During the 2020 COVID pandemic, Netflix added 16 million subscribers.
Even before this, the growth of streaming services has been staggering. Traditional cable TV subscriptions are at an all-time low. Podcasts, YouTube Channels, and Netflix shows command the attention of the public.
What does this have to do with your online event?
It’s a critical insight for your event plans.
Once upon a time…
Think back to traditional conferences. For the entire event, your attendee’s attention was focused on your event. Sure, they step out for the occasional call or email. The majority of the time, they’re focused on your event. Same with your exhibitors, speakers, and sponsors.
During the COVID pandemic, you probably spent at least a few weeks working from home. Remember what that was like? Picture the distractions you had to deal with. Phone calls, instant messages, and e-mails for starters. For many with children, there was the added pressure of remote learning too.
Many conferences in mid-2020 attempted a pivot to online. The results were mixed. Many attendees welcomed the opportunity to meet at all. But Zoom fatigue quickly became a Google trend.
A lesson from Microsoft Build 2020
In May 2020 we attended Microsoft Build. It’s Microsoft’s biggest programmer conference. They retooled it to be a free online event in just a few weeks. It succeeded in bringing together a worldwide network of programmers.
During the three conference days though we noticed a common complaint. Not every attendee could watch sessions live. They made time in their evening to watch the replays. So did we.
But the replays weren’t available until the next day.
I was annoyed. I was busy during the day meeting with clients and planning our upcoming platform changes. I didn’t have time to watch the live streams. I made time in the evening to watch the replays.
Based on the reaction in the comments, I wasn’t alone.
It’s all about your attendees
Thanks to YouTube and Netflix, people are used to content on-demand. Like I mentioned, not everyone can make time to attend during the day. According to Intrado, only 45% of attendees watch sessions live at virtual events. Our own behavioral research backs this up.
Put your attendees in control of their experience. Give them the option to watch replays of your live sessions. Consider adding some pre-recorded sessions for them to enjoy before the conference too.
How can you encourage your attendees to attend your live sessions? Make them interactive. Use live Q&A and polls. Use pre-show live content to add excitement and exclusive content. Bring your speakers back later in the day (or on a different day entirely) for a separate ask-me-anything session.
Don’t feel overwhelmed – let’s build your online event together
It can be a challenge to pivot your in-person event to online. Done well, it’s an incredible way to connect with your audience. We take our client’s event ideas and transform them into unforgettable online experiences for their audience. If you’re ready to build a tailored experience for your attendees but you’re not sure how to make it happen, talk to us.