At the end of March, we examined the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the events industry. As businesses continue to cancel and postpone their in-person events, event software vendors have been scrambling to accelerate their product roadmaps and release new offerings to help their customers pivot to virtual events.
To accommodate this rapidly expanding market, G2 has launched a new software category: Virtual Event Platforms. This new category aims to assist software buyers to find and compare products that will help them manage all of their business’ virtual events from one platform.
The rise of virtual events
According to G2’s remote work survey, more than half of workers have seen an increase in virtual events as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This comes as no surprise since businesses around the world are finding ways to adapt to the current situation. On G2, we’ve seen a huge spike in traffic to software categories that enable remote work. For example, our virtual classroom software category saw a 398% increase in traffic over a two week period.
While some companies may be turning to webinar tools for their virtual events, organizations that rely heavily on in-person events for marketing will require a more robust solution to manage all aspects of a full event calendar, including registration, sponsors and exhibitors, promotion, execution, and analysis. We already know businesses are looking for this kind of solution; Google Search trends show an unprecedented number of users have been searching for a “virtual event platform” in recent months.
Virtual event platforms category on G2
G2 has multiple software categories for event management, including event management platforms, but a majority of these products are designed for in-person experiences; there was nothing to signal buyers which products would provide unique features for managing virtual events. Additionally, products that specialize in virtual trade shows—rather than in-person events—didn’t seem to belong in any of G2’s existing software categories. The new virtual event platforms category fills this gap in G2’s software taxonomy.
Like event management platforms, virtual event platforms incorporate a variety of tools to plan, promote, and execute events. These products are flexible solutions that can scale to handle events of different types and sizes, like association meetings, multi-session conferences, trade shows, and job fairs.
However, virtual event platforms offer unique and specialized features to help businesses host digital experiences that replicate the value of in-person events. To accomplish this, virtual event platforms leverage built-in webcasting capabilities or integrations with webinar software, so attendees can access event content directly through the platform without downloading anything. Attendee engagement is an essential component of any successful event, so virtual event platforms also incorporate features for interactive content, such as Q&A, live polls, group chat, and 1:1 networking. For sponsors and exhibitors to engage with attendees, many virtual event platforms have tools to facilitate these meetings as well.
Some of the products in this new category are well-established event management solutions that have enhanced their platforms to support virtual events in addition to their standard features. Others are designed specifically for hosting online experiences. With G2’s new category for virtual event platforms, software buyers can find and compare products to aid their transition to virtual and hybrid events.