Finding the best virtual event platform is like buying a car.
You want a reliable vehicle and the most bang for your buck. Ask qualifying questions first, then determine what bells and whistles are included.
How many miles does the car have?
>> How many events have been hosted on this platform?
What is the make, model, and year?
>> Is this a brand new platform or a next-generation?
Have there been any recalls?
>> Are updates being made to the platform and if so, what is the road map?
May I take a test drive?
>> May I schedule a live demo?
The last question is particularly important. You would never purchase a car without a test drive, so you should expect more than a PowerPoint or PDF to sell you on whether this is the best virtual event platform for your team.
During your “test drive” demo, below are 10 platform features (and a bonus!) that you should enquire about.
1. Activity Feed
A central hub for activity across the platform; a digital feed is a great way for participants of your virtual event platform to post and engage with pictures, videos, messaging and other content in real-time.
2. Survey Polls
Online surveys are a superb way to keep participants engaged and can provide valuable insight to presenters, attendees, and administrators alike. Most platforms allow you to pre-schedule these virtual surveys at a specific time.
Help guide and enhance online messaging discussions with live Q&A. The best platforms allow attendees to submit and up-vote questions from other participants. This minimizes repeat questions and ensures that the most popular questions get answered.
Attendees are starving for social interaction. Make sure there is a channel for them to chat collectively, in organized groups, and/or independently with one another.
5. Online Messaging
Some conversations are best had one-on-one. Platforms that allow for direct messaging, similar to email, are good. The best virtual event platforms out there allow for video messaging or video conferencing as they are great to facilitate more discussion!
Virtual profiles are essentially a digital resume for attendees, speakers, and sponsors/exhibitors. Make sure you have the right information fields for your specific event and/or the ability to customize. Online platforms that allow you to attach documents and link social media accounts are ideal. This enables participants to share resources and connect outside of the event platform.
7. Push Notifications
Push notifications are essential for organizers to communicate updates and other important information to participants in real-time. Most platforms allow you to pre-schedule notifications.
Why wait for post-event surveys when you can get immediate session and speaker feedback? Some platforms have rating features built-in to capture attendee responses.
9. Gamification & Leaderboard
Track and reward participation on the event platform with gamification. Attendees earn points by completing certain actions on the platform such as commenting, liking, posting, etc. A virtual leaderboard allows attendees to see who is “winning” by being an active participant. This in turn, drives friendly competition and increases engagement; a win-win.
One word: data. Data drives decisions. Being able to measure attendance and participation metrics through analytics are key to calculate and validate ROI (return on investment).
Bonus: AI Matchmaking
Virtual matchmaking is a thing! The very best virtual event platforms leverage artificial intelligence to make connection and content recommendations for attendees based on their interests.
Other features that are equally if not more important depending on your event are registration, sponsor/exhibitor profiles/booths, and a virtual help desk. Stay tuned for future blog posts on these topics.
If you’re searching for the best virtual event platform out there for your virtual event and need recommendations, let us help you. To be clear, we are not car sales (wo)men. We have no affiliation or allegiance to any platform, so our only interests are your best interests. We’ve also evaluated an obscene number of virtual platforms so you don’t have to! Connect with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your favorite virtual event platform features? Post in the comments below.