by Tatiana Morand
Virtual events have been increasing in popularity for a while, but the social distancing requirements of COVID-19 have pushed them front and center.
More organizations than ever are experimenting with taking everything from their general membership meetings to their fundraising galas online.
But how is it going? What challenges do they face, and what lessons have they learned?
These are questions we asked in the 2020 Virtual Events Report for Membership Organizations. While we’ll continue to see more developments as the year goes on, the results so far are very interesting. Get the full report here.
Are you considering hosting a virtual event? Check out these 30 stats from nonprofits, membership organizations, and professional event planners to get prepared.
Overview of Virtual Events
Who is hosting virtual events, why are they doing so, and how does it work?
1. In 2020, the number of organizations planning a virtual event doubled. (Source: Wild Apricot)
2. Organizations hosting virtual events found that 45 percent of registrants attend live. 10 percent of registrants who don’t participate live attend on-demand. (Source: Intrado)
3. 91% of respondents chose “Keeping members connected” as a primary goal of virtual events. (Source: Wild Apricot)
4. 20 percent of total attendees view virtual events on-demand. (Source: Intrado)
5. 32% of respondents who chose not to run a virtual event in 2020 did so because they couldn’t provide the kind of value their members need in a virtual environment. (Source: Wild Apricot)
6. The best time to run a webinar is 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) as it avoids most conflicts on the U.S. coasts. (Source: ON24)
Virtual Event Audience Engagement
How important is audience engagement, and which techniques are most successful?
7. The biggest challenge to virtual events (according to those who’ve already run their event) is that there are too many other events and participants are sick of online calls, with “our supporters aren’t technologically savvy” as a close second. (Source: Wild Apricot)
8. The biggest challenge to virtual events (according to those who are planning their events) is that it’s harder to get supporters to participate in virtual events, with a lack of supporters who are tech-savvy being the close second once again. (Source: Wild Apricot)
9. B2B event marketers say audience engagement is the largest challenge when it comes to virtual events. The next biggest challenge is interaction. (Source: Markletic)
10. 49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful event. (Source: Markletic)
11. 89% of event planners use social media to engage people before the event. (Source: EventMB, 2018)
12. Discussion and Q&A were the most popular engagement techniques among organizations that had hosted virtual events. The most successful technique, however, was hosting a live hangout before or after the event, followed by conducting a survey or poll. (Source: Wild Apricot)
13. 49% of event planners use social media to engage attendees during events, and 13% use it for interaction with speakers. (Source: EventMB, 2018)
14. 90% of virtual event organizers use surveys to measure attendee satisfaction. (Source: Markletic)
15. 38% of event planners use social media for event feedback. (Source: EventMB, 2018)
16. Organizations that didn’t try to engage virtual event attendees were 150% more likely to be unsuccessful. (Source: Wild Apricot)
Virtual Event Technology
Technology is essential for virtual events, and the software you choose can make a big difference.
17. 32% of respondents who chose not to run a virtual event did so because “We don’t have the technological infrastructure to run them properly.” (Source: Wild Apricot)
18. 70% of event organizers say that good microphones are critical to a successful event. Microphones are more important than a camera, which marketers ranked at 60% importance. (Source: Markletic)
19. 89% of businesses using event technology save approximately 200 hours per year. 20% of businesses see 360 hours or more saved per year. (Source: Bizzabo, 2019)
20. The biggest annoyance of virtual events is a bad connection. (Source: Markletic)
21. 90% of event marketers believe technology can have a major positive impact on their events’ success. (Source: Bizzabo, 2019)
Virtual Event ROI
What kind of return on investment (ROI) are people seeing with virtual events?
22. 84% of organizations who had already run a virtual event in 2020 reported that they spent less money on virtual events than in-person events. (Source: Wild Apricot)
23. There is no material correlation between organizations who spend a lot on their virtual event setup and those who raise a lot of revenue from their virtual events. (Source: Wild Apricot)
24. Successful revenue generators were 46% more likely to promote a donation page throughout their virtual event. (Source: Wild Apricot)
25. Organizations who raised the same amount of money or more than they expected to at their virtual event compared to an in-person event were more likely to charge admission and find sponsors for their virtual events. (Source: Wild Apricot)
Virtual Event Promotion
How do you get people to attend your virtual event?
26. Facebook is used by 52% of event planners to market events. (Source: EventMB, 2018)
27. 27% of those who did not host a virtual event said it was because “We don’t know how to get participants to attend a virtual event.” (Source: Wild Apricot)
28. 52% of organizations reported seeing the same or more attendance than they’d expect at an in-person event. (Source: Wild Apricot)
29. 70% of organizations who had “much more” attendance at their virtual event than they would have had at a live one featured a guest speaker. (Source: Wild Apricot)
30. 76% of marketers say that email is the single most effective way to drive registrations. (Source: Markletic)
Read the Full Virtual Events Report Now
Ready to start planning a virtual event? Get the best tips and insights from organizations who’ve been there.
The 2020 Virtual Events Report is the result of responses from 1,142 nonprofits, associations, clubs, and other membership organizations, who shared how they’re running virtual events and which tactics have been most successful for them. Don’t miss out on the benefit of their experience: download the report today!
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