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

Virtual Events with Zuddl

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”

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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 

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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

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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.

Zuddl is a unified platform for events and webinars that helps event marketers plan and execute events that drive growth. The platform has clients across the globe, such as the United Nations, Kellogg’s, Microsoft, HSBC, VMware, Google, StackCommerce and Cipla amongst others. In January 2022, Zuddl announced that it closed $13.35 mn in Series A funding.

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