78 Virtual Event Statistics to
Optimize Your 2023 Strategy

Are virtual events here to stay? What do today’s attendees want?
Are event budgets rising or falling? Get up-to-speed and take charge
of your 2023 event strategy with 78 key stats.

(15 min read)

Table of Content

The last few years have been… interesting for event organizers. Virtual and hybrid events went from a niche tactic to the default option in the blink of an eye. New technologies allowed us to create fresh experiences and session formats. We unlocked data and reached a global audience. Event-led growth emerged as a key go-to-market pillar.

And the coming year promises more innovation and creativity than ever before.

To help you prep, we’ve collected surveys, research, and studies across the virtual events industry. You can explore the most up-to-date virtual event statistics across the following categories:

Let’s jump in!

Impact of virtual events

Crises fast-forwards industries. We’ve seen that first-hand as the event industry leaped from in-person events to virtual and hybrid events. A couple of years into the transformation, the majority of organizers remain positive about virtual events.

  • 92.1% of organizers rate their online experiences as either very or somewhat successful. [1]
  • 79% of event organizers say virtual provided opportunities they wouldn’t have had before, and 66% say they provided a greater ROI than physical. [2]
  • 90% of event organizers say all large-scale events will be hybrid or virtual in two years. [3]

Most virtual event organizers plan to maintain or increase their investment in virtual events, too.

  • 82% of event leaders plan to conduct the same number or more virtual events during the next 12 months as they did last year. [4]
  • 25% of organizations are running virtual-only event strategies, while two-thirds use a hybrid event approach. [5]

Even with the return of physical events, virtual continues to deliver impact and ROI.

  • Virtual event organizers ranked increased event registration (36%), greater ROI (26%), and greater attendee engagement (25%) as top benefits of virtual events compared to in-person. [6]

But do you know the most exciting thing?
The virtual event revolution is only getting started.

  • Organizers praise virtual events as being pandemic-proof, environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and a crucial part of the events industry. [7]
  • The global virtual events market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.7% from 2021 to 2028 [8]

The future of virtual events

The event industry never sleeps. It’s always evolving and adapting. Coming into 2023, one key theme is diversification. Virtual events opened up a worldwide audience—and organizations are taking advantage.

  • 76% believe that attendee diversification is the key to virtual event success. [9]

Others predict operational and business improvements.

  • In 2023, marketers expect growth in qualified lead generation (15%), attendance (15%), event registrations (14%), engagement (13%), and budget (12%). [10]

But it’s not all good news. According to virtual event stats, attendee engagement remains a persistent problem.

  • On average, attendees remain engaged for 68% of the session. [11]

And event teams are still struggling to recruit the specialists necessary to execute ambitious virtual event strategies.

  • 74% of surveyed event leaders said their organizations are looking to hire talent with the right skills to get their desired outcomes from their virtual events, while nearly two-thirds of respondents’ organizations are seeking technology partners to help measure key insights. [12]
  • 79% of event leaders say they need to upskill to match virtual event ambitions. [13]

Goals, objectives, and outcomes

Organizer goals vary just as much as their virtual events. That said, our event statistics reveal a handful of common objectives.

  • Virtual event organizers said their primary goal for an online event experience is to create engagement with their target audience (45.3%), followed by a desire to improve brand awareness (18.9%). [14]
  • Organizers’ main goals for large-scale virtual events are to increase brand awareness (28%), generate revenue through ticket sales (21%), build new relationships (17%), nurture existing relationships (15%), directly drive sales (11%), and education/thought leadership (8%). [15]
  • For 2022 and beyond, event planners listed the quality of contacts, level of engagement with key contacts, and engagement beyond the days of the event as their most important virtual event success metrics. [16]

However, as the virtual event industry continues to mature, organizers are experimenting with formats, prompting them to rethink their objectives.

  • 78% have reconsidered what a virtual event success means. [17]

Attendee expectations

Early in the virtual event revolution, audience research was more or less guesswork. No one knew if a worldwide audience would take to virtual events—or for how long.

But with a couple of years’ virtual events statistics behind us, we can sketch out some reliable attendee profiles.

The first thing we noticed is that people join virtual events regularly.

  • 75% of virtual event attendees sign up for up to 5 virtual events per month. [18]

When it’s available, on-demand content keeps them coming back, too.

  • 68% of the attendees rewatch content from virtual events they’ve attended. [19]
  • Three-quarters of attendees say they’ll rewatch event sessions if they missed them live. [20]

As virtual events have become more popular, attendee expectations have skyrocketed.

  • One-third of attendees consider virtual events engaging. Just 23% say virtual conferences are unique. [21]
  • 78% of attendees say Q&As catch their attention. Nearly 80% say they’d take a MasterClass-style course. [22]
  • 67% of online events attendees agree that it’s essential for presenters to be engaging and passionate about the subject they’re talking about. [23]
  • 64% of attendees say that the quality of speakers encourages them to sign up for virtual events. [24]
  • 84% of attendees would always like to have the option to attend virtual events. [25]
  • Virtual events attendees want more livestream offerings of keynotes and other event content (58%), better online access to sessions (45%), more hybrid event offerings (38%), online commerce capabilities for always-on sales (29%), and better access to education (28%). [26]
  • Attendees prefer more unique, personalized, and high-energy experiences. [27]

But despite rising expectations, attendees are happy and content.

  • 73% of attendees say they’re satisfied with their experience at virtual events, and 93% say companies have done a good job adapting in-person experiences in a virtual environment. [28]

Preparation and planning

The days of panicked pivots are over. Today’s event teams plan and execute virtual events with the same precision as pre-pandemic in-person events.

  • 65% of marketers say it takes more than six weeks to prepare and market large-sized virtual events. [29]
  • 70% of virtual event organizers used two to 15 people to plan their virtual events. [30]

With more preparation time, event organizers use dry runs to identify (and fix) problems.

  •  63.4% of respondents used live event rehearsals as part of their planning and preparation. [31]

And although the pandemic is hopefully behind us, event organizers are ready to pivot if needed.

  • 59% of organizers would choose to cancel an in-person event over a virtual event.[32]
  • 93% of organizers have a plan or are working on a plan to pivot from in-person events to virtual. [33]

Performance management

Coming into 2023, measuring event performance ranks as a top priority for event teams.

  • 45% of organizers use engagement (total event registrations, attendance numbers, average event attendance rate) to measure the success of their online experience. Attendee satisfaction metrics (24.9%), revenue (14.8%), and social engagement (7.9%) are also popular. [34]
  • 82% of B2B marketers think that attendee engagement is an essential KPI for online event success. [35]

However, collecting and analyzing data remains a persistent challenge.

  • 46.6% of organizers say demonstrating impact is a challenge. [36]
  • During virtual events, only 35% of respondents’ organizations are measuring the quality of engagements and only 38% are measuring attendee satisfaction scores. [37]
  • Just one-third of organizers are measuring event-sourced revenue, while only 32% are measuring the number of sales meetings. [38]

But there’s some good news. While performance management is hard, virtual event technology technology can do a lot of the heavy lifting. Check out these event stats.

  • 64% of organizers are seeking technology partners to measure insights from virtual events. [39]
  • 80% of the marketers who use event software can easily prove event ROI. [40]

Challenges and obstacles

Virtual events present immense opportunities to marketers — a worldwide audience, new experiences, transparent data — but they aren’t a silver bullet.

  • 28% say virtual hasn’t worked for them and that they plan to return to in-person as quickly as it’s safe to do so. [41]

According to Forrester’s analysts, underperforming event organizers “failed to properly plan for virtual. They did little to distinguish their event content from webinar or Zoom meeting formats, and audience engagement suffered.”

So what other obstacles should event marketers be wary of?

According to our virtual event statistics, attendee experience is a top challenge.

  • Attendees are 26% more likely to consider online events as not fun compared to in-person. [42]
  • Only 23% of event attendees consider large virtual conferences unique. [43]

Maintaining a high average event attendance rate remains a problem, too.

  • One-third of event organizers cite attendance as a top challenge. [44]

Average no show percentage remains high across the board.

  • Only 39% of registered attendees check-in at free virtual events. [45]

Beyond basic operational issues, organizations face deeper challenges coming into the new year.

  • Event departments cite sustainability (59%), brand consistency (59%), and performance measurement (51%) as key challenges in 2023. [46]

Event teams and skill sets

Virtual events skyrocketed 1,000% since the pandemic. Although event organizers are some of the most creative and adaptable folks out there, organizations are still racing to upskill and add talent.

  • 74% of event leaders are looking to hire talent to fill their virtual event skills gap. [47]

Teams aren’t looking for generalists. According to our event stats, they have specific skill gaps.

  • Most in-demand virtual event organization skills: Design skills for eye-catching visuals (36%), virtual event platform troubleshooting (35%), technical knowledge of events platform (43%), and technical ability to offer networking over video chat (34%). [48]

New virtual event types and experiences

It’s been fascinating to see how virtual events have transformed these last few years. Attendees told organizers they want great content, high-energy sessions, and unique activities—and organizers delivered.

  • 73% of organizers say aligning the right event, audience, and time can lead to business growth. [49]
  • Virtual attendees most value educational sessions (44%), live Q&A sessions (37%), and VIP sessions with keynote speakers (36%). [50]
  • Q&As are by far the most effective format for engaging participants in live events. [51]

But virtual event organizers aren’t resting on their heels. Looking at our virtual event statistics, they plan to continue innovating, adapting, and evolving.

  • 76% of event organizers say they want to diversify their virtual event offerings. [52]

Session duration and event length

You’ve heard about Zoom fatigue, right? If so, you might expect demand for sessions to be dropping. But according to our virtual event statistics, that’s not the case.

Attendees still engage with quality content as long as it’s not overly long.

  • The average virtual event length is 54 minutes. The optimal length is up to two hours, after which there is a sharp dropoff in engagement. [53]
  • 63% of people say that the ideal time for a virtual round table discussion is between 60 and 90 minutes. [54]
  • 70% of viewers say sessions should be an hour or less. Two-thirds of the respondents say they won’t register for events that run longer than an hour. [55]

We’ve also got good event stats on event length.

  • Most virtual events contain around 12 sessions. [56]
Grab 5 event planning checklists for free

Virtual event sponsorship

Sponsors played a huge role in event marketing—and that hasn’t changed.

  • 44% of organizers use sponsorships to generate revenue for virtual events. [57]

According to our event stats, event organizers accept sponsorships at around pre-pandemic levels.

  • The average event has 13 sponsors. [58]

What are the average sponsorship costs for a virtual event?

  • The average sponsorship cost for a virtual event is $8,456. However, costs can vary depending on whether you sponsor a large virtual conference, small virtual events, or something in between. [59]

But just signing up sponsors isn’t enough for attendees. They want opportunities for engagement, too.

  • 25% of attendees want features that allow them to connect one-to-one with sponsors. [60]

Effective promotion strategies

Virtual events are a double-edged sword for marketers. Yes, it opens up events to a worldwide audience, but it also ramps up the competition.

Organizers are competing with every virtual event around the world — and that makes promotion incredibly important. Check out these virtual event promotion statistics:

  • 80% of B2B marketers say their website is the most effective channel for virtual event promotion. Email (76%), social media (60%), and partners (51%) are also popular. [61]
  • The average promotional period lasts 3.5 weeks. [62]

    But even the best promotion can’t make up for poor fundamentals.

When is the best time to host a virtual event?

  • The best time for hosting virtual events is between 1pm and 3:30pm. Although average virtual event attendance statistics are higher when virtual events start earlier, engagement is significantly lower. [63]

Budgets, expenses, and pricing

As the world economy falters, marketing budgets hang in the balance. According to our event stats, the uncertainty is hitting businesses differently.

  • While 59% of organizations plan to increase or freeze their event budgets, 41% plan to decrease event spending. [64]
  • Marketing leaders spend 20% of their field marketing program budget on events. [65]

While small virtual event costs are usually lower than in-person, delivering a quality experience isn’t cheap.

  • Virtual event platforms remain the largest single expense, followed by speakers and moderators. [66]
  • 65% of organizers spend between $500 and $1,500 per virtual event attendee. [67]

Event ticketing

Our virtual events statistics show that most virtual events remain free, which makes sense considering most businesses run them to increase brand awareness and demand.

  • 91% of virtual events are free (up from 80% in 2020) compared to just 9% which are paid. [68]

However, an interesting event stat is that a growing number of organizations plan to monetize their virtual events.

  • 83% of companies are charging or plan to charge attendee fees for large-scale virtual events. [69]
  • The average virtual event ticket price was $508 in Q1 2021 and $443 in 2020. [70]

It’ll be fascinating to see how this plays out because more than half of attendees say they’d prefer not to pay.

  • 52% of attendees say they would rather not pay for large-scale virtual events. [71]

Networking events

The biggest difference between in-person attendees and people who join virtual events is what they’re looking for.

  • 72.5% of people say their primary goal at a virtual event is learning. [72]
  • People attend online events to learn about the company (36%) and general education (36%). [73]
  • Online attendees report a 25% decrease in networking expectations compared to in-person events. [74]

But that doesn’t mean people don’t want to network at all. For one thing, online networking events are tough.

  • 67% of event organizers say delivering rich networking opportunities has been challenging. [75]
  • 13% decrease in initiating natural conversions online compared to in-person events. [76]

If event organizers can make virtual networking easier, attendees are raring to go. Check out these event stats.

  • 76% of all event attendees go for networking purposes. [77]
  • 35% of virtual event attendees want to network outside of sessions. [78]

Virtual events are only getting started

Think back two years. What did virtual events look like? Maybe a low-budget webinar? Or a single-camera livestream?

Whatever you’re imagining, it probably wasn’t great.

Now, think about today’s events. Sky-high production, immersive experiences, engaging sessions, and effortless networking. It’s night and day. What’s most exciting is that the virtual event market is still evolving.

New technologies like AR and VR are going to revolutionize how we experience events. Better data will turn generic event agendas into individually personalized tracks. Looking at these virtual events statistics, it’s tough not to be excited. Because we’re only getting started.

References

[1] Anyroad, The State of Virtual Events 2021

[2] LinkedIn, Virtual Events a new reality

[3] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[4] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[5] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[6] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[7] LinkedIn, Virtual Events a new reality

[8] Grand View Research, GVR Report cover Virtual Events Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

[9] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[10] Kaltura, The state of events 2023

[11] Bizzabo, The Virtual Events Benchmark Report, Q2 2021

[12] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[13] LinkedIn, Virtual Events a new reality

[14] Anyroad, The State of Virtual Events 2021

[15] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[16] Emerald, B2B Events Industry Outlook 2022

[17] LinkedIn, Virtual Events a new reality

[18] Vimeo

[19] Vimeo

[20] Vimeo

[21] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[22] Vimeo

[23] RedBack Connect

[24] Vimeo

[25] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[26] Emerald, B2B Events Industry Outlook 2022

[27] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[28] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[29] Markletic, Markletic Event Research

[30] Vimeo

[31] Anyroad, The State of Virtual Events 2021

[32] Kaltura, The state of events 2023

[33] Kaltura, The state of events 2023

[34] Anyroad, The State of Virtual Events 2021

[35] Bizzabo

[36] Anyroad, The State of Virtual Events 2021

[37] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[38] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[39] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[40] Bizzabo, 2020 Event Marketing Report

[41] Forrester, B2B Marketing Event Trends: Virtual Is Here To Stay; Hybrid Is On The Way

[42] Bizzabo, The Virtual Attendee Experience Report

[43] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[44] Kaltura, The state of events 2023

[45] Bizzabo, The Virtual Attendee Experience Report

[46] ICE Research

[47] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[48] LinkedIn, Virtual Events a new reality

[49] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[50] Kaltura, The state of events 2023

[51] Vimeo

[52] Forrester, The Right Virtual Event For The Right Audience Is A Catalyst For Growth, commissioned by Airmeet

[53] Bizzabo, The Virtual Events Benchmark Report, Q2 2021

[54] Markletic

[55] Vimeo

[56] Bizzabo, The Virtual Events Benchmark Report, Q2 2021

[57] Personify, The Virtual Event Research Report for Membership Organizations

[58] Bizzabo, The Virtual Events Benchmark Report, Q2 2021

[59] Markletic

[60] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[61] Statista, Leading methods of driving registrations to virtual events according to B2B marketers worldwide as of May 2020

[62] Markletic

[63] StreamGo

[64] Integrate, 2022 State of B2B Marketing Budgets Survey Reports on Need for Precision in Marketing

[65] Forrester, Virtual Events: Partnering With Sales for Successful Outcomes

[66] Markletic

[67] Markletic, Markletic Event Research

[68] Bizzabo, The Virtual Events Benchmark Report, Q2 2021

[69] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[70] Bizzabo, The Virtual Events Benchmark Report, Q2 2021

[71] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

[72] Bizzabo, The Virtual Attendee Experience Report

[73] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events

[74] Bizzabo, The Virtual Attendee Experience Report

[75] Forrester, B2B Marketing Event Trends: Virtual Is Here To Stay; Hybrid Is On The Way

[76] Bizzabo, The Virtual Attendee Experience Report

[77] Zippia

[78] Kaltura, The State of Virtual Events 2022

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