Difference Between Virtual Events and Webinars
These days virtual events are considerably popular. We must have attended at least one virtual event in the past few months. They have become a significant part of our life. These events can be as fundamental as virtual meetings to as advanced as a virtual Trade show. Even businesses and organisations are exceedingly relying on virtual event technology to organise all their events. They have hosted events like the virtual fair, virtual conference, virtual trade show and virtual AGM. The list is long.
But many people still get baffled in defining the nature of virtual events. In other words, what type of event they attended. And one of the most confusing is the difference between Webinars and virtual events. People often question, why webinars are different from virtual events? Don't worry. Today we are going to look at the definition, similarities and difference between webinars and virtual events.
A virtual event is an event that is organised in a digital medium. The goal behind hosting a virtual event is to imitate a physical event into digital space. In this type of events, participants are connected through a virtual network. A virtual event relies on a 3-D and interactive environment. It provides a lot of advantages over physical events.
To host a virtual event, you need a virtual event platform or software. This platform should provide an immersive experience to your audience. Alternatively, you can also go with a virtual events agency or company that holds experience in hosting virtual and hybrid events.
A webinar is also known as Web seminar. It is an online seminar in which people can listen and interact with the speaker. For a webinar, you need a webcam. A webinar is generally used for a small number of people. It can be used for delivering training or workshops.
Webinars arrived in the 90s and can be considered as a predecessor of virtual events. And just like virtual events, webinars can be organised on today's virtual event platforms.
Similarities between webinars and virtual events
Since both virtual events and webinars are organised on a digital platform, they both are cost-effective. You can avoid spending on the venue, food, travelling and accommodation. This is not only beneficial to host but to also attendees. Hence, making the event accessible to more people.
2. Time friendly
Both the webinar and virtual event can be made available as on-demand video. But webinars are generally delivered live rather than pre-recorded video. It means anyone can view your event anytime according to their comfort. Also, it implies that your event will get a viewership event after it has ended. Now it is up to you that for how long your event is available to the audience.
3. Worldwide Viewership
The medium of both the webinar and the virtual event is digital. It means you can cross geographical barriers. And anyone from any corner of the world can attend your event. Thus, you get a global reach. All you need a device with a camera and microphone.
4. Greater ROI (Return-on-Investment)
Since you save a lot of money, get higher viewership and a global audience, you can safely say that you get a higher ROI. And this is valid for both webinar and virtual events. It also means you can host an international event on a smaller budget.
If you host a physical event, including a seminar, you would need a lot more resources. These resources can be paper for printing brochures and banners while furniture for sitting arrangement. And both these materials are prepared by cutting trees. So, you can avoid this wastage by organising virtual events and webinars.
Difference between a webinar and virtual event
1. Live Networking
One of the most significant advantages of a virtual event is the networking opportunity. You can build new connections and expand your network in a live event. This is simply not possible in a Webinar. Since a webinar is much narrower, attendees cannot contact speakers during the webinar.
For networking in a virtual event, you can use multiple features and tools. These are AI matchmaking, Networking lounges, 2-way communication, Live Chats (1:1 or group) and so on.
2. Event Duration
Like physical events, virtual events can last for a few days and, in some cases, even more. But that is not the case with a webinar. Now you must be wondering why the webinar is shorter than the virtual event. Usually, in a webinar, attendees listen or interact with one or multiple speakers, so there is no scope to extend a webinar more than a day. While in the virtual event, there are loads of other activities. Some of them are multiple exhibitions, sessions and so on.
3. Limited Engagement Option
The structure of a webinar is quite different from a virtual event. And what it means that there are limited options to engage your audience. But you must be thinking about how that affects the audience or the event. You see, the success of the event really depends upon the experience of the audience. And engagement is an essential part of that experience. Since a webinar is more like a 1:1 session, you cannot use engagement features like Gamification, Live polling, surveys, AR photobooth and so on. These features will distract your audience instead of engaging them.
4. Less sponsorship
Generally, a virtual event offers a lot to sponsors. They are longer in duration, can be highly engaging and provide networking opportunities. But all these things are simply absent from webinars. This means less or only a niche audience will attend such an event. And all these are enough to turn away the majority of sponsors. Yes, it might be optimal for those sponsors who belong to the same industry on which the seminar is focused. But it won't get sponsors from multiple industries or backgrounds.
5. Social media integration
Social media plays a very crucial role in promoting any event. And it is accurate for virtual events. Also, you can use social media-focused features like emoticons, social walls and competitions to keep your audience hyped. Apart from engagement, it will boost the popularity of your event. So, it has multiple benefits. But as mentioned earlier, these features won't work suitably in a webinar. What it means that you lose all the perks that come with these features. You have fewer options to engage your audience and to promote your event.
Now that you know about the similarities and differences between a webinar and a virtual event. Tell us about your thoughts. Which one do you prefer the most? And why?