Top 5 Virtual Event Engagement Ideas

Have you been engaged before?

One of the many questions since 2020 yet to have a perfect formula or recipe. I have been researching and here are my top 5 ideas, some I have been using for my past virtual events and some I will put them into practice soon.

1. Earn points to redeem gifts

A lot of virtual event platform has this feature ready – set the goals and audience can earn points after completing assigned tasks or missions. Instant gratification by using the points to redeem for gift cards or surprise swag box or sponsored gifts. I find this really useful to drive the audience to sponsor’s booths or get the audience more active during the general sessions or making sure the attendees network with one another. You can check out platforms like Cvent, OnAir by EventsAir or Hubilo.

2. Online games

Having games during breaks can be a good way to keep the audience occupied, especially those that do not have e-mail to response to or do not need such long toilet break. I use Engamio a new gamification platform to build simple games such as word search or jigsaw puzzle game, the leaderboard will create the competition among the audience. Platform like Engamio allows branding and it can be part of the sponsorship package. What platform do you use – care to share and comment?

3. Virtual photo booth

We are so used to getting a photo booth at a physical event but what’s stopping us from having a virtual version? Platforms like Snapbar even allows the user to add stickers (props) on their photo. If the user is super shy, he or she can just keep the photos without sharing them on social media.

4. Get physical

EventMB’s event had short 10 mins of workout session conducted by professional fitness instructor which I mind it very useful to get the audience moving or up from their seats after a few hours of intense knowledge downloading. There are other activities such as cocktail masterclass, mentalists show or even

5. Discussion forum

Turn the chat function during the session into a discussion forum. Some platforms rename the chat feature to Discussion Forum to encourage more subject matter discussion rather than normal chat. To achieve this, a good moderator is required to drive the conversation and this definitely can help to stimulate the discussion while the session is going on.

Webinars are not virtual events

I believe we see more and more webinars and virtual events invitation and promo on our LinkedIn and Facebook feed since March 2020. Ever wonder if webinar considered a virtual event?

You may disagree with me but to me, a webinar is not a virtual event. A virtual event should meet some (if not all) of the below criteria, imagine a conference:

  • Attendees interaction
  • Networking
  • Multi sessions
  • Multi tracks or break outs
  • One-on-one meeting
  • Sponsors’ virtual booth
  • Concurrent sessions

A virtual event usually last more than 4-hours or at least a full day with a stellar line up of speakers with well curated content under one common theme and great networking opportunity for speakers, sponsors and attendees.

What is webinar then?

Essentially, webinar is supposed to be a one-hour or so un-engaging presentation, useful for marketing purpose and even existed long before COVID. But today, webinar can be a video with one or more speakers presenting to a group of audience, can be presentation of slides or panel discussion or demo a product. Or you also call it online seminar.

So what do people normally use when hosting webinars?

Sales coaching, motivational sessions, sales pitch or instructional content are usually webinars. Webinars are meant to reach out to as many people as possible, the bigger the audience the better for sales. Therefore, the registration platform or module that comes with the webinar platforms are rather straightforward – register, get confirmation and login link; then join the webinar.

Unlike a virtual event registration, the algorithm or logic can be a lot more complex and accreditation or approval process can be included. For example,

  • an attendee to the virtual event can have their profile viewed by other attendees
  • an attendee can set a meeting with another attendee
  • business match making can be done
  • attendee can select the tracks or sessions to join during registration or before the event
  • sponsors can set appointment with the attendee

So is your next event a webinar or a virtual event? What is your big WHY for the project? One may work better than the other depending on what you would like to achieve.

If you have any questions or need advice about an upcoming event, feel free to contact me at

Learn about virtual events (Webinars)

In the past 2 weeks, there are numerous webinars and online trainings on virtual events – mostly FREE. Here are some of the webinars that I personally find them useful and very insightful.

2019 Salt Conference Event Case Study

Credit: PSAV Global Virtual Events Day

Very informative and it helps to hear on a real life case study, and not a hypothetical scenario. I may have mentioned in previous posts that hybrid event is not new in our industry, maybe less used previously.

How to host a virtual event?

Credit: Epiphan and Crowdcast

This webinar will give a better idea on how to prepare or plan for a virtual event.

Virtual Events in Real Life

Credit: PSAV Global Virtual Events Day

Create Value with Virtual Events Sponsorships

Credit: PSAV Global Virtual Events Day

Adobe Summit 2020

I have listed this summit as a case study, for the first time Adobe Summit is 100% virtual.