The pandemic caused virtual events to become an essential part of the marketer’s toolkit. Even as in-person events have resumed, virtual and hybrid events continue to be important to marketers, with one study finding that for 77% of virtual event marketers, these events are a permanent element of their organization’s event mix. Moreover, a Kaltura survey [download page] of event organizers finds 74% saying that virtual events are important to their event strategy, while 65% say the same about in-person events and 55% about hybrid events.
Some 63% of marketers plan to host in-person events in the next year or two, per the report. As it turns out, their top challenges when planning such an event differ from when they plan a virtual event.
When planning an in-person event, the top challenge cited by marketers is attendance, as reported by almost half (46%). Next on the list is production quality (43%) and event content (42%).
For virtual events, though, production quality is the most oft-cited challenge, by 44% of respondents. Compared to in-person events, far fewer (31%) say that attendance is a challenge for them.
By contrast, engagement is a bigger worry with virtual events. Though this was one of the least-cited challenges for in-person events, it was the joint second-most cited challenge for virtual events, as noted by 42% of respondents. Indeed, marketers have expressed concerns about virtual event fatigue leading to a loss of engagement.
Perhaps as a result, separate data contained in the report indicate that when marketers choose an events platform, their top decision-making factor is the platform’s engagement tools.
Interestingly, in comparing the results of the event organizer survey with an accompanying survey of attendees, the study finds that attendees tend to value in-person-only events to a greater degree than marketers. Indeed, twice as many attendees said that in-person-only events are their most effective type for learning how to use a company’s new product than said the same about virtual events. However, marketers were much more likely to say that virtual events were the most effective type when launching a new product. The authors caution that “when thinking of their events plan, marketers should consider how their own preferences may be creating a bias and are not fully benefiting the attendees.”
For more, download the study here.
About the Data: The organizer results are based on a survey of 500 event organizers, CMOs, VPs of marketing, field/regional marketing managers and directors of events, with company sizes ranging from 500-10,000 employees. All respondents have hosted virtual events over the past 18 months. The attendee results are based on a survey of 1,044 attendees who have attended in-person, virtual, or hybrid events.
All respondents were from the US, UK, France, Germany, or Italy.