Why Virtual Events are Here to Stay

Over the past 18 months, the way we connected with one another changed dramatically. So long were the days of going out with your friends to the club or a concert, and travelling with your work colleagues to the annual conference became a thing of the past. Events like these were simply cancelled or turned virtual.

Although it seems like it, virtual events aren’t anything new. In 2019, the global virtual events industry was valued at $78billion, with a projected annual growth rate of at least 23% from 2020 to 2027 (report by Grand View Research). Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which by default caused the number of virtual events to rise in a way nobody saw coming.

Now, even with in-person events returning, it seems many corporations and artists are still opting to stay virtual. But why is this? We’re chalking it down to a few simple reasons.

Throughout the pandemic, many large businesses have become accustomed to managing events electronically, and along the way have learned that doing so allows them to accommodate a much wider audience, and more cost-effectively. In terms of music, one of the first and largest virtual events to take place during the pandemic was the global megastar Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054. Studio 2054 was a livestream concert by the singer in support of her second album, Future Nostalgia. The concert took place in four live streams on 27 November 2020, ultimately drawing in a whopping 5 million viewers globally. Taking into account the average ticket cost which was £7.50, she could have made up to £37.5m, working on a budget of just £1.5m, whilst still only having to perform once. Putting things into perspective, another huge artist like Taylor Swift’s most recent in-person Reputation Stadium Tour had 53 dates and an overall attendance of 3 million. This started to show people that these virtual concerts can be a great way to reach a huge amount of people, while potentially making a decent return on investment.

Not only does holding an event digitally increase the number of people able to attend, but these sorts of events also bring a greater sponsorship opportunity. Because of the wider attendance as a result of being able to participate electronically, sponsors know they can reach a bigger audience than just sponsoring an in-person event. They can also participate in the event too, by setting up event booths and presenting presentations through video conferences to attendees.

Another huge upside to holding events digitally is the reduced environmental impact. Travel is one of the largest causes of CO2 emissions, especially flying, and in-person events will always require some form of travel. A virtual event allows you to host with a sustainable perspective whilst also expanding your reach to other locations and countries.

Finally, we are learning more and more as time goes on that virtual events are no flash in the pan. According to a recent study by LinkedIn, 45% of future B2B events will be completely virtual.

Its survey of 200 B2B event organizers in the UK and Ireland found that 72% of businesses will maintain virtual events in the long term and 77% are interested in organizing hybrids.