Virtual Events vs. Physical Events: Which Type of Event Marketing Is Better for You?


Virtual events are a new form of event marketing that aims to simulate physical events – only hosted online. They include virtual conferences and webinars, which are typically hosted via video call platforms like Zoom.

While virtual events have their benefits, there are still many instances where physical events are better. This post compares the benefits of both to help you decide whether to host a virtual event or invest in a physical event.

Why host a virtual event?

Virtual events are much cheaper to organize than physical events. You don’t have to pay for venue hire, catering, physical security or travel. This makes them an ideal option for companies on a tight budget.

The fact that you and your attendees don’t have to travel also has many advantages. You can host your event via video call from pretty much any location. Your attendees meanwhile don’t have to travel anywhere – which could be more convenient for some of them. It also gives you the freedom to invite people from around the world to your event rather than being limited to a local audience. In the midst of Covid-19, you can also maintain social distancing, making the event safer.

Because virtual events are fairly new, some people may be intimidated by the idea of them – you need to make sure that your target audience is digitally savvy and willing to watch you online. Make sure that you too are comfortable using videoconferencing technology, so that you come across professionally.

Why invest in physical events?

The old skool approach of a physical event still has many benefits. While physical events require people to travel to a venue, this can add to the excitement for some people. When it comes to B2B events, some guests may see it as a fun opportunity to get out of the office and an opportunity to network with other attendees. B2C events like consumer trade shows can meanwhile be an enjoyable day out for some people.

Unlike virtual events, physical events also allow for physical interaction. When it comes to certain products, this can be very advantageous – attendees can taste food samples, be enticed by scents or they can try on clothes. You’re not just limited to sight and sound and this may result in a more memorable and successful event.

Physical events certainly come with extra costs, however there are ways to reduce these such as looking into trade show booth rental rather than purchasing a booth. If it’s a private event, hiring the right venue is key to success – make sure that it is somewhere accessible to the majority of your consumers.

Which is better for you?

Virtual events are ideal for those on a tight budget. They’re also ideal for targeting a global audience and for targeting digitally-savvy consumers.

Physical events are ideal for companies wanting to provide a hands-on experience of their product or service. They also provide an opportunity to meet and network in person.


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