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5 Standout Virtual Event Examples

5 Standout Virtual Event Examples

Can a digital event still be an engaging experience? These virtual event examples prove that the answer is a resounding yes.

People across industries rely on events like seminars, trade shows, and conferences to:

  • Learn and network
  • Launch new products and services and generate new leads for sales 
  • Present their association or company as a thought leader 

For many organizations, these events are the difference between a successful year or not. That’s why event organizers’ response to COVID-19 has been closely watched.

The good news? There have been a ton of amazing online events in the past few months that showcase how it’s possible to host an engaging digital experience.

You have to be able to meet customers where they are and, right now, everyone is online. And if you’re going to do it, you might as well go all in.

This article takes a look at some of the companies that have made virtual events work in 2020. 

We tried to include a diverse mix and provide key takeaways that could apply to any type of event.

1. The Adobe Summit 2020

Firstly, pivoting the Adobe Summit from a physical event to a virtual conference in 25 days was an incredible feat. Especially given that the conference attracted close to 17,000 attendees in 2019.

The annual summit shares the company’s latest products and covers its evolving product roadmap.

The digital version featured keynotes from top Adobe executives and over 100 on-demand breakout sessions on topics from content marketing to data analytics.

By the end of April, there were over 425,000 total visits to its virtual events platform. It blew away expectations of the new format and was a significant success for the company.

The Key Takeaway

Interface design matters. When it comes to designing a virtual event interface, less is more.  Adobe made their sessions easy to navigate with headline content up top and breakouts below, without a lot of other distracting messages or graphics.

Source: Campaign Asia

2. The Bread Ahead Bakery School

The Bread Ahead Bakery School might not be a Fortune 100 company like Adobe, but it’s proof that your company’s size doesn’t have to stop you from nailing virtual events.

The London-based bakery turned quarantine into a full-fledged bake-a-thon by offering daily lessons—the kind that covers everything from scones to focaccia.

Every Wednesday and Saturday at 9 a.m. EST on Instagram live, they share their favorite baking lessons. It also provides an ingredient list on its website and a schedule ahead of time.

The Key Takeaway

Live events like short classes are a great way to grow your audience. As a result of these free events, The Bread Ahead Bakery School generated tons of coverage from Global News, The Guardian, and even the Wall Street Journal

3. Think Outside the Script

We’re big fans of the Think Outside the Script virtual tour. It’s a summer-long virtual tour with 2-3 live events per week focused on sales enablement and development. It allows virtual attendees to customize their experience by choosing their favorite topics.

It argues that “condensing dozens of pre-recorded talks into a two-day virtual summit can be overwhelming to attend.” Instead, the 42+ speakers live stream talks over five months.

The Key Takeaway

Instead of trying to fit digital events into the same format as physical events, Think Outside the Script is living up to its name. Many attendees are thankful not to need to devote multiple days to one conference. 

By splitting up your event into multiple bite-sized elements, you can generate higher engagement.

4. SheetsCon 2020

SheetsCon 2020 was the world’s first dedicated online conference for Google Sheets users. The conference covered everything from deep-dive tutorials on specific topics to industry-specific use cases.

As part of the event, Google hosted a popular contest to win swag bags that they had put together with branded event shirts and stickers. 

To win, participants had to share something about the event on social media using the dedicated event hashtag, or visit at least 5 of the sponsor booth pages during the event. 

The Key Takeaway

For anyone who has ever attended a tradeshow, you know that giveaways drive a lot of engagement between attendees and sponsors.

Although it’s not quite as simple as handing an attendee their prize, there are virtual goodies you can offer, and there’s still the option of mailing physical incentives to attendees following the event.  

It’s clear the approach Google applied here increased brand awareness and worked to engage attendees, so it was a win for everyone.

5. MarTechFest Dial Up

#MarTechFest Dial Up, which is taking place in October and November. is billed as “the internet edition of your fave anti-conference…with brand spankin’ new marketing technology content for you to tune in to live and on demand.”

It takes a similar approach to Think Outside the Script with its event program spread out over a month. Most notably, it plans to include workout and meditation sessions throughout their event to get minds and bodies “ready to engage.” 

The Key Takeaway

Online workout and dance videos are the only options for many people looking to exercise during this pandemic. It doesn’t have to be exercise focused either. You could even run a virtual happy hour for networking opportunities.

Incorporating these types of activities into your event plan is an excellent way to switch things up and deliver unexpected value to attendees.

The Overarching Theme From Our Virtual Event Examples

As companies move their events online, their success hinges on how engaging the digital experience is. And it’s not all about picking the best video conferencing tool.

The best virtual events are similar to in-person ones in many ways. They use a variety of tactics from contests to networking happy hours to differentiate their offering. However, they don’t try to entirely replicate the physical event by using the medium to their advantage.

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