About the author : Alex Pana

Alex Pana is the Marketing Manager at Oveit, the US-based tech company that developed Streams.live. Prior to joining Oveit, he worked with 2 of the world's leading financial services companies. Over the last 4 years, Alex attended more than 100 live and virtual events, understanding how entertainment and digital payments work together. He is people-oriented and although his role is to share the word about Oveit's solutions, he loves to learn about people's experiences. Be they good or bad. He has a degree in Public Administration. This is where he first learned that small changes can result in big improvements. Having this in mind it was only normal for him to join Oveit.

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2020 is the year that forced us all to adapt to a new reality. For the event management industry, there were moments when everything seemed lost. And maybe it still does. But once again, we adapted to even the hardest circumstances. For the event industry, 2020 was the year ruled by a new trend: online events. This article is meant to tell you more about how to start a virtual event. And even if you have already hosted your first virtual event, you will surely find some new and useful information. Enjoy and use it!

Disclaimer: Virtual event was 2020’s buzzword for event professionals, but the reality is that virtual and hybrid live events are not that new. It seems that the first Virtual Event took place almost 30 years ago and a lot has changed since then. 

We also have event formats that are 100% online. Webinars, just like the name states it, are online seminars where virtual attendees can watch the presentation and interact with the host or with each other.

Like everything in life, virtual events have their upsides and downsides. We like it or not, the online experience will never match the in-person one. Many gems are hidden within each event and being amongst like-minded people is probably the most valuable one. It’s true, digital communities are based on the same principles, but the interaction is not the same. Not how we feel. On the other hand, a virtual event solves the problem of physical distance, a problem that often affects potential attendees and speakers. 

Not having to travel means that people from all over the world can be part of the digital experience that you have to offer. Basically, everyone is just a few clicks away. 

Checklist for your first virtual event

When deciding to start a virtual event there are some steps that you need to consider. So let’s take them one by one. Just like for an in-person event, planning is crucial. 

The main idea that brings everything together

As TED says it best, events are about “ideas worth spreading”. And for sure you have some ideas that people need to hear about. It may be about technology, medicine, sports, or marketing. Or even all of them. But when you first start something you need to know what is it all about. Based on this you will decide what content you need to have at your event and what speakers to invite. And people will know what to expect.

print screen with web summit's twitter bio

Web Summit’s Twitter profile description gives a clear image.

Time and date

Virtual events let us be more creative when it comes to deciding when the event will take place. It’s a lot easier for both the speakers and the attendees to participate. Physical distance and traveling are no longer an impediment, allowing speakers from all over the world to join from the comfort of their home. 

Now, the challenge comes from finding the date and time that can serve multiple time zones. As people from all over the world can join, you need to find the timing that can accommodate the timezones for most of your attendees. Especially if you plan to market the event on a global scale. 

If you are just starting this and have absolutely no clue on how to decide you can check your Google Analytics and see when people visit your website – this may be a starting point.

The right platform to start a virtual event on

When it comes to virtual experiences, the platform that you decide to work with will have a big impact. You need to make sure that you offer a seamless registration process, but also deliver a high-quality experience. It’s also crucial to engage your attendees and to allow them to interact with each other. But more on this later.

Promote your virtual event

People need to hear about your event in order to join it. Event marketing is something that we have written before, and you can find some very useful resources here. The main difference from marketing an in-person event is that know there is no geographical limitation, you have every reason to target people from all over the world. 

Go through the technical set-up

You must go through the process multiple times and prepare for technical failures as well. You will probably have a physical location from which the moderator will lead the whole event. It’s probably the same place where your editing team sets the “headquarters”. But having multiple speakers, joining online from different locations, will come as a challenge. What happens if one of your speakers loses the internet connection. Do you have a recorded session ready to replace the live session?

picture showing a virtual studio

IAAl Global Virtual Conference 2020 – Virtual Studio

Adapt your agenda for the online experience

Attention span is a well-debated subject. With more and more distractions available, it’s harder for even the most valuable content to keep our attention focused. It’s even harder for online events to keep the attendees’ attention for long periods of time. You need to have shorter sessions meant to keep viewers’ attention focused on your content.

Support engagement

Classical events are worthy not only for the content that is shared throughout the day(s) but also for the networking that takes place within the location. The online experience is quite different, but you still need to encourage people to ask questions and share their ideas. Having subjects that encourage people to share their ideas will let everybody contribute to an unforgettable experience.

Of course, these are just the main ideas that help you get started with your first online event. And you could say that these are just some ideas. Useful, but theoretical. You have the format of your event well structured in your mind. Maybe even written down. You know what subjects you want to approach, which speakers should be on your agenda, and when the event should take place. But you need the effective tools that allow you to deliver this experience. How can we help you?

Here at Oveit, we work with thousands of event planners from all over the world. In the last few years, we had the chance to actively participate in hundreds of beautiful experiences. Our event registration software helped hundreds of thousands of attendees to register for these experiences. Our cashless payments solution synchronized millions of payments. And when the time came, we knew that we provide a solution that will help event planners save their businesses through online events.

How to start a virtual event with Streams.live

print screen from Streams.live

Streams.live is an online event software that allows you to plan the event, register attendees, and create interaction. All in a secured environment. You can onboard sponsors, activate multiple engagement options, and even create new revenue streams straight from the live experience. Here is a walkthrough. 

Streams.live is integrated with Oveit.com, our powerful event registration software. First, you need to create an account on Oveit. From here, you can create the event, generate multiple ticket categories, set-up registration forms to collect information from your attendees, and more. The registration widget is fully embeddable into your website and each time somebody places an order, the money will go straight into your account. Just like for an in-person event. But here is where the magic* begins.

Once your event is published on Oveit it will automatically become available in Streams.live as well. You can log in using the same email address and password you used for Oveit. Here is where you can customize the virtual experience. From your Dashboard, you can go to event settings by selecting the big blue button.

event settings of your virtual event on Streams.live

You have the following options:

Change the name of the event.

Upload pre-recorded materials. You can use them as a teaser before the live sessions actually start.

Customize the permalink. That’s the actual URL where the event will take place.

Free pass. Let’s you decide if a ticket code is required in order to access the experience

Chat. Will activate the Chat and Questions and Answers options. The Q&A section will allow attendees to upvote or downvote questions and the order they are displayed is influenced by how relevant others find them.

Live Shopping. This is what we consider to be the most powerful feature. Use mostly for Live Stream Shopping sessions, this option allows event organizers to generate new revenue streams from their online sessions. Viewers can buy products and services, or gain access to further information, with just a click of a button, straight from the video they are watching. 

Once you have all these options configured, you can take a look and test the experience from an attendee’s point of view. Following the event’s URL, attendees will land on the page that requires them to enter the access code. They received it in the registration follow up email. Registration is available from this page as well, so potential attendees that haven’t yet purchased access to your virtual event can do it here. Once they enter the code they can take part in your experience. 

access code page for a virtual event - print screen from Streams.live

As an admin, you will be able to access the page without entering an access code. You can customize the look and feel by adding a banner under the video section and a description in the “Channel description” section. We noticed that our partners use that section as a detailed event agenda, especially for multi-day experiences.

How will you deliver your first virtual event?

There are 3 ways a video experience can be delivered through Streams.live.

For pre-recorded media, you have the upload option. This allows you to add existing videos to your channel. For live experiences, you can use either the device’s camera or the RTMP settings to deliver crafted experiences. Using the RTMP, the tech team can send the edited video straight into our platform without any complicated integration. 

Conclusions

Short checklist to have before starting your first virtual event:

  1. The idea that brings everything together.
  2. Time and date.
  3. The right platform to deliver the experience.
  4. Promote your event.
  5. Go through the technical set-up.
  6. Adapt your agenda for the online experience.
  7. Support engagement.

Streams.live allows event planners and content creators to deliver their virtual experience in a secured environment. Attendees can buy access to unique experiences, communicate with fellow viewers, and access unique offers and private sessions.

Want a step by step walkthrough on how to start a virtual event? Schedule a call and one of our colleagues will guide you through.

*no magic, just many hours of hard work

About the author : Alex Pana

Alex Pana is the Marketing Manager at Oveit, the US-based tech company that developed Streams.live. Prior to joining Oveit, he worked with 2 of the world's leading financial services companies. Over the last 4 years, Alex attended more than 100 live and virtual events, understanding how entertainment and digital payments work together. He is people-oriented and although his role is to share the word about Oveit's solutions, he loves to learn about people's experiences. Be they good or bad. He has a degree in Public Administration. This is where he first learned that small changes can result in big improvements. Having this in mind it was only normal for him to join Oveit.

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