“Successful hybrid events and conferences” – what thousands of enterprises are aiming for this year.
But how can you make sure your hybrid event will be a roaring success?
With the rise in hybrid events over the past couple of years, there are many hybrid event and conference examples you can get inspired by.
Read on to learn more about hybrid events, their many advantages, the best examples of hybrid events from 2021 and 2022, how to transition from virtual to hybrid, and hybrid event best practices.
What are successful hybrid events?
Successful hybrid events are a blend of the traditional in-person event with the online virtual event. Attendees can go to an actual venue for the event but can also opt to participate online if they are unable to be there in person.
The tricky part about hybrid conferences and events is making them just as engaging and fulfilling for people who are attending remotely as for those who are physically present. Those attending in person can go to workshops, engage with each other, interact with speakers, and ask questions. It takes some extra planning and the right event technology to do the same in the virtual space. With the right hybrid event platform and virtual event engagement ideas, you can ensure the experience for both live and virtual attendees are valuable.
There are a few ways to structure a successful hybrid event. You could plan a physical event with bonus online access, an online event with limited in-person aspects, or a blend of both.
Here are two hybrid event examples that have a different focus but are still blended experiences:
- A large trade show that’s mainly an in-person event with exclusive online content and a mobile event app
- A live-streamed product reveal presented in front of a limited physical audience broadcasted to millions of people online, also with an event app
Hybrid events are on the rise. To discover the other latest event trends in 2023, read our article 13 corporate event trends that will make your events stand out in 2023.
What do successful hybrid events look like?
With hybrid events, participants have the option to attend and enjoy in-person sessions and presentations at a venue. But for those who are unable to attend or prefer not to attend in-person events, your company can use a sophisticated virtual event platform to create an experience that will seamlessly complement the in-person aspects.
To run successful hybrid events, you need to go beyond simply streaming the in-person speakers and sessions — although that certainly can be a part of it. If you are only streaming your content, your remote viewers can easily feel bored or left out. Imagine watching a live Q&A session but not being able to comment or ask any questions yourself. What’s the point?
Fortunately, event planners have many innovative options today when choosing hybrid event platforms that pack a punch.
The best hybrid event examples use software with features such as:
- Live or on-demand content
- Personalized mobile event apps
- Virtual Q&As
- Activity feeds
- Breakout rooms
All participants can access content on a computer or smartphone. And virtual attendees stay constantly connected to and updated on the event.
To get a 6-month practical, step-by-step guide on how to organize a hybrid event, see Hybrid event planning: an executive guide and 6-month practical plan.
Common examples of successful hybrid events
Hybrid events can work for many types of meetings and programs, whether internal or external.
Think about how hybrid aspects can work for these types of events:
- Trade shows
- Training seminars
- Marketing and sales events
- Product launches and demonstrations
- Team meetings
Hybrid events can make more of a lasting impression than other meeting types because virtual content can live longer and continually be accessed and viewed. Additionally, with polls, instant feedback, and event metrics tracking, you can gain valuable insight and statistics on what works and what doesn’t.
Unfamiliar with some of these terms? Dive into our event planning terms glossary to learn what they mean and get to know 150+ other useful event tech words.
Why running successful hybrid events matters
Hybrid events give you the chance to get more attendees, higher engagement, and longer-lasting exposure and impact. Research shows 73.6% of event planners became more proficient in technology as a result of the pandemic. Planners understand that using technology is essential for event success today.
Let’s delve into the advantages of running successful hybrid events:
The best hybrid event examples have given large companies like yours the opportunity to reach an entirely new audience. People who may never have had the time or resources to attend your event can tune in at any time and access your content. This can include recorded sessions (on-demand), live streams, polls, discussions, and more.
You can leave the content online as long as you like, so busy attendees can access it at any point — and can even come back to it in the future for content ideas or for other marketing purposes. This can leave a much longer impact than simply attending a one-time event in person.
Looking for a gated content hub where you can upload your event content in just a few clicks? Check out SpotMe’s content hub.
Marketers can stretch their budgets and invite thousands of people to their hybrid conferences virtually. This improves the event’s ROI and means there’s less money spent on accommodation, dining, etc. And it helps you reduce your carbon footprint as not as many people have to travel to the physical venue.
Higher engagement and better data collection
A hybrid event’s most significant contribution to physical events is arguably its data collection. With the right tools, you can create a dynamic space for guests to learn, interact, and ask questions.
By integrating hybrid event software or an event app for live and online attendees, you can track, store, and analyze pretty much every user interaction to glean insights that benefit your event’s main objectives. Whether it’s generating leads, improving a product, making an impression, or refining your marketing approach.
Looking for more ways to track the effectiveness of your hybrid and virtual events? Check out 19 virtual event success metrics you should be measuring.
8 hybrid event examples that knocked it out of the park
Looking for inspiration to help you run successful hybrid events this year? Take a look at our list of 8 hybrid event examples that excelled at combining interesting and interactive virtual and in-person components.
Hybrid event example #1 INBOUND by Hubspot
INBOUND is an annual 3-day conference by HubSpot. It is top of the list of the best hybrid event examples from 2021 and 2022.
Professionals, as well as comedians and entertainers, are invited to present to a large audience interested in learning the best practices in marketing, sales, and customer success to improve their business.
After the triumph of INBOUND 2021 as a virtual-only event, HubSpot realized the power of virtual event engagement. But in 2022, they also recognized people’s desires to meet in person. So, they decided to run their very first hybrid INBOUND, which is now a great example of a successful hybrid event.
HubSpot believes that the future is hybrid. That’s why their hybrid event:
- Offered a range of tools across all formats to make connection between their in-person and virtual audiences easy e.g. dedicated meetups, networking across their event app, lively chat topics, and ice breakers
- Made the most of event technology by implementing custom avatars, online networking features, and accessible char functions
After the success of INBOUND 2022, HubSpot’s 2023 version will also be hybrid.
Hybrid event example #2 Apple Special Events
Apple, unsurprisingly, has been at the forefront of hybrid events and provided some of the best hybrid event examples by broadcasting its live in-person product demos to millions of people online with expansive reach.
Apple’s special events did become entirely virtual or pre-recorded during the pandemic. This helped Apple reach audiences from any location by presenting dynamic speakers with short speeches from their own unique destinations.
Then, in 2022 Apple organized hybrid events such as its WWDC, which saw a relatively high number of developers and members of the press attending in person at the Apple Park. But the keynote itself was a pre-recorded video that participants could stream from anywhere in the world.
Hybrid event example #3 VivaTech
VivaTech is Europe’s biggest startup and tech event. Its objective is to accelerate innovation by bringing together startups, tech leaders, and large investors who are responding to the biggest challenges in the world today.
VivaTech went hybrid in 2021 and after its huge success planned a hybrid event for its 2022 version too. It gives companies the chance to showcase their solutions and initiatives either digitally or in person. By doing so, they open their event up to many more sponsors as well as a much wider audience. Take inspiration from this hybrid event example if you plan tradeshows or similar events.
Hybrid event example #4 Social Media Marketing World
Social Media Marketing World is a conference filled with leading influencers who offer practical, fun, and high-quality sessions to inspire social media managers on the year’s leading platforms.
While it’s primarily an in-person event that happens in San Diego, it also offers a virtual component to allow people at-home access to the same high-quality sessions and networking abilities, making it one of the greatest hybrid event examples.
Social Media Marketing World follows a four-leveled audience tier to attract more visitors. At the base level, they have virtual, with just access to recordings, all the way to all-access, with access to all keynotes, sessions, recordings, and more.
You can use this hybrid event example to help you understand how to create audience tiers for your next event.
Hybrid event example #5 LiveWorx
LiveWorx, put on by technology company PTC, is one of the leading conferences for digital innovators and enterprises put on every year.
Leading keynote speakers discuss the internet of things, augmented reality, CAD, and implementing business practices to help enterprises shape the future.
LiveWorx archives its past sessions so past members can log in to watch a highlights video and access the archived keynotes library.
While their event is usually held in Boston in June, its 2021 and 2022 events were virtual only. And they shared on-demand content after the events aired and kept sessions more concise to combat virtual event fatigue.
Hybrid event example #6 MozCon
MozCon, the world’s leading SEO conference, has typically been a hybrid conference, allowing people at home a discounted ticket rate to watch the recorded version of the event after it has wrapped up. So, of course it makes our list of the best hybrid event examples.
MozCon takes advantage of its pre-recorded content to attract visitors to its website through SEO content marketing, allowing visitors to watch its content for free, while advertising its next event.
Moz understands the SEO advantage of repurposing old event footage into promotional material to market their next event. This is a useful tactic for recycling old footage into new keyword-rich content.
MozCon was entirely virtual in 2021, but it was one of the most successful hybrid events in 2022.
Hybrid event example #7 TwitchCon
It would make sense for Twitch, the online live-streaming community, to put on only virtual events. But even they see the value in putting on a good show for people in-person and online. That’s why they’ve ended up in our list of the best hybrid event examples.
Every year, TwitchCon takes place in San Diego and features live musical acts on stage. Unlike other events that use an outside platform to live stream their content, Twitch streamed its content through its native platform. This allowed its online users to share a social experience with those in physical attendance.
Hybrid event example #8 Empower
Empower is a Christian conference that takes place annually in Texas. It was one of the first major hybrid conferences that took place in 2021. And after its success, they decided to hold their 2022 conference as a hybrid event too.
Attendees could attend in-person or online with the same access to the event platform and agendas, speaker information, and interact with each other.
Best practices for promoting a successful hybrid event
If you’re new to the hybrid world, you might be stumped on the best ways to promote them – especially if you’re used to promoting in-person events. But you’re a savvy sales and marketing professional, so leverage all that know-how into crafting an engaging hybrid event invitation and other content that highlights your goals and gets people excited about what you have to offer.
If you’re not a marketing hero, we can help get you started. Chances are, it won’t take long for you to catch on to all the tools available today.
Follow these 7 best practices that we’ve put together by looking at the best hybrid event examples and you’ll be sure to run a successful hybrid event this year.
#1 Unite your marketing and sales teams
If this is already the case in your company, then you can head to #2. If not, read on. Marketers need to know what customers want. And who knows better than the team that speaks with customers all day every day?
Each team has something valuable to offer the other, so prior to creating a marketing plan for your hybrid event, sales and marketing should meet frequently to share insights related to attendees, resources, logistics, and sponsorship. This will be the best way to determine who the target demographic is and how to create an awesome hybrid event invitation, among other things, to attract them to the event.
There may be some initial language differences since the terms each team uses are not always interchangeable. Keep this in mind when you first unite and work to simplify these together so that you can be as aligned as possible.
Want to learn more? Check out Sales and Marketing Alignment: How To Bring Them Together In Your Virtual Event Strategy
#2 Create a solid marketing plan
Once you’ve established the event plan, it’s time to craft a marketing plan for your hybrid event. How are you going to get the word out and get people talking about your event? Your goal should be to create a marketing plan so effective, you can repeat it over and over again.
To promote your hybrid event successfully, you will want to consider factors that are similar to those you consider when planning your event:
- What channels are you using to connect with your audience (email, social media, blog, etc.)?
- What is the timeline?
- Will you record the sessions for on-demand use?
- What are you hoping to achieve?
- Why should people want to attend? What is the value?
These questions should help spark your creative promotion ideas, hybrid event invitation, and marketing content around the hybrid event. Consider also how sponsorships can be incorporated into your channels. Your sponsors will get double the value out of hybrid events because their brand will reach both your in-person and virtual audiences.
The hybrid event examples in this article implemented very effective marketing plans that you can take ideas from for your own events.
Need help with a marketing plan? Look no further, read this: One Event Marketing Plan To Rule Them All (Plus a Template To Get You Started)
#3 Use event marketing to interact with customers
You develop trust with customers when you interact with them on social media, or create informational blog posts and engaging YouTube videos. Use these channels to get people excited about your hybrid event and to involve them in the process. Post frequent updates and behind-the-scenes content leading up to the event, and create polls to generate interest. Partner with trusted influencers or other organizations to help spread the word.
All these tactics, used both before and after an event, contribute to longevity with your brand. It will keep you in your customers’ minds far after your hybrid event is over.
#4 Know your audience and tailor content to them
This is also where your sales team will be an invaluable resource: They know your audience. If you’re new to event marketing, you’ll quickly discover the importance of developing a strong voice that speaks directly to your audience and resonates with them.
If you post a photo of your team setting up the event and the caption simply reads, “Setting up for the big event,” or share a blog that does not lean towards a pain point that will be addressed at your upcoming hybrid vent, what will this do for your audience? Give them information, give them personality, and give them a place to share their thoughts and questions.
#5 Use early-bird deals and targeted ads to incentivize
Can you offer guests early sign-up deals, exclusive content, or discounts for referrals in your hybrid event invitation? Can you run promotions with prizes like brand merch? Can you track those who browsed your event — or have shown interest in your brand — and target ads to them?
These methods can be powerful, effective tools to generate interest and build awareness. You also can incentivize your sales team with prizes and rewards for whoever sells the most tickets for the event.
Look at the type of content that the hybrid event examples in this article used to promote their events and you’ll be sure to get some great ideas to run a successful hybrid event yourself.
#6 Be creative and innovative
Social media and blog content gives us unique opportunities to be creative and really think outside of traditional marketing methods. From Facebook and Twitter posts to Youtube videos, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and more, you have many fun ways to deliver your message.
When your event includes both virtual and in-person aspects, you can challenge yourself to deliver content that engages both types of audiences. Go live to answer questions ahead of the event, or create a downloadable template that teases out a broader session to take place at the event.
There’s also no shame in getting inspiration from other brands. Chances are it will spark something totally new and exciting that works exclusively for you.
#7 Send an awesome hybrid event invitation
When you’re planning your next hybrid event, it’s important to send out a well-thought-out hybrid event invitation. After all, you want to make sure that your attendees know what to expect.
Your invitation should be clear about the format of the event and outline the different activities that will be taking place. It should also let your guests know what kind of preparation they need to do in order to participate.
For example, if you’re planning a hybrid event that will include both online and in-person components, let your guests know how they can join in the online activities. And make sure to give them enough information about the in-person events so they can plan their travel accordingly.
Take a look at these 13 Examples of Event Marketing Done Right for inspiration.
5 tips to successfully transition your events from virtual to hybrid in 2023
If you’re an enterprise that has been hosting virtual-only events, you will want to start considering ways to incorporate both in-person and online components into their events this year. Of course, you can take a lot of ideas from the hybrid event examples listed in this article, but here are 5 other tips to make your transition as smooth as possible:
Tip #1 Pick the right hybrid event platform
Finding a way to connect your two different audiences – those attending remotely and in-person – will require some digging to find the right platform. It’s important to find a vendor who can incorporate a mobile app with their desktop app to bridge the gap between these groups.
Also, find a platform that can create personalized agendas for all attendees. This will help people onsite to plan their trips, and people joining remotely to choose which sessions to attend.
Ready to explore what the best hybrid event platforms have to offer? Check out the 15 best hybrid event platforms in 2023.
Tip #2 Select a hybrid event production partner
If your in-person component needs a bit more pizazz or organization, consider working with an outside event production partner. Many of the hybrid event examples you’ll see in this article worked with a hybrid event production partner.
Companies like WRG Live, Ashfield Event Experiences, and Dorier Group can create memorable experiences for your in-person crowd while boosting the production quality of your online content.
Trying to to determine the right partner for your event? Check out our list of the Top 12 hybrid and virtual event production companies for 2023.
Tip #3 Offer on-demand content for increased activation of all audiences
One downside of attending physical events, particularly conventions, concerts, or trade shows, is that you can’t watch every presentation you want to see if they overlap.
Luckily, hybrid event examples have shown that you can record and upload all sessions and speakers online as on-demand content, allowing audiences to view missed content later.
Both audiences now have the option to pick and choose which videos to watch or content to download. This creates a deeper level of engagement and enrichment at your event.
Have you considered how to engage your attendees after the event? Content can play a major role! Find out everything you need to do to maximize success with post-event engagement.
Tip #4 Create audience tiers
Think about creating a “freemium” event. This means an event where you offer your basic content for free, but also create a paid, premium tier that allows for more access to exclusive content. It could be private breakout sessions, chats, features, and interactivity options.
By offering multiple audience tiers – free and premium – you can more than double your event’s attendance.
When you increase your attendance, you can leverage that to command bigger sponsor packages moving forward.
Tip #5 Provide networking opportunities to connect remote and in-person audiences
Use a mobile event app and gamification to your advantage to encourage those visiting in person to engage with those who are remote, and vice versa. Offer fun prizes and make a challenge out of encouraging both audiences to reach out to each other.
You can also poll both audiences simultaneously so their responses are combined, creating more unity within the entire group, or create breakout sessions onsite and virtually that can combine both groups together.
Transform your event into an unforgettable hybrid experience
All the hybrid event examples in this article relied on event technology to help them pull off successful hybrid events.
SpotMe is the ultimate digital experience platform, capable of hosting dynamic and engaging virtual and hybrid events for your company.
Whether your audience is in person, or online, both have access to an interactivity-rich platform to network with each other, attend breakout sessions, watch on-demand content, or view HD live streams.
Give SpotMe a test drive! Request a free demo to get started today.
Looking for the best hybrid event platform and app for 2023?
Check out the following guides to help you succeed in the upcoming year: