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Digital Engagement Platform: The Future of Hybrid & Virtual Events

COVID-19 impacted the ways employees communicate, travel, and attend events

Shifting To Digital Engagement

  • Communication
    • In March 2020, employees in the US communicated mostly by
      • Email: 26%
      • Video calling (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.): 20%
      • Regular phone calls: 17%
      • Messaging platform (Slack, Google Chat, etc.): 12%
      • Audio conferencing line: 7%
      • Other: 18%
    • Travel
      • In 2022, 42% of frequent business travelers said they will “never return to the road”, compared to 39% in 2021
      • In 2022, business travel’s share of hotel room revenue is expected to drop to 44%, down from 53% in 2019
    • Events
      • In 2020, 70% of physical events were switched to hybrid or virtual
      • In 2022, digital events remain popular
        • 40% of events are planned to be virtual
        • 35% of even are planned to be hybrid
      • 72% of professionals plan to attend virtual events at least as often as they attended physical events before COVID-19
    • Audiences moved to digital platforms
    • Zoom
      • From 2019 to 2020, daily meeting participants grew 35X
      • More than 45 billion minutes of webinars hosted in 2020
    • Microsoft Teams
      • From 2019 to 2022, annual users grew 13.5X
      • 894% growth from March 2020 to June 2020

Online interaction can bring frustration and fatigue

Poorly Designed Digital Platforms Create Challenges

  • Employees using video conferencing often experience
    • Technology issues: 50%
    • Poor communication: 40%
    • Problems with virtual meetings: 34%
    • Loss of productivity: 17%
  • The amount of eye contact and participant face size on screens during video chat is unnatural
    • Each participant is looking at everyone, regardless of who the speaker is, creating a stressful experience
    • Large face size on screens leads to hyper-aroused state
  • Seeing yourself in real-time during video chat on screen is draining
    • In daily life, we don’t go places with a mirror in front of us at every moment
    • Constantly looking at your reflection increases self-criticism
  • Higher cognitive load in video chats
    • Non-verbal communication in face-to-face interaction is easy to interpret
    • In a video chat, participants must think about staying in the frame and exaggerating their responses
  • Despite the challenges of interacting digitally, people prefer attending events online
    • Of people who attend 10 or more events every year
      • 46% attend online events
      • 13% attend physical events

Businesses Need Virtual Events

  • Time-Saving
    • Employees don’t need to travel or make a commute
    • Video reduces travel and commute for 46% of businesses
  • Reduced Costs
    • Businesses can save on transportation expenses
    • Businesses can cut travel costs by 30%
  • Increased Productivity
    • Employees can allocate extra time to other tasks
    • Video conferences can increase productivity by 89%
  • Increased employee engagement
    • Employees feel more connected to the company culture
    • 41% of users believe video conferencing has increased team member engagement
  • Improved Focus
    • Participants are less likely to multitask while on video calls, than on phone calls
    • Only 4% of participants multitask during a video conference, compared to 57% on a phone call

 

Businesses can incorporate the benefits of online meetings and various trends in technology to create a more exciting event

Hybrid Events

  • Separate experiences in which two audiences are connected by the content they’re accessing
    • 72% of attendees believe they will get more value from attending a hybrid event, than an physical event
    • Goal: Create the best experience for each audience
      • Main event
        • Virtual or physical
        • Could be marketed as a VIP experience for a limited number of attendees
      • Virtual component
        • Offer educational content in virtual form
        • Allow content to be watched for a limited time after the event has ended

Gamification

  • Can boost event engagement and improve overall outcomes
    • Gamification improves retention by approximately 40%
    • How to gamify your event
      • Test attendees on the features of a product in a showroom
      • Reward attendees for mentions and posts on social media
      • Create a list of milestones for attendees to complete

Metaverse

  • An immersive experience for attendees, whether through virtual, augmented, or mixed reality
    • 74% of adults would join or consider joining a metaverse
    • Immersive experiences: Navigate a ditigal world and interact online in a manner similar to the real world
    • Advanced learning: Access the best experts from anywhere, in a single click — with real-time interaction and visualized tools

Event planners can take steps to improve event quality and keep attendees engaged

Tips For Creating The “Wow” Factor

  • Differentiate your event from cookie-cutter events — Use customized graphics and layout
    • Design the event program before selecting a virtual platform
  • Consider moving beyond one-off events to a persistent interactive experience
  • Offer access to a library of on-demand breakout sessions
  • Minimize extra activities to reduce distractions and maintain engagement
  • Create a digital campus where participants can attend events, discuss ideas, and network
  • Facilitate networking through polls, chat, and Q&A features

Physical events aren’t going away — businesses are excited to reach new audiences through hybrid and virtual events

Learn more about the future of online gatherings at engagez.com

Sources:

https://www.businessofapps.com/data/zoom-statistics/

https://www.businessofapps.com/data/microsoft-teams-statistics/

https://www.businessofapps.com/data/slack-statistics/

https://grandluxormice.com/gamification-in-events-examples/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2020/11/11/the-future-of-events-is-hybrid/?sh=62cb25007e1a

https://www.pcma.org/covid-19-impact-events-industry-planners-survey-results/

https://news.stanford.edu/2021/02/23/four-causes-zoom-fatigue-solutions/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/suzannerowankelleher/2022/03/12/covid-changed-business-travel/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/1112966/us-workers-communication-methods-during-coronavirus-pandemic/

https://www.zdnet.com/article/over-half-of-employees-frustrated-by-remote-tech-issues-during-covid-19-lockdown/

https://eztalks.com/unified-communications/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-virtual-communication.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/meimeifox/2022/02/04/the-future-of-corporate-events-is-hybrid-heres-why-and-how-to-succeed/?sh=61206e533071

https://vimeo.com/blog/post/virtual-event-statistics/