asking questions at a session, answering polls, or watching a video about  your project. You can even launch a virtual scavenger hunt, where attendees  need to visit different rooms or virtual expo booths to find clues that lead  to a prize.

In conclusion…

Virtual fundraisers give organizers great opportunities to drive better results, far more than what you can expect at in-person events. But it’s up to you to think of out-of-the box fun and unique ideas for your virtual fundraiser that make people want to attend. Once you’ve done that, the next major step is to then engage with all levels of donors during the event itself. And last but not least, make donating during your event, engaging, simple and easy. 

If you’re looking to explore the capabilities and benefits of virtual or hybrid virtual fundraiser – let’s talk! 

Virtual Events
Engagement

6 ways to support, engage and motivate remote teams with virtual platforms

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

With the rise of remote work, it’s become more important than ever for organizations to support and motivate employees, and keep them in synch. Here’s how virtual platforms can help.

Everyone knows that our world of work has forever changed. The massive pivot to remote working a year ago has shown business owners that employees are as productive when they are working from home as when they were in an office. In fact, according to a Great Place to Work study, remote work productivity was stable or increased when working remotely from home, according to a 2-year study of 800,000 employees.

So it’s no surprise then, that according to a study by Enterprise Technology Research, the percentage of workers who are permanently working from home is expected to double this year. Clearly, remote work is here to stay, which means that platforms and tools that facilitate communication, collaboration, and community are more important than ever.

Now, with great platforms come great capabilities - but only if you know how best to leverage them towards supporting your remote workforce. So first, it’s important to identify the ways in which your employees need to be supported.

Research shows that working from home has its own set of challenges for workers. For instance, being always accessible by technology has led to the blurring of work and home life, which contributes to burnout. Or a lack of face-to-face interaction with colleagues can contribute to a feeling of isolation, which can negatively affect collaboration and motivation.

What’s needed to deal with these challenges are clear: empathy, support, communication, rapport . And to this end, virtual platforms can help. Here’s how:

Hold interactive sessions with employees

When you don’t have any in-person office parties, coffee breaks, watercooler hangouts to bring employees together, virtual event platforms can come to the rescue - in a way that tools like Slack cannot.

In a Medium post, software programmer Alicia Liu wrote last year about how the ease of using Slack can actually result in lower quality communication. She comments, “[it’s] far too easy for everyone to default to using Slack for communicating, even for all the myriad things that don’t make sense to use Slack to communicate…” So by defaulting to dropping a message onto Slack channels, and responding via emojis, all the work you would otherwise put into building cohesion and trust with your colleagues when you were in an office, disappears. 

That’s  why virtual platforms like Zuddl are so important. With platforms like these,  you can host virtual events, as well as create a virtual office space.  Within this virtual workspace, you can set up areas for different interactive  employee engagement activities, and build interpersonal relationships.

The best thing about Rooms is how versatile they are. You can use them to hold different sorts of fun, interactive activities with employees. For example:

  • Virtual watercoolers
  • Brainstorming sessions
  • Project discussions
  • Daily standups
  • Movie nights
  • Trivia nights
  • Coffee-break hangouts
  • Or even for karaoke session!

But remember, a helpful virtual event platform is only one part. It’ll take dedication from leaders in the organization to bring everyone together to overcome distance, both physical and figurative.

Recognize and appreciate a job well done

It feels great when your manager or colleagues appreciate your effort and hard work in reaching a target or goal, right?

Not only do you feel encouraged and motivated, but also more connected to your team. In fact, a lack of recognition at work can lead to increased stress and anxiety, and can lead employees to quit. 

Case in point: a whopping 44% of employees switched jobs because they didn’t receive any recognition or reward, according to this Achievers study. And in another study, it was found that 40% of employees said they would put more energy into their work if they were appreciated more often.

That’s where a virtual engagement platform comes in. Virtual appreciation makes your remote workers feel seen, and valued - and you can do this in a variety of ways on a platform:

  • Host a virtual party to celebrate birthdays or work anniversaries
  • Plan an employee appreciation day, and use the virtual event platform to make the celebration special, by for instance setting up an Expo Booth celebrating Employees of the Month, or creating small videos thanking an employee for their effort.

A little appreciation can go a long way!

Make your employee onboarding amazing

Employee engagement platforms can make the onboarding process an easy and fun one. Instead of walking an employee around the office and introducing them to countless people as you would pre-pandemic, you can now host a mass onboarding event. This may sound impersonal, but it’s actually not. 

With a virtual event platform, you can 

  • Easily set up a meeting Room for new joinees and hold an intro and Q&A session for them.
  • Direct them to meetings with their teams held in adjacent Rooms.
  • Set up a branded expo booth that presents the company’s story, values, norms, and team achievements 
  • Set up another expo booth that acts as a repository for information or documents that are important to new and current employees alike, and can be downloaded, such as a holiday list, procedure documents, reimbursement format sheets etc.
  • Or set up a photo gallery booth to give employees a trip down memory lane with videos of photos of events, team building activities, conferences, CSR activities, etc. conducted throughout the year

Don’t squander the opportunity to make a great impression that will stay with new employees for the duration of their careers.

Use gamification to make even mundane meetings fun 

Remember pre-pandemic meetings? We’re guessing that half of your colleagues felt that the meetings held were a waste of time, while the other half felt that they were anxiety-inducing. Remote working has helped a little on this front. Now, asynchronous and synchronous communication has cut down the need for many, many meetings, and people who do attend meetings can do so with their mics and videos off, speaking only when they need to. 

While that’s all well and good, it does raise the question of how effective virtual meetings held among remote workforces are. With everyone now hiding behind their screens, it makes it difficult to know whether or not they’re actually “attending” the meeting.

With virtual engagement platforms like Zuddl, you can use Gamification to make meetings actually fun to participate in. Gamification lets you add game mechanics to the virtual meeting, allowing you to award points to colleagues for completing tasks, such as asking questions, answering a team poll, doing quick research tasks, ie. actively participating in the meeting. You can award the top three on the virtual leader board with gift coupons or something of the sort. After all, everyone is happy to have their efforts recognized.

Make it easy for employees to get to know each other

Using AI-powered matchmaking, companies can organize inter-company smart networking events. This is a fun and easy way for employees to meet colleagues they normally would have not had the opportunity to meet in person. And it helps every one to get to know each other just a little bit better beyond just their work roles. This can help build trust amongst teams, and across the organization. Win-win.

And what’s work without a little play

Everyone needs to take a break in between tasks, so give your remote workforce ways to relax and re-energize.

For instance, you can set up a gaming zone on your virtual meeting platform. Employees can let off some steam by playing games before refocusing on tasks.

Or keep energy high by using Stages to host a variety of entertainment, whether that’s performances by musicians, speeches by leaders in the field, quiz nights, movie nights, and more.

In conclusion…

As  the workplace itself continues to be redefined, companies need to be a  support system for their remote workforce as they navigate uncertainty. To  this end, employers and managers can use virtual platforms like Zuddl to keep  remote employees in sync and motivated. Talk to one of our experts  today on how you can use our platform to improve employee well-being, improve attendee engagement and  perform better as team members and collaborators.

Virtual Events

6 easy steps to host a successful virtual summit

7
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Virtual summits take careful planning and execution but if done right, they can help you drive far greater value than you achieved at previous in-person summits. Learn how to host a virtual summit that brings people together to learn, collaborate, and lead. 

In a world where change is the only constant, coming together (despite distance keeping us apart) to (re) affirm purpose, align leadership, strengthen collaboration across an organization, or build a resilient future has never been more important. And to this end, when executed well, summits play an indispensable role.

This is why over the last year when lockdowns and social distancing prevented in-person gatherings, the need for virtual meetings skyrocketed. In fact, the number of search impressions for web and video calling software massively increased by 500% in just the first 4 months

Virtual event with Zuddl
The G20 Virtual Summit - Image credit: Center for Strategic and International Studies

However, while the need today for virtual summits is clear, many organizers lack the know-how to capitalize on the benefits that only virtual meetings offer. Without an awareness of how to leverage a virtual platform effectively, organizers can end up with a summit that fails to achieve its goals.

But first, let’s explore the many benefits that you can achieve with a virtual summit before we discuss the steps that will help you reach them.

Why a virtual summit is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must-have’

More people, more ideas, more collaboration

One of the primary benefits of holding a virtual summit is that you’re able to reach far more people than if you were holding an in-person event. This means that people from all over the country and the world will be able to attend. Take, for example, the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly.  When it was held in 2019, 16,200 participants attended the event. However, when held virtually in 2020, more than 26,000 individuals from 134 countries attended the summit.

Less travel, space, and marketing costs

The second main advantage of holding a virtual summit is the reduction in expenses. It’s around 75% cheaper than in-person meetings given that you no longer have to pay for travel or venue costs. And the bonus is that virtual summits still allow businesses or campaigns to generate a lot of revenue through either virtual ticket sales, donations, or the purchase of products.

Steps to hosting a successful virtual summit

When you’re planning and executing a virtual summit, you can’t simply copy-paste your previous approach to in-person meetings. Keep the following steps in mind to maximize the benefits of using a virtual medium for your summit.

  1. Look for ways to leverage the benefits of virtual into your logistics

    There’s plenty to consider when planning your virtual event - for instance, will you have live sessions as well as recorded ones, or how to ensure a seamless experience for attendees joining in from different time zones. But it’s important to think about ways you can use the fact that your meeting place is a virtual one to your advantage. 

    For example, you can combine synchronous and asynchronous activities during your event so that no matter when someone is tuning in, they will be able to have an interesting, immersive experience. At the recent international congress hosted by the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, organizers planned live presentations and some pre-recorded workshops into the schedule. That way an attendee from London and from Australia could both join at different times, but have access to important content - something that would be impossible at an in-person event.

    Another benefit of hosting virtual events is that you are no longer hampered by geographical or travel constraints when recruiting Speakers. This means that you can approach more speakers, as well as more exclusive ones to speak at your summit.
  1. Choose the right tech for your virtual summit

    The online event platform you choose to host your virtual summit will make or break your event, so it’s important to pick one that enables you to host your event exactly as you envision it.

    So choosing a platform that is completely customizable will make your life a lot easier. You should be able to use the platform to easily set up everything you need at your virtual event venue, from Stages to Networking areas.

    Secondly, it’ll be really helpful if your platform has all the tools you need to facilitate a seamless experience for speakers and attendees, by which we mean that it should not require your participants to have to install or download any software to attend sessions or interact with each other. It’s a lot easier to centralize your efforts instead of switching between tools, which is both time-consuming and confusing.

    Finally, you also need a platform that enables two-way communication and engagement - keep in mind that your summit may be the only time in the year when many attendees see one another.
  1. Set up informative and easy-to-use landing pages

    If you have a simple website, you can make do with a single landing page for your virtual summit, but it’s also worth the effort to have a dedicated website to the virtual summit with its own domain. Keep in mind that the website or landing pages should be designed to drive attendance. You can also create individual landing pages for each speaker so they can drive traffic to those pages. 

    To get people to opt-in to your virtual summit, you’ll first need to make your page as informative and attractive as possible. Don’t be afraid to get creative - you want your landing page visitors to be wowed. The virtual event platform you choose can really help you out here. Zuddl has a landing page customization feature where you can use ready-made templates. You can customize it to clearly explain the purpose of your summit, highlight who the speakers are, and set out the different sessions and activities that will take place.

    Additionally, remember to make registration really easy for attendees.
Easy registration with Zuddl.
An example of a landing page that makes registration simple and straightforward


  1. Create a marketing and sales funnel

    Don't make the virtual event registration procedure super-complicated. All you need to do is set up a basic automated email sequence that is triggered when a prospective attendee opts into the event on the registration page. 

    Marketing integrations enable organizers to send attendees successful registration emails along with follow-up emails about the event. This is especially useful when combined with analytics from the event. Platforms with Zuddl will give you details about your attendees’ micro-movements throughout the event, giving you insight about what sessions they found most interesting, what questions were most upvoted, etc. 

    You can use this information when your event is over to create targeted campaigns and communication.
  1. Promote your virtual summit

    Around 65% of marketers say you need more than 6 weeks if you want to drive the desired amount of registrations, so make sure that you plan in social media and email marketing ahead of time.

    And don’t stop there. You can use podcast interviews and guest blogging to also promote the event. Ask your sponsors and speakers to spread the word. Giveaways and paid ads are other ways to promote your virtual event if your budget allows. This is a great way to reach people that you would otherwise not be able to reach. 

    Ads are fairly simple to purchase on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram but you’ll need to create an advertisement concept that is eye-catching and memorable. 
Promoting virtual event with Zuddl.


  1. Host your virtual summit!

    On the day of your summit, you and your team are going to have to keep everyone in sync - but you can use your virtual event platform to pull this off. Tools like event tickers will let you share important information with attendees at your summit, such as upcoming sessions or surprise activities. And you can use in-platform tool reminders to alert Speakers about session timings. 

    And with an arsenal of tools and zones at your fingertips, you’ll be able to host a series of structured discussions designed to generate ideas and alignment, keep conversations lively and interactive, and facilitate collaboration.

Tips for after the virtual summit

Keep the momentum from your virtual summit going even after it officially ends, to optimize performance. For instance, you can make recordings and other material from the summit available for access to attendees, and repurpose the content in your post-event emails and social media campaigns. And you could also send out a survey to see if attendees felt the summit goals were achieved, and to get their opinion on what worked and what could be improved for next year’s summit. 

In conclusion…

Virtual summits take careful planning and execution but if done right, they can help you drive far greater value than you achieved at previous in-person summits. But keep in mind that with this new medium, comes new opportunities as well as challenges. Talk to our experts about how you can use a platform like Zuddl to get the results you want and need from your virtual summit. Let’s talk.

Virtual Events
Marketing

Here's how virtual events can help with brand marketing

6
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Virtual events offer marketers unlimited opportunities to create touchpoints between your brand and attendees. All it requires is for marketers to be inventive and creative in the way they use virtual event platforms to boost brand reach, recognition, and reputation.


There is no disputing that the pivot to digital and virtual, so tenuous over the last year, is now firmly here to stay. And in this new normal, marketers are increasingly appreciating the value that virtual mediums, such as virtual events, offer today. 

Virtual events are an effective way to reach new prospects, engage (and re-engage) existing ones, increase conversions, and track results. They're also easier to organize, are less expensive, and are more accessible to attendees than traditional in-person events. All this means that virtual events are also the perfect vehicle for brand marketing.

How so? Read on to learn how you can effectively leverage virtual events to effectively market your brand.

A quick recap - what is brand marketing?

Brand marketing is the process of promoting your products or services in a way that draws attention to your overall brand. Its purpose is to connect your identity, beliefs, and personality to your target audience through successful targeted brand communication.

It’s more than just slapping your logo and company name on as many surfaces as possible and hoping for sales. It entails representing your company's identity from who you are, what you do, the level of quality you offer, and your reputation.

So why are virtual events are brand marketing’s new BFF?

While the advantages of virtual events are fairly obvious, the ways in which marketers can creatively use events for brand marketing are less. So here's how you can drive better awareness and impact via virtual event branding

1. Express your brand identity throughout the event

Virtual events give you unlimited opportunities for creating touchpoints between attendees and your brand.In other words, you can use every event asset, from your event landing page to your stage backdrop to bring customers and prospects closer to your brand.

Take, for instance, event branding. To get customers and prospects to feel excited about your brand, a generic image with your logo slapped on it just won’t do. Instead, markers can use branding creatively, such as through a visually spectacular welcome video, to reflect a distinctive look and feel, that attendees instantly recognize and remember afterward. Here's an example of a great welcome video by Razorpay for their FTX 2020 event, hosted on Zuddl.


2. Relationship marketing via a micro-virtual events strategy

Micro virtual events are a series of smaller virtual events that eventually feed into a larger marquee event. These events give marketers an opportunity to nurture brand intimacy ie kindle a personal relationship between them and the brand.

For instance, you can give attendees the opportunity to participate in activities like a Digital Round Table or a Panel Discussion at a virtual event. Rather than talking about yourself throughout your event, you can give your attendees opportunities to express themselves and ask questions.

3. Boost brand loyalty by leveraging the advantages of a virtual event platform

According to a recent study by Invesp about returning customers – those loyal to your brand- are 50% likelier to try more of your products and spend, on average, 31% more than newly acquired clients; yes, brand loyalty is essential.

You can increase brand loyalty at your event in a variety of ways, thanks to how you utilize the features and tools of your virtual event platform. For instance, why not invite your customers to be speakers at your event? Not only does this show existing customers that you value them, but it’s also a great way to show other attendees who are potential customers why they should try your products or services.

Another way to build brand loyalty is by setting up networking sessions for attendees at your virtual events. Enabling current customers to talk to prospective ones is an indirect but positive way to drive brand awareness. Furthermore, it’s a simple way to add value to your customers’ lives. Helping them match with professionals who can add value to their businesses will earn you a lot of goodwill.

Finally, you can also drive loyalty by rewarding loyal customers with exclusive in-event experiences. This could be anything from arranging 1:1 virtual meet-and-greets with your brand’s ambassadors or enabling exclusive access to specific Stages at your event. 

4. Use giveaways to promote brand recall

Everyone loves free goodies - but it’s good for business as well. Just look at these figures in a report by The ODM Group

  • 85% of clients enjoy receiving marketing products
  • 58% retain these products for up to four years
  • Eight out of 10 attendees remember the promoted brand
  • Approximately 21% of the attendees buy products after receiving promotional items

You can send giveaways - both physical or virtual - to your attendees immediately after the event is over. This can be made easier by using virtual event platforms like Zuddl that have integrated ticketing, so that you have a complete list of attendee details such as email or office addresses to which you can send the mementos. 

5. Extended brand coverage through social media and other channels

It’s a no-brainer that social media can drive more business for your brand, which is why marketers put in time and effort in planning campaigns, reposting testimonials, and curating good-looking Instagram pages. 

Virtual events can contribute to amplifying your brand on social media, through the use of in-platform tools like an integrated Social Wall . This would be a simple, fun way to encourage attendees to share posts about the event (without requiring them to download and install anything) that will appear on-screen within seconds.

For example, using hashtags can help you gain reach, putting your brand awareness virtual event in front of people who might not have heard of it before. Or you can also get your attendees to share photos and videos of the event using the same hashtags so that you can reshare user-generated content. This will help bring your brand to life.

Continue sharing memorable moments from the event and ask attendees to share their favorite discussions and experience. This will keep them excited about attending your events, and keep your brand in the spotlight.

The social wall will also let you drive more visibility and awareness long after the event is over. 

6. Leverage event analytics to drive better value for customers

One of the best things about virtual event platforms is that they are a data gold mine. At in-person events, it can be extremely difficult to source feedback and opinions from your attendees. Virtual event platforms make this a breeze.

Marketers can use Polls, for instance, to gain insight into the needs and wants of your attendees about a variety of things - preferences and complaints about products and services in your industry or topics that attendees want to know more about. This information can then be used to tailor your brand’s offerings down the line. And needless to say, asking your customers and attendees their opinion is a simple but significant way to tell them that their voices and opinions are important thereby fuelling brand loyalty.

In conclusion…

It’s clear that there is plenty of opportunity in using virtual events to market your brand - they offer unlimited opportunities to create touchpoints between your brand and attendees. All it requires is for marketers to be inventive and creative in the way they use virtual event platforms to meet their goals. 

Need any advice? Our team is full of ideas. Just connect with us for a quick conversation on how to deliver better brand marketing at virtual events - we’re happy to chat! Let’s talk.

Virtual Events

9 strategies to increase attendee engagement during virtual events

8
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Boosting engagement at your virtual events can drive better ROI for your business. Here are strategies you can employ to substantially increase engagement and interactivity at your next event.

Did you know that around 77% of people in business use virtual events and conferences to connect with remote employees and around 78% of businesses use video conferences to hold team meetings? Given these stats, it’s quite clear that virtual events are becoming the new normal. They’re here to stay.

But what point is it holding a virtual event, if it fails to make any impact whatsoever?

The  key to holding a virtual event that drives value isattendee  engagement. 49% of marketers believe to be the  largest contributing factor to running a successful virtual event - but many  organizers do not know how to effectively engage their attendees. Indeed,  according to Meetings in America, around 91% of people in businesses admitted  to daydreaming during meetings while 39% admitted they fell asleep at some  point.

Why is engagement such a challenge? 

Many organizers think that engagement at virtual events can be solved by simply inviting famous speakers to the event, and having them present or lecture on a given topic - but this is a mistake. 

Keep in mind that virtual events can be interactive spaces - where attendees can learn and connect with experts and thought leaders, as well as chat and network with other professionals. The differentiator between a flat event and a memorable one is having active attendees instead of passive participants.

If you’re a business that’s struggling to increase engagement at your virtual events, don’t worry, we’ve put together 9 ways you can make sure your next event is interactive, interesting, and impactful.

1. Define what good engagement means to you and how it can deliver ROI

Boosting engagement at your virtual events can lead to better business outcomes in terms of quality lead generation, increased brand awareness, and much more.

So, before you host a virtual event, set your event goals, and then understand how good engagement can help you meet them. For instance, if one of your goals is to drive leads for your business or that of your sponsors, then encouraging attendees to watch a product demo, or consume marketing material can help you run effective and targeted post-event nurtures.

Or let’s say your goal is to drive awareness around a product launch during the event. You can run a social media contest for your attendees, encouraging them to post about the product and event, for a prize. This should help to boost your reach. Of course, the virtual event platform you choose should have the functionality to link from within your event to social media platforms.

It’s also important to choose a virtual event platform that lets you easily track and view the impact of engagement on your ROI. For instance, begin able to see which session topics had the most engagement, and the questions attendees had at those sessions, can help you plan your post-event marketing strategies and campaign messaging more effectively.

2. Choose a virtual event platform with customization capabilities

Customizing your virtual event with intuitive tools is a parameter you cannot ignore if you’re looking to increase engagement. 

A platform that offers a customizable interface, different types of widgets, and interactive tools will allow you to leverage interactivity and participation in creative ways, offering your attendees so much more than a set of speakers on a stage

Don’t get us wrong. Having great speakers is definitely important, but it’s not the solution to engagement in itself. Your platform should have in-built tools to encourage your attendees to ask questions and take part in conversations, such as Q&A or a Chat at the least. Without this, the discussion will be one-sided - and nobody likes that.

Additionally, keep in mind that even the best of us have limited attention spans. Give your attendees a variety of ways to stay engaged at your event. When they want a break from Stages, give them other spaces to connect and interact with others at the event. Customization will enable you to create breakaway rooms for example, and limit the number of attendees per room so that smaller group discussions can take place. 

3. Create Polls

One of the best ways to drive engagement from your audience is through the use of polls. It’s also the easiest way to find out what your attendees think of your event, product, and brand

When you are managing a virtual event, you can share different types of polls about the event or about anything specific that happened during the event. The attendees can share their opinions, evaluate the virtual event, and provide feedback if any. Understanding what your audience thinks of your event can help you set up the next event to be bigger and better. For example, if a poll result showed that attendees like a certain track or session topic than others, you can include them in your next virtual event, which will likely increase the engagement for that event.


Virtual Meets with Zuddl


4. Hire entertainment 

Listening to a lecture or a presentation hour after hour can be too reminiscent of sitting in school or university, so schedule in some entertainment to keep things interesting and fun. 

For example, at the virtual summit, the organizers of (Almost) HYBRID brought in NYC’s Premiere hip-hop improv team North Coast for a live performance. And North Coast made their performance even more interactive and personalized by asking the audience questions about their favorite parts of the event. Even before the act started, attendees were already reminiscing about the best moments from the event in the Chat.

Afterwards, North Coast delivered a customized improv hip-hop sketch that was pulled from the unique experiences that the attendees had shared.

Just like North Coat, book entertainment acts that will keep your attendees attentive and active. Bringing on comedians, creative videos, sketch artists, and even magicians is sure to keep everyone riveted.

5. Leverage gamification

Gamification refers to the application of mechanics that are traditionally associated with video games in a non-game scenario - such as in a virtual event. Incorporating gamification adds a competitive but fun element to your events, and it’s a proven way to promote higher virtual engagement levels as 59% of organizers use gamification as a way to improve engagement. 

For example, for visiting a virtual booth, an attendee can receive some points. After gaining enough points, they can win a prize. You can even have smaller contests at each virtual booth so the attendees have to interact with the sponsors, leading to a win for you, your sponsors, and your attendees. 

Or, you could award points based on interaction as well, like taking part in a poll or asking a question. This way, your audience knows they need to pay attention to the session as a poll could come at any moment, as well as listening to the content in order to ask a relevant question.

There are many ways to use gamification strategies to improve engagement in your virtual event but you need to remember to track participation and clearly communicate the rules.

6. Use translators to make your content more accessible

One way to substantially increase engagement is to improve inclusivity and accessibility. One simple way to do this is to have your content translated into different languages. Unless the event was specific to the locality that you’re in, you can assume people from different countries will attend your event, considering the event is online.

If the content is translated, your attendees will feel more comfortable participating. It’s reported that around 65% of non-native English speakers prefer content to be in their native tongue although they are proficient in English.After all, simply translating your website for the United States, China, Germany and Japan can give you access to 50% of worldwide sales potential.

7. Schedule breaks during your virtual events

It’s been proven that planning breaks can increase attentiveness, prevent fatigue and improve motivation. You can use a push notification to inform attendees of breaks, and even encourage them to grab a cup of coffee in the interval, which everyone is sure to appreciate.

8. Use a mobile app

Mobile phones are used 58% more than computers and laptops, which means that when you make your virtual event accessible by mobile, you make it so much easier for your audience to access it quickly, no matter where they are.

Now, we know phones can be a great source of distraction during any virtual conference or meeting, but you can counteract this by making engagement via mobile simple and seamless. 

Moreover, mobile apps can offer businesses further insight into their event and brand. Do people interact with sessions differently when they are on mobile for instance? Do they have more conversations with attendees? These are all interesting points to consider.

9. Promote interactive real-time sessions


Virtual Conferences with Zuddl


A lack of real-time conversations ruins the momentum of an event. By introducing opportunities for real-time interaction with your online attendees, you can help develop a sense of community within your event.

Just like how impromptu conversations take place at offline events, you can also help your attendees forge new relationships and connections if you create spaces for real-time socialization. Enabling networking is an important part of this.

Conclusion

With the right platform, you can increase engagement at your virtual event, and make it truly valuable and memorable for everyone involved. Keep in mind the tips mentioned in this piece, and choose a customizable platform that can execute all of them. With a little creativity and customizability, you can create an amazing, engaging virtual event experience that everyone will be talking and writing about for years to come. 

Virtual Events
Product

How AI-Powered Match Making Helps You Drive Meaningful Smart Networking Sessions

5
Mins Read
Milan Shedu

Can you remember the last time you were at a networking event? You were probably in a room full of other guests, all wearing their name-tags, and making small talk. At the end of the evening, you would have probably talked to a few dozen people and made 4-5 relevant business connections.

Can you remember the last time you were at a networking event? You were probably in a room full of other guests, all wearing their name-tags, and making small talk. At the end of the evening, you would have probably talked to a few dozen people and made 4-5 relevant business connections.

Today, virtual networking gives you the unprecedented opportunity to build and nurture business relationships at a scale far greater than you ever did before. At an event on a virtual network platform like Zuddl, which is accessible to 1000s of people around the world, you can easily connect with the right kind of people - whom you may never have been able to meet otherwise. If done right, virtual networking through ai-powered matchmaking can drive real value for attendees, and turn a good event into a fantastic one. To host virtual events in 2021, organizing effective networking is critical.

A timeline of the evolution of networking 

While the world is continuously switching between online & offline, online meeting platforms seem to be the winner by being accessible to people around the world.

The earliest forms of digital networking for the masses can be traced back to the 1990s when dial-up messaging, emails, and web portals were being just introduced. In the last 30 years since then, we've been spoilt for choice over the channels for communication.

We have seen the evolution from wired to wireless, text to speech, and now speech to video discussions. While all of these forms are retained in some form or the other, the evolution of networking has rather played a key part in how businesses today network with their audiences. 

But if the scope of communication and the channels to deliver content have been so convenient and powerful, how come the majority of the events have always been offline in nature?

It is primarily due to the level of virtual event engagement on offer and one not-so-secret ingredient, networking!

Events have evolved and so should networking

The events industry has seen a major transformation over the last year - largely because of seeing the opportunity in catering to the needs of an audience that expects a lot more Virtual events have enabled organizers to bring in people across the world without worrying about the venue, logistics, and whatnot. But amidst all of this, networking seems to have been left as an afterthought. 

Networking has always remained a sought-after activity in real-life events and most event platforms today fail to deliver a way for attendees to connect with the right people. What if virtual events can do much more than what an offline event can. Think about it - in an offline event, an attendee spends about 4 hours meeting X number of people.  Out of these X numbers, only a handful of them are actually of value to them.

We believe this has been taking away the many precious interactions that speakers and thought leaders such as founders, leaders, mentors, etc. have with the attendees. But should we just accept this is how networking works in a virtual world?

Definitely Not!

At Zuddl, we like to keep pushing the boundaries of what a virtual event is capable of. Today, we're proud to show you what we've been working on behind the scenes over the last 3 months. 

With this, we add a lot more value to business networking, by helping the attendees have more meaningful and insightful discussions throughout the event. We achieve this by not only taking feedback from our clients but also ensure to receive even the tiniest of feedback received from an attendee. Today we're proud to bring out our latest feature to the table - The Smart Networking.Smart Networking is Zuddl's effort to ease the cumbersome process of networking at a virtual event. Our AI-powered matchmaking algorithm ensures that your attendees are matched with individuals who share common interests just like you. 

How Smart Networking through ai-powered match making transforms the attendee and organizer experience

With other virtual event platforms, attendees are aware of just the speakers and have little context on who else is part of the event. This is not only a challenge for the attendees but for the organizer as well since they’d like to have some more control over the quality of interactions between attendees.

Here's how Zuddl's Smart Networking takes networking to the  next level:

Creates meaningful connections:

We enable interest-based matchmaking for your attendees, to ensure maximum value in an interaction. 

Create Attendee Profiles

Give your attendees a chance to create their own attendee profiles by updating their personal details, occupation, interests etc.  

Generate More Leads 

With Smart Networking attendees or sponsors can find prospects by sharing what all services they are open to discuss about. One can also list out what they are looking out for and what they are offering to have an added level of filtered matchmaking.

Curated Connection List

Within smart networking, Zuddl curates a list of individuals you’ve already connected with so that you can reach out to them all through the event.

Interacting without limits

Your attendees can access the entire list of attendees and  schedule 1:1 conversations or 1:1 quick based on mutual interest. Get the option to schedule a 1:1 at a date and time convenient to both the attendees.

Exchanging virtual business cards

Generate more leads by sharing your business coordinates right on Zuddl, just like any physical event. All virtual business cards get saved in your briefcase, which can be downloaded while you leave the event.

And it is not just about the attendees! 

Enabling smart Networking is as simple as switching your wifi on and off on a mobile device. All you do is click on a toggle and the feature gets instantly activated. 

Smart Networking also ensures that the right people get matched, and by default, you can choose numerous interests and matchmaking filters your attendees can choose from. Want to further customize this? You can always add custom interests and matchmaking filters based on the type of audience invited for the event. These filters also act as Tags, which can be used during or post the event to segregate your attendees as per their interests, jobs, personas etc.

So, are you ready to impress your attendees?

Zuddl's Smart Networking elevates the way networking has been done until today. Whether it is an online or offline event, networking still remains one of the key aspects that determine the event's success in the mind of an attendee. In our quest to ensure your events stay engaging and immersive, Smart Networking is a breakthrough to ensure your attendees stay engaged till the very end of the event.

So, are you ready to try it out? Get in touch with our event experts here! 

Virtual Events
Marketing

8 Ways to Get More Attendees and Boost Virtual Event Engagement

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

With the presence of a million distractions in the online world, the first challenge when it comes to hosting a successful virtual event, is convincing your target audience to sign up for and show up to your event. If this is a challenge you’re facing, here are 8 steps that help you, your business, agency, or association boost virtual event engagement.

With the obvious advantages virtual events provide - from allowing for a much larger and more global audience to better opportunities for attendees engagement and lead generation - it’s now almost impossible for businesses to not incorporate them into marketing strategies. The presence of a million distractions in the online world leads to a dearth of virtual event ideas that can efficaciously convince your target audience to sign up for and show up to your event.

If this is a challenge you’re facing, here are 8 steps that help you, your business, agency, or association boost virtual event engagement.

Step 1: Offer early-bird registration

If your event is going to be a paid one, it’s wise to run early bird ticket sales. This is a reliable virtual event idea to boost interest and hype in your event.

Once you set the full price for your virtual event, you can calculate a discount that can be applied as an early bird offer. Release the full price and the early bird offer at the same time, setting a limit on the date until when the discount is valid. This will build a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

This should help you obtain better results in terms of ticket sales. Furthermore, attendees who opt for the offer are also likely to tell their friends or colleagues about it, creating a snowball effect.

Step 2: Showcase your event speakers to build hype

Another age-old virtual event idea to boost those registration numbers is to invite celebrities, industry thought leaders, or experts to speak at your virtual event.

One of the best examples that demonstrates the benefits of leveraging celebrity power for virtual events can be seen in Vanity Fair’s Live Cocktail Hour that took place in April 2021. The event was carried out as a charity fundraiser, with donations going to Covid-19 relief efforts.

The event featured a huge roster of celebrities. The list included names like Serena Williams, Gal Gadot, Michael B. Jordan, Julianne Moore, Laura Dern, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen, Paris Hilton, Jessica Alba and many others. The event schedule featured discussions and conversations on a variety of topics relating to the entertainment industry. There were also live performances, games and trivia challenges. With that line-up, who wouldn't want to attend this event?

Step 3: Leverage promos to kick curiosity and excitement up a notch

The lead-up to your virtual event is as important as the event itself, so marketing it in the right way can lead to a rapid increase in the number of people who want to attend it. 

What this means is that your promotional content, in the form of videos and graphics, needs to really showcase the USPs of your virtual event as opposed to a physical one. For instance, you could have video sneak peeks of your virtual venue completely covered with company branding.

Get creative with tools on social media! You could use Instagram stories’ for attendee engagement or Facebook Polls to amp up curiosity and enthusiasm. Twitter Spaces is a great way to have a small interactive session before the actual event takes place.

Promotional Content with Zuddl

The power of digital marketing is limitless, and you should harness different platforms in the right way to make sure your target audience is interested in attending your event.

Step 4: Keep attendees invested pre-event

Once the number of registrations start to swell, the next challenge is to keep your attendees interested and engaged. Here are two ways to do this:

Send an in-depth pre-event attendee guide

A pre-event guide gives your potential attendees an exact idea of what they can expect from the event not only in terms of the agenda but also in terms of the timeframe. Additionally, a pre-event attendee guide serves as a reminder of the valuable learnings that attendees can expect to take away from your virtual event. In that sense, it works to further the excitement that surrounds your virtual event.

Create a resources hub for attendees

As the title suggests, a resource center is a directory of the tools and information that your attendees might need to access before, during, and after the event.

Depending on the scale of your virtual event, you could create a dedicated website for your resources, or it could be something as simple as a Google Drive folder. The main aim is to ensure that it has any tools or information that your attendees may need - for instance, a Frequently Asked Questions in your resource center would be very useful.‍

Step 5: Give your attendees reminders through multiple channels

The internet is full of distractions, and it can be hard for attendees to keep track of your virtual event. 

Usually, the virtual event platform you use to host should have automated reminders that are sent to attendees weeks before the event - or whenever you schedule them. It’s also good practice to send reminders across multiple channels, just in case some attendees lack access to a specific platform.

Be careful not to spam your attendees, however, as this can be a huge source of annoyance.

We hear you, Kim.

Step 6: Keep your attendees engaged through creative activities

Scheduling small activities before the event helps to generate a buzz, as well as keep it top of mind for attendees - and the more creative, the better. 

With many platforms nowadays allowing you to customize your virtual event, it’s a smart move to use it for your pre-event activities. For instance, within your platform you could create different rooms for attendees to wait in and socialize before the main event starts, or you could host a small ice-breaking introductory activity to help attendees learn more about each other.

Step 7: Share resources post-event

After your virtual event, you should send out tools, brochures, or resources that may help your attendees. This is also extremely useful if you are going to have another similar event in the future, as it makes your audience feel valued, and shows them that you are trying to drive value for them.

It’s also a good practice to reach out to those who registered for your event but didn’t show up. This not only shows them what they missed out on, but it can also help you find out why they could not attend your event, which can assist you in improving your next virtual event registration strategy.

Step 8: Ask your attendees for feedback

Collecting post-event feedback is a significant part of the process. Through this, you can find out what went right and what went wrong with your event, from the perspective of your attendees — offering you insights into improving the next one that you might be planning. Additionally, feedback also shows your attendees that you care about their experience at your event. Click here to read which important questions you should ask on your post-event survey.

Conclusion 

Hosting virtual events can involve a lot of organizing and management. Use this detailed list of steps to drive registrations and pull in attendees, and watch it grow into an exciting and enriching event.

Virtual Events

12 virtual events that will inspire you for your upcoming event

5
Mins Read
Lauren Farrell

As virtual events continue to grow and see increased demand how will you create engaging, unique and memorable experience? Here are some of the best virtual events in 2020 and 2021 to provide inspiration.

It’s probably safe to say that you’ve attended at least one virtual event over the last year – and that’s probably an extreme underestimate. As businesses pivoted to using virtual meets, they became a frequent part of everyday life. More than just conferences becoming virtual – product launches, trainings, classes, panels, virtual job fairs, meetings, happy hours and more took place virtually as well.

In 2019, the global virtual events market was valued at $77.98B. Now, the industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 23.2% from 2020, with an expected valuation of $404B in 2027.

To provide inspiration as you elevate your live and virtual strategy moving forward, here are some of the events in 2020 and 2021 that stood out as they took a new approach, elevated experiences or engaged audiences in a new way,

1. CES 2021

For the the first time ever, CES was all-digital, and made history as the largest digital tech event. Close to 2,000 companies launched products, the worlds largest tech companies exhibited, and industry leaders from Verizon, GM, Microsoft and more led keynotes. The event featured more than 100 hours of programming. Attendees from more than 150+ countries were able to attend sessions, receive personalized experiences and recommendations, and connect and network with others from around the world.

Online conferencing software - Zuddl


2. Salesforce World Tour Sydney

Salesforce World Tour Sydney was transformed into Live: Australia and New Zealand for 2021. It featured keynotes, interviews with industry leaders, panels with innovators, partner product launches, and workshops designed to inspire action. Held over more than a month, the event focused on segments for key verticals and audiences.

3. Zoomtopia

Zoomtopia is Zoom’s annual user conference and in 2020 it went completely virtual. With world-renowned speakers, deep dive technical sessions, product announcements, demos, networking and grammy-award winning music performances, the event was open to all and focused on both entertaining and educating.

4. Microsoft Ignite

Microsoft pivoted their annual event and changed its week-long in-person conference into a global, 48-hour digital gathering. With customized language localization, digital local community meetups that included instructor-led technical learning, skill building, certifications, keynotes, product updates and more, the company ensured that their virtual event was impactful and unique.

5. REACH 2020

G2 took their annual conference online and jam-packed it with over 100 speakers and sessions from entrepreneurs, sales, and marketing leaders. The event was built in collaboration with attendees who had input from registration to the event schedule (they shared the topics they were most interested in). The speakers then incorporated these requests into their keynotes and presentations.


6. Inbound

Hubspot took its annual user conference, Inbound, online for a two-day immersive digital experience. They held fireside chats that each had a pre-recorded and live component, and had educational sessions with live Q&A, debates, AMA’s, case studies, 1:1 meetups, audio-only sessions and virtual networking. With surprise guests, office hours with speakers and live entertainment, each attendee was able to stay engaged and enjoy a personalized experience.


7. NASSCOM's Technology and Leadership Forum

NASSCOM is the premier trade body for the tech industry in India with over 2,900 member companies, including the world’s leading technology companies. In February they held their annual Technology and Leadership Forum virtually. No longer limited by geographical or scheduling constraints, more than 1,600 attendees from 30 countries joined sessions with 94 speakers from the world’s leading companies. Additionally, they decided to hold the rest of their events, virtually. This included a total of 8 virtual conferences with over 1,000 speakers, and 80,000 attendees.


8. Tomorrowland Around the World 

A fully immersive digital festival with eight stages featuring the best artists in the dance music industry. With 60 artists performing, the event included chat rooms, games, interactive meetings and workshops - more than one million people attended. The event was converted from in-person live festivals, to one worldwide digital event in just 2.5 months.


9. Oktane 21

Okta took their industry conference, Oktane2, virtual with keynotes, exhibitors, networking, breakout sessions, certifications and more. Attended by thousands of industry leaders, IT executives, security professionals, developers, product leaders and more – the conference prioritized small group and 1:1 networking.


10. SXSW

South by Southwest celebrates the convergence of interactive, film, music and tech industries and in 2021 it moved online. Attendees had the opportunity to join via an online platform, television, digital devices or an XR platform streamed daily on five channels. With keynotes and sessions, film screenings, music showcases, exhibitions and professional development opportunities including mentor sessions, roundtables, networking and more, SXSW connected attendees in new and meaningful ways.

11. Think

IBM’s THINK is the premier hybrid cloud and AI event, and in 2020 it was re-imagined as a premiere digital experience. With live streamed content, interactive sessions, certifications and locally hosted smaller digital events. Over 100,000 clients and business partners registered, more than 3x their typical audience for the in-person event.


12.  NRF

Retail’s Big Show, NRF, went virtual in 2021. With 330+ speakers across 130 sessions, a virtual expo with 300 solution providers, AI-powered matchmaking, lunch and lounges, interactive discussion rooms, musical entertainment, cooking with a celebrity chef and a startup zone – they elevated the attendee experience and made diversity and inclusion a central focus.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 67% of B2B marketers utilized virtual events in 2020, and the use of livestreaming increased 19% to 29%. Those same marketers said virtual produced the best overall content marketing results for their organization in the last 12 months. 

As virtual events continue to grow and see increased demand, how can you create an engaging, unique and memorable experience for your next event?

Learn more.

Cover image credit: Austin 360

Virtual Events
Analytics

Track virtual event success with this in-depth guide to event strategy

6
Mins Read
Lauren Farrell

The most successful events set clear goals and build a path in which steps can be taken to achieve them. The key is to have a strong vision and simultaneously make sure that you do right by your audience.

It’s time to plan your next virtual event. But as expectations evolve and technology improves, how can you make sure to drive the success of your event through a holistic strategy, defined goals and most importantly - measure what you’ve achieved?

Why this event?

The reasons for hosting an event go beyond budget and convenience. As the frequency and scalability of virtual events become more prominent, it’s vital that you define both the goals of your event and build a virtual event strategy to reach them. The first step? Start with your why.

You need to be able to articulate why you are holding any particular virtual event, which will help in defining the overall goal of the event for both your company and your attendees. So, what is your why? Most can be categorized in one of the following areas. 

  •  Generate demand

From demand for a product or service or more information on a specific topic, drive attendees who are engaged, who may have watched a webinar or read a blog already, and are looking for more information on what is being presented.

  •  Build awareness

From brand awareness to awareness around a specific product or service the aim is to get in front of your target audience. Maybe the event is a product launch. For attendees this is an opportunity to more closely align with your brand or learn specific details and even increase awareness on an offering you have that may fit their needs. Drift built awareness with their target audiences by hosting the Rev Growth Summit virtually, bringing together leaders and executives across sales and marketing, providing keynotes and courses.

  • Increase thought leadership

From experts sharing their vision on the state of a niche segment, or detailed explanations on a technical topic – educate your industry. The opportunities are endless, but this is an opportunity to educate and elevate key figures in parallel with your brand. G2 hosted REACH 2020 virtually, bringing together thought leaders across sales, marketing, customer success, operations, and product from a variety of companies, including their own to share their strategies, expertise and playbooks.

Education is one of the most valuable opportunities for a brand to connect directly with their most closely aligned audiences – partners, customers and employees. From trainings and educational sessions to retention driven events, continued engagement with these audiences is imperative.

Once you’ve decided on your why, and overall goal, how do you better specify that goal, make it SMART and define KPIs to keep you on track?

First, align these goals with your business goals. Be specific, make sure it’s measurable and achievable along with having a timeframe to accomplish it.

In fine tuning your overall goal you will want to further specify exactly what you are aiming to achieve, and how. This also means better defining the type of event along with your audience so you can more clearly specify your goals and ultimately measure success with KPIs that you set, and finally - build your strategy.

Defining your needs and deciding your goals often means hosting multiple events to achieve different goals or different audiences so you can deliver the highest level of value possible. NASSCOM, the premier trade body for the tech industry, has leveraged this strategy to great effect, having hosted a variety of virtual events over the last year, building on the success of each. Here's Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at the most recent conference, the NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum.

If you are hosting an event to generate demand around a product, is it for industry contacts, customers or both? Or if you’re looking to increase thought leadership who will your attendees be? Be clear on who your audience is and make sure you understand what the goals of your attendees will be.

For example, when WhiteHat Jr. hosted a Creator Summit for young students from around the world, they wanted to create an exciting and impactful learning experience for them.  Because children get more easily distracted, the company needed to design a thrilling virtual venue that was colourful and exciting, which was achieved through their Lobby.

The company also organized interactive virtual sessions between leaders in coding, math, and space, with engagement tools that encourage them to ask questions, share opinions and get involved.

There will always be a multitude of possibilities for your event goal and event format such as increasing thought leadership via an industry panel or partner education via a live learning course – thus in deciding which type, it’s important to prioritize what will help in achieving the clear goal set forth for the event. 

Building your strategy

Goals are imperative to build your road map and strategy for an event. Without setting goals, it is difficult to define whether the event, means and channels utilized drove beneficial outcomes for your organization. The key is to have a strong vision and simultaneously make sure that you do right by your audience.

In building your event strategy there are multiple components that are vital to executing a successful event and achieving your overall goal. This includes content, promotion, engagement and technology.

  • Content plan. Who is participating in the event, when will the content be created and when will it be shared prior, during and after the event?
  • Promotional plan. Where are you promoting, communicating and distributing information for your event? How frequently?
  • Engagement plan. How will you engage your audience, drive networking and create a memorable and unique experience?
  • Technology. What platform will you be using to host and deliver your event effectively and reliably?

Further defining your goals with data

Online Events with Zuddl

Once you specify the efforts you will focus on as the core of your strategy to drive towards your overall goal, it’s important to finalize the KPIs that will help you measure success and understand your progress. The most successful events set clear goals and build a path in which steps can be taken to achieve them.

With this, it’s important to understand event data and utilize it properly. The metrics used can vary widely as different events and audiences will require varying priorities of what is important to measure. Deciding on KPIs in advance of your event will help you in digesting the data, because without clear direction and intent it is difficult to sort through and prioritize the appropriate data. There are typically four key areas to measure.

  • Promotional Data

This includes information on performance of promotions across email, social and websites prior, during and after the event.

  • Registration data

This includes how many people registered, sources of registrations, who registered, specific audiences that registered and more.

  • Engagement Data

This includes participation in sessions, polls, networking, chat, questions and more.

  •  Attendee Data

This includes information on attendees’ activities within the event, duration of attendance, attendance rate, demographics and more.

At the end of an event, it’s important to holistically evaluate it in its entirety – and reviewing data and comparing against your KPIs will help you to define your level of success in driving toward your overall goal. By taking attendee, engagement and registration data you can build a picture to understand the stage and relationship each person in your audience has with your brand in relation to your overall goal, and even use lead scoring for each.

While virtual events require different strategies and goals than in-person events and other marketing channels – to find success you ultimately will still aim to entertain, engage and educate your audience.

Interested in learning more on setting goals for your next event? Join a demo with our team here.


Virtual Events

The future of events: everything you should already know

2
Mins Read
Bharath Varma, Founder, Zuddl

As businesses look to stay competitive and to connect and communicate with our audiences, new strategies, mediums and channels are imperative to not only be used in extenuating times but to integrate and scale for the future.


In the last year so much of our lives beyond business have undergone digital transformation – schools and organizations, family celebrations, concerts and more – absolutely every type of event we participate in. Even mundane parts of our everyday lives that we never expected to become digital, have. With this, behaviors have changed, as have our expectations and preferences of how we experience interactions, exchanges, and events. 

As businesses look to stay competitive and to connect and communicate with our audiences, new strategies, mediums and channels are imperative to not only be used in extenuating times, but to integrate and scale for the future. At the forefront of this are virtual events and the solutions that power them. But it's more than just the technology, it’s the opportunity to globalize and scale events unlike ever before. In my time in the event industry there has never been a time of such change and with it, excitement.

A new era

Even as we return to in-person gatherings, events are forever changed. We’ve gotten a taste of the opportunity to unite people around the world with ease, without limitations of geography or scheduling.  Events that were previously 1,000 people are now becoming 10,000. And events that weren’t even able to exist due to varying limitations, are now thriving not only because they are more cost effective, but logistically simpler. The increased value of events now is their ability to easily scale both in size and frequency.

Events wherever you are

We are entering a new era in which events will no longer be defined by the channel, location or medium in which they exist, they will automatically be expected to be fully integrated and accessible. Can you remember a time when you couldn’t watch your favorite sports team because you didn’t have the budget to purchase a ticket or the time to travel to the city to where they were playing? Probably not, because in that scenario you would just watch it by streaming it on one of your many digital devices. But what if the only way to view it was by attending in person? It’s almost unthinkable.

Most of us have lived in a time where the teams we cheer have always been able to be viewed remotely on television, and more recently, our phones or any other digital device nearby. Today, where you watch is often arbitrary. The channel could be a venue or a digital medium – but almost always, you have the option to choose.

As events continue to transform, the expectation will be the same for business events of all types - from trade shows and conferences to product launches and trainings. That you will always be able to join in one of two places: the venue itself, or the virtual event  platform where it is streaming from. Both will have attendees and while each will have varying experiences, the result will be the same. They will each provide you with the ability to network and engage with other attendees, listen to speakers and most importantly - have a memorable and unique experience.

Experiences built by data

In-person events have notoriously had huge data gaps, and with it they continued year after year to attract the wrong audiences - from individuals without buying power to those just aiming for an all-expenses paid trip out of town. But remote events are providing a more detailed understanding of attendees. They will accurately help leaders qualify individuals, taking into account micro-engagements beginning with attendance at virtual events through the entirety of their digital journey with the brand. This information will change the way attendees are communicated with, further driving personalization and ultimately increasing the value of every event, for attendees and hosts alike.

Scaling event frequency

Traditionally many of the world’s largest events have only been held once per year. But only having annual events diminishes new opportunities and the ability to better engage and nurture key individuals. Just as most types of content have become episodic and often series based, so too will events - in their own way. Beyond scaling in size, events will scale in frequency as remote events will be held more regularly. This means marquee events will no longer be siloed. Virtual events will provide support with regularity and consistency as they become a pipeline for physical events – driving relevant audiences to them and providing unique experiences. With this increased opportunity to scale, individual divisional events with engaged audiences will have the opportunity to become niche, full scale global events.

Increased expectations

Boundaries that once limited guests and speakers to some of the world’s largest events, have been reduced, if not eliminated. Meaning the accessibility to any expert or thought leader has been leveled. New innovations and technological advances will continue to create opportunities to differentiate interactive communication such as AI-powered networking, parallel sessions and more.  In short - you are able to tailor your events, to your customized needs.

As all of these changes lead to a significant increase in the number of events happening, it will become extremely important to create unique experiences that are not just run of the mill, and are truly unlike any other. Otherwise, you will get lost in a sea of events that both look and feel exactly the same. 

Steve Jobs once said that he reinvented the phone to completely change your expectations. Events right now are being reinvented. So, as you plan your next event it’s important to ask yourself - how will you make it memorable, how will you differentiate it, and how will you change expectations?


If you've stayed with me this far, thank you.

In the wake of the deadly second wave of Covid 19 in India, please join us in donating to Give India, a non profit organisation that helps support COVID patients, affected families, and care centers needing support. We're all in this together.


Virtual Events

Is ROI a trap? Here's how to calculate the impact of your next virtual event

9
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Any attempt to answer “what’s the ROI of your event” is a trap many marketers fall into.‍ But virtual events are helping organisers generate quantifiable results for their businesses and their partners. Here's how.

If you’re an event marketer or organiser, we’re betting the one question you get asked about most often is also the one you loathe the most: what’s the ROI of your event?

Needless to say, ROI is one of the most important KPIs for marketers and businesses - this isn’t a point of debate. But what most (honest) event organisers also know, is that most of the time calculating the ROI from an in-person event is more of a guessing game. 

There are so many components that go into the calculation, of which many are difficult to track accurately, that it’s almost impossible to know if your event is the reason a customer decided to purchase your product or service. Any attempt to answer “what’s the ROI of your event” is a trap many marketers fall into.

Virtual events and ROI

So while ROI for in-person events is usually difficult to measure, it’s clear from the increase in the number of virtual events and people's response to them, that virtual events are helping organisers generate quantifiable results for their businesses and their partners. Here are some examples:

Have your event attendees ever spent an average of 2 entire hours in discussion rooms?

Top-ranked engineering institute in India, IIT Madras, accomplished this at their virtual Entrepreneurship Summit on Zuddl this year.

What about being able to boost registration for your events?

NASSCOM, the apex body for the IT-BPM industry in India was able to drive the number of registrations for their first virtual event from 1000 to 6000.

And how about generating leads for your partners? Sponsors generated 10,000+ leads from NASSCOM’s virtual conferences.

You need not be frightened of calculating the ROI from a virtual event. Driving and measuring returns is way easier than you think.

By virtue of being hosted on platforms that enable the tracking and collection of a range of measurable indicators, be it engagement, time spent at the event, average time at a Stage etc, organisers need to know that ROI tracking for virtual events can be easily understood and better leveraged for future events. Further, with better quality data, lead generation and nurturing happens more organically and effectively because there is empirical evidence to back it.

But considering ROI data is the lifeblood of effective event planning, organisers can benefit from a better understanding of how to actually measure the impact of virtual events.  

Virtual events and ROIs with Zuddl.

Set your KPIs and know the tools to measure them

Unlike the traditional measure of ROI, virtual events demand that you measure based on the ‘Return on Engagement’ (ROE) and the ‘Return on Objective’ (ROO). Just like on-ground events, there may be certain intangible mechanisms within these categories, which is why it pays to clearly define the indicators.

To help, here is a breakdown of these 3 key categories.

ROI is measured based on:

  • Revenue
  • Profitability
  • Number of attendees
  • New business
  • Leads gathered

ROO is measured based on:

  • Educational session comprehension
  • Educational session surveys and evaluations
  • Brand awareness for sponsors and the organization

ROE is measured based on:

  • New business
  • Leads generated
  • Retention
  • Attendee reach
  • Brand awareness

To measure ROO and ROE, virtual event organisers need a platform that firstly lets them execute activities within their event that can help them reach their goals, and secondly has the tools to track the impact of their activities. 

For instance, when the objective is to help generate brand awareness for an event, the virtual event organizers or sponsers should be able to leverage the features of a virtual event platform to drive visibility in myriad ways - displaying the sponsor’s logo at a welcome lobby for example.

Virtual expo booths with Zuddl.
NASSCOM's Technology and Leadership Forum lobby featuring sponsor logos

Or giving a sponsor a dedicated Expo booth wherein they can play product demos or share downloadable marketing collateral.

Sponser's logo with Zuddl.
Barclays Expo Booth at the WiT-Ace All in All Week Summit

And the virtual event platform should be able to measure the results of these activities - for instance, by counting the number of people who watched a demo or downloaded the marketing collateral.

Get the most out of tracking technology 

To reiterate, measurement functionality is critical, so the event platform you use must have the capability to track online interactions effectively. Features that enable live analytics and post-event analytics are equally important. Ideally, post-event analytics should include the following data.

Registrations

  • Total
  • Registrations per day in case of a multi-day event
  • Number of returning attendees

The number of registrations can help you understand how interesting or valuable your content is, and you can use this insight to plan future events that better resonate with attendees.

Attendee demographics

  • Age
  • Country
  • Industry

Demographics will tell you the type of persona that finds value in a specific session or an interest-based room, or a product or service showcased in an Expo booth. You can use this insight to better market your offerings based on the consumer group you’re targeting.

Leads for sales

  • Number of leads generated

Virtual events can drive leads for sales far more effectively than their in-person counterparts. Attendees can indicate their interest in specific products or services within a virtual event - for instance by watching a product demo, claiming exclusive deals or downloading marketing materials. Booth owners can then nurture the lead post-event.

Attendee engagement

  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • Q&A
  • Chat options
  • Average time spent at a session, Rooms, Expo Booths or Networking

Data on attendee engagement provides more insight into an attendees interests and needs, allowing you to execute more highly targeted campaigns post-events. And at the end of the day, the more engaging a virtual event is, the more attendees will engage with an organiser or sponsor’s products and services post-event.

Connections and networking 

  • Total number of connection requests 
  • Total number of connections 
  • Connections by attendee

One of the main reasons for people to attend events is to make new, valuable connections. Asking for an attendee’s data during onboarding not only allows you to match them with the right people but gives you a wealth of demographic information to effectively segment your audience after your event, and create targeted campaigns.

Sponsor engagement 

Data on booth traffic, conversations, and how many attendees watched product videos or downloaded marketing materials gives sponsors valuable insight on attendee interest, such as where they are in the buyer’s journey. It helps pave the way for sponsors to turn leads into customers.

All of this data and more should be available as reports, summaries or charts for easy analysis. With this, you can easily define data-driven goals for future events.

Use real-time data for better event ROI

Real-time data can even help you make improvements on the fly, especially if it is a multi-day event. You can use a virtual event platform’s features such as Polls to take quick surveys to truly understand what your audience wants – right then and there.

Turn this insight to inform strategic decisions around the relevant messaging they’re responding to, such as additional activities within the event, post-event email journeys, social media or other touchpoints.

Drive better ROI for hybrid events from virtual events

Better insights translate to effective strategizing - there isn’t an iota of doubt that virtual events can deliver in this regard. A good way to leverage this benefit is to use virtual events, in a hybrid setting, to drive better ROI for the on-ground event. In such instances, the on-ground event is preceded by a series of virtual events, which act as tools for identifying a truly engaged audience

Based on the data, you can handpick attendees who check all the boxes that define a perfect attendee. These members can then be invited to the on- ground event, thus ensuring better returns.

To sum up...

The bottom line is that with virtual events, that dreaded question of returns on your event is no longer a trap.

With virtual event platforms giving you the features to host an event that targets your KPIs, as well as the tools to track event data, you can easily tell your bosses how many leads you generated, how much engagement you nurtured, how many (more) registrations you brought about, how much new business you brought to your partners, and what value the event brought to your business. 

To get a better understanding of how a virtual event platform can help you maximize ROI, book a Zuddl demo now. 

Virtual Events

Virtual Events vs In-Person Events - How Virtual Events are Transforming In-Person Events

8
Mins Read
Lauren Farrell

Technology can now remove limitations encountered through in-person events. Virtual events provide new solutions along with scale to meet the demands of a more digitally aligned world, in parallel to changing costs, continued globalization and new behaviours.

From virtual happy hours and new employee onboarding, to birthday celebrations and shareholder meetings – almost no event has been left out when it comes to their digital transformation. And most everyone has stories of varying experiences for a handful of these scenarios.

For the better part of a year, our primary communication and personal interactions have been virtual. So, it is no surprise that so many people are ready to get back to in-person interactions and this includes events. But what does it mean for events now that both in-person and virtual events have meaningful places?

Is it virtual events vs in person events, or in-person events AND virtual events?

As virtual events have become the dominant, and often only format for events over the last year – many have asked what this means for in-person events as some have said we should always opt for in-person events. But this is simply no longer realistic. So, for many it’s been a question of in-person events versus virtual events.

To start, it’s not in-person events versus virtual events, it’s and. In-person events provide a value and opportunity that can never completely be replicated by virtual - that human connection and spontaneity unique that comes from being physically in the same location. But virtual events provide new solutions along with scale to meet the demands of a more digitally aligned world, in parallel to changing costs, continued globalization and new behaviors.

Quite frankly, neither event type will ever return to be exactly as we knew it prior to 2020. How we define events is forever changed. And very soon, if not already, they won’t be defined by their medium – but solely by the experience and content.

While we are all eager to be in-person once again, a singular medium is no longer superior. Virtual events are imperative for businesses to connect with employees, customers, industry partners, prospects and more – around the world, regularly.

Technology can now remove limitations encountered through in-person events. Virtual events are now essential, and those who embrace them, will continue to grow. The advantages of remotely and virtually holding events far supersede their perceived disadvantages. And often that’s just what they are – perceived.

In-person events will be back, and virtual events will never leave

In the United States, 50% of respondents in a national survey said they are now ready to return to in-person events with proper Covid-19 safety precautions in place.  And a majority of event planners are planning to incorporate virtual events into their strategy in 2022 and beyond. So, it’s safe to say neither format is going anywhere, but the frequency in which they are each utilized will continue to change.

As audiences are becoming more and more distributed, virtual provides an option that is accessible to all.

Although we crave physical human interactions – it’s no longer the only defining component for a successful and purposeful event. As brands create innovative and differentiated virtual experiences, attendees and hosts aren’t missing the travel, logistics and budgets required of attending events in-person. Without attendance limits, opportunities for both attendees and brands alike have increased. Virtual event platforms provide a flexibility that wasn’t previously an option.

Building experiences and community

Over the last year business leaders have gotten incredibly good at building experiences virtually as we’ve lived online, pretty much exclusively. Moving forward we can all agree that we don’t want to exclusively live our lives online. But the value to businesses who are embracing changed behaviours and with it building online communities and communication channels to connect, educate and engage will be an incredible advantage moving forward.

This last year Salesforce’s Dreamforce Conference reached 75 times as many people through their virtual event, as it did in-person attendees the year prior. And in July of 2020, Ford Motor Company took the launch of their new F-150 virtual, going live in an interactive format. More than 690,000 people around the world tuned in live or have watched since, a stark contrast to the few hundred that were originally planned to be in attendance in Detroit, Michigan for the big reveal.

Brands are creating highly produced video content, that following an event can be accessed on-demand and used by industries and brands for sales, marketing, education and more. The value that is gained from continued usability of content from virtual events cannot be understated.

NASSCOM, the premier trade body for the tech industry in India has over 2,900 member companies, including many of the world’s leading technology companies. In March they held their annual Technology and Leadership Forum virtually and no longer limited by geographical or scheduling constraints, more than 1,600 attendees from 30 countries joined sessions with 94 speakers from the world’s leading companies.

Some of those speakers? The CEOs of Zoom, IBM, Cisco, Accenture, Infosys and Zoho, plus the COOs of Unilever and VMWare, and CIO of Adobe. These leaders of some of the world’s most prominent technology companies were able to join to speak and engage in a conference that they otherwise might not have been able to attend because it was virtual.

Redefining expectations

The future of how we network and interact has been forever transformed, powered by digital event platforms that allow us to connect regardless of time and place.  With this, the value found through virtual events extends more broadly than as a replacement for traditional, in-person events. While 80% of people join virtual events for educational purposes, the second biggest reason individuals join is networking.

Yet, seemingly one of the biggest faults of virtual events is that we can’t create the same experiences as in-person events. A little ridiculous, right? Just like the experience of riding in a car isn’t the same as taking an airplane. While they both might get you to the same destination, the experience, expectations and medium are very different, and understandably so

The goal of virtual events isn’t to replicate the event in its original format, but to build a virtual experience that in the end has shared the same purpose and achieves the goals set forth. It’s okay that remote and virtual events aren’t able to replicate the same experience of in-person events.It’s not a medium problem, it’s an expectation and experience problem.

Innovation in both technology and new experiences for virtual events will continue to change communication well beyond the confines of the traditional four walls of in-person events spaces. Otherwise, attempting to exactly replicate an in-person event, virtually, is a sure way to fail.

The definition of events, their mediums and how they are executed is evolving into something new altogether. And as technology and behavior continues to change, the expectations of what is needed to connect, communicate and educate continues to transform. Change is scary, which is why it took a pandemic to change the event industry and prominently drive virtual events.

One thing that we’ve all gained over the last year despite Zoom fatigue and technical mishaps is the expectation that we can attend more events because we can always watch them later. We can meet more people and learn more from others because geography and time are rarely an issue. And that we can opt out of attending events in person because our schedules don’t allow it, but we can still attend because the future of events allows us to remotely connect, circumstances aside. And that’s a big win for virtual events.

The ultimate power of virtual is that limitations and conflicts that were often defining obstacles for in-person events have been eliminated and channels to more easily communicate, connect and engage have been simplified. The future is live, remote and connected.

Virtual Events

10 Things To Consider While Selecting A Virtual Event Platform

9
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

With a variety of virtual event platforms available today, how do you pick the one for you? Here are 10 questions to help you narrow down your choices, and understand which is the best for your business.

Businesses and audiences alike have now come to expect great things from virtual event platforms. Before the pandemic, a virtual event was either the last resort or an add-on to the live event, usually meant to include those that couldn’t attend it physically. However, this is no longer the case. Now, virtual events are anywhere, and everywhere.

Every company that’s looking to host online events - whether a summit, online conference meeting, career fair or trade show - relies on virtual event technology.

So the question now is, how do companies vet virtual event platforms effectively? With the numerous options available to event organizers, it is both tricky and tedious to find an offering that can deliver without compromise. To streamline the weeding-out process and identify a truly well-equipped provision, take a look at these 10 questions to ask when choosing a virtual event platform.

1. How easy is it to set up a virtual event on the platform?

No one has the time or the patience to wade through pages of technical information or fiddle around with different modules within a platform to set up an event. So the very first thing organizers need to look for when evaluating a platform is how simple and effortless it will make setting up and running an event ie. how stress-free it will make their lives.

This is not to say that organisers must compromise on the scale of their event or their creative vision of it. It simply means that a platform must be able to offer ease-of-use no matter how large an event, and no matter what an organiser wants to do within it.

2. What are the communication features available to participants?

Networking and open communication is crucial to any virtual event and the platform in use should be able to offer this without any hassles or glitches. Ideally, the platform should have functionalities that allows participants to message speakers, attendees, vendors or hosts through an organized system where participants are easy to find and contact.

For instance, live 1:1 video chat options create an immersive experience and help audiences better connect with one another and the talent present. Private chat options are also great for building better relationships. Some platforms even give attendees to drive the direction of a group discussion via Q&A, or live polling.

Virtual Event Platform with Zuddl
Speakers at the Wit-Ace All in All week hosted on Zuddl use Polls to include and involve attendees in their discussion

These are value-added features that can enhance the overall experience at a virtual event.

3. What is the audience capacity?

This is among the first questions to ask as the platform you choose should be able to accommodate the number of attendees you need without any issues.

Some platforms have a maximum audience capacity, which could be as low as 50 or as high as 10,000. Knowing the maximum capacity the platform can handle while ensuring uptime is key to pulling off a successful event, and knowing that a platform can enable easy management of your large-scale event will give you a much needed peace-of-mind.

4. How can your audience and talent engage on the platform?

A virtual event shouldn’t hinge on one-sided interactions. Attendees should ideally be able to engage with different forms of media and some platforms have provisions to do just that.

There are platforms that will let organisers set up dedicated areas within the virtual venue to enable discovery, and better engagement opportunities. Some examples are lobbies to welcome guests, exhibit halls with Expo booths, promotional sections etc. And via touchpoints throughout the event, such as an exciting entry video, prerecorded audio clips or presentations and any other promotional material, organisers can help attendees in these spaces get more out of the event.

5. How well can you track event data?

Being able to track event data is, of course, crucial for any organizer. You need to be able to analyze data and align them with the goals for the event. Event data tracking is a feature that must be available when choosing a virtual event platform as only data can offer insight on whether or not the event was a success, for instance whether your content was engaging, whether it helped to drive traffic to your website or with lead generation. 

Moreover, event data allows businesses to notice gaps in strategy and better prepare for them in the future. Apart from the number of registrations, check to see if your shortlisted virtual event platform offers insights into visitors by location, average time spent in various zones, connections made by attendees, number of attendees who interacted with polls, used chats and clicked on urls. All this can help you take the guesswork out of ROI and use meaningful metrics to refine strategy and drive conversion.

6. Does the platform support live broadcasting?

Virtual Meets with Zuddl
A panel discussion at Wit-Ace's virtual #AllInAll week hosted on Zuddl

It’s a no brainer that live broadcasting is a must for any virtual event. No one really wants to attend an event populated solely with pre-recorded videos; Netflix is a far better option when it comes to that. So platforms that support live broadcasting - and more importantly, can support multiple live broadcast sessions - enable organizers to offer better value to their attendees.

7. Can the platform support monetization or advertising?

It is common for in-person events to have sponsors present, and virtual events should be able to accommodate this as well. Thankfully, this is possible as there are platforms that offer organizers the option to choose from a range of monetization facilities, and give their partners or sponsors more branding opportunities.

For instance, branded, interactive Expo booths allow sponsors or partners to customize the design of their booth with their logos and signage. They can place media collateral such as product demos in their booth and can also share downloadable marketing material such as brochures or business cards with attendees that stop by their booth. Each booth can be manned by booth staff who can chat with attendees and answer questions in real-time.

Some platforms allow organisers to allow ticket-based zone access for attendees to facilitate exclusive experiences and therefore can monetize based on different audiences.

The opportunities are endless with platforms that offer more and better customisation features.

8. Does the platform have automated systems and functions?

Considering the backend work that goes into organizing and executing a virtual event, it is wise to look for a platform that leverages automation effectively.

Without it, the entire event relies on flawless manual inputs, which isn’t ideal and leaves room for error. Automated processes like email marketing also give invaluable insight into the platform as a whole, as it means that the event platform partner understands the need for seamless execution.

9. What can be customized on the platform?

This is the big question. Event customization is imperative to hosting an event that looks and operates exactly as you want it to, and the platform should be able to give the organizer complete flexibility in doing so. 

Customization enables effective branding, marketing, and audience engagement - all critical to the success of an event, and in generating ROI for an organiser. You should be able to make a Stage appealing for your target audience for instance.

Online Virtual Event Platform with Zuddl
Adobe created a welcoming yet larger-than-life Stage for their TRANSCEND University Summit hosted on Zuddl

You should be give your partners as many branding opportunities as you want to. You should be able to generate delight for your attendees throughout the event - for instance by setting up a Selfie booth. And you should be able to build a feeling of community, of togetherness through customisable design, such as setting up Networking or Watercooler spots for people to mingle, talk and connect.

Go big or go home. Full customisation will be the differentiator.

10. Are there any real-time troubleshooting facilities?

As any event organiser knows, last minute changes and challenges are to be expected. So, while you can offset most problems with effective planning, any event partner platform you’re considering should offer 24X7 support. 

Ideally, the platform should provide a dedicated troubleshooting team to address any technical issues during execution or help with any other problems that pop up. At the least, a platform should offer website chat support, and even help with onboarding. All these features of a virtual event platform become critical sooner than later and having a good idea of the resources you can count on is simply thinking ahead.

To sum up...

Getting answers to these questions allows businesses to easily vet virtual event platforms for their event needs. From event registration tools to data tracking and easy set-up to the extent of customisation available, when choosing a virtual event platform, organisers need to be as circumspect as they can be - the success of your event depends on it.

But it takes the correct virtual events platform partner to make the difference. Take a Zuddl demo today to explore how you too can host a virtual event that is unique and branded, and drives engagement and ROI.

Virtual Events

Top 5 Virtual Event Planning Mistakes To Avoid

7
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

Here's a list of common mistakes that organisers should avoid while creating a virtual event. Eschewing these could keep your engagement and attendance up and have your customers coming back for more.

Early in 2020, the global pandemic imposed many great disruptions on our everyday lives. However, the world quickly adapted. We learned on the fly. The world of events specifically, saw widespread cancellations due to COVID-19. Event organisers began innovating, adopting new technologies, and moving to a new virtual normal. The simple webinar quickly evolved into full-fledged virtual experiences. But that evolution meant there was going to be a lot of trial and error.  And with each passing event, we learned how to host a better experience.

Today, the world has seen the benefits of virtual events. No matter what size or kind of organisation you are, hosting an engaging virtual event experience is now a necessary skill.

So we have compiled a list of 5 common mistakes that organizers should avoid in virtual event planning. Eschewing these could keep your engagement and attendance up, and have your customers coming back for more.

Not planning content for your virtual event properly 

Content for Virtual Event with Zuddl

At the heart of any great event is a great design. No matter what domain you are in, designing a great agenda requires engaging content. To make matters more challenging, virtual events require you to work harder to retain your audience's attention. As your attendees are in a digital space, you can safely assume that your audience may easily be distracted - online shopping, Netflix and social media channels are only a tab away. Not to mention the distraction of consuming content on multiple devices simultaneously. 

Therefore, the content you plan for your event is paramount. It is essential to move your content beyond just presentations and into a more interactive setting - the usage of a fantastic Welcome Experience for your event or interactive virtual booths equipped with live booth staff, for instance, are unique and novel ways to keep your audience intrigued.

Planning the ideal length of each piece of content is also essential. Too long and you may find people getting screen fatigue or losing interest in your online event. Too short and you run the risk of your audience undervaluing your event.

Find the right balance with a good amount of breaks in between to avoid virtual event fatigue. For instance, simple popups to remind your attendees to stretch their legs or grab a cup of coffee during your online event gives them time to clear their minds, refresh, re-energise, reset their focus and in this way, you can drive better attendee engagement once they return.  

Not preparing your event presenters for a virtual session format

Virtual Session Format with Zuddl

For any live event to stay engaging, you need an experienced set of Speakers, as well as a facilitator or a moderator to keep your panel sessions and group discussions running smoothly. However, virtual events operate under different rules for speakers to keep their audience engaged. 

Now, you need to make sure your speakers, facilitators, and moderators are comfortable and adept in hosting virtual sessions. Plan ahead with them about the tools that are available that they could use to make their talks interactive - such as Chat, Polls, Q&A and more.

Give your speakers the opportunity to do a Dry Run before your event so they are more comfortable with your event setup. And before sessions start, let your speakers relax and rehearse ahead of time at a private greenroom. 

Not rehearsing your agenda ahead of time

No matter what size your virtual event is, rehearsals are key to a successful and seamless experience for your audience. Even if your event is small, it is never a bad idea to do a run-through so that you can ensure that all areas of your virtual event are easily accessible, or all touchpoints for branding are visible front-and-center, for example.

Some virtual event platforms offer team onboarding with CSM as well as dedicated account managers to help run the event. Take advantage of both.

Receiving assistance with setting up the event as well as having a professional on hand to respond directly to your every need, will make you feel better prepared for your event, and provide you with a previously unknown peace-of-mind.

Not accommodating Networking

Virtual Networking Events with Zuddl

One of the most overlooked aspects of virtual events is networking - but many organizers fail to ensure that attendees at their event are able to expand their social or professional networks of like-minded people. It’s simply not enough to assume that attendees at a virtual event will be able to connect with each other via a Chat.

Organizers should - and can - do a lot more.

After assessing the size of your audience, organisers can create virtual spaces in their event where attendees can interact with each other. This could be creating a virtual lobby before the event starts where attendees can socialize, or using breakout rooms for interest-specific discussions, or even creating activities or games in smaller spaces to help attendees break the ice. 

It’s even better if organizers choose virtual event platforms that accommodate AI-powered 1:1  smart networking. Not only does this take away the stress of attendees having to make the first move, but it also increases the chance that attendees will be matched with the right people. Win-win.

Not using the right technology

It goes without saying that technology plays a vital role in virtual events, but choosing the right virtual event platform really does make the difference between a good event and a great one. 

Some platforms simply may not offer the configurability you need to create an event that truly looks and feels true to your brand. We all know that the devil is in the details, so imagine wanting to play a product video in the lobby, or offering useful media downloads to attendees at a booth, or even setting up a helpdesk - and then learning that you are unable to do so because the virtual event platform does not have the features or tools to let you do so.

Choosing the right technology, or partner platform, for your event will make or break it.

To sum up...

Organizers must realise that a virtual event planning is a completely new ball game. While the fundamentals remain the same, you need to approach each virtual event with a new set of eyes; consumer behaviour, as has been evidenced by the pandemic, is constantly shifting and adapting - so picking a virtual event platform that meets and leverages new behaviours is critical.

Concurrently, planning a virtual event also requires a new awareness of the fresh opportunities a digital platform can provide. With Zuddl, we've built you an all-in-one virtual event platform that provides real-time engagement with a seamless experience. Built by event organisers for event organisers, we help you create, engage, and manage your event is the best possible way you can. Book a free Zuddl demo today, and walk through the creation of a virtual event, from start to finish. 

Virtual Events

Future of Virtual Events: Top 5 Reasons Why Virtual Events are Here to Stay

5
Mins Read
Pavi Sagar

The virtual world is our new normal. So, the question is not really one of in-person vs. virtual reality. Going forward it is not ‘one or’ but ‘both and’. Here's why.

The virtual world is our new normal. It’s now a pervasive and inextricable part of our daily lives, driving new ways of interacting, transcending the physical limitations set by space, time, and even a novel coronavirus. About 60% of the world’s population now uses the internet and in 2021, an estimated 3.71 trillion hours will be spent on social media alone. So, the question is not really one of in-person vs. virtual reality. Going forward it is not ‘one or’ but ‘both and’.

As a species we’ve “covered a decade in days,” says a McKinsey report in describing the “adoption of digital” during the pandemic. Case in point: Disney Plus being able to achieve in just 2 months what it took Netflix 7 years. From remote learning and telecommuting to online deliveries and telemedicine, the pandemic accelerated a whole spectrum of consumer behaviours.

Today, virtual tech is key to interacting with the modern-day consumer, and virtual events follow suit.

Grand View Research, a market research and consulting company, recently forecasted that the virtual events market size would expand to be worth $404.45 billion by 2027. Moreover, marketers and event planners cite that virtual events can be easier to scale, house a global audience, generate insightful data, take less time to plan, and are easier on attendee schedules. Given these real benefits, here are important factors driving events onto the virtual stage

The most important factors for the future of virtual events are as follows:

Catering to an increasingly digital audience

Virtual Meets with Zuddl

Modern user habits have changed drastically. A study by DataReportal cites that about 40% of the typical global user’s waking life is spent with connected tech. That’s an incredible average of 6.5 hours online each day spent checking email, frequenting social media, taking pictures, reading the news, shopping, and banking. 

The reality that the virtual world can be an extension of one’s life, coupled with the fact that virtual events are meaningful social experiences, opens up new possibilities for the events industry. (When Microsoft E+D India held their first virtual offsite for instance, the company found that by virtue of the event being virtual, all previous success metrics were thrown out the window).

Piggybacking on habits formed during lockdown, Microsoft employees spent more time attending panel sessions and visiting their colleagues’ Expo booths than before. And attendees near-doubled the number of connections they made via AI-powered smart networking! By going online, we find ourselves connected to an intricately-knit global digital village.

Virtual events can leverage the fact that digital brings people together at the same time, to foster connections and build relationships in a manner that feel intuitive for digital natives. 

Casting the marketing net far and wide

In-person events have physical confines, virtual events don’t. Geography isn’t a barrier, travel restrictions aren’t a worry, and space isn’t a limiting factor. You can have attendees join in from around the globe. EventMB indicates that 34% of planners consider an uptick in attendance to be the most positive benefit of shifting to virtual.

Let’s distill the benefits of virtual events:

- Travel restrictions and lockdowns aren’t a hindrance to the event 

- Busy attendees can fit the event into their schedules easily 

- Renowned speakers from around the world can address your attendees 

- More people can attend on account of no physical limitations 

- The overheads of the event can be significantly reduced 

- Users can show up from home, office, a train, a car—anywhere! 

- The event can be up and running in no time at all

Engaging users with the best of modern technology

A lot of people have a soft corner for online communication, as opposed to in-person meetings.  And some of this boils down to the fact that much of online communication is non- verbal and hence, demands less cognitive and emotional effort.

For users who are prone to introversion, for instance, the ease of typing into a chat box, with emojis, as opposed to talking face to face, worrying about one’s demeanour and how to articulate one’s thoughts, can be relieving.

Virtual Meets with Zuddl - 1

And virtual event platforms like Zuddl help you go further, with options for live sessions, 1:1 networking, break- out rooms, polls, and gamification. You can then have different degrees of verbal interaction and varied modes of engaging your audience. With technology giving you the nuts and bolts for your event, you can build it up to be a workshop, conference, career fair, trade show, expo - or even a hybrid event

In fact, there’s no doubt that the use of tech to finesse hybrid event strategies is going to be a game-changer for organisers. Using insights captured from audiences at virtual events, organizers can use that information to build excitement, refine their content, and drive better ROI for their live events.

Evolving with your customers through better analytics

Virtual Meets with Zuddl - 2

The decisions your users make follow the changes in their habits, and with digital adoption consumer habits are continuously being reshaped. Consider for instance, how throughout the day, most people today use two or more devices at the same time to consume content, actively and passively taking in information based on the context in which it is used. Identifying such factors is easier than ever in a virtual event. For instance, you can keep tabs on webinars attended, best times for engagement, PDFs downloaded, booths visited, chat box interaction, quizzes taken, and so much more.

In a  physical event it can be tough to even get your audience to fill out an  opinion form. Zuddl allows organizers to observe the micro moments of a  customer’s journey, throughout the event, whether it be watching product  demos, interactions with virtual booth owners, or time spent in the lobby.  Better data & insights analytics  makes for improved customization and more efficient use of your resources and  budget.

Keeping the spotlight on your brand and sponsors

In-person events demand an insane level of logistical work: sourcing venues, planning floor layouts, hiring equipment, putting up an event flyer, the final set-up, and the like. All of this can sap your team’s energy and detract attention from the brand itself.

Virtual events, conversely, are no-frills versions that are easy to plan and execute. That way you have more time and energy to strategically position your brand.

Out of sight, out of mind

There’s another advantage to virtual events and it’s characterized by the proverbial saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” This proverb implies that your audience is likely to forget things that are no longer visible.

With virtual events you can have your branding throughout the user journey – from login, to the welcome lobby, to virtual rooms, and networking areas. The same holds for sponsored banners that your partners can have in such a way that they are just a click away from your audience.

To sum up...

The pandemic has made clear that virtual events are clearly very effective, if not more effective, than their physical counterparts, given they help you reach a wider audience, engage audiences intuitively, collect insightful data, and market your brand more strategically. But it takes the correct virtual events platform partner to make the difference between an average event and a fantastic one. If this intrigues you, take a Zuddl demo today to explore how you too can host a virtual event that is immersive, visceral and impactful.

Cover image credit: Challenge

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