What Is a Hybrid Event: The Benefits of Hybrid Events in 2022
Updated: Jun 10, 2022
The term hybrid event is something that was alien to most people before 2020. But due to the pandemic, it has become a common term among business leaders and organizations who found themselves navigating the limitations of the social distancing regulations and the need to organize events for marketing efforts. What is a hybrid event? And why is it something that you need to master in 2022?
In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know from "what is a hybrid event" to the potential benefits that you stand to gain from utilizing hybrid events in 2022.
What is a Hybrid Event?
A hybrid event is any type of event that combines in-person with virtual audience attendance. It is held in a specific venue with a limited audience. The participation of an online audience is designed to help those who are unable to attend the event physically to still be involved and have the opportunity to access the same content.
Hybrid events are the new normal in this day and age. It is when an in-person and online audience come together and share the same experience, even when they are at different locations.
It should not be confused with live-streaming events. The latter is more of a one-sided phenomenon wherein you have a speaker or set of speakers discussing a particular topic and the virtual audience can listen in. A hybrid event is very different from that. The audience is not listening to a static recording, nor are they “passive” participants. Instead, they are a part of the event, albeit the virtual audience won’t be able to physically participate.
The audience in a hybrid event can actively participate while the event is ongoing. The event organizer will often have polls, live chats, and Q&A sessions with the in-person and virtual audience to increase engagement. Some even have networking opportunities for the attendees, which basically makes the possibilities of such an event limitless.
Benefits of a Hybrid Event
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the shift towards digital transformation. The same is true for event organizers and businesses that rely on events for marketing and branding purposes. For business-critical events, hybrid events play a vital role in your long-term marketing strategy.
These are some of the reasons why you should organize hybrid events:
1. Boost Reach and Attendance
When hybrid events were first introduced, there was a misconception that attendees must choose between in-person and virtual attendance but not both. The truth is, this is one of the unique advantages that this type of event has - you can extend your reach since you have both an in-person and virtual audience participating.
Another advantage with this is there is no limit on the number of virtual attendees you can have. Moreover, those who would like to participate but are unable to due to physical limitations can now do so remotely. Your ability to reach an audience is, therefore, not limited by the number of people that can be accommodated physically by the event venue.
2. Higher Engagement
Hybrid events also provide the added benefit of increased engagement from the audience. Unlike in traditional events where the audience is made up of passive observers listening to speakers, a hybrid event is designed to be more engaging.
The virtual audience can share content while the event is ongoing or add comments and questions along the way. Some event organizers have even designed a format that allows them to dedicate a portion of the event towards live questions from the audience.
3. Ease of Access to Data and Insights
The technology used for hosting hybrid events is equipped with tools that enable you to access valuable insights about the event. You have the ability to check essential numbers so you can gauge the success of your event.
For example, you can access the total number of in-person and virtual attendees, gather feedback from the audience via polls, or have them answer surveys. This data can be utilized in a number of ways depending on the goals of the event.
4. Ramp Up Your Marketing Efforts
Hosting a hybrid event can boost your marketing pipeline significantly by optimizing your marketing efforts based on the interactions with your virtual and in-person audience.
Recording your hybrid event and then making it available through your website or social media profile can also provide those who were unable to attend the event to access the content long after the event has taken place. You can even use the data and insights from the hybrid event in order to improve your marketing strategy and event planning for the future.
5. Improve Event ROI
You can also maximize your return on investment with a hybrid event because it is easy to measure and scale. By attracting more attendees you will be more able to achieve your marketing goals.
With a hybrid event, you can lower your financial risk for hosting the event. It is also easier to market hybrid events online so that you can maximize the reach and attendance for the event.
6. Strengthen Relationship with Community
The ability to network among the participants and to actively engage the attendees of a hybrid event provide a foundation for a great relationship with your audience. Unlike in traditional events where the communication is one-sided, a hybrid event is more engaging. The audience feels valued because their opinion is taken into account. They also have the ability to ask questions, so you can capitalize on the shared interests. It can be transformed into a hub for professional networking and community building.
How to Make Hybrid Events a Success
What is a hybrid event and how do you make it a success? If only the answers were simple, but you can learn from others to make it easier to plan for yours.
First off, you have to make sure that it is one and the same experience for both types of attendees. The content should be relevant and easy to access for both.
Next, aim for an engaging content presentation by integrating interactive sessions and live Q&A sessions. Keep the sessions short and easy to digest.
Make sure that you have a strong and reliable internet connection. This will guarantee that your hybrid event runs smoothly and that your virtual audience can get the same quality experience as the in-person attendees.