What is a Hybrid Event?
Remember those memes from 2016 about how things couldn’t possibly be worse, Ha. If only we knew that Brexit and a certain orange man was just the tip of the iceberg.
The last 2 years have been a learning curve to say the least when it comes to navigating virtual events and as vaccination rates are on the rise, marketers are poised to ask what the future of virtual events are? The future it seems, looks hybrid.
As online experiences have risen in popularity, they’ve also grown more sophisticated. Whilst research indicates that most of us are eager to resume in-person networking, we’re now witnessing the rise of a new kind of event experience that seeks to balance the in-person with the digital in a unique and creative way, the hybrid event.
A hybrid event is a combination of a traditional in-person event with a virtual component. As hybrid events enable enhanced accessibility they can significantly increase the reach and longevity of an event and may be particularly suitable for fundraisers, trade shows and conferences.
Benefits of Hybrid Events
Virtual events present far fewer barriers for participation than traditional in-person gatherings. When participants don’t have to worry about travel-related costs or give up a significant amount of their time, organisations can double or even triple their number of attendees. Businesses can also procure keynote speakers and talent at a cheaper cost without all the machinations of travel.
You know what they say big brother knows all. Hosting an online event allows you to collect, synthesise and analyse information about your audience. This allows you to tailor future experiences more precisely to align with your target market. An online event also enables marketers to determine when and where the online audience is dropping off, providing them with valuable data to help improve the success of future events.
Greater Accessibility and Engagement
Hybrid events are recorded and can therefore be made available after the in-person event has taken place. Offering your content on-demand allows attendees to watch or re-watch it at a time that’s suitable for them. This is beneficial if you have a global audience and are presented with the challenge of navigating different time zones. Making your content accessible to people who are unable to attend certain sessions increases the opportunity for engagement and ensures that your business and message remains in the minds of the audience long after the physical event has taken place.
Increased Sponsorship Opportunities
Virtual events can attract a much greater audience than a traditional in-person event. This boost in exposure can be a very attractive prospect for sponsors. According to CVent “Hosting part of your event in a digital environment creates new opportunities for brand awareness and lead generation. By offering your sponsors more value, your event will attract more sponsorship dollars and even more sponsors. This can help to offset the technical costs of running a hybrid event.”
How To Make Your Hybrid Event A Success
How To Make Your Hybrid Event A Success
Contrary to popular belief making your hybrid event a success involves a little more creativity than simply pairing with a great virtual steaming provider.
Making content equally compelling for those attending in person and those sitting behind a screen presents a definite challenge for event planners and marketing professionals. Innovation is key to the success of hybrid events. It’s important that equal attention be given to both experiences. Simply livestreaming an in-person event isn’t always going to cut it.
Remember people have a short attention span. If your virtual audience is sitting at home watching someone on stage fumble with a microphone or watch a crowded room of people speak amongst themselves, it will become easy for them to disengage.
Create Seperate Content For Virtual Attendees
In order to hold the attention of those watching at home, event planners need to create a special, immersive curated experience for virtual attendees. This can be done by having pre-recorded video content where speakers address them specifically. Given how much younger people in particular value the opportunity to engage in two-way communication, you may want to consider offering your virtual attendees exclusive interviewers with experts or enable chat discussions. Incorporating live polls is also a good way to encourage engagement.
A major point to consider is having an MC dedicated exclusively to your virtual audience to help guide them through the experience. This helps ensure that participants get the most out of the experience.
Remember to keep it short and sweet whenever possible. Even the most devoted of attendees don’t have the patience to sit through a 5-hour keynote address, The primary point to consider is that a successful hybrid event should not contain any lengthy lulls in activity where logging off becomes easy.
Create Custom Landing Pages for Each Experience
To help minimise any potential confusion as to the nature of your event, consider creating custom registration paths for both experiences, hybrid and in-person.
Plan for a Mayday Type Emergency
Things go wrong. Make a list of every potential disaster and check it twice, three times and then again. If your system crashes or a landing page goes down, what are you going to do? If you’re working with a livestreaming or video production partner, ask them these questions and ensure they have a contingency plan in place. Have a prewritten email ready to go out to all your attendees in case you have any technical hiccups.
If you’re interested in creating your own hybrid event, AD Media is a full-service video production company with experience creating immersive, broadcast quality, live steam experiences. Get in touch with us today to see how we can make your event a spectacular one.