The needs for any virtual event or conference will vary. After all, it’s natural for a small company’s virtual conferencing priorities to differ from those of a large corporate event. Despite that, certain features are essential for any virtual platform.
Here’s our list of some standard features you’d need in a virtual conference tool:
1. Ease of Logging In. Review how attendees will login or join the event online, virtual events should be very easy to attend! For example, a key advantage to Zoom is that it lets users access without the app just by typing the URL into your web browser. In addition, the best virtual event platforms can be accessed with any device. Attendees should be able to attend by their computer, smartphone, or tablet.
2. Breakout Rooms. Check your agenda to review if smaller groups are necessary for conversations, work sessions, etc. Breakout rooms are created after splitting a large room. They allow your event to offer simultaneous sessions, rotating sessions, or better networking opportunities for smaller groups. Separate chats and smaller group discussions can also help in effective brainstorming, instead of everyone communicating in the same room.
3. Third-party Integrations. Your virtual event platform may need to integrate many functions such as live streaming content or conference recording. Auto-generated captions make your conference or event more inclusive, consider your audience and review accessibility options offered. Polling is another useful tool to get multiple or single choice answers to carefully curated questions during virtual events and conferences. It’s a great way to collect information about public opinion. The ideal platform should come with all of these features already included. The more integrations you have with your platform, the fewer additional applications you would need for your event.
4. Reporting and Analytics. It’s paramount for any event to evaluate and understand the engagement levels throughout the program. Platforms should offer feedback for hosts to improve on different aspects. Look for a platform that displays holistic engagement statistics on registration, attendance, polls, etc.
5. Ability to Test & Troubleshoot Beforehand. Nothing can sideline a virtual event like technical problems. Virtual events have a lot of moving parts so the ability to run rehearsals and tests before you start is crucial to event day success. Your platform should allow for a complete dry run of your entire event to ensure there aren’t any mishaps.
6. Conference Ticketing. If you are hosting a conference with a paid ticket, look for a virtual event platform that provides end-to-end ticketing services that is handy during registrations. Platforms should offer online and mobile ticketing.
7. Screen Sharing. Screen sharing is a vital feature to collaborate and display text, images, graphs, charts, diagrams, and numbers. You should also consider features like whiteboarding, sharing audio, and HD videos.
8. Sponsor Recognition. It is a misconception that virtual events don’t get enough sponsors. Many virtual event platforms have many attractive display areas, booths, and banners for your sponsors.
9. Reliable WiFi. Every source point for video and live streaming must have powerful WiFi to ensure it reaches your audience. Check and triple-check that the WiFi is strong at the event command center and confirm speakers have access to good WiFi if presenting remotely. Some platforms do not offer a call-in phone number option to access the event so understanding your audience’s WiFi access is critical before selecting a platform.
10. Digital video equipment. Whether your virtual event is fully live-streamed, or a mix of live and recorded video, you may need digital video equipment to capture the energy of the event. This may be capturing a panel discussion in a live studio, a performance on a stage, or a Ted-Talk style keynote. Consider your programming needs and whether your platform will integrate with a virtual event team’s AV requirements. We recommend you wait to select the platform until after you have reviewed this with a tech partner.