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Evaluation Criteria for Virtual Events and Webinar platforms

Akanksha Kumari
• December 27, 2023

(10 min read)

In this digital age, networking dynamics have changed and have evolved to a great extent. This has also opened numerous opportunities for businesses as well as individuals. It’s no longer stuck within a region, but now the approach has gone global in the digital world. Virtual event platforms and webinar platforms play a crucial role in this.

Table of Content

The significance of virtual event platforms and webinar platforms extends to facilitating global and domestic connections. These platforms offer a smooth and cost-effective way for not just networking but also for educational purposes, marketing initiatives, and pipeline generation. The right tools, platforms, software, and people make the difference. Cultivating relationships and facilitating conversations is the key to having a strong and successful business. 

How Virtual Event Platforms Are Different From Webinar Platforms

Virtual event platforms and webinar platforms have distinct feature sets tailored for specific purposes and intended use cases. Each platform is uniquely equipped with functionalities designed to optimize and enhance the user experience within its defined context. Following are some features that are commonly found in virtual event platforms and may differ from those in webinar platforms:

Feature

Virtual Event Platforms

Webinar Platforms

Virtual Booths

These platforms often include virtual exhibition spaces or booths where sponsors and exhibitors can showcase their products or services. Attendees can visit these booths, engage in discussions, and gather information.

Unlike virtual event platforms, which prioritize a broader range of interactive features for networking and exhibitions, webinars are typically designed for one-way communication, like delivering presentations, lectures, or workshops to a large audience. The emphasis on a streamlined presentation experience on webinar platforms may limit the inclusion of features like virtual booths. 

Networking Lounges

Networking lounges allow participants to connect with each other and interact in a more casual setting. Attendees have the option to initiate both one-on-one and group discussions, fostering valuable networking opportunities in this casual environment.

While some webinar platforms might have chat features to facilitate networking, they might not provide dedicated networking lounges or extensive networking capabilities.

Gamification

Gamification features, such as leaderboards, badges, and challenges, are often integrated to make the event more engaging and encourage attendee interaction.

Gamification features on webinar platforms, if present at all, are often limited, given that the primary emphasis is on delivering presentations.

Multi-Track Sessions

These platforms enable the simultaneous hosting of numerous sessions, offering attendees and participants a diverse range of content options to choose from.

Webinars generally concentrate on delivering a single, focused presentation or a limited number of concurrent sessions.

Breakout Rooms

Breakout rooms provide participants with the opportunity to engage in smaller, more focused discussions or workshops within the broader context of the event.

Some webinar platforms offer breakout rooms, but they may not be as versatile or integrated as those on virtual event platforms.

Experiential Environments

These platforms often provide customizable and immersive hybrid/virtual environments that can be tailored to match the theme of the event, creating a more memorable and experiential setting.

Webinars are generally more straightforward and may not offer the same level of immersive environments.

Comprehensive Analytics

Analytics tools on virtual event platforms may offer detailed insights into participant engagement, booth visits, and other interactions throughout the entire event.

While webinar platforms provide analytics, they may focus more on attendee metrics, questions asked, and overall attendance.

Sponsorship Opportunities

These platforms often include various sponsorship opportunities, such as sponsored sessions, branded content, prominent placement of sponsor logos, and sponsor branding.

Webinar platforms may have more limited sponsorship features, often centered around branded content during the webinar.


What Are the Key Evaluation Criteria for Virtual Events and Webinar Platforms?

Choosing the appropriate virtual events or webinar platform is paramount to the success of the online events. The evaluation process is meticulously based on criteria that align with the event’s target audience’s distinct needs, objectives, and goals.

Checklists for finalizing platform for virtual events / webinar are: 

Checklist

Yes () / No ()

  • Features and Functionality
 
  • Scalability
 
  • Ease of Use
 
  • Customization Options
 
  • Networking and Engagement Features
 
  • Security and Privacy
 
  • Technical Support
 
  • Integration Capabilities
 
  • Analytics and Reporting
 
  • Cost and Budget
 
  • User Reviews and References
 
  • Compliance and Accessibility
 
  • Post-Event Support
 
  • Customer Support
 
  • Features and Functionality: Assessing the platform’s features and functionality to ensure it meets the specific needs of the event is extremely important. This includes considerations such as virtual booths, networking lounges, gamification, live chat, Q&A, breakout rooms, and presentation tools.


    A platform with a diverse set of features can easily make your event journey more advanced and efficient. It allows you to broaden your areas of activity and event content. It gives you the freedom to customize your event and add elements as per your requirements.

  • Scalability: When evaluating the platform’s scalability to accommodate the expected number of attendees, some events may require the ability to scale up to thousands of participants, while others may have more modest attendance goals

    Having this feature at your disposal gives you the flexibility to cater to your expected number of event attendees. This scalability is particularly important for events that may experience fluctuations in attendance, allowing the platform to grow seamlessly and meet the evolving needs of the event.

  • Ease of Use: The user-friendliness of the platform is pivotal for both organizers and participants. An intuitive interface can contribute to a smoother event experience and reduce the learning curve for all users.


    A user-friendly platform sets a positive tone for any event. The easier it is to understand the platform’s features, the more seamless the event experience will be for everyone involved. A user-friendly interface not only enhances user satisfaction but also minimizes the potential for confusion or frustration, allowing both organizers and participants to focus more on the content and objectives of the event rather than grappling with the platform itself. 

  • Customization Options: The level of customization the platform offers also plays a major role in evaluating the platform. Event organizers often want to brand the virtual environment to match their event’s theme, so customization options for virtual booths, stages, and overall aesthetics are important.


    Events often reflect your brand and status. The customizable features of an online event platform give you the flexibility and freedom to tailor your event to match your company’s image and identity.

  • Networking and Engagement Features: Examine the networking and engagement features, including virtual networking lounges, one-on-one meeting capabilities, and interactive elements like gamification, Q&A, polls, and more. These features enhance attendee engagement and networking opportunities.


    The virtual networking features allow you to enhance engagement at your events. The availability of such features makes participants more involved and engaged throughout the event. It also opens the door for them towards cultivating new connections, fostering interactions, and building long-lasting relationships, giving attendees a memorable experience.

  • Security and Privacy: The platform’s security features to ensure the protection of sensitive information, prevent unauthorized access, and maintain the privacy of attendees are crucial.


    Having security and privacy measures in place helps you build trust among your attendees. It also safeguards the efforts of the event organizers, preventing unathorized access or disruptions and making the process, data, and event information more secure.

  • Technical Support: Take into account the platform’s technical support accessibility and level of quality. Responsive and reliable support is crucial for troubleshooting issues and ensuring a smooth event experience.


    Having reliable technical support ensures any technical challenges and issues are addressed promptly to minimize disruptions during your event. Technical support is essential to help you take care of sudden technical glitches and to help your attendees in case of any technical issue to ensure a smooth and positive event experience for the participants.

  • Integration Capabilities: Whether the platform can integrate with other tools and systems, such as CRM software, marketing automation platforms, analytics tools, or collaboration tools, is important.


    Integration capabilities can assist in streamlining processes by enabling the seamless flow of data between different systems. This integration has the potential to improve branding efforts. It also facilitates better data analysis by consolidating information from multiple sources

  • Analytics and Reporting: Evaluate the platform through its analytics and reporting features, as comprehensive analytics provide insights into participant behavior, engagement levels, and other key metrics, enabling organizers to assess the success of the event.


    The analytics and reporting feature of an online event platform enables you to assess event performance by providing multidimensional data on attendee involvement, engagement, Q&A or poll results, leaderboard metrics, and much more. 

  • Cost and Budget: Understanding the pricing structure of the platform, including any additional costs for features or services as per the event budget and requirements, is essential.


    Consider the platform’s overall value in relation to the event budget to make sure that you are spending correctly and allocating your resources appropriately.

  • User Reviews and References: Feedback from other event organizers who have used the platform also plays a vital role in choosing the online event platform. User reviews and testimonials, as well as references provided by the platform, can offer valuable insights into the real-world experiences of other users.


    It is important to do thorough research on the platform you’re choosing. User reviews and references are shared by the organizations or individuals who have used the platform. This unbiased feedback gives real and practical insights or information regarding the online event platforms.

  • Compliance and Accessibility: Ensure that the platform complies with relevant regulations and accessibility standards. Accessibility features are important to make the event inclusive and accommodate participants with diverse needs.


    The compliance and accessibility evaluations give information on whether the platform has all necessary permits, is adhering to the regulations, and is accessible in all forms. 

  • Post-Event Support: Considering what kind of post-event support is available, including access to event data, post-event analytics, recordings, and assistance with follow-up activities such as lead generation and participant communication, plays a vital role in choosing the right platform.


    Post-event support is crucial for the event organizers. This will assist them in gathering all the necessary information related to their event as well as maintaining a connection with the attendees post-event. It’s important to evaluate if the online event platform is equipped with the right features to ensure a seamless post-event experience. 

  • Customer Support: A platform with reliable and effective customer support streamlines the event management process, ensuring smoother operations and quick resolution of any unforeseen issues.


    Dependable customer support is essential throughout the entire event process, providing a crucial lifeline in situations of emergencies or immediate requirements for event organizers. 

Key Factors That Significantly Impact the Selection of a Virtual Event or Webinar Platform

The choice of an online event platform is influenced by various factors, including the organizer’s objectives, the purpose behind the event, specific requirements, the event format, budget considerations, and more. Here, we will discuss five key factors that significantly shape the decision-making process for selecting an online event platform:

  • Event Goals and Format: The nature and goals of the event play a crucial role in platform selection. If the event aims to be a large-scale, immersive experience with multiple sessions, networking opportunities, and exhibitor spaces, a virtual events platform may be more suitable.


    On the other hand, if the primary goal is to deliver focused presentations or training sessions, a webinar platform might be a better fit.

  • Interactivity and Engagement Requirements: The level of interactivity and engagement desired for the event is a significant factor. The choice of platform also depends on whether the organizers prioritize features like virtual booths, networking lounges, and gamification to enhance attendee engagement.


    The format of the event plays an important role here. If it’s a small virtual gathering or meeting, you might not require such high engagement, which eventually leads you to a platform that can assist you with basic interactive features.  

  • Audience Size: The anticipated audience size influences the choice of platform. A platform that can offer flexibility and scalability would be the ideal choice in this case to accommodate the number of attendees.


    Online event platforms are designed to accommodate larger audiences, making them suitable for conferences and expos, while platforms that have a more streamlined approach may be chosen for smaller to medium-sized audiences. 

  • Budget: Budget constraints are a significant factor in the decision-making process. The overall cost, including any additional features or services, needs to align with the available budget for the event.


    It is essential for the organizers that the event platform that they are choosing supports them in an event way throughout the event journey, contributing to generating leads and a better ROI. The chosen platform should align with the organizers’ goals and contribute to the overall success of the event

  • Customization and Branding: The extent to which customization and branding are important for the event can influence the platform choice. Platforms with more opportunities for customization, allowing organizers to create a unique and branded virtual environment, can be the ideal choice if customization and branding are priorities for the event organizers. 

FAQ

Some of the virtual event and webinar platforms are Airmeet, Accelevents, BigMarker, Cvent, GoToWebinar, Goldcast, HeySummit, Hubilo, InEvent, ON24, Vfairs, Zoom, and Zuddl. 

To evaluate the right online event platform, consider factors such as features (registration, streaming, interaction tools), user-friendliness, scalability, customization, integration capabilities, security, cost, analytics, customer support, mobile compatibility, track record, and contractual terms.

Yes, mobile compatibility is important for an online event platform to ensure accessibility and functionality on various devices, enhancing the overall attendee experience and expanding audience reach.

When selecting a platform, consider security measures such as data encryption, access controls, authentication processes, secure transmission of information, and measures to prevent unauthorized access or data breaches.

Incredible Companies Use Airmeet

Most loved Virtual Events Platform

Incredible Companies Use Airmeet