Over 1.8 billion people watched the Apple iPhone event of September 2019 live on YouTube. Samsung’s latest event had over 58 million live-stream viewers across the globe. And today, with all in-person events canceled, digital-live events are gaining unprecedented traction. Digital events have become a key element in 2020 marketing strategies.
Although digital events are being treated as a holdover until in-person events return, they can add a lot of value. Here are some keys to making your digital events pop and ways to overcome common challenges of digital events.
Challenge: Holding the Attention of the Audience
On the digital channels, marketers are struggling to secure a few moments of attention from their audience. With digital events, marketers can bring exclusivity and #FOMO with a compelling brand narrative. Digital events might be a tough sell for new prospects of your brand – but influencers and partners can help generate interest and attention.
Here are some key tips to keeping your audience interested and engaged:
- Set expectations. Give your audience an idea of what they can expect to get from the event. Whether that’s a guest appearance, a giveaway, or a big announcement, it’s important to accurately sell the event. Additionally, giving an agenda or rough timetable for the event can be helpful as it helps your audience decide how long they need to set aside for your event.
- Crowdsource topics, themes, and content. There’s no shame in asking your audience. In fact, collaborating with your fans ahead of time is a surefire way to make them feel included and keep their attention when the event actually starts. The chance to be a part of something is often enough for individuals to participate.
- Gather feedback. At the end of each event, find a good way to solicit feedback. Whether that’s a survey sent to attendees or a Twitter poll, there’s a lot of formal and informal ways to ask for tips. And if your audience has strong opinions, they’ll be happy to have a place to share them.
Opportunity: Build Strong Customer Relationships in Uncertain Times
Live events allow marketers to form stronger relationships with customers. An EventTrack 2018 survey observed that 85% of users are likely to buy a product after participating in an event. Moreover, 90% also feel positively toward the brand after attending.
Right now, consumers are looking to brands to lead, build community, and add value beyond selling. Your products are important, but consumers will remember how you made them feel during uncertain circumstances. Digital events present an incredible opportunity for brands to establish unparalleled connections.
A connection is important to stay relevant right now, but connections go a lot further in the mind of the consumer. Based on the consumer responses from the Ernst and Young Future Consumer Index, 25% will pay more for trusted brands and 23% will pay more for ethical brands. Building trust and showing a human side through events is a great way to establish brand importance during this time.
Opportunity: Driving Engagement on Other Platforms
Digital events have also brought up a new opportunity to explore new digital channels that your audience might be interested in. From TikTok to Twitch, Instagram Live, and Zoom – there are a lot of channels that are worth testing right now.
Whether you’re discovering a new channel, you can find new facets of your community to engage. In fact, a digital event on a new channel can prove to be an exceptional strategy to build your brand’s community.
There are a lot of pros and cons to each channel, but make sure you weigh them and test them before launching into a community-facing event.
Challenge: Measuring and Optimizing the Engagement
Ultimately, making an event a success depends on measuring engagement and optimizing for the results you’re hoping to achieve. And while that can be tricky, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success.
- Don’t undervalue content. If your event doesn’t lead to a direct sale right away, don’t panic. Use this as an opportunity to collect user-generated content from your audience. Right now, authentic and real content from your happiest customers goes a lot farther than branded content that’s both dated and out-of-touch. Collecting content from your audience in an event might be the only goal you should try to achieve.
- Keep it Collaborative. No one wants to be bombarded with information without the opportunity to participate. If your event isn’t getting much engagement, you might want to consider offering more ways for people to participate. Live polls, games, and hashtag conversations are just a few ways you can simply build collaboration into an event.
Digital to Win
Digital events will never fully replace in-person events, but that doesn’t mean they can’t coincide nicely and even engage better. Especially right now, brands can win the hearts and minds of consumers when they’re looking for guidance and distractions the most. Ultimately, keeping your community at the forefront of your planning will serve you well when planning your next (or first!) digital event.