It’s easy to see that picking the best virtual event platform is more essential than ever. Virtual events are now crucial features of the work and events landscape in 2023–no surprise, as the pandemic lockdowns, social distancing, and office closures of 2021 and 2022 got more people communicating virtually and working remotely. In this piece, we’ll give you a run-down of how to choose the best virtual event platform for your purposes, what features you should look for, and point out the stand-out platforms in the field.
- What is a Virtual Event Platform?
- How to choose a virtual event platform
- 12 Best Virtual Event Platforms Overview:
- Kaltura – Perfect Solution for Hosting Virtual Event Platform
- Final Thoughts
What is a Virtual Event Platform?
Just in case you’re out of the loop, a virtual event platform is a software or app tool that facilitates your digital events. Without an event platform to help your event flourish, it’s just a multi-participant video call! The best virtual event platforms can bring a live event feel into the virtual online world and can include audio, video, and interactive elements as well as the use of smart technology.
Other than facilitating your event, the goal of a virtual event platform is to help people connect as well as increase audience engagement through interactivity and immersive environments. Full-featured platforms are a means to plan, run, and support virtual events. Certain platforms may also provide support for event planners or hosts on the administrative side and include registration and ticketing.
Key features to look for in a virtual event platform include:
- Live Streaming We all know what this is but a virtual event platform will give you the capacity to stream larger events and scale.
- Virtual Meetups An option for smaller, more casual meetups but within your larger platform, easily able to scale up to a big event or experience.
- Breakout Spaces Breaking smaller groups out from a large event or meeting is an excellent way to continue specific conversations or facilitate networking.
- Q&A Sessions Expand it out beyond a text chat window and engage your participants with a real back and forth that helps with information retention.
- Polling This is an interactive feature, helping to both engage the audience as well as provide a means to measure engagement.
- Workshop Facilitation Workshop-specific spaces for your virtual event; not everything in your program will be an audience passively watching a speaker or panel.
- Gamification This is another great way to simultaneously engage and gather data about your participants.
- Virtual Booths If an in-person trade show is not an option, you can showcase your products virtually.
How to choose a virtual event platform
To determine the best virtual event platform to meet your needs, you want to bear a few points in mind:
- Look for features that achieve the goal(s) of your event.
- Great event platforms have a (relatively) low barrier to entry.
- A virtual event platform should have networking functionality.
- If at all possible, on-demand support and live chat support features.
- Options to personalize your branding and customize the experience.
- Engagement opportunities for attendees, and engagement analytics, real-time and post-event.
- An affordable price (relative to your budget).
- A great user experience and aesthetic design.
12 Best Virtual Event Platforms Overview:
With the basics in hand, here is a descending-order list of what we feel are the best virtual event platforms to leverage in 2022. This is not an exhaustive review and we don’t mean to disparage anyone we might have overlooked. But if it didn’t make the list, caveat emptor – the buyer alone will be responsible for gauging its quality.
It’s our mission to provide an excellent virtual platform, and we feel confident that we’re succeeding so first off we’re recommending Kaltura Virtual Events as the best quality, full-featured virtual event platform that’s more than up to any type of event you want to put on. But since we’re a tough act to follow, we’ll discuss Kaltura Events at length and detail a little further down. First, we’ll give you the ins and outs of some other noteworthy products.
Most of us are getting to know the Zoom product pretty well. It’s not just widely adopted, it also does what it does in an approachable and reliable manner, setting a bar to compare other video conferencing apps. However, a video conferencing tool is not the most robust selection for a virtual event platform. It lacks the features to provide a real immersive or interactive event, especially on a large scale.
BigMarker features easy-to-use features and popular integrations that have made it the go-to of some major brands as well as a popular contender for best video platform for webinars, virtual summits, and virtual conferences. It has a range of features including live streaming and interactive video, email marketing and social media integration, engagement functions, and the ability to create branded microsites and landing pages. It’s also browser-based so software downloads aren’t needed. Pricing is variable monthly, and the app is well laid out to manage anything from a small training session up to a 1000-person event. On the downside, some have complained that BigMarker’s video and audio quality can be poor.
HeySummit is an excellent, easy-to-use virtual event platform solution for professionals who “don’t really get technology.” One trade-off for being so easy to use, though, is that it doesn’t pack as many options and features as other more robust options. It works from simply laid out landing pages, both for participants and planners. Key features include the ability to stream live sessions or prerecorded/on-demand content, a landing page builder, dashboard control for speakers, and detailed post-event analytics. Here’s the thing, though: HeySummit is not a self-contained virtual event platform. It needs to be integrated with Zoom or BigMarker to deliver content, which means that while it appears simple, there is more setup going on behind the scenes.
vFairs, on the other hand, bills itself as the best “all in one” virtual event platform you can find. vFairs puts its focus on immersive virtual event experiences, providing you with large customizable 3D event spaces and animated avatars, and generally works hard to provide you a viable alternative to in-person events with an eye on value. Their platform is designed to be compatible across industries and geographical regions and provide robust networking features. It’s also equipped with in-depth reporting features as well as support for add-ons and integrations. If anything, the main drawback is that it may feel a little overly “game-y” to some users.
Remo is another slightly gamified virtual event tool. It promises “easy, face-to-face” interactions and does this with a visual top-down view of a 2D map consisting of interactive rooms. Users within the spaces can interact naturally in real-time using video, audio, and chat, although they may be in different locations and time zones. It also has group networking “tables” enabling 6 people to network at a time. One major “Con” of Remo is that it seems mostly geared towards relatively small groups, so if you need to scale up to 1500 participants, this might not be your product.
EventCube is a virtual event platform offering “registration to event day” coverage: registration, ticketing, membership management, and virtual event products. It includes support for online and hybrid events as well as the possibility to cross over to real-world event management. Eventcube has also received high marks for ease of use and analytics. The only drawback is that EventCube seems to excel more in the area of networking hybrid events than providing the best virtual event environment in the way some other platforms strive to.
If you want a creative platform with a focus on design and customization, Tame could be the best virtual event platform solution for you. Its interface allows planners to customize and optimize every event detail. Tame is focused on large-scale events with audiences of 500 or more and supports that by options for adding multiple live tracks, breakouts, individual meetings, and even virtual exhibitor booths. However, if you need something that’s also suitable for small groups, say a 20-person webinar, Tame might not prove versatile enough to accommodate.
Not just for gamers anymore! There have been some dramatic changes to Twitch’s content and it’s not strictly being used to stream gameplay while chatting to fans. The kicker: some of these streamers’ audiences ranged into millions. Channels for a variety of non-game content have opened up as broadcasters with vision (including brands, celebrities, and even government representatives and officials) have recognized that Twitch is also an excellent way to reach a large audience while providing a two or more way conversation. As live video is broadly popular with consumers, Twitch is one of the best options for a virtual event platform especially if you have a young target demographic.
SpotMe is a platform with a web and mobile-friendly interface that states the goal of delivering immersive experiences. It can deliver both live and on-demand content with a wide range of built-in personalized tools. It also seems to have a fairly large, active user base through integrations with popular social media sites like Facebook. SpotMe can handle Q&As as well as more elaborate events where speakers, hosts, and audience can view streams while also creating posts, sharing photos and videos, and joining or commenting on discussions and other content. That said, SpotMe seems somewhat dependent on its interconnection with social media apps with a larger reach.
This virtual event platform offers amenities such as event websites that include ticketing and registration forms, email marketing automation and integration, virtual lobbies, and several engagement/interactive features like polling and gamification. It’s also capable of creating customized event apps. The main drawback–InEvent is generally geared toward enterprise users so it might not be the best virtual event platform for smaller gatherings or businesses/organizations that set up events infrequently.
While we’re at the end of the list now, don’t get the wrong idea, this is still a product that comes recommended. Having said that, Filo is a platform that aspires to be “the future of B2B collaboration”. It offers collaboration rooms, conferencing, templates, and a suite of features aimed at team building within work environments. It’s also integrated with Zoom to scale and deliver video. It’s certainly a capable feature set, although it feels in some ways more like a Zoom overlay than a standalone platform.
- Where Can You Host Virtual Events?
That’s the genius of virtual events–you can host them anywhere! Host a conference from your bedroom or rent out a concert hall for a hybrid livestream performance.
However as we’ve run down above, your choice of tools and platform will count for a lot. Additionally, make sure you or your platform provider have adequate network bandwidth and storage capacity to broadcast and manage the content.
- What Kind of Events Can You Do with a Virtual Event Platform?
In the previous answer, we pointed to a range of virtual event types. Keep in mind that the capabilities of your platform will affect what you’re able to execute: a small-scale networking tool is not the best virtual event platform for a stream that will attract thousands of viewers.
- The Difference Between Virtual Event Platform vs. a Video Conferencing Tool
The primary difference is that a conferencing tool tends to host a single speaking session, even if it’s one-to-many or many-to-many, whereas virtual event platforms are designed to allow for multiple live sessions. While conferencing tools often do the trick, virtual event platforms are geared towards handling complex events with configured agendas, and multiple workshops, networking events, or speaking sessions happening at the same time.
Kaltura – The Perfect Virtual Event Platform Solution for Hosting
We mentioned earlier we’d be taking a deeper dive into what Kaltura can offer you for virtual events. Well, the time is now! When deciding which virtual event platform will be best for hosting your events, we can safely recommend our own advanced virtual event solution Kaltura Virtual Events as the platform of choice. Kaltura Events ensures any event will feel like a fully-planned effort even if meeting in person is not an option. It’s our mission to make sure all of your virtual events can be on-brand and simple to create and execute. We can provide high-quality video streaming, best-in-class engagement and interaction features, and a reliable platform from which to launch content and live interactions … in other words, we provide you the best possible foundation and leave the rest up to you!
Kaltura Virtual Events is a fully-featured virtual event platform that can help and facilitate through the planning stages into execution and follow-ups. During the planning and setup stages of your virtual event, you can take advantage of our agenda-building capabilities as well as fully customizable landing pages and preset event templates. We have 5 main templates that can either be implemented “as-is” as well as reused or reworked: Interactive Webinar, Town Hall and Large Broadcast, Single Track, Multi-Day Multi-Track, and Flagship Event. Our Flagship Events template is particularly geared toward those “Once-a-year and one-of-a-kind” types of virtual events and comes with the full advantages of our platform as well as excellent production support from our teams. On a smaller scale, the Interactive Webinar format can be a great option for a standout team meeting. Our templates have robust features for individualized modification and are intended to keep you 100% on-brand, as well as make it possible to extend your reach by scaling up and adding tracks and content.
Kaltura Virtual Events also features out-of-the-box integrations as a modular framework for your SaaS tools including conferencing clients, marketing automation platforms, and data analytics. On a larger scale, our automation features can empower you to use your event to create personalized, customized, and automated live marketing that puts you on track for follow-up campaigns. For more intimate virtual corporate events, we enable hyper-personalization for all attendees, including personalized agendas, selecting topics of interest during registration to content recommendations, customizable layouts, personal media collections, and other options to significantly individualize any virtual event experience.
Remember that the best virtual event platform for you is going to be the one that best meets the individual needs of your event and brand. Whenever possible, research, try, and evaluate. Some platforms even offer a free trial or demo option! But whatever you decide, first consider your goals, think about your budget, and create a list of must-have features. From there you can make an informed decision about which platform meets the format requirements of your event, is most accessible to your target audience, and most compatible with the software you use for payments and other business functions!