In the same way COVID changed how we engage in person, technology is changing the way that we put on live events. Where you used to meet in person for things like conferences, you now can have a very similar experience virtually. Holding events virtually also helps keep costs down while reaching a broader audience. Logistics such as flights, hotels, and meals are no longer a factor in putting on your event.  

But first, we need to understand the difference between virtual events and webinars. 

According to Eventtia:

Webinars: Short for web-based seminar, a webinar is a collaborative and interactive way for you to connect with your attendees in an intimate setting that emphasizes learning. The normal procedure is for a host to be joined by one or more presenters to discuss a topic for a set amount of time, usually around the hour mark.

Virtual events: A fully encompassing virtual event goes beyond providing just one component. Instead, it offers multiple components and sessions over a much longer time frame (just like an in-person event)

This can be anything from tutorials and networking to product launches and conferences.

So with that in mind, let’s take a look at who the main players are in this space and what options you have if you are looking to bring your in-person events online. 

Hopin is an all-in-one online event management platform that helps you host online and hybrid events. Their focus in providing “immersive experiences” for attendees no matter if they are attending online or in person. They can handle events ranging from webinars, workshops, summits, networking events, all the way to full-blown conferences. 

  • Industry Leader. They have the most robust set of tools and endless capabilities to put on your event. They give you the capability to run multi-day, multi-track, and concurrent sessions.   
  • All-In-One Platform. Choose from virtual, live, and hybrid events. They provide registration pages, live streaming capabilities, and email marketing. You can use pre-recorded content along with your live broadcast and Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP) streams. Additionally, you can manage sponsors, ticketing, and everything in between from within the dashboard. 
  • Analytics. They have a robust dashboard where you can download all of your event data from attendees, chat logs, and recordings. See where people are joining from and how long they stayed. 
  • Make Your Content Evergreen. Once your event has ended you have the ability to turn your event evergreen. Repurposing content is huge right now and they make it easy to do just that.  
  • Pricing. When it comes to pricing it will depend on how long your event is and how many registrants you plan on having. 

However, be sure to look out for the following:

  • Ticket Commission. You also should be aware they do charge a ticket commission that does not include your Stripe or payment processor fees. 
  • Registration Process. The registration process can be a bit clunky. Currently, there is an extra step the attendee has to take in order to start receiving reminders. Support has stated this should be fixed in mid-February of 2022. 

Zoom really saw an insurgence of users when COVID first hit. They have become a household name for remote working. Since this extra exposure to the market, they now give you the capability to not just host a webinar (or meeting) but hold multi-track and multi-day events with their add-on solution Zoom Events.

  • Multi-Track, Multi-Days Events. With Zoom, you are able to run multi-track and multi-day events with ease just like with Hopin. 
  • Analytics. They provide a dashboard to see your attendee information, and ticket sales. 
  • Pricing. Zoom keeps its pricing simple by only charging based on the number of attendees per event. They do offer additional add-ons for things like support during your event, conference lines, and extra storage.   

However, be sure to look out for the following:

  • Capacity. Make sure that you have purchased the correct license for your event. How many tickets you can sell is directly related to the license you chose for the event. 
  • Zoom Account Required. Attendees will need at least a basic Zoom account in order to register and attend your event. 

Vimeo is an online web hosting platform that has just recently added virtual events as an option.  They can provide a solution whether you are running a small workshop to a full-blown conference.  

  • Team Member Management. You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to producing and managing your event. Team members of your organization can create, stream and manage live events on behalf of the account owner when you are on a premium or enterprise plan. 
  • Pricing. As of the time of this writing, you can get started for $75/month. This includes unlimited live events. If you are a larger organization with more needs, they do offer enterprise plans. These plans open up advanced marketing and viewer-level analytics.
  • Make your content evergreen. Ability to turn your event evergreen once it has ended. Vimeo gives you the ability to edit your recordings, create GIFs, add chapters, and much more right on the platform. You can then use these on your website, marketing campaigns, and social media.  

However, be sure to look out for the following:

  • No Mobile Support. As of now if you are invited as a guest speaker for a virtual event on Vimeo, you will need to join via a desktop or laptop computer. There is no support for joining from your mobile phone as of this writing. 

Honorable Mention

Another option to check out is Hubilo. They are looking to get into this space, but they are targeted more toward the up-market. If you need more integrations with your enterprise CRM you should have a look at them. They offer deep analytics and a full suite of support to make sure your event is a success. They can provide setup services and more. You will have to book a demo in order to see their pricing. 

Closing Notes

When it comes to running successful virtual events, you want to make sure you choose a platform that delivers reliable video functionality, is easy to use by the speakers and panelists, and makes registering, joining, and participating easy for attendees. Hopefully, you have found this report to be a helpful aid in your decision-making process.

In concluding our research, Hopin appeared to provide the most robust feature set with Zoom coming in a close second. Vimeo is steadily gaining ground but the lack of mobile support for guest speakers joining leads me to hold out for a little while longer. 

The online event space is heating up quickly and expect for more players to be entering the marketing monthly. The software mentioned in this report are definitely leading the pack, but let’s see how they continue to develop their platforms and what competitors will come along and disrupt the space for the benefit of the consumer/business owner.

Have you used one of these platforms mentioned or one that hasn’t been mentioned? If so, let us know your experience below.

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