The concept of virtual events has been around for quite some time, but the current situation has actually brought it to the forefront of the digital marketing mix. Though many brands went on a panic mode in this environment of distancing & isolation, the smart ones are quick to adapt new digital strategies with Virtual being the key ingredient.
Now, when it comes to exploring virtual strategies, brands often get confused between virtual events and webinars. This is primarily because most virtual event platforms market webinar as a part of virtual event services, hence the line of differentiation becomes a little blurred.
Let us now start with defining these two different sides of the same coin known as virtual marketing.
In the first place, a webinar is designed for interaction with smaller groups and is ideal for hosting workshops, training sessions or internal meetings. In a typical webinar environment, there is usually one key presenter who interacts via webcam on a specific topic and on the other side there are attendees or respondents who interacts by posting questions and queries during or after the session is over. In more general term, a webinar is a simple web-based interface.
Whereas, a virtual event is more extensive and inclusive. In simple terms, it is an extension or replica of a big format physical event but with more flexibility and options. For example, in Kestone Virtual events platform there are options to create customized 3D layouts and event environment, be apart of a robust networking center and create multiple parallel tracks. Besides, a webinar can be a part of the virtual event itself. In a digital first environment virtual events make it easy to engage with a larger audience through seamless social media integration.
Apart from these, a virtual event comes with various formats as opposed to unchangeable webinar spaces, thus giving audiences absolute flexibility on how and where they want to participate. Above all, a virtual event is an inexpensive and smarter option than physical events as logistics related bottlenecks can be totally avoided.
Another key difference between a webinar and a virtual event is that a webinar can be hosted for a specific duration, whereas a virtual event can run across several days with a more extensive agenda. To intensify the engagement quotient a virtual event can be equipped with gamification & entertainment.
A virtual event platform, especially the Kestone virtual event platform is AI enabled and comes with intuitive attendee management tools. But in webinars this feature is missing. While hosting a virtual event, brands can have the flexibility to measure their event performance real-time which in turn can generate insights on the overall ROI. While in webinars the results and feedback are somewhat instant, virtual event platforms can be leveraged as an effective lead generation tool.
At the end of the day, its all about the intent. If the objective of a brand is to share insights with a targeted group, then topic-based webinars are the best platforms. But if the objective is to showcase a solution or a product in a more holistic way, then one should definitely consider a virtual events platform.
A virtual event platform is an effective medium for multi-brand engagements. It is an ideal platform to organize exhibitions and fairs where multiple brands can set-up exhibition booths, each with their own unique branding. Though seamless app integration, visitors can get hassle free entry, take a virtual tour of the entire exhibition area and can also interact with booth owners to access content.
Although webinars are more popular when it comes to virtual experience form an integral part of virtual events, more and more brands are looking beyond just a simple presentation-based interaction. In this day and age of dynamic marketplace, they are keener on factors such as engagement, usable event data, flexible event spaces which they can use all year round. They want all of the experiences of a physical event represented virtually online with the ability to connect globally without the extensive travel and huge associated event cost.