The best of two worlds

People love to mingle. Afterall, we are social beings by definition.

Recent world’s developments have shed dark clouds over us, but as a proverb say: Every cloud has a silver lining. 

As the sun is coming out again, we strive to return to our regular, normal life. But, while there sure are some things we will try to forget, there are also things that have given us new perspective and new options.

One of them are hybrid events. Even though they are not new to the event organizers, their full potential is yet to be seen.

So, let’s start from the beginning.

What is a hybrid event?

A hybrid event is any event — conference, training, seminar, trade fair, etc. – that combines live, in-person elements with digital, online components.

Hybrid events – a hidden jewel

Hybrid events have grown in popularity over the past decade or so because they allow event organizers to reach a wider audience, reduce their logistics costs, and give companies access to information they could not have been able to gather any other way.

It isn’t always black & white

It is not true that situation is black or white and that audience can either take part virtually or in person – and that there is nothing in between. Hybrid events allow you to increase your reach and gainmore attendees.

What matter is the choice and option. Many people love events but don’t enjoy in crowd, small talks and travelling. Also, there will always be attendees who would love to attend an event, but cannot for one reason or another.

With a hybrid event those who want to attend in – person but can’t, have option.

This increases your reach immensely, as you make available your event to a larger audience than ever could be possible in person.

How to increase engagement with your audience?

Adding a virtual element to your live event offers more engagement opportunities than would be possible at a strictly live event, before, during and after the event.

This is because your virtual audience is actively participating from their mobile devices or desktop computer, meaning they can talk, share, like, comment and much more.

For example, you can host polls during sessions that include both the live and online audience.

Or, you could have a Q&A session with a speaker live, then invite them to have a Q&A with your online audience.

Live and virtual attendees can network with each other with no difference – share opinion, arrange a meeting, exchange options and expertise.  

Are you a sponsor? This is good news for you

Hybrid events are incredibly valuable for sponsors.

72% of corporate sponsors are interested in participating in a hybrid event, as long as they can effectively reach both audiences.

Reason one is the increased reach. More attendees at your event means a larger potential leads for them, which is the #1 reason for sponsorship.

They can communicate one-on-one with their target group while at the same time they can also interact online with virtual attendees, which may lead to increased interest in their virtual booth.

There is also increased opportunities for sponsorship that can include sponsorship of live streams, event apps and more.

We also need to take into account that a lot of companies had to cut down their budgets during COVID crisis, which means they are looking for new, more financially acceptable opportunities. And as those budgets shift to increasingly digital areas, sponsors shall require the data to justify their expenditures.

A hybrid event can provide many relevant metrics, which gives your sponsors a clear picture that they spent their money well.

Down with costs

Hybrid events can significantly reduce travel costs for everyone involved.

While attendees saving money is obvious, hybrid events can also decrease travel costs for your sponsors.

And even as live events are taking their place again, there’s still room for virtual experience. For example, there are many awesome platforms in virtual broadcasting that can save you money on costs.

When budgets are tight, hybrid events are excellent for bridging the gap between cost and results, for both attendees and sponsors.

Reach everyone by his majesty – streaming

Instead of keeping your event exclusive, you can share digital content to increase your reach and involve much extensive audience.

For example, you can share a part or the entire livestream and promote your next event. Sharing your livestream also ensures constant visibility for sponsors who are a part of the stream.

You can also focus your future marketing campaigns based on your previous content. What were the highpoint of your event? Use this point to build your marketing activities around it.

Or, you can analyze the questions received at different sessions and identify the common question. That can help you provide content to answer the questions of your audience.

Data, data, data who?

An enormous benefit of hybrid events comes from the data.

Unlike, live events where most data are estimated, like the number of attendees, with hybrid events you know the exact number of attendees, as well as how they engaged, when they left the session, how they behaved, etc.

You also gain information on your attendees’ interests through matchmaking data and session participation, which can help you improve your future content.

And for sponsors, they gain essential info on booth traffic and attendee engagement, helping them plan their future campaigns.

Because of the online nature of hybrid events, you gain a lot of trackable metrics that will help you learn more about your event and improve it in the future, metrics that you simply can’t measure offline.

A good event platform can help you here a lot and give you all important insights.  

Adapt to the changing world – one amazing ride

If anything that the COVID-19 crisis has shown us is that the future is unpredictable, so keeping only live events in your portfolio isn’t wise anymore since you can encounter a closed door anytime.

We have also been faced with a new perspective on how we use technology in our daily lives – your audience has shifted their needs, and your event strategy needs to keep up with that.

Hybrid events allow you to have the best of both worlds and engage both those who wish to participate live, and those who want to participate in their own way.

Give people the option and they’ll give you their trust.

So, what’s important?

Hybrid is a new thing. A new modern thing. There are no opposites between hybrid and live events. Organizations are often thinking that live (and also hybrid) events will kill each fragment of physical events including quality, audience and atmosphere that are typical for live socializing. Don’t be afraid to step into something that is already accepted and desirable in modern business.

What do you think?