What are the latest numbers on virtual events?

What’s in a number? Numbers are the language of business improvement. Businesses rely on numerical data and their interpretation to assess their current standing, map out their future growth and guide them on their decision making. As a popular saying in business goes, if you can’t measure (or quantify) it, then you can’t improve it.
In this article, we take a look at the latest statistics related to virtual events. In particular, we’ll review the key numbers to guide you in answering the following questions:

  • What is the interest in virtual events?
  • Why do people choose virtual events?
  • How’s the engagement in virtual events?
  • What are other organizers and marketers doing?
  • What is the future of virtual events?

Key statistics on virtual events

Recent surveys conducted by Statista, Bizzabo, Vimeo and Markletic have uncovered the following interesting findings from virtual event participants and organizers. Use these event statistics to formulate your strategies in 2022.

What is the interest in virtual events?

According to a Statista survey,

  • 40% of events their respondents plan to attend in 2022 are predicted to be virtual
  • Another 35% said they would be hybrid (combination of online and in-person)

Additionally, a Vimeo survey found that 72% of their respondents are expecting to attend the same number (or even more) online events as they currently do even as face-to-face events return.

These numbers illustrate that interest remain high and event audiences have accepted virtual and hybrid events as viable substitutes to in-person events. Since 2020 when the pandemic super-charged the shift to online, virtual events have increased in popularity by 35%. As a result of this increasing popularity, 93% of event professionals plan to invest in virtual events in the coming future, according to a survey by Bizzabo.

Why virtual events?

Among attendee respondents to a survey conducted by Markletic, 80% said they attend for educational reasons, followed by networking purposes. A similar survey from Bizzabo agreed with this finding, as 72.5% of their respondents put learning as their main goal in attending virtual events. So, what does this mean? Organizers should take note and ensure the contents of their events are educational and relevant to their audience when planning to host an event.

Meanwhile, among event organizers and marketers, 46% say that their primary goal in hosting an online conference or webinar is lead generation, as per a Markletic survey. A survey done by Vimeo revealed that they use online events for training and onboarding (52%), to educate and engage with customers (57%) and for lead generation or marketing purposes such as brand, product or service promotion (59%). From Bizzabo, 55% of marketers they surveyed shared that the top 3 goals for their online events are customer relations, education and retention. No matter what your objectives are in staging a virtual event, make sure you set clear goals to define your strategy and let it guide you in all your decision-making for the event.

Review what you need to consider when planning a virtual event in our 3-part Virtual Event Playbook available here.

How’s the engagement in virtual events?

What draws participants into online events? Over 60% of respondents from a Vimeo survey said that the quality of the speaker and relevance of the content are the key reasons that encourage them to register and sign in for an event.

But once they are signed in though, not many are able to stay engaged. A Bizzabo survey found out that:

  • 29% of online event attendees watch only 20% of an average session while another 26% watch as little as 10%
  • Also, 11% of virtual event participants say they did not learn much as they expect to
  • And lastly, attendees are twice more likely to rate online events as “not fun at all” compared to in-person events

Event organizers and marketers know that getting your audience through the door already entails a lot of effort. You definitely don’t want to waste all this work by losing your audience’s interest not even midway through the event.

One of the latest trends to emerge for 2022 when planning virtual events is about revisiting the event experience. It has become more apparent that event experience is a key ingredient to an event’s success, and a major differentiator among the hundreds of online conferences and webinars being offered by other companies. Attendees are demanding better, more engaging presentation and longing for live event experiences like networking, visiting booths, branding etc. Moving forward, virtual events are expected to deliver a more interactive, glossy, high-impact and “fun” experience just like what you get from face-to-face events – on top of relevant content. Read our latest blog on the 5 Event Trends to Watch in 2022 to learn more.

But not all is doom and gloom in the latest engagement statistics. As long as the content is available online, many event attendees are quite likely to re-watch it. From a Vimeo survey,

  • 68% of attendees shared that they will re-watch the event they attended
  • And among those who missed the event, 75% said they will re-watch it later

Thus, for event organizers, make sure to use the event content to continue engaging with your audience post-event. You can send a “Thank You” email to your attendees, with a link to the online content. This email is also a good opportunity to send out your post-show survey and feedback form. Similarly, send a “We missed you” email to those who registered but were not able to attend your virtual event.

What are other organizers and marketers doing?

In terms of event promotion, a Statista survey revealed that 80% of B2B marketers say their website is the most widely used channel for driving registration to their virtual events. This is followed by email and social media.

Meanwhile, findings from Markletic are as follows:

  • 60% use social media to drive virtual event registrations
  • 51% of B2B marketers leverage business partnerships to drive registrations
  • 76% of marketers share that email is the most effective for driving online event registrations

For successful virtual event planning and production, findings from a Bizzabo survey shared the importance of having the right online conferencing platform:

  • 92% of marketers say online event hosting software makes it easier to accomplish business outcomes
  • 80% of marketers who use event software don’t have any trouble showing their event’s ROI
  • 89% say event software helps them save time with planning events

If you are still on the hunt for your best-fit online conferencing platform, check out our blog on the 8 Most Popular Online Conferencing Tools / Platforms. Should you need more help to decide what’s best for you, contact us at Vootprint for professional advice.

What is the future of virtual events?

Virtual events are poised to grow over the coming years, with more investments. A Grand View Research estimated that the online events market size was US$94 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24% from 2021 to 2028. The same source mentioned that the virtual events industry is expected to grow about ten-fold – from US$78 billion to US$774 billion over the coming decade.

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