What The Future Holds for Hybrid Events
New research shows that event marketers believe hybrid events will continue to play a pivotal role in marketing strategies and are critical to gain market share.
02Hybrid events are here to stay
03Hybrid events increase networking opportunities
04Engaging attendees is a top priority
05Technology for the win
Virtual events have become a vital part of marketing strategies in recent years, as event marketers embraced the simplicity, expanded reach, and cost-savings that virtual events provide.
But as in-person events re-emerge, marketers have found it challenging to add a virtual experience to their live events. We wanted to know why.
To understand these challenges better, we surveyed event marketers and planners from various organizations to collect their insight around hybrid events.
We specifically wanted to know:
- What are the challenges facing event marketers when it comes to hybrid events?
- Are hybrid events valuable to a modern marketing strategy?
- What do event marketers need to successfully deliver hybrid events over the long term?
- Hybrid events will continue to play a pivotal role for event marketers in the future, with most event marketers agreeing that “hybrid events are the future of event planning/management.”
- Event marketers are challenged with engaging dual audiences and providing equitable, productive, and meaningful experiences for remote attendees.
Hybrid events offer event marketers a variety of benefits that include expanding their reach to a larger audience, lower costs, and greater access to data than an in-person or virtual event alone.
- Event marketers need a collective understanding of what defines hybrid event success and the technology and services that will generate their intended results.
About This ReportZoom commissioned Morning Consult to conduct a study of 150 event marketers from various organizations to understand the role of hybrid events in the modern marketing strategy, the challenges marketers face, and what it takes to create impactful hybrid events.
Hybrid events are here to stay
Virtual events have cemented their place in business operations due to the flexibility and adaptability they provide. Even as employees return to work, businesses have grown accustomed to operating both virtually and in-person and have no plans to slow down, as 43% of event marketers envision holding hybrid events a few times per week, and 25% imagine they will host daily hybrid events. All told, those surveyed plan to dedicate 37% of their budget to hybrid events, which outweighs both their in-person and virtual event budgets.
Not only is there a place for hybrid events in the future, but they will be a permanent fixture in event planning strategies, with 89% of event marketers agreeing that hybrid events are important to organizations and 91% believe they play an important role in the future.
Hybrid events increase networking opportunities
According to the data, hybrid events can actually help create valuable networking opportunities. Event professionals who are directly involved with planning and organizing events feel that hybrid events facilitate interaction between virtual and in-person attendees very well. In fact, 61% believe the interaction between virtual and in-person attendees is the greatest benefit of hybrid events, even more than cost savings.
Within those interactions, 63% of event marketers believe that exchanging contact information is the most ideal way to interact, while 62% prefer to have a meaningful conversation. Collaboration is also important, as 56% of event professionals cite collaboration as the most valuable way to interact, and 52% prefer to exchange ideas.
Engaging attendees is a top priority
Hybrid events require more than live streaming an event to a virtual audience. Instead, both audiences need real-time access to the same content and the networking opportunities regardless of their location. This causes uncertainty for some event marketers who struggle with creating a valuable experience for dual audiences, which makes it understandable to learn that attendee engagement ranks highest among their concerns. Specifically:
- 46% of event marketers regularly question whether their event will be engaging enough for attendees
- 41% are concerned with how productive their sessions are for participants
- 39% worry if remote attendees will have a lesser experience from those attending in person.
Other concerns for event marketers center around hybrid event technology itself and how easy it will be for remote users to get connected. The data states:
- 45% are concerned with connection for remote attendees
- 37% are concerned about how difficult it will be for remote attendees to access an event
- 29% are concerned with choosing the right platform for the event
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why 55% of people want to establish equality between remote and in-person attendees and believe it’s the most important part of a successful hybrid event.
Others define success by having:
- Relevant event content for attendees (52%)
- Ability for attendees to interact (50%)
- An event that’s easy to navigate (43%)
- An appropriate length of time (43%)
- Networking between attendees (39%)
Technology for the win
As the survey reflects, hybrid events are here to stay and play a valuable role in marketing strategies. Event marketing professionals face unique challenges with hybrid events and aim to create engaging, meaningful experiences that connect both audiences. To truly achieve these results, marketers need to understand the limitations of older video conferencing solutions and adopt a modern platform that is purpose-built for robust virtual and hybrid experiences.
Zoom Events all-in-one event management platform is specifically designed for hybrid and virtual events and enables both hosts and participants to have a seamless, connected, and memorable experience. To discover how to host your own successful hybrid event, talk with our team today.
This survey was conducted among 150 event marketers who were defined as those working in a Marketing or PR/Communications department with primary job responsibilities that include organizing/planning/marketing events. This survey was fielded among those in the United States from May 10–18, 2022. The data was unweighted. The margin of error for this study is +/- 8 percentage points.