From entertainment to enterprise: Tips for hosting successful virtual events

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Despite the return of in-person events after the height of the pandemic, the global virtual events market size was estimated at over £53.43B in 2022, and it is expected to reach £214.82B by 2030

Part of this success can be attributed to the fact that there is such variability amongst different platforms and purposes of hosting virtual events. Presentation, discussion, and conference-style events can be held over platforms like Zoom, Goldcast, or Remo, while arts-focused events like concerts, performances, and other cultural experiences are well-suited for ticketed platforms like Veeps, Kiswe, or Moment by Patreon. There’s a seemingly endless number of virtual event platforms nowadays, so whatever your organisation’s virtual event needs may be, it’s important to do some research to find the right platform for you.

The idea of virtual events is more straightforward in the arts, culture, and entertainment spheres. Companies and artists can sell tickets to virtual livestream performances, interviews, competitions, and anything else they want to show their audiences.

But there is also success to be found for marketers and businesses in virtual B2B events. Industry conferences and training can both be held virtually; however, webinars have emerged as the most popular virtual event type for marketers. 2023 webinar benchmarking reports saw a 25% increase in average interactions per attendee year-over-year. A growing correlation between audience digital engagement with increasing buying intent and sales conversion rates–coupled with a predicted 80% of B2B sales interactions taking place digitally by 2025–means now is the perfect time for marketers to capitalise on the use of virtual events.

Benefits and challenges

While it’s clear that virtual events aren’t going anywhere, it is still important to consider their benefits and drawbacks to determine the best strategy to maximise them for your organisation.



  • No in-person connections – Virtual events don’t foster the same organic networking opportunities that in-person events do. Whether we’re talking about a planned in-person networking event or just making small talk with someone sitting next to you before a speaker goes on, face-to-face interaction is hard to replicate through a screen. However, as virtual events become more common, people are getting more comfortable interacting with others online. With this in mind, it’s important to consider ways to make your sessions more socially engaging. This could mean using a platform like Slido (which allows audiences to interact with presentations in real time), using Zoom breakout rooms, or even just encouraging your audience to use a live chat feature so you can interact with participants throughout the event. Here at HdK, we’ve found success in having a Q&A webpage where our audience can submit questions both ahead of and during our monthly Zoom webinars.
  • Lack of “wow-factor” – In-person events make it easier to keep your audience engaged, and they often allow for more of a “wow-factor” with an atmosphere or venue that can be hard to replicate virtually. This challenge circles back to putting dedicated efforts into making your virtual events more engaging.
  • Technical difficulties – Using technology makes everything more convenient. That is, until your internet goes down or your microphone stops working. We’ve all had those frustrating moments! Technical difficulties are an unfortunate yet inevitable challenge of any virtual event. Thankfully, many technical difficulties are just small blips that may cause a moment of awkwardness, but ultimately won’t hurt your event.

How can marketers ensure virtual events are successful?

We’ve boiled it down to three things to keep in mind to ensure virtual event success:

  1. Know your audience
    • Every marketer knows the importance of knowing your target audience. When planning a virtual event, take extra care to promote it on the social platforms your audience knows best with content they are most likely to engage with.
      • Case study: In 2022, YouTube trio The Try Guys live streamed the season finale of their “Without a Recipe” cooking show. Yearly seasons of “Without a Recipe” have consistently shown it to be one of the best performing series on The Try Guys YouTube channel. With a fan base largely made up of teens and young adults who are avid social media users, hosting the show in a live, interactive format where viewers could vote for the winner of the competition, participate in a chat throughout the event, and even access exclusive merchandise, was sure to be a hit. By knowing their audience’s digital behaviours and sentiment towards the show, The Try Guys were able to elevate 2022’s “Without a Recipe” finale with a live event.
  2. Make it personal
    • While virtual events often lack personal connections, marketing professionals can still connect with audiences. Take advantage of speakers, influencers, or others who will be involved in your event by featuring them in promotional content. Notable figures can not only humanise virtual events with personal messages, but also promote to their own audiences with already-established connections. Another way to create a connection to your audience with a virtual event is by sponsoring a charity organisation and donating some or all of the proceeds from ticket sales.
  3. Get creative!
    • Let’s face it – there is an unlimited amount of free online content on just about anything these days. To really motivate an audience into buying tickets and making time to attend your virtual event, you’ll need to stand out by offering something special. This could include an exclusive influencer Q&A session, backstage content for a performance, or even just something silly that hasn’t been done before.

Key Takeaways

It can be difficult to find success in hosting virtual events – especially when they’re ticketed and/or cost audience members money to attend. But with a bit of research and creativity, anyone can use virtual events to their advantage! By considering the benefits and challenges of virtual events to determine which are right for you, and implementing our top three tips for hosting them, you will be able to grow an audience and achieve your organisation’s goals in no time.

Molly Richendrfer - Marketing Intern