Virtual Events


9 Key Benefits of Virtual Events - Pros & Cons


Ashley Levesque


If you're considering using virtual events as part of your engagement marketing strategy, you probably have some big questions. Will they really drive results? Attendance? Most importantly — ROI and pipeline?

It can be tough for marketers used to the face-to-face feel of in-person events — or new to the world of events altogether — to understand exactly how online webinars, product launches, conferences, and training events can build real brand awareness and nurture leads. 

But here's the reality: according to industry research, 92% of marketers said that running virtual events helped them to expand their reach, almost three-quarters said they’d seen a strong ROI within the first six months of going virtual, and 71% of marketers report experimenting with new, future-focused event formats.*

In this post, we’ll help you understand exactly how online events can drive your pipeline and results. As well as the benefits of virtual events, we’ll cover the main limitations, so you can make an informed decision. If you want an in-depth look at how to leverage the unique advantages of virtual events, while avoiding the pitfalls — this guide is for you. 

* Gitnux, 2023, CMO Council, 2022

🛠️ Find the perfect tool for your virtual events!

Cut down on your research with Banzai's comprehensive guide to choosing the perfect virtual event platform.

Virtual Events 101: Why They’re Here to Stay

Let’s start with a quick primer. 

So what exactly are virtual events? Simply put: virtual events are any online gathering conducted over the internet instead of at a physical venue. Rather than asking attendees to fly in or drive to an event location, virtual events reach audiences directly on their devices wherever they are. They’ve been steadily growing in popularity since the pandemic. 

Virtual events come in many different forms, including: 

Webinars — Webinars are great ways of hosting presentations, workshops, lectures, and knowledge-shares online, either in real-time or on-demand. They can be used for everything from educational seminars to expert panels to product demos. 

Webcasts — These are similar to webinars but are broadcast to wider audiences. Think streaming large conferences or enterprise-wide presentations.

Virtual Conferences — From multi-day mega events like Dreamforce to single half-day summits, these mimic traditional conferences with keynotes and networking opportunities. Except it all happens through video sessions, interactive chats, and digital lobbies.

Of course, the lines between all these types can blur. In the end, virtual events share one critical goal regardless of the format — bringing people together digitally around your brand, content, conversation, or community.

Great virtual events generally involve elements like: 

📹 Interactive presentations, including live or pre-recorded video, slides, and multimedia and presenters who speak and engage the audience

💡Q&A sessions, including moderated live chat or presenter questions and interactive, polls, surveys, and more

🤝 Networking opportunities, including message functions, opportunities to spotlight participants or breakout rooms

If you use the right virtual event marketing strategies, these events become flexible, interactive ways to reach and engage a wide audience.

Advantages of Virtual Events: Top 9 Benefits

Virtual events remove the constraints of in-person events and open up tons of new possibilities for marketing. We’ll talk you through nine of the biggest plus points in detail so you can evaluate the potential for your next marketing campaign, product launch, or industry event.

1. Global Reach

Whether you’re a SaaS company looking to launch your latest product and get immediate audience feedback, or a healthcare company looking to reach international medical professionals through an industry conference, virtual events are a massive opportunity for audience and revenue growth. 

By removing geographic barriers, they allow you to:

✓ Tap new markets and territories cost-effectively

✓ Target prospects anywhere through digital promotion

✓ Access global niche communities relevant to your niche

2. Flexible Content Delivery

Virtual venues provide the flexibility to deliver different types of content live, semi-live, or on-demand. That means you can get creative with content that truly engages your audience and caters to audience preferences and time zones.

You can: 

✓ Offer live sessions with on-demand access afterward 

✓ Create evergreen content that’ll keep getting you results

✓ Hyper-personalize and localize content to viewers

✓ Incorporate interactive elements like polls, chats, Q&A

✓ Pre-record your presentation for live events, so you can focus on being present and answering questions

You can craft your virtual events on Demio, infusing them with interactive polls, Q&A, and more for an engaging event experience

3. Easy to Organize

Planning virtual events eliminates venue logistics and drastically simplifies organizing compared to managing physical events. That saves you time and means you can host events more frequently, boosting your brand reputation and keeping your audience engaged and informed.

You can easily:

✓ Set up events without complex venue coordination

✓ Avoid venue, accommodation, and travel planning

✓ Get expert speakers from around the world 

✓ Streamline speaker recruitment and preparation 

Lack of time is the number one reason many marketers don’t use video marketing strategies like virtual events, according to recent research by Wyzowl. Having a timesaving virtual events tool like Demio in your corner can help: transaction management software company Qvalia set up their very first event in less than 30 minutes and saw strong benefits for their pipeline and lead engagement.

4. Cost-effective

By ditching costs like venues, catering, and travel, virtual events unlock huge cost savings. 

That means you can: 

✓ Save significantly on your marketing budget

✓ Eliminate 100% of attendee/staff travel expenses

✓ Run industry-leading events you might not otherwise be able to 

✓ Pass savings onto attendees by making your events lower-cost or free, attracting a larger crowd

5. Powerful Data and Analytics

Virtual events make it easy to collect and analyze participant data to measure event success and understand attendee behavior in a way that’s impossible at in-person events. 

Robust virtual event platforms like Demio give you: 

✓ Focus time analytics that help you understand exactly how long people are paying attention and see when they’re dropping off, so you can refine future events

✓ People reports that measure registrations, attendance rates, conversions, and other webinar KPIs

✓ Engagement insights showing who interacts with your content, downloads, and chats, so you know exactly how to follow up with interested leads

You can turn your virtual events into data goldmines with a breakdown of focus time per attendee — plus engagement metrics, attendance KPIs, and poll results

6. Scalable

Digital venues let you scale event participation far beyond physical venue capacity. You’ll also be able to easily scale up or down based on the number of participants who sign up or show up, without stressing about room size. 

You can take advantage of virtual event scalability by:

✓ Supporting viral reach through shareable event links

✓ Driving last-minute registrations and accommodating changing audience signups, making sure no interested participant is left out

7. Innovative Engagement Tools

The best virtual events platforms — like Demio, part of Banzai's suite of marketing solutions 👋— have cutting-edge tools that let you boost interaction and engage digital audiences, including:

✓ Integrated live webinar chat, polls, surveys and Q&A

✓ Custom branding, designs, logos, and themes

✓ Downloads, lead magnets, and other goodies 

✓Attendee spotlight features so you can bring viewers on stage 

These transform passive viewers into active participants, creating a more dynamic and memorable event experience — and helping you to identify the most engaged leads to follow up with. 

Engagement features also give a voice to your attendees. For example, at a virtual product launch, participants can use live polling to provide immediate feedback on the features they find most exciting or useful.

Demio’s engagement features transform your virtual events into dynamic, two-way experiences with polls, downloadable handouts, and featured action CTAs

8. Eco-friendly

With no travel or printed event materials, virtual events dramatically reduce environmental impact by lowering emissions. 

That helps companies reduce their carbon footprint and supports a sustainable, eco-friendly brand image.

9. Effective Lead Generation

Virtual events are powerful tools for reaching new audiences and understanding attendee needs, preferences, and behaviors. This gives you a wide pool of potentially interested leads — and vital information to tailor your outreach and build relationships with them. 

Here’s how you can use online events to build pipeline: 

✓Effectively promoting your event on social media and online communities helps you reach new audiences.

✓Events offer extra opportunities for attendees to engage with content, share their details, and express interest in products or services. 

✓ Attendees can easily share links to the event or specific content with their networks, bringing in new audiences you might not have reached otherwise.

Demio’s Boost features incentivize your attendees to share and promote your virtual event to their network

Limitations of Virtual Events vs In-Person Events

While virtual events have distinctive advantages, they also come with some limitations.

Understanding these gaps is key to helping you spot potential challenges early on. Even better, you’ll find that many obstacles — like tech constraints and digital fatigue — can be addressed through savvy strategies and tools for virtual event ROI.

Let’s map out the top four cons of going virtual. 

  1. Lack of spontaneous relationship-building 

Nothing beats an in-person handshake or hallway chat for cementing connections, and some event organizers worry that virtual gatherings won’t replicate that interpersonal chemistry.

The upside? Well-structured virtual events nurture community and conversations at scale, especially if you use a tool with great chat features, attendee spotlights, and polls/surveys. 

  1. Glitchy technology

Many hosts worry that tech gremlins can derail even the most well-planned events, which is less of an issue in person. But simple steps like internet checks and pre-event testing or practice runs minimize headaches. With the right tool, you can also run automated virtual events, using a pre-recorded presentation but joining live to interact with attendees and moderate the chat. 

  1. Virtual event fatigue

With so much screen time already part of everyday life, running events online too can feel like digital overload.

The antidote? Be strategic about your session length, include screen breaks, and make your events interactive so attendees don’t zone out. 

Engagement features like polls, Q&As, downloads, and surveys are neuroscience-backed ways of boosting participant experience. Even just the anticipation of fun activities like polls prompts the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, enhancing attendee focus.

  1. Data security fears

Event organizers and attendees often worry about data security and cyber risks. You can ease worries by making sure you use a virtual event tool like Demio, which follows security best practices with encrypted data channels, encrypted disk storage, SSL/TLS protocols, and unique join links. 

Leverage the Power of Virtual Events

As we've seen, virtual events unlock distinctive advantages like expanded reach, content flexibility, and in-depth data analytics. But they also have limitations compared to in-person events.

The key is taking a strategic approach and choosing the right virtual event software to maximize benefits while avoiding the pitfalls.

Purpose-built tools like Demio, one of Banzai’s solutions, equip marketers to captivate viewers, drive participation, and capture attendee insights.

Look for a tool like Demio with: 

✓ Integrated live chat, polling, and Q&A to boost engagement

✓ Custom branding and registration pages to make events memorable

✓ Robust analytics identifying focus time and segmenting attendees post-event

✓ Flexible options for running live, on-demand, and automated virtual events

✓ Lead gen capabilities to capture sales-ready contacts

With the right approach and the right virtual events technology supporting you, you’ll be able to hit your conversion and lead gen goals while building lasting audience relationships

🛠️ Find the perfect tool for your virtual events!

Cut down on your research with Banzai's comprehensive guide to choosing the perfect virtual event platform.

Frequently asked questions about the benefits of virtual events

What are the pros of virtual events over in-person events? 

The pros of virtual events over in-person events include broader global reach, cost-effectiveness, and accessibility. Virtual events eliminate geographical and physical barriers, allowing a wider and more diverse audience to participate. They’re also more economical, saving costs on venues, travel, and accommodations. Also, virtual events offer greater flexibility in content delivery and can be accessed by attendees wherever is convenient for them.

What are the cons of virtual events? 

The cons of virtual events include reduced face-to-face interaction, potential technical difficulties or connectivity issues, and challenges in keeping everyone engaged. 

While virtual environments can't fully replicate the networking opportunities provided by in-person events, choosing the right virtual event platform and strategies can help you overcome the limitations and create new opportunities for connection. For instance, interactive tools like live polls, chat rooms, and breakout sessions can foster a sense of community and interaction. Technical issues and low engagement can be minimized by using reliable, flexible, and feature-rich platforms.

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