The top 5 virtual event software platforms of 2020

With in-person events temporarily postponed due to health concerns, virtual event platforms have taken center-stage in 2020.

If you’ve been online at all in 2020, you’ve seen an advertisement promoting a virtual event. It makes sense. After all, in-person events are a no-go right now because of COVID-19. But maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “What is a virtual event anyway?”

Virtual events are very similar to in-person ones, except they’re hosted over the internet rather than in a single physical location. Still, people show up at an appointed time, listen to speakers, watch entertainers, network with each other… All the regular, in-person event details, except online.

Oftentimes, virtual event content is recorded and made available to audience members after the event concludes. In fact, that’s what we did for Nutshell’s BOUNDLESS 2020 event — you can check out the session recordings on YouTube.

Here’s the thing, in order to host a virtual event, you’ll need a virtual event platform. Let’s dive in:

What is a virtual event platform?

A virtual event platform is a tool that will allow you to recreate the vibe of an in-person conference or trade expo over the internet.

Users should be able to host multiple speakers in both live-streamed and pre-recorded sessions using this kind of software, as well as enable attendees to interact with event hosts at predetermined times.

This kind of tool is different from a virtual meeting software like Zoom or GoToMeeting. Virtual meeting software is designed for small groups to come together in an intimate, face-to-face way — even when participants happen to be miles away from each other. These solutions generally featured limited permissions and features as well.

Virtual event platforms are different because they provide administrators with a multitude of ways to engage with attendees, including waiting rooms, polls, Q&As, live chat, and more. Where virtual meeting software places every user in one “room,” virtual event software is for presentations between a handful of speakers, and all attendees are “in the audience,” with their webcams and microphones turned off.

You can think of virtual meeting software as bringing users together to sit at one table, whereas virtual event platforms place users in the audience and the presenters are on the stage.

What can you do with a virtual event platform?

Now that we know what a virtual event platform is, let’s talk about what you can do with it. There are quite a few options, which we’ll cover below:

Virtual events

Of course, it wouldn’t be a virtual event platform if you couldn’t host virtual events on it. The kind of event you host can range from small, exclusive webinars to large get-togethers that include thousands of people from around the world.

Basically, we’re talking about any virtual event that features one or more speakers and an audience that tunes in to listen and learn, but not necessarily speak themselves.

Q&A sessions

A proper virtual event platform will feature an integrated Q&A system so that attendees can ask speakers and/or moderators questions at specific times during the virtual event.

It doesn’t matter what kind of event you’re hosting, in-person or virtual, audience engagement is key. But gatherings hosted over the internet need to pay special attention to engaging audiences as attendees can easily log off and do

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