10 Best Virtual Event Platforms to Use in 2021 (Updated)
Virtual event platforms are essential software in 2021. No surprises there, in 2020 – a year of closed offices, social distancing, and travel restrictions – virtual events were up by 1000%!
From events marketing to virtual trade shows, virtual events have become a mainstay of our daily lives, enabling everyone, from brands to content creators to academic institutions, to get their message in front of people from all over the world.
So, which virtual event platforms are the best? In this article, we’re going to cover 10 of the best virtual event platforms to use for your next event.
Let’s jump right in!
What is a Virtual Event?
A virtual event, also known as an online event or virtual or online summit, is exactly what its name suggests: an event held entirely in the virtual space, at a specific date and time (‘live’) or at the attendees’ leisure (‘on-demand’, or ‘evergreen’).
Virtual events usually incorporate interactive elements to keep audiences engaged, for example, networking, Q&A sessions, gamification, and live polls. They vary in size and topic, and about 80% of them are free to attend.
With low barriers to entry and great opportunities for customization and personalization, virtual events are a fantastic way to provide value to your audience and sustain meaningful engagement.
Check out these tips on virtual events from Amy Walker Consulting for some ideas on how to organize a successful virtual event:
Of course, events do not simply spring up overnight – as an event organizer, you need to put in the work to build something that appeals to, and resonates with, your audience. In a time when we’re all inundated with virtual event invitations, it is not always easy!
Luckily, organizing a virtual event does not have to be difficult – virtual event platforms and software make this task far more manageable, enabling you to turn your event dreams into reality.
Depending on the purpose and scale of your event, and who your target audience is, the type and number of virtual event platforms you will need to add to your tech stack will be different.
Researching what’s available out there is a great place to start, and we’re here to help you find the best virtual event platforms for your next event:
10 Best Virtual Event Platforms
To kick start your search, here is a round-up of 10 of the best virtual event platforms to choose from. These platforms will take the heavy lifting out of event organization and management.
From webinar providers to email marketing, these are all brilliant tools for anyone looking to launch a successful virtual event:
HeySummit is an all-around event management platform that makes knowledge accessible. No matter who you are or where you live, HeySummit fosters a knowledge-sharing economy.
This empowers individuals, businesses, and organizations to share their content, ideas, and experiences with a global audience.
HeySummit’s built-in features simplify the process of producing a successful event.
They enable event organizers to manage all aspects of event management, including creating landing pages to market the event, onboarding speakers, selling tickets, collecting feedback from attendees, and ultimately, running the whole event.
Each session can be customized to shape the best attendee experience possible. HeySummit enables organizers to seamlessly knit together various types of sessions within one event – to create something engaging, insightful, and impactful for their audience.
Different types of sessions, for example, a panel discussion, workshop, or Q&A require different formats and plans – from live-streaming to networking.
HeySummit offers various tools that you can use alone or in conjunction with one another.
The platform also leverages the power of integrations to work with the tools you are already using, such as Zoom and Hopin. As such, there is no need to reinvent the wheel and learn new systems – simply plug in and go!
Hopin is a virtual venue with multiple interactive areas, which are optimized for connecting and engaging. Attendees can move in and out of rooms, just like an in-person event.
Promising high show-up rates, low drop-off rates, and happy attendees, Hopin’s platform emulates the feel of an in-person event on a virtual platform.
Attendees and speakers are able to navigate an exhibition floor, all whilst meeting and networking with others, dropping in and out of various keynote talks and generally interacting and engaging much like they would at a trade show or exhibition hall.
Its simple, user-friendly backend is great for first-time event organizers and those with limited coding skills.
A simple event can be set up within minutes by following 3 easy steps: entering the event details, creating the schedule, and going live!
With all event management aspects easily configured from the platform itself, event organizers can build their event registration flow, utilize Hopin’s email marketing tools as well as incorporate customized branding throughout all stages of the event experience.
Modelled after the exhibition hall format, vFairs is an events platform that enables event organizers to create and manage online conferences, trade shows, job fairs, and more.
Billing itself as the go-to tool for not only virtual but also hybrid events, vFairs offers extensive customization with features and integrations.
It offers capabilities to host both live and semi-live webinars, as well as stunning 3D design, which ultimately makes for a unique, captivating and memorable experience for attendees, speakers and sponsors alike.
It is also easy to use – nobody likes overly complicated tech that discourages and frustrates audiences – so visitors to your event can unlock content with little or no instruction.
The immersive, colorful environments allow users to comfortably browse content, network with exhibitors or peers, and attend live webinars with ease.
We also love that you can create an environment of inclusivity for your exhibition hall by choosing from a wide variety of avatar sets representing various cultures, ethnicities and abilities.
Remo promises easy, face-to-face interactions just like in real life. This is made possible by its visual top-down view and 2D map, comprised of interactive “rooms”.
Remo uses video, audio and chat to allow people within the space to interact naturally in real-time, from anywhere in the world.
Uniquely, Remo allows people to experience group networking via “tables”. On the platform, each floor has 19 tables with 6 seats on each table, allowing up to 6 people to network at a time.
The table model allows for more intimate and focused conversations all the while providing plenty of space for all of the participants. For 100+ attendees, more floors are created.
By putting real, human connection at the heart of its platform, Remo is great for anyone looking to have a virtual immersive space for events.
Event organizers have the freedom to customize the room and table names, but attendees have the power to choose who they interact with in real-time by joining a table.
When the time comes for speakers to begin their talk, the networking stops and everyone is able to watch and participate in the talk or discussion.
With over 300 million daily meeting participants, Zoom is certainly one of the most widely-used video conferencing applications available right now.
It is also a popular choice for people hosting live virtual events.
Offering simplified video conferencing and messaging across any device, Zoom’s meeting capabilities make it easy to start, join, and collaborate via video, audio, and chat.
It also allows for multiple simultaneous screen sharing and co-annotation for an interactive experience, as well as filters, reactions, polls, hand raising, and music or video sharing.
Participants can easily be broken out into smaller groups – called breakout rooms – to facilitate discussions and encourage active participation.
Zoom also allows event organizers to record the event and autogenerate transcripts.
Zoom offers free, 40-minute video calls with up to 100 attendees. Ultimately, with its intuitive interface and most folks’ familiarity with it, it is a reliable, solid platform to host your next live webinar.
Vimeo is an all-in-one video solution for video hosting and sharing. Its 200 million+ global users love how Vimeo makes it easy to add a video to your website, blog, or anywhere else on the internet, without writing a single line of code.
As a video hosting site, it is known for having the most reliable, fast-loading, ad-free HDR player.
As a live streaming platform, Vimeo broadcasts its videos in full HD with adaptive streaming, providing viewers with the highest-quality experience across devices – even in areas with limited bandwidth.
When an event is over, it is automatically archived in up to 4K, ready to be shared, embedded and rewatched over and over again.
Twitch is a live streaming platform, popular amongst gamers who use it to live stream their gameplay whilst chatting to millions of fans from around the world.
Since its launch, Twitch has partnered with gaming companies like Blizzard Entertainment and Overwatch League to host worldwide gaming and e-sports events exclusive to the platform.
Despite this, it is also quickly becoming the go-to place for live streaming content to a large audience – even the UK government is using the platform to broadcast regular press briefings on COVID-19.
Its dynamic event format makes audience participation and interaction key.
Twitch differentiates itself from other live streaming platforms with its offering of a shared experience. Rather than a passive, one-way presentation, the audience is getting a two-way (often more) conversation.
With live video cited as a priority for 56% of brands surveyed, and 40% of consumers eager to see more live video from brands, live streaming is a fantastic way to engage with your audience and garner buzz for your brand, especially if you have a young target demographic (users between 20-29 account for over 40% of Twitch’s userbase).
Facebook is always ahead of the trend these days, and live streaming is no exception. As an event organizer, you can go live on Facebook to broadcast a conversation, performance or series of talks.
You can go live on a page, in a group or an event, and your live videos will also appear in people’s News Feeds.
With roughly 2.8 billion monthly active users, you’ll get access to the world’s largest online audiences through a platform so many already use every day.
Facebook says that 1 in 5 of the videos posted to the platform are via Facebook Live, and that users spend 3 times longer watching a video when it’s live.
Going live via Facebook enables your audience to connect with you, your brand or your business in an engaging way, with viewers able to leave comments and reactions to your videos as they would on a regular Facebook post.
You can also be reactive – making the platform a popular choice for Q&As.
Offering browser-based, no-download webinar software, BigMarker is a top choice for many event organizers.
It is a great option for those looking to create, distribute, and build traction with live, on-demand, and automated video content.
Users can choose to host their content on their all-in-one virtual event platform, or make use of its embed function with additional interactive features like lead forms, polls, offers, and Q & As.
Furthermore, for anyone looking to broadcast their event on multiple platforms, BigMarker’s webinar software enables you to do so without additional coding or configuration.
SpotMe is a platform that goes beyond hosting virtual events – it delivers immersive digital experiences.
Enabling event organizers to host both live and on-demand content, users love its web and mobile friendly interface and host of personalized tools available.
From breakout sessions to gamification, this platform has built-in tools to ensure that the focus is firmly on enhancing the attendee experience.
One of the innovative ways it does this is their ‘Activity Feed’ feature, which instantly turns an audience into a collaborative digital community by enabling speakers, hosts and attendees to create posts, share photos, videos, comments and join in on threaded discussions.
Final Thoughts and Our Two Top Picks
There you have it, 10 stellar virtual event platforms guaranteed to help you taste virtual event success. Ultimately, virtual events are gaining momentum, now more than ever – so there’s no better time to launch your very own event!
Top Pick #1: Best Virtual Event Platform for Small and Medium Businesses
HeySummit. With its combination of simplicity and customization, it is truly designed with the event organizer in mind – saving hours of work.
HeySummit empowers users to create their virtual event vision with ease by simply entering your event details, and it auto-generates an entire event site for you. From there, you can add, delete, and rearrange any pre-filled elements, and add images, videos and text so you can create something that is uniquely yours.
Top Pick #2: Best for Large and Enterprise Businesses
Hopin is a great choice – its wide range of features, add-on services and dedicated support are ideal for those hosting larger events.
The platform offers numerous add-on tools and provides a really natural, comfortable, experience for event attendees. This is especially good for navigating large, complex, events while still providing a personal, interactive and engaging experience for your guests.
Go forth and create your first virtual event!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is an event hosted and attended online, in a completely virtual space. Virtual events have become a key component of daily life and we're all attending them in various forms. From work meetings on Zoom to webinars, Facebook live sessions and virtual training sessions or trade fairs, these are all forms of virtual events. Read the full article for more info on hosting a successful, and profitable, virtual event.
What is a virtual event platform?
Virtual event platforms are the software tools we use to create and host virtual events. These tools automate a large portion of the planning and execution of your event, making it much easier to manage the event from concept to execution. Read the full article for more info on the best virtual event platforms to use.
What is the best virtual event platform to use?
The best virtual event platform to use is one that meets the format requirements of your event, is accessible to your target audience and is compatible with/integrates with the software you use for payments etc. Here are 10 of the best virtual event platforms to choose from:
8. Facebook Live
Check out the full article for more info on each of these options and our two top picks - for small to enterprise businesses.
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