Best Virtual Events From 2020
Soak up the inspiration for your 2021 events…
2020 was a wild ride for online events. International lockdowns meant companies quickly had to pivot their physical events to online. And while we’ve all sat through events with presenters on mute, most have truly flourished.
Over the past year at streamGo we’ve managed close to six thousand event sessions with six million registrations! And with 25 thousand questions and 38 thousand poll responses, deciding on the best of the best was no easy task.
But queue drum roll please! Here’s our 10 best virtual events from 2020…
1. Most creative use of a venue
For online events in 2020, most of you probably grabbed a spot at your kitchen table, or anywhere you could find space at home. It’s fair to say that we have seen some interesting backdrops to virtual events the last year, but DTG thought carefully about their brand and how their audience would see them.
Their excellent use of studio, coupled with a realistic 3D virtual space and remote speakers dialling in from across the globe provided a polished, TV quality finish. And it was all done under social distancing guidelines – very impressive!
Consider how you want your brand to look during your events. Think past website branding and look at the bigger picture. Using roller banners you would typically have at live events or subtly dropping your brand in view throughout shots are simple but effective ideas.
2. Best use of audience engagement features
Many event organisers went all out for audience engagement with their online events, and Temenos TCF Online used all manners of features to capture the attention of their audience. From games to social media walls to polls and sponsor chat, it had it all.
Polls throughout your online event can be used in a number of engaging ways. Presenters could use poll responses to determine which way their live session goes next, adapting the agenda to fit. Polls can also be used to gradually qualify leads in or out of sales follow-up by asking intent or firmographic questions. Other uses for polls could be to gather feedback on your event, decide the topic for your next event and could even help prioritise product development.
3. The A-list event
We’ve had some staggering A-listers involved with our events this year (anyone heard of a little someone called John Legend?).
But number one has to be the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, who delivered a fantastic private interview about coping with the pandemic and staying motivated in 2020 through work and his personal life.
Just get Will Smith on your events. Kidding – Will Smith won’t be available EVERY time.
But it’s always good to use a well-established speaker who can deliver the message well. Industry experts or key opinion leaders are always a great choice. Think about which presenters you can use that can deliver your content in the most engaging and concise way.
4. Most creative use of existing content
Online events can be a great place to host your existing content. We’ve seen events that have broadcast case study videos, product brochures and even podcast series to a whole new audience.
Springer Nature’s virtual conference included a poster hall full of poster booths. These booths displayed digital posters of research information, with researchers able to field live questions. It was an innovative way to use their existing posters in a new online format.
Give your existing content new life at your virtual event. Online events provide a great opportunity to get more value from existing content. You could look to drive podcast subscriptions, newsletter sign ups or even brochure downloads and video views. Just remember to keep the content targeted to the theme of the event.
5. Most engaging live stream
How can you make a live stream event super engaging? Got a 32-piece orchestra? That’ll do…
Music venue Sage Gateshead did just that as part of their Sage Live 2020 series of concerts and are one of the only UK venues to live stream an orchestra. It was pretty impressive to say the least. Take a look for yourself…
Keeping your audience engaged is key to delivering your message, even with something as simple as a live stream event.
6. Unmissable content
The events that still have you talking about the content on the way home (or downstairs from the spare room/new home-office) are the really special ones. They can stay in your thoughts and help change the way you approach challenges.
Unmissable content is definitely one of those. With loads of energy, a highly engaging presentation style and simple supporting slides, Matt Miller’s keynote: The Art and Science of Memorable Teaching as part of the Adobe Education Summit really was magic!
Use your imagination when it comes to capturing the attention of your attendees. Showing your passion and energy for your presentation should be the cornerstone for your preparation. Adding supporting slides and interesting visual props will also go a long way to making your message stick.
7. Change-Inspiring event
2020 was a difficult year for us all. We all coped with extra stresses and anxieties that we’ve probably not faced in our lifetimes.
Allianz hosted a powerful webinar around mental health with psychiatrist Dr. Judith Mohring. The webinar covered techniques to manage anxiety support and wellbeing during this time.
This event had over one thousand attendees, and it’s brilliant to see a brand like Allianz put people’s wellbeing at the forefront of their digital comms.
Consider the best content for your audience; it doesn’t always have to be about driving numbers for traffic or lead generation. Your message needs to connect with how your audience is feeling. Sometimes the most powerful content is what keeps your customers happy and in the right mindset.
8. Brand Immersion
Virtual event-sceptics often ask how online versions of their events can fully immerse the attendee with the experience. What’s to stop them closing the tab? It’s a big question to answer that covers everything from promotion, content, timing and design.
GE Additive really focused on making their event design draw the attendee into the virtual event. With a full 3D, 360 experience, it was an impressive visual event that will be hard to forget!
Creating a fully branded online event can really engage your attendees with your (or your sponsor’s) brand. It can also help make future follow-up or promotional campaigns more recognisable.
9. Eye-Catching Design
If there’s one way to keep your audience engaged – it’s design. Everyone loves their own brand, or at least, we hope they do!
As you know, TikTok burst onto the scene in 2020 during the global pandemic that gave influencers and content creators a whole new platform. But behind the app that we all downloaded, the TikTok sales team also ran a lead gen campaign with streamGo to entice new advertisers onto the platform.
The takeaway here is to always look at where we can help your event stand out from the rest. A custom built page that mirrors your website or app goes a long way! Create something unique that your brand can be proud of.
10. Best Virtual Event Series
Whether it’s binge-worthy box sets or the rise of podcasts, it’s clear that content as a series is more popular than ever.
Virtual events are no exception, and 2020 saw companies embrace the effectiveness of using a series of events to engage their audience.
Investment News with their Women Adviser Summit spanned 7 months, with 5 events over a period of 9 days – phew! Covering topics such as acquisition, client experience and business growth.
Creating a series of virtual events is a great way to engage and educate your audience over a longer period of time. Whether it’s product education, business advice or a strategic employee engagement program, don’t feel like you have to squeeze all your valuable messages into a single one-off event.
That's a wrap!
We’re sure you’ll agree that these are some fantastic examples and set the bar high for virtual events in 2021. We can’t wait to see what creativity and innovation this year brings.
Still need some extra inspo for your next event? We’ve got tonnes of helpful advice and tips, including help with creating some killer content.
Don’t forget you can also download our free eBook with lots of helpful tips and advice on running your next online event.