How to Choose the Right Platform for Your Virtual Events
Updated: Feb 19, 2021
Just like a venue where you would host an event, virtual event platforms come in all shapes, sizes and serve different purposes. Some focus more on delivering a typical conference with presentations and audience interaction, others focus on networking and others on providing a virtual space to explore and move around. And then there are ones that cover it all, but sometimes not so well.
You may be having some ideas about your event, looking at the many platforms that are out there and wondering which one to go for. Have no fear, we are here to help you on this journey to pick the perfect platform for your virtual event.
Here we’ve provided a bit of an overview to help you decide which is the best virtual event platform for your event and divided them down by core specialities. Choosing the platform depends on your needs, key objectives and how you want the content to be communicated. Focus on a few key objectives and then go from there.
If you’d like more detail and an idea of prices on any of the below you can use this spreadsheet, linked HERE, that we created.
These virtual event platforms focus on providing a virtual conference experience where attendees can watch live streams and interact through Q&A and polling, view on-demand content, network with attendees, visit exhibitor marketplaces, host poster sessions, etc. Many, if not all of these, also have registration functionality so there’s no need to use a separate tool for registrations.
SpotMe - a web application and phone/tablet application and can be used to host a fully virtual event or a hybrid event. It has a vast array of features and is scalable in complexity on price depending on budget and requirements. One of the most comprehensive and tried and tested platforms on the market.
EventsAir OnAir - this is purely web-based at the moment and focuses on delivering live-streamed presentations, on-demand content, breakouts, poster sessions and exhibitors.
All in the Loop - like SpotMe this is web-based and phone/tablet-based and is a very flexible platform with lots of features that, depending on budget, can be utilised. It also includes live interpretation.
Accel Events - again a very flexible and easy to use platform. Not as many features as the likes of SpotMe and All in the Loop but it does come on the cheaper side. Still offers everything you would need for delivering live-streamed presentations with interaction, breakouts and networking.
Hopin - this platform has grown in popularity quickly over the last year, and it’s no surprise why. With some great core functionality and with its basic packages being reasonably priced, Hopin allows for a great user experience.
CrowdComms - another beast of a platform with lots of functionality. Up there with SpotMe and All in the Loop in terms of what it offers. Good for people looking to host a varied conference experience.
Live and On-Demand Streaming
These virtual event platforms focus more on delivering content through either a live stream or on-demand content. They have fewer bells and whistles than the above platforms, but if you need to get a presentation or panel discussion out there and include a bit of audience interaction through Q&A and polling, these will do the trick and be cost-effective.
Vimeo Livestream - built upon Vimeos’ infrastructure, this is a stable and reliable platform to deliver a one-way stream with audience interaction. You can even stream the event to multiple social platforms at once. So if you’re doing a product launch or update and want to reach your audience all at once, Vimeo has you covered.
Live Storm - simple, easy to use and very cost-effective. It also includes a registration module with automated emails that can be edited so you can invite everyone from here, plan in other email communications and it does the rest for you. Another great platform for a one-way stream with audience interaction.
Demio - similar to Live Storm, Demio is a straightforward platform with the ability to register people. As well as delivering a stream though, you can also bring attendees to stage. Quite handy if you want to actually see them ask a question, or if someone in the audience can provide some valuable insight into a panel discussion.
Ah, networking! There’s nothing like bumping into someone at the coffee station or the bar and striking up a conversation. But that can’t quite be replicated in a virtual world. Some of the previous apps in the conferencing section do have participant matching functionalities though, which help match people up based on their interests or professional fields.
There are however also some virtual platforms that focus more on networking. Below are a few we’ve come across.
Wonder.me - this platform encourages the audience to explore different roundtable discussions and networking by allowing people to move round between them. You can also live stream to the whole audience so a presenter can kick off, give an overview of what’s meant to happen and then also come back to screen when it is time for people to move table, etc.
Remo - similar to Wonder.me Remo has tables that participants can move between and join if there are free spaces on the tables. You can also stream to the whole audience. We’ve used this successfully for awards ceremonies where people join and move around tables before the awards ceremony is then broadcast to everyone.
Gather.town - a bit of a different platform, Gather.town allows you to wonder around a 2D virtual world and bump into people as you move around. Imagine 2D University campus meets the virtual world. You can also use the different spaces in the environment to stream through. So you could walk into a room and join a meeting. Definitely appealing to anyone that played Legend of Zelda or something similar back in the 90s.
So that’s an overview of some of the platforms out there, there are many more. If you’re planning a virtual event, or thinking of doing one and need some guidance feel free to get in touch for some free advice. Or, if you’d like to learn more about virtual events, CLICK HERE for more information.
Joe - Founder & Managing Director
Obsessed with all things events and communications.