Virtual events took off in 2020 in light of global shutdowns due to COVID-19. While many initially thought this enthusiasm would be short-lived, virtual events show no sign of falling out of fashion. We will likely be seeing more online events in 2022 and beyond, with a combination of convenience, lower cost, and increased audience engagement driving the surge.
If you are planning a virtual event in 2022, the first thing you should determine is your platform. There is a diversity of choices on the market, from major companies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex to promising players like GoToWebinar and HopIn. Below, we will discuss some of the best virtual event platforms for online events in 2022.
Webex Webinar is among the most popular collaboration platforms and is often used successfully for online events. Webex Webinar can support up to 10,000 participants and 500 hosts, cohosts, and panelists depending on your plan, attendees do not need an account to join and could join from their browser if they don’t have the app. Webex allows attendees to watch the event on various platforms, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, other browsers, and allows for live streams via Facebook or YouTube. It also integrates with major CRM tools like Salesforce and Marketo.
- Event practice rooms
- Screen sharing
- Automated invitations, reminders, and event follow-ups
- Polling, survey, and Q&A tools
- Event data and analytics
- Password protection and general event security
- Accurate real-time translation from English into 100+ languages (native speaker quality, not Google Translate)
Microsoft Teams virtual event features allow for up to 1,000 participants for webinars. Starting in June of 2022, they will allow for 20,000 attendees for live events (the current limit is 10,000). For those already using the Teams platform, hosting events via Microsoft Teams is a fairly intuitive process and Microsoft provides step-by-step instructions for users via their website. Attendees receive a unique code they can use to access the event on the day of and you can create a customized event group inbox for those presenting.
- Chat-based collaboration
- Interactive features like moderated Q&A sessions
- Real-time analytics from a live event usage report
- Intuitive event scheduling
Zoom Events can host up to 50,000 attendees and allows for 100 or more interactive video panelists. While attendees do need to download Zoom to join, they do not need to have a Zoom account. Zoom provides a variety of touch-up filters and studio effects to enhance quality and can display up to 49 panelists in a single room.
- Mute/unmute options
- Reporting metrics
- Closed captioning
- Local and cloud recording
- File and video sharing
GoToWebinar allows organizers to host up to 3,000 guests and can also integrate with a diverse range of tools such as Slack, Hubspot, and most Slack alternatives. The price tag for GoToWebinar is a bit higher, starting at $59 a month and going up depending on usage. (For comparison, most platforms tend to cost between $10 and $30 per month.) However, they’re known for providing extensive training materials and high-quality customer support, which may be necessary for companies that host many virtual events per year.
- Automatic email reminders
- Interactive engagement tools
- Conference recording
- Virtual whiteboard
- Six simultaneous video streams
HopIn is a virtual event platform that prides itself on its interactive elements and all-in-one capabilities. The founders wanted to replicate the feel of an in-person as closely as possible. HopIn provides some pretty creative features other platforms lack. For example, attendees can exchange virtual business cards and there’s a virtual backstage for speakers. While it’s a bit pricier than competitors – starting at $99 per month – it may be a great option for companies that rely heavily on events, conferences, and tradeshows for revenue.
- Adjustable colors schemes to suit your branding and style
- Chat rooms and live discussions
- Pools, quizzes, and Q&As
- 24/7 access to support resources (only available through certain pricing plans)
Virtual Event Platforms : The Bottom Line
Any one of the above virtual event platforms is an excellent choice. To decide which is best for you, determine your company’s needs, budget, and number of attendees. With a bit of research and attention to detail, you will identify the perfect platform for a flawless virtual event.
Need a little help? At Meet Me In The Cloud, we employ best practices to take your online event from start to finish with pre-event planning, tech check sessions, in-session technical support, and post-event analysis. While you focus on fine-tuning your content to inspire your audience, we ensure there are zero technical hiccups when the big day comes.