To say that 2020 has been a year of earth-shifting change would be an understatement, and the virtual events industry was no exception. Virtual event programming experienced massive growth and accelerated innovation to meet the needs of businesses as they moved their in-person event programming to a virtual format. We're taking a look at the state of virtual events as we close out 2020 and look forward to 2021.
The virtual events market is on fire, basically (in a good way). Innovation and adoption are on a meteoric rise, and virtual events in a post-COVID world are not expected to subside any time soon. Here are some interesting numbers according to Grand View Research:
- The Virtual Global Events market sector is predicted to be worth $94 billion once all the numbers are calculated across the industry in 2020, up from $77.98 billion at the end of 2019.
- Massive growth is expected to continue, with current projections of the market's compound annual growth rate topping 23% from 2020 to 2027, to reach $404.45 billion by 2027.
- Factors driving growth: Virtual events are cost effective and easy to connect with. This is coupled with the burgeoning popularity of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) — applications like Microsoft Teams — across multiple sectors.
Security and Zoom Bombing
With the onset of stay-at-home orders, the virtual event landscape underwent some serious stress testing. One issue that popped up almost immediately after people began to pivot their events and meetings to a virtual format en masse was security. A decent-sized security hole made itself known when reports of event hijacking made the news.
EventBuilder has always had security options in place for Organizers to help keep their event programming safe and secure, but with the increased awareness and need for more sophisticated tools, we added options for both your Portals and your Events. These include:
- Updated Portal User password requirements for length and complexity.
- The Portal locks after five failed login attempts.
- An email confirmation is triggered after a User changes their password.
- User Account transfers trigger an automatic log out and reset.
- 2-Factor Portal Authentication, with three options: Administrators only, Organizers and Administrators, and All Users (including Guest accounts).
- Organizers can add a validation question for Registrants before Registration confirmation.
- To help prevent link sharing, the option for "Single Use Join Link" was added.
- We added a "Registration Close Date," preventing last-minute registrations. (In our 12/11 software release.)
- Identity verification — by adding this to Events, an attendee who clicks on the join link is prompted to verify their email address before entry.
- Coming in December 2020: Organizers can add a CAPTCHA (Not a Robot) question to keep unwanted bots from accessing your events.
ISO Certification and Audits
EventBuilder was certified for ISO 27001 — Information Security Management — in July 2020, establishing protocols and standards for safely handling customer data and information. Compliance with ISO-27001 illustrates our continued commitment to information security at every level. We are also due to finish our ISO 27701 certification — Privacy Information Management — in February 2021.
Engagement and Reach
You've heard of virtual meeting and event fatigue? The struggle is real. Over the course of 2020, these questions kept coming up: How can event managers and presenters keep their audiences engaged and interested? What are some ways to expand your reach into under-represented markets? EventBuilder helped you stay on top of these, too, by offering Organizers a variety of choices to enhance the attendee experience.
By expanding our audience engagement suite of tools, we added features to help Organizers plan and implement in-event interaction with rating-style questions, the ability to gauge attendee sentiment on streamed events with a “thumbs up/thumbs down” option, and improved streaming quality and controls to deliver the best possible Attendee experience.
Additionally, EventBuilder updated all Attendee-facing features to meet WCAG 2.0 AA compliance, implementing accessibility and inclusive design improvements such as expanded Closed Captioning offerings, attendee controls, and increased color contrast for attendees requiring visual assistance. We want you to expand your events' reach and make it easier for you to reach a traditionally untapped source of event attendees with a wealth of input and innovation to share.
Data & Reporting - Event Lifecycle
Tracking attendee and event data is a vital piece of event management, helping you make sound decisions regarding future event programming and lead generation, and improving the quality of your virtual events to give you an advantage in a crowded market.
With that in mind, we're continually improving our data gathering and reporting features to help you capture the information you need throughout the entire event lifecycle. In 2020, we added several new types of questions, enabling you to obtain the data you actually need. With our new Microsoft Power BI connector, your data can also visually come to life.
More Options and Tools for Organizers
Building in flexibility throughout our software makes it possible to tailor your events to suit your exact needs. In 2020, we added:
- Registration Page Layout options — one-look-fits-all no longer! Choose from Classic, Marquee, and Clean layouts.
- Co-branding/Co-hosting — Expand your sponsorship opportunities and give them the credit on your Registration pages.
- Source Tracking Improvements — Now it's easier to account for what promotion channels your Registrants are coming from, helping you focus your efforts.
- Resend Event Communication Emails — Contact your Registrants any time you need.
- Expanded Customization Options — Including dynamic buttons, surveys, and updated HTML editors throughout the event build steps.
The Market and EventBuilder
The virtual events market is only going to grow. We've been here since the beginning, so we know what works and what you need to grow your events. In addition to our software offering, we also offer professional managed events services; we'll do the technology and management heavy lifting, you focus on your content and hosting great events. Contact us for a consultation today!