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How to make virtual events work for your clients

Virtual events have become a valuable asset for any marketing strategy, and that value can be long-lasting. Indeed, repurposing a virtual...

Profile picture of Gal Zohar


6 min read

Virtual events have become a valuable asset for any marketing strategy, and that value can be long-lasting. Indeed, repurposing a virtual event’s content across multiple platforms can often create business opportunities and generate extra revenue for months – even years – after its initial launch.

Brands are taking note. According to Amazon Web Service’s State of Virtual Events report for 2021, virtual events have become a mainstay for companies – 85% of respondents believe these events are not going away anytime soon, while almost 60% plan to increase their budget for hosting them.

Nowadays, digital marketing agencies partner with clients across all industries to help them get in on the virtual event act. They stand to gain a lot, but success requires that agencies tailor their approach to suit each client’s needs.

Before you get on board, we’ve outlined some factors to consider and tactics to adopt to ensure you get your virtual event right for your client.

Pick the right format

Firstly, consider your client’s audience. Understanding their intent will determine the what, where, and how you choose to host your virtual event.

The what: Webinars vs. live streams

Webinars and live streams are the two most popular virtual event categories. The main difference between the two lies in their audiences. While webinars are best suited to a smaller audience and tend to be more interactive, live streams take a more traditional approach to broadcasting and are tailored for a higher number of viewers.

According to the GWI Social Media Trends Report, “about one in five people discover new products and brands through social media live streams.” That makes this category a good channel for B2C businesses looking to increase brand awareness. It’s also an excellent format for gaining trust as it allows your clients to let their personalities shine through immediate reactions to audience questions as well as unscripted content.

On the other hand, B2B clients keen to reach small and interactive audiences for deeper insights will generally find more success with webinars. Ensuring the webinar platform has tools that allow you to host Q&A forms and chat rooms will encourage more interaction and engagement.

Both categories offer you the opportunity to personalize the experience for viewers. Have your client poll attendees on their professional backgrounds or interests – it makes it easier for the host to ensure the event’s content is always relevant to the audience.

Remember, engagement doesn’t end when the camera turns off. Continue interaction after the event by hosting breakout sessions for a later date, reviewing the chat log and Q&A transcript to identify themes for follow-up content, and inviting attendees to join focus groups based on event feedback.

The where: Social media platforms

The content of your video is a factor to consider when choosing the most suitable platform for your virtual event.

For example, brands that give tutorials often opt for Instagram and Facebook live streams to showcase their products, as both channels are a popular choice with consumers. According to digital marketing research company eMarketer, Facebook will remain the leading social media platform through 2024, so Facebook Live is not a channel that you can ignore.

YouTube is best suited for companies that focus on educational content whose audience may need a full breakdown of information without a time limit. One of YouTube’s significant advantages is that it automatically saves live streams under 12 hours to the business channel so that viewers can access, rewatch, and rewind complex concepts at their leisure. If choosing this platform, make sure your channel is verified to provide legitimacy to your account and avoid an event time limit of 15 minutes.

Discoverability is another factor to consider when choosing a platform. Since Google owns YouTube, it generally trumps Facebook due to its SEO capabilities.

Other popular platforms to consider are Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and the more sophisticated Eventcube and accelevents.

The how: Consider the viewing format

How your client’s audience consumes content will determine whether you should optimize your virtual event for desktops or mobile devices.

For B2B companies, a desktop experience makes sense because attendees will most likely be viewing the event on their computers at work. According to Vidyard’s Video Benchmark Report, 87% of B2B audience viewers attended virtual work events via a desktop computer in 2020. An added advantage to desktop is the range of interactive tools you can include. There’s plenty of room for customizable dashboards, networking lounges, and a question bar for attendees.

With features like Apple Pay simplifying the buying process to a fingerprint, B2C clients benefit from optimizing virtual events for mobile. Live streams can create a sense of urgency that often results in direct sales from consumer audiences tuning in from their mobile devices.

How your audience consumes the content can also affect the video quality of your virtual event. Although both formats are considered HD, according to ETO, live streams can be up to 1080p while webinars are compressed up to 720p. Videos streaming in 1080p appear sharper on large monitors or TVs, so think about whether or not your audience will be tuning in from a desk or a conference room.

Nail down logistics

A virtual event leaves little room for error when all eyes are on your client. Hosting a successful live stream or webinar requires extensive planning and research to ensure it runs smoothly. Consider the following factors before your client’s stream goes out into the world.

Free vs. paid events

One of the key advantages of a free event is its potential to bring in a larger audience. However, this increase in attendance can often lead to low-quality engagement. While 90% of registrants who pay for virtual events attend, according to DigiDay, free events only have a 25% attendance rate.

Paid events create a feeling of exclusivity, bringing in higher-quality leads who are more likely to buy into your presentation or product than those who trickle in and out for free. Also, exclusive paid events with high engagement levels can attract high-paying sponsors to help foot the bill. For Rhiannon James, President of Life Science, Healthcare, and Technology at Questex, paid events suit her company’s needs. James says Questex has seen success by “charging virtual attendees about 75% of the cost of an in-person ticket.” It means attendees can still purchase tickets at a discount, but the company’s ROI is not compromised.


The time and day you choose to host your virtual event will inevitably affect audience engagement levels. A general rule of thumb is to never host your webinar on a Monday or Friday since people tend to focus on catching up on tasks from the previous week or are distracted by the upcoming weekend. Research from GoToWebinar reveals that the hours between 11am and 2pm is the best time to host a webinar.

Once you’ve established the date and time for your event, work backward to create a timeline for its promotion. Factor in time to develop content plans, find speakers, and create an event hashtag.

Leverage event content

A virtual event comes with the added benefit of giving marketers what they need most: content. Develop a plan for your client to create shareable content before, during, and after the event so they can maximize ROI.

Before the event, share content about headline speakers or panelists, such as their biographies, inspirational video clips, or links to their most popular or relevant work. Why not produce an interview piece covering some of the topics they will address and publish them weekly as event teasers?

Ensure clients live-tweet important statements or quotes from speakers in real-time. This way, you extend your reach to Twitter followers who didn’t sign up for the event or gain new followers who discover you. Confirm any speaker’s Twitter handles ahead of time so you can easily tag them in your posts. Encourage clients to retweet and engage with attendees using the event’s official hashtag.

Key takeaways, quotes, statistics, and video clips from virtual events can all be repurposed into attention-grabbing graphics or spliced videos to share across your social media channels. Tailor the content based on what performs well on that channel. For example, shorter infographics perform best on Instagram and Facebook and improve website traffic by 12%.

You can also generate traffic by writing an article on the client’s blog. Summarize the main points of the event, and include a link to transcripts and the recorded webinar. The event garners new attention from the article, but having visual and written components allows for further accessibility of information.

Clients may ask if it’s better to gate the webinar’s video or embed it within the article. A case study by VWO found that embedding video on a landing page increased conversions for its client Dr. Muscle by 35%. An embedded video and article allow readers quick access to the event versus a gated white paper, where they have to sign up to access information. That’s not to say gated content is inferior to embedded videos — it just provides a different kind of value. If clients want to gain data from their audience, consider using gated content.

Virtual events are here to stay

Virtual events enable brands to reach wider audiences, not bound by tight budgets or location. While we see something of a return to face-to-face events, those of a virtual kind are unquestionably here to stay. Indeed, according to Forbes, the virtual event space is predicted to have “a compound annual growth rate of 23.2% from 2020 to 2027”.

So make sure your clients can get a slice of the virtual pie by helping them incorporate virtual events into their marketing strategies. Guide them on the event format and logistics and help them leverage the event’s content to drive more business and make their budget stretch much further. They’ll thank you for it, and wonder why virtual events didn’t form part of their marketing strategy a whole lot sooner.


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