2021 Virtual and Hybrid Event Statistics: How to Optimize the Attendee Experience
We already know that virtual and hybrid events are the future. They’ve been growing in popularity for years now, and that growth exploded during the pandemic. Many people had their first experiences attending or hosting virtual events in 2020, and we want to know what has been working and what hasn’t. There is currently a gap in research and the available virtual and hybrid event statistics are limited. We’ve set out to fix that.
Earlier this year, we conducted several polls on interest and participation in virtual events.
This time, we surveyed our LinkedIn community about their experiences and preferences when attending virtual and hybrid events. We learned what type of content they enjoy, what attendees’ top challenges are, and more!
Here are seven key insights that we gained for our survey on the virtual event attendee experience:
1. 38% of attendees prefer motivational events, but size preferences vary.
We asked attendees what their favorite type of event was, and the results were mixed!
38% indicated that they prefer motivational events. Interestingly, “small and intimate” events and “large and exciting” events were tied with each receiving 26% of the total votes. Educational events surprisingly came in last place with 11% of the votes.
The best way to make sure that your event is motivational is to recruit entertaining and engaging speakers to provide that motivation and energy for your attendees. Speaking at virtual events is a bit different than speaking at in-person events, but speakers can still motivate attendees and deliver interesting sessions.
As for event size, consider your objectives for the virtual event. Sales-focused webinars are often best-served by staying small and intimate so that the organizer can take time to answer questions from each attendee and develop stronger relationships with potential buyers. On the other hand, you probably want your main annual conference to be large and exciting for maximum reach.
2. Attendees are focused on the session content!
Speakers and sessions are the most enjoyable part of virtual and hybrid events for 38% of attendees, followed closely by networking at 31%.
Networking and content are two of the three pillars of successful events, so these should already both be major focuses in your event planning.
27% of respondents said that they most enjoyed discovering new trends and products. This is great news if you are organizing or sponsoring an event to promote a product! Events can be a very effective way to achieve product marketing business objectives.
3. Zoom fatigue remains a top challenge for virtual event attendees.
When we asked attendees what their biggest challenge when attending virtual events was, Zoom fatigue came out on top:
- 54% chose Zoom fatigue
- 23% chose lack of scheduled breaks
- 14% chose navigating the virtual event platform
- 9% chose time commitment
Staring at a screen for hours viewing content sounds easy, after all most of us have spent some extra time watching Netflix over the past year, but Zoom fatigue is a real problem. It largely stems from the way that our brains process information, and the fact that we need to work harder to focus on what is being said and to emote when communicating virtually.
Forgetting to schedule breaks at appropriate intervals can also contribute to Zoom fatigue, so it’s unsurprising that that came in as a close second in our polling. For more on addressing this concern for your events, check out our blog on combatting Zoom fatigue.
The last two challenges are also both issues that can easily be address with the right platform. Picking the right platform can make all of the difference when it comes to attendee experience. Social27 Virtual Event Platform is easy to navigate and includes accessibility features so that everyone can navigate the event pages even if they utilize assistive technology.
Virtual events do require a smaller time commitment than in-person events due to the lack of travel time to the event. However, it still can be a challenge to find time for busy professionals! One of the best ways to address this concern is by making your content available for on demand viewing. This allows busy attendees to catch up on sessions they may have missed after the event.
4. 53% of attendees cited interactive workshops as their favorite type of event session
We know now that most attendees are focused on sessions during virtual events, but what is their favorite type of event session? According to our poll attendees prefer:
- Interactive Workshops – 53%
- Inspirational/Motivational – 20%
- Live Q&A Sessions – 18%
- Product Demos – 9%
Making your sessions more interactive is a great way to keep attendees focused, engaged, and wards off Zoom fatigue. Try incorporating Q&As, polls, and other interactive features throughout your sessions.
5. 73% of virtual event attendees prefer to watch live content.
There are many different types of virtual event content, and different methods of delivering that content. But which one do attendees like best?
The results were quite staggering. 73% of survey respondents reported that live sessions and workshops are their favorite type of virtual event content.
15% reported that they prefer downloadable video content, and 8% chose on demand video content. These are great content pieces to offer as supplemental content in a virtual or hybrid event. Often attendees do enjoy these as an add-on, but still want the live session experience.
6. 76% of attendees go back to access event content after the event has ended.
When asked whether they go back to access event content after the event ends, 76% of respondents said yes.
Incorporating post-event on-demand content is a simple change that you can make in your events to provide more value for your attendees! Attendees can reference sessions the piqued their interest or catch up on sessions that they missed whenever it is convenient for them.
7. Attendees want options when it comes to networking virtually!
We asked the community what their favorite way to network virtually is, and what we learned is that it’s best to provide options:
- 34% prefer 1:1 chats
- 33% prefer small group video calls
- 19% prefer 1:1 video calls
- 14% prefer group or session chats
Everyone has different communication styles and comfort levels when it comes to networking, so event organizers should do their best to provide multiple options to accommodate a variety of preferences. Groups can be intimidating for many, so look for ways to provide one-on-one and small group networking opportunities. Networking is crucial at virtual events, so you don’t want anyone to miss out.
Social27 Virtual Event Platform Has You Covered
Social27 Virtual Event Platform has everything that you need to provide an optimal attendee experience. Deliver engaging sessions, provide multiple ways to network, and give attendees access to on demand content all on Social27 Virtual Event Platform. If these virtual and hybrid event statistics have inspired you to step up your virtual event practices to create a better attendee experience, we can help!
Set up a demo today to learn more about what Social27 has to offer for your next virtual event.