Whether through necessity, choice or a combination of the two, companies from all manner of sectors and industries have embraced remote working over the last twelve months. As a result, online conference platforms have exploded onto the scene, revolutionising the way businesses interact with customers and colleagues alike.

So what are online conferences?

Online conferences provide many of the same benefits as their traditional counterparts, often featuring a thought leader in their given industry who speaks in a series of sessions. Where conventional and virtual events differ from one another, however, is their scalability and uniqueness.

Hosting an event or conference would typically involve hiring a space, which immediately limits the capacity of your audience. The physical space, such as a stage or platform, will also dictate how you engage with your intended audience.

Online events take advantage of today’s technology, exciting graphics and engaging displays enable the host to tailor a truly immersive experience - without the expensive outlay of sourcing and hiring a venue.

Conference organisers need to factor in attendance into the planning of their event. Before the coronavirus pandemic, when physical conferences were more commonplace than they have been recently, attendance was often negatively impacted by a multitude of factors.

Whether through poor promotion or organisation of the event, this study carried out in 2016 suggested that cost was the number one reason for attendees choosing to not attend a physical conference, at 72% of the sample.

Whilst 60% listed their work schedule as a deciding factor in skipping the event. The same study also revealed that over 80% of online conference attendees would avoid the conference generally, if it were in a traditional format.

This isn’t to say that a physical event doesn’t have its merits; there are some situations where being there cannot be undervalued enough.

But by combining online conference platforms within the physical space, known as a hybrid event, organisers can provide the best of both worlds.

Choosing the right platform for your company

Since the popularity in virtual conferences has seen such dramatic growth in recent years, choosing between the various platforms available to you can seem daunting.

It goes far beyond just choosing between features like video quality and viewer capacity, for your event to be a resounding success, you need to be able to create an engaging and truly unique experience.

Whether you’re planning a large conference or a series of smaller events, virtual training classes or team business simulations - there are some key features that you’ll need from your chosen conference platform. The most popular and common online conference features being:

  1. Live streaming
  2. Pre-recorded Video
  3. Co-browsing
  4. Instant messaging
  5. VoIP audio conferencing
  6. Platform support
  7. Screen sharing
  8. Ability to go private
  9. File sharing
  10. Whiteboard features

Many streaming services, like Zoom or WebEx, offer the same or similar features as the technology is widely accessible for all business users.

But the platform you choose is just one piece of the puzzle. What really separates one virtual events service from the next is how easily the event is branded, customised and aligned to your company goals.

Setting up an online conference can be as straightforward or as complicated as you want it to be, but if extending your reach, increasing attendance and engagement and generating revenue are priorities to your business - you’ll need a service that is tailored specifically to you.

Online conferencing and virtual events from MDA

We’ve focused on creating a service that is hassle-free, taking the stress out of planning, organising and delivering your online conference or virtual event.

From recruitment fairs to induction days, we’ll provide as much support as you need throughout the whole process.

Whether you need technical support throughout the event, hosting assistance or managing the logistics of a virtual or hybrid event - you decide our level of involvement, leaving you to focus on your priorities.

We’re well versed in all of the popular online conference platforms and can offer you tailored advice as to which platform and technology are best suited to your event.

With over 30 years of experience running both physical and virtual corporate events, MDA is a trusted partner to a range of organisations the world over.

Our tried-and-tested approach to virtual events management offers flexibility and convenience for all of our clients. So whether you’re looking to run team building events or away-days, virtual CPD classes or recruitment conferences in 2024 - you can trust in MDA to ensure your event is a complete success. Get in touch with one of our team to start your virtual journey!