The virtual event market is booming! More and more platforms are being introduced to the market. It’s like when children enter a candy store: it’s very hard to make a purchasing decision!
Marketers like you and I are asking ourselves: where do we host our virtual events? There are many things to consider when selecting your virtual event hosting platform.
Well, we analyzed the major virtual event hosting platforms to make your purchasing decision a little easier.
First, it must be noted that a clear distinction must be made between small and large virtual events.
Where to host virtual events?
Host your small virtual events on platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Depending on your use case, host your large virtual events (500+ attendees) on platforms such as Intrado, Hopin, ON24, or Bizzabo.
For small virtual events, your hosting decision will be quite easy. The chances are that your company already has an existing license to either Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
However, it gets more complicated with larger virtual events. They all offer different packages and services. Moreover, the costs for large virtual event platforms increase significantly. Especially now that the market is booming.
Now, we already did some research on which platforms are widely adopted amongst marketers.
Let’s dive into the individual platforms so that you can determine which one fits your use case the best. In this article, we will analyze Intrado, ON24, Bizzabo, and Hopin.
As covered in many articles on Markletic, Zoom is a great virtual event platform for small virtual events. With Zoom, you’re perfectly fine to host virtual events up to an audience size of about 500 people.
If your company is using Zoom as a video conferencing tool, then you no longer pursue your search on where to host small virtual events. You’ve got the answer right at your fingertips.
With Zoom you have two forms of virtual events that you can host, namely:
- Interactive virtual events with open microphones;
- Webinar type virtual events where people have to raise hands to speak.
I’ve hosted virtual events on Zoom with audience sizes ranging from 10 to 150 people.
When the audience size gets a bit larger, you might wonder how that’s manageable. Well, Zoom has breakout rooms functionality. This means that you can assign breakout rooms to people and basically you’re cutting up the full audience into smaller groups.
If you’re looking to host virtual events using Zoom, then have a look at some of my previous articles.
2. Microsoft Teams
Typically your company will only have one video conferencing platform. This can be Zoom, Cisco Webex, or Microsoft Teams. Any of these video conferencing platforms are fine for hosting smaller virtual events.
So if your company has a license for Microsoft Teams then you’ve found your answer on where to host smaller virtual events for your organization.
Similarly to Zoom, Microsoft Teams also has the ability to set up breakout sessions. This will make your audience more manageable.
With Microsoft Teams, you can easily host virtual events up to 100 people. The reason why Zoom can handle more people is that their breakout functionality is a little bit more advanced. This allows for easier event management.
If you’re looking to host virtual events that exceed 100 people, then I recommend setting up parallel sessions or hosting the virtual event multiple times so that everyone can attend.
Now for the fun part! The vendors that we will cover from this point onwards are all for large virtual events (500+ attendees).
This is also where this article will get a little bit more advanced. The below-listed vendors where you can host large virtual events offer a tonne of features. Naturally, many of the features they offer overlap.
The platform that’s right for you will depend on your use case as well as your company size. For each platform, I’ll also provide a list of companies currently using that platform so that you can benchmark.
Intrado is a platform where enterprise organizations can host their virtual events. Almost everything on the event platform is customizable, which is great if branding is important for you!
What’s great about Intrado is that after your virtual event, the platform remains accessible for many months.
This effectively means that you can continue to incorporate your virtual event in your demand generation activities for months after the event. Setting up your virtual event takes a heap of effort, so being able to get value out of the work you put in for many months is a great benefit.
With Intrado, you have extensive sponsorship capabilities. Sponsors can customize their virtual event booth and there is live chat functionality.
When to select Intrado as a platform for your virtual events:
- You need extensive virtual sponsorship capabilities such as booth designs and chat functionality.
- You need an unlimited number of attendees.
- You need the virtual event platform to be available on-demand
- You need real-time reporting
- You need extensive audience engagement capabilities.
- You need video content syndication
- You need the event platform to be mobile responsive
- You need gamification
- You need multilingual support
- You’re an enterprise organization
- Need fully customizable page building functionality
Companies using Intrado
- Amazon Web Services
Below are a few examples of how other companies have configured the virtual event platform of Intrado.
If you’re asking yourself where to host your virtual events but already are familiar with the webinar functionality of ON24, then I have some good news.
Most people will know ON24 for their webinar platform. It’s a webinar platform that’s widely adopted by companies around the world.
ON24 also provides a virtual event platform. The platform works best if the number of live attendees doesn’t exceed 5000 people. For most events, this shouldn’t be an issue.
ON24 gives attendees all the tools they need to network including neat gamification capabilities. The virtual event platform is configurable by a WYSIWYG editor.
Similarly to their webinar, the event platform also allows you to sync data to your marketing automation systems.
ON24 is actively investing in the platform and in the near future the platform will be enriched with features such as support for multiple presenters, more immersive user experience, and they’ll release a mobile app.
When to select ON24 as a platform for your virtual events
- You’re expecting up to 5000 attendees;
- Need gamification
- You need multilingual support
- You need networking capabilities
- You need breakout rooms
- You need extensive sponsorship capabilities.
- You need seamless marketing automation integration
- You need extensive support setting up the virtual event platform and session recordings.
Companies using ON24
Below are a few examples of how companies used the ON24 platform for their virtual events.
Bizzabo is an event platform that you can use for both in-person and virtual events. It’s probably the platform that’s most modern at the time of writing this article.
Sometimes, you will have the need to host a virtual plus in-person event simultaneously. This is also known as a hybrid event. Hybrid events are great for when there are for example travel restrictions from your audience.
If you’re wondering where to host your hybrid events, look no further.
Bizzabo can handle everything from registrations to agenda management, to analytics. It’s one of the most intuitive platforms out there and they have been declared the market leader by G2 Crowd.
When to select Bizzabo as a platform for your virtual events
- You need basic sponsorship and exhibitor capabilities
- You need your audience to be able to send one-on-one messaging
- You need seamless integrations with your CRM or marketing automation tools
- You need to be able to send out push notifications
- You need multi-track agenda’s
- You need unlimited attendees
- You need multilingual support
- You’re a small to medium-size business
- Need basic page building functionality
- You’re going to host a hybrid-event
Companies using Bizzabo
Below is an overview of their full suite of features.
Hopin is an awesome virtual event platform that places extra emphasis on networking. Hopin has got a speed network algorithm that matches people based on their pre-selected parameters.
The power of in-person events is networking and Hopin does a great job at replicating that. You can use Hopin for virtual conferences and you have the ability to fully customize the platform with your branding.
The breakout sessions on Hopin allow for great personal interactions. It feels similar to a Zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting.
When to select Hopin as a platform for your virtual events
- You need extensive networking capabilities including one-to-one meetings;
- You need a virtual stage;
- You need a virtual backstage where organizers and speakers meet before going live.
- You need to host a full-scale virtual event including a stage, breakout sessions, and a sponsorship exhibition hall.
- You need full flexibility in terms of branding
- You need up to 2000 live attendees
Companies using Hopin
- Product Hunt
Below are some impressions of the Hopin platform.
Selecting the right platform for your virtual events can be difficult. Hopefully, this article gave you more insights into where you can host your virtual events.
Understanding where to host your virtual events is the first step. Audience generation is the next important step. Here are the best ways to promote your virtual events.