Virtual events are trending this year, and will continue in popularity in the following years. While this trend may have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are realizing how impactful, useful, cost-effective, and how the variety of virtual event types is opens the door to new business opportunities.
Companies are supplementing their sales funnels and brand awareness by implementing more online events to reach a broader audience.
Curious about the types of virtual events out there and how companies host them? Below we’ll list common types of virtual meetings and virtual event examples that may inspire you to host your own.
The Most Common Types of Virtual Events
1. Online Meeting Types For Day-to-Day Team Meetups
Online events and communications are changing the way businesses work on a daily basis. Virtual meetings have been quickly adapted by companies as an easy way to interact face-to-face with people.
Popular Software Platforms for Day-to-Day Video Meetings
Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, join.me, and FaceTime continue to be the most popular tools for hosting small, day-to-day virtual meetings within organizations and with outside clients. Many of these tools are free and allow for multiple users to sit in on one meeting.
Example of a Virtual Meeting
The Zoom call is quickly replacing the common business meeting. Instead of spending 30 minutes driving to meet a client, it’s more practical to meet over a virtual video conferencing tool, making meetings more accessible.
These online seminars allow presenters to share audio, information, slides, and documents, while engaging with a broad audience. Webinars are a thoughtful way to train employees, generate leads and interest for new products, engage with prospective buyers, and to gather feedback. They often involve more preparation, compared to hosting a virtual meeting.
Popular Software Platforms for Webinars
Example of a Webinar
Consider hosting a webinar for sales presentations, and invite multiple prospective buyers to the presentation online. Webinars are easily accessible and allow you to talk to multiple buyers simultaneously.
3. Virtual Trade Shows
Virtual trade shows offer a new way for attendees and vendors to connect, learn about new products, network, and build relationships by using “virtual booths.”
A virtual booth is a virtual version of a physical booth, allowing attendees to browse information, view pictures, and click-to-chat with the vendor. Other platforms use a page-based design, where each vendor has a profile page that users can read and message them directly, using text chat, video chat, or email.
Popular Software Platforms for Trade Shows
6Connex, Accelevents, INXPO, vFairs, and Map Your Show are some of the most widely-used platforms for hosting a virtual trade show.
Example of a Virtual Trade Show
Commercial Source was the first of its kind virtual trade show put on by Realtors Commercial Alliance. Over 8,000 people attended this week-long real estate trade show for education and networking. Attendees heard presentations from 18 speakers and virtually browsed 50 exhibitors’ booths. Attendees could also live chat or email exhibitors after they presented.
4. Virtual Job Fairs
Virtual job fairs allow recruiters and job seekers to meet in virtual rooms to discuss open positions and internships, explain company cultures, and to exchange resumes and contact information for securing a job. Employers are able to hold interactive discussions in the rooms, and attendees are encouraged to visit several rooms to interact one-on-one with employers.
Popular Software Platforms for Virtual Job Fairs
Brazen, Hopin, XOR, HexaFair, 6Connex, and vFairs excel at hosting virtual job fairs.
Example of a Virtual Job Fair
The State of Michigan is turning to virtual job fairs to increase the number of certified teachers to address its teacher shortage problem in certain areas. Last school year, 150 Michigan education employers met their staffing needs through job fairs.
5. Virtual Conventions, Conferences, Expos, and Summits
Virtual conventions, conferences, symposiums, and summits are multi-day events that feature numerous guest speakers, vendor booths, networking opportunities, and training presentations. Virtual event platforms allow attendees the opportunity to watch live and pre-recorded presentations and interact with vendors and attendees, using built-in features like one-on-one video chats, messaging, and breakout sessions.
Popular Software Platforms for Virtual Conventions, Conferences, Expos, and Summits
SpotMe, 6Connex, Accelevents, CVent, Hopin, vFairs, and Communique Conferencing are the most popular choices for hosting larger virtual events.
Examples of These Types of Events
Moz, the SEO marketing analytics software company, held their two-day convention MozCon to educate professionals on best practices for content marketing, SEO, paid search, and conversion optimization.
MozCon, which is typically held in-person in Seattle, went virtual for the first time this year. Registration was 1/10th the cost of attending in person, meaning it reached more people.
As another example, The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization for Latinos, held a free virtual summit this year, LULAC Virtual Summit 2020. Numerous high-ranking politicians and CEOs attended as keynote speakers to discuss issues related to the American Latino population, including Dr. Jill Biden. This 3-day event featured panel discussions and leadership development training workshops with a viewer reach of 500,000 people.
Virtual fundraisers are cost-effective and easy to organize. Because they’re widely accessible, they can be a great option for raising more funds than traditional fundraisers.
Popular Software Platforms for Virtual Fundraisers
SpotMe, StreamYard, Funraise, Zoom, Mobilecause, and Remo are popular options for hosting virtual fundraisers.
Example of a Virtual Fundraiser
Quarantunes, a virtual Zoom concert series featuring Broadway stars, raised $1.2 million for the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS charity.
These remote workshops allow educators and trainers to teach new skills to a wide audience online.
Popular Software Platforms for Virtual Workshops
SpotMe, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Howspace are popular options for hosting virtual workshops.
Example of a Virtual Workshop
GitHub Universe 2020 will host several workshops to educate beginner developers on how to perform common actions using their software.
8. Virtual Film Festivals As A New Type of Online Event
Virtual film festival platforms allow attendees to browse available movie titles and select individual movies for rent. Movies can either be streamed on the user’s mobile device, computer, or their TV, allowing them to enjoy movies from the comfort of their homes.
Moviegoers can also attend panel discussions, Q&A’s, and network within their virtual event platform.
Popular Software Platforms for Virtual Film Festivals
Many theaters incorporate Transactional Video On Demand (VOD) platforms on their websites to allow visitors to watch movies online. TVOD platforms include Apple iTunes and Amazon Prime Direct.
Example of a Virtual Film Festival
The New York Film Festival went virtual this year and offered film lovers 94 movies to view over the 25-day event. The hybrid event allowed attendees to either rent movies online or visit drive-in screenings. Their online platform also allowed visitors to engage in panel discussions between influential filmmakers and moderators.
It was a smash hit, ranking among the most attended editions of the New York Film Festival.
9. Live Stream Events are Simple but Far Reaching
Live streams offer users the ability to record and broadcast live video in real time to a global audience. Live streams typically are less interactive than other event types, but usually offer higher production value and better video quality.
Popular Software Platforms for Live Streams
Popular sites like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook offer easy live streaming for hosts and allow the audience to participate using chats and comment sections.
Example of a Virtual Live Stream
Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival, annually held on Memorial Day weekend, pivoted this year to host a series of live streamed DJ performances on Twitch featuring several of its top artists. Attendees were still able to interact with fellow concertgoers using Twitch’s chat options.
10. Endless Other Types of Online Events
The possibilities for hosting a virtual event are endless, all that’s required is an idea and an audience.
Auto Show Example
Motor enthusiasts anxious to show off their ride this spring entered their car into Ford Performance’s Virtual Car Show. Fans were encouraged to submit up to four photos and one story of their prized possession to share with other car lovers.
The virtual car show featured a host commenting on the user-submitted content and was live streamed on Ford Performance’s YouTube channel, with 24,000 views.
The Many Types and Possibilities of Virtual Events
Virtual meetings and events offer your brand or organization a powerful way to reach a broader audience, while cutting production costs, and increasing reach.
There are numerous types of virtual meetings and events, ranging from webcasts and webinars, to conventions and trade shows, to entertainment opportunities such as film festivals. We hope that by seeing the possibilities available with virtual event examples that you’ll be inspired to attend or even host your own events.
Read Virtual Events: Introductory Guide to the Future of Conferencing to learn more about virtual conferencing and check out our guide Best Virtual Conference Platforms to help you brainstorm for your own event.