The 2021 year has been a challenging but significant one for the online events industry in the face of increased competition and amid emerging hurdles such as webinar fatigue and the increasing desire for real life interactions. 

This month Flock explores the ever-challenging area of online event engagement and looks at some unique ways you can increase engagement at your next virtual event. 

We discuss emerging engagement trends, new event tech engagement tools and the best way to measure audience engagement.

Event engagement tools (and tactics)

  • Event Power Sessions

A shorter, punchier virtual session remains a great way to get your message across as this format is more easily digestible and avoids information overload among attendees. 

By creating an event with highly engaging content packed into a quick 30-minute power session, you keep attendees engaged before their attention span dwindles. This allows you to deliver a well-crafted message in a way that resonates with the audience. 

Power online sessions are typically hosted by expert speakers and follow a strict schedule during which the speaker poses an interesting question or statement to the audience, briefly explores the topic, provides useful insights and concludes with an impactful conclusion all in a short session. 

After closing, the speaker opens the floor to questions and encourages attendees to break off into groups for further discussion. 

Power sessions are perfect for digital team-building sessions or online workshops. Adding interactive quizzes or Q&As after the event adds an interactive element into the mix. 

Top Tip: Power sessions can be used to break up longer conferences. Utilise these short sessions as a quick recap session that is fun, to the point and engaging for audiences.

  • Virtual Photo Booths

Let’s face it, no matter what kind of event we attend, people love photo booths because they are fun and create memories. While you cannot provide a physical photo booth for virtual

attendees, you can make available a virtual photo booth that can provide just an much fun as the real thing.

A virtual photo booth is a great way to add something different to your corporate event or digital year-end function. Digital photo booths allow brands to engage and connect with their target market and it can supercharge marketing efforts by turning attendees into ambassadors.

There are a number of digital photo booth companies out there such as snapbar that can be used. These companies are available online and their services can add a new component to your virtual event. 

Top Tip: Send some fun branded props to VIP attendees prior to the online event or create custom-branded stickers that guests can utilise on their virtual photo booth snaps. Or brand your digital booth with company or sponsors branding to increase marketing efforts.

  • Social Walls and Hashtag Campaigns

A social wall is another innovative way to create a real, authentic and tangible experience for attendees at an online event. 

Embed a social wall on your event webpage and invite collaboration from attendees. For instance, invite attendees to upload snapshots from the virtual photo booth, their virtual event delivered meal or interactions from digital chat rooms that are held in between speaker sessions, to the wall. You can integrate a host of different kinds of content into a social wall. 

How and what content you choose to display depends on whether you want to showcase only content with certain hashtags or specific types of feeds. Taggbox is one of the companies that provide social wall service.

Another great thing about social walls is that, just as with virtual event photo booths, you can brand the wall using your own or your sponsors’ signage information to get more bang for your buck and create a unique, fun and memorable event experience for attendees.

  • Create Interesting Networking Opportunities 

Tools such as Hoppier can be used to provide attendees with access to fun virtual experiences such as online happy hours, digital lunches and more, through the distribution of a virtual gift card during the event. 

The Hoppier software can be used to create an online ‘card’ or allowance per attendee through an email or magic link. The virtual card can be branded with your organization’s colours and logo. 

This voucher allows attendees to purchase a gift such as food, wine, books or an experience from a list of approved vendors in their area. This is a great tool as it encourages attendees to stay online in networking hubs during your event while they wait to be catered to by local delivery services.

  • Zoom Marketplace

Zoom Marketplace is a great place to find interesting engagement tools and apps that enhance meetings and online events. The marketplace offers a host of Zoom approved apps with different functionalities many of which can integrate with the video conferencing platform. This makes it easy to add additional features or fun activities to an online webinar, conference, or meeting. 

The launch of the Zoom Marketplace has made it simpler than ever for event organisers to add, do and automate more of the event planning tasks than ever before. Zoom is already the preferred video conferencing platform for many, and their marketplace is just another reason for event planners to love the platform. 

Best Ways to Measure Event Engagement

There are many manual ways to gauge attendee engagement, but there are platforms and digital event software that can streamline this process for you.

Manual ways to calculate engagement:

    • Attendance numbers. A simple way to measure engagement is to count the number of attendees at the beginning of the event and again at the end and to compare numbers. If the numbers are relatively consistent it shows that attendees remained interested throughout the event and its content to stay for the full duration. A high drop off rate indicates the content is not keeping the attention of attendees. Noting at which points in the online event schedule the drop offs occurred can also provide insights into what content attendees did not find interesting which can help to inform future events and content.
    • Post event surveys and polls. Polls, Q&As and post event surveys provide an interactive way to engage your audience after the event and is a good way collect feedback from attendees on their views of the event, the content and the speakers.
    • Reviews and ratings. Allowing attendees to rate speakers and discussions on a scale of one to five is a quick way to collect feedback on different elements of your event.

 Automate event engagement measuring tools

    • A Mobile Events App can be used to track engagement at an online event. The app can record and calculate all attendees’ interactions, preferences and responses to provide a full overview through the app’s analytics, so you do not have to manually keep track of the different metrics.
    • Virtual Event Software such as the Flock Eventing Platform can record the total event RSVPs, and the results from polls and surveys to mention a few features of this platform. Some event software can also send you a post-event report straight to your inbox which further simplifies the reporting process.
    • Digital tools such as virtual photo booths, social media, and streaming services often provide access to their own analytics that can be used to provide a better indication of audience engagement at your event.

There are many tools you can use to increase audience engagement. The design of interesting virtual spaces, arranging branded goodie bags for attendees and holding polls and surveys are just some examples. The opportunities are endless if you get creative.

Do you need help putting together your next event in a way that will engage your audience and be impactful? Book a demo with one of our event experts and see how simple an event can be with Flock’s all-in-one eventing platform.