Many organizations missed out on their conferences, events, and fundraisers in 2020. That’s because none of us quite knew how the COVID-19 pandemic would continue to affect us.
But this year is different. If we don’t want to be caught without a plan again, we have to stop crossing our fingers and hoping for the best. Instead, we can make the best out the situation by fully embracing remote, distanced, hybrid, or fully virtual events.
That’s easier said than done. In the last twelve months, hundreds of virtual event platforms have popped up.
Here at Jumbo, we’ve been producing hybrid and virtual events for years, long before any of us knew who Dr. Fauci was and “can you see my screen?” became our national slogan. So, we thought we’d share our expertise by putting together a list of the best virtual event software platforms out this year.
First, let’s talk about who should use a virtual event platform, and what features you need to be looking out for.
Should I use a virtual event software platform for my virtual conference?
Your virtual conference deserves more razzle dazzle than just a Zoom call. Using a virtual event platform will allow you to brand the event in the same way you’d decorate a venue for a traditional conference.
If you’re charging people to attend, you need to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth. Look for these features for your virtual conference:
- Branded registration page
- Mainstage streaming as live content
- Virtual breakout rooms for workshops
- Direct messaging for networking
- Polls and quizzes to engage attendees
What about a virtual trade show? Will a virtual event platform work for that?
Trade shows and expos are important for showing off new products, especially in the technology and medical space. When you host a virtual trade show, you actually give attendees more opportunity to interact with the product, since they can return to the virtual content as many times as they need.
Here are the features you should look for if you plan to use the virtual event platform for a trade show:
- Automated email reminders for event time
- Video library of demos and explainers
- Q&A for your sales team to answer questions about the products
- Post-event content hosting
What if I want to host a virtual fundraiser using a virtual event platform?
That’s a big yes.
Corporate partners and individual donors are tighter with their purse strings due to the economic impacts of the pandemic. A virtual fundraising event will help you keep your organization top of mind.
The work done by nonprofits is more important than ever. Many virtual event platforms have special nonprofit pricing for this exact reason. As you’re talking to platforms, look for these features:
- SMS (text message) reminders
- A live web producer to help you switch back and forth between a live host and pre-shot content
- Fully integrated donation options
- A live ticker of the incoming donations
Here are the best virtual event software platforms of 2021
- Basic features: Custom registration page, ticketing, quizzes, polls, breakout rooms, chat, user profiles, interactive schedule, live and post-event analytics dashboard.
- Unique features: Remote production kits shipped to your home, in-house production team to design and produce your event, custom integrations with almost any tool you use, multi-table “lounge” rooms for networking, fully whitelabeled.
- Cost: Starts at $8,000 for one-time events. All features included. Monthly pricing available for creators or recurring events.
- Jumbo is best for… agencies, producers, and creators who want to build completely whitelabled virtual experiences, or who could use additional help with production.
- Basic features: Live chat, Q&A, polls, sponsorship opportunities, production team, live stream assistance.
- Unique features: Production tools (like customized layouts, backgrounds, and video cuts), custom semi-permanent studio build-outs.
- Cost: $7,000 for single day events. $16,000 for multi-day events.
- Brandlive is best for… broadcast quality events that need an interactive, virtual environment.
- Basic features: Ticketing, registration, chat, polls, customizable modules.
- Unique features: Speed dating networking feature, five-way private direct messaging, intuitive attendee activity reporting, YouTube and Vimeo integration for pre-recorded content.
- Cost: $18,000 annual fee for the business license.
- Hopin is best for… recurring events that require a capable platform with popular integrations.
- Basic features: Whitelabeling, live chat, live streaming.
- Unique features: Virtual exhibitor booths, Mailchimp Salesforce and Hubspot integrations, lead capturing.
- Cost: Minimum $15,000 annual license. $5,000 per day for single events up to 500 attendees. Additional features cost extra.
- AccelEvents is best for… medium-sized events with produced content who need a virtual platform.
- Basic features: Polls, Q&A, live chat, raise hands feature, live streaming.
- Unique features: Uses AI to match similar people, virtual social lounge, attendee profiles.
- Cost: Free for events up to 100 people. Starts at $99/month for over 100 attendees. Price increases up to $599/month for 1000 attendees.
- Airmeet is best for… intimate networking events or larger workshops.
- Basic features: Roundtables and group activity capabilities, live streaming.
- Unique features: Lets 8 people on the stage presenting at once with up to 200 attendees, or you can split into 1-1 calls.
- Cost: Free for personal use with no branding or data. $95/month for up to 200 participants.
- Icebreaker is best for… networking events, job fairs, and speed dating.
- Basic Features: Insights, sponsor booths, lead generation, advertisements, meeting booking, push notifications, downloadable content, live chat, live stream.
- Unique Features: AI-powered matchmaking algorithm for attendees, local time zone support. No custom branding available.
- Cost: No cost listed.
- Brella is best for… small to medium sized trade shows and product announcements that require sales team interaction.
- Basic features: Meeting booking, push notifications, schedule, live chat, live streaming.
- Unique features: Embeddable website registration widgets, mobile event app, sponsor booths with tracking, gamification.
- Cost: $1.75-$1.00 per user, per module, plus $1,000 platform fee.
- Pheedloop is best for… sales events such as trade shows or exhibitions.
- Basic features: Whitelabeling, live chat, live streaming, production team, live stream assistance.
- Unique features: Augmented reality filters, virtual photo and gif booth.
- Cost: Did not return our request for a demo.
- Afterparty is best for… advanced technology and interactive events that are broadcast ready and need full whitelabeling.
Is this information on virtual event platforms up to date and accurate? Email dion [at] jumbo.live to request updates.
Ready to get started with Jumbo? Contact us today and tell us more about your event.