Five Best and Worst Virtual Events Trends of 2010

Press Release: Virtual Edge Institute Announces the Five Best and Worst Virtual Events Trends of 2010

Virtual Edge Institute released the organization’s inaugural “Five Best and Worst Virtual Events Trends of 2010” List

Pleasanton, CA – In the spirit of end-of- year “best of” or “worst of” lists, the Virtual Edge Institute released the organization’s inaugural “Five Best and Worst Virtual Events Trends of 2010” List.

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The Best Virtual Events Trends

  • Virtual Comes of Age: In April 2010, CiscoLive was the first hybrid (physical + virtual) event to receive Event Marketer’s Grand Ex Award. This recognition demonstrated not only the value of virtual to enhance a physical event, but also that virtual events are an integral part of an organization’s event marketing strategy.
  • Hybrid Events Gain Popularity: While 2009 was the year virtual-only events were prevalent, 2010 was the year that physical events added a virtual component. We envision this trend to continue in 2011, with the discussion no longer focusing on “should we go virtual”, but rather “how do we add a virtual component to our event.”
  • The Rise of Gaming and Social Media: This was the year that virtual event providers integrated their solutions with gaming and social media offerings. These integrations will further drive engagement within the virtual environment, while providing additional outlets for virtual audiences to connect online.
  • Resurrected Brands: With the return of COMDEX as a virtual event, we see this as a positive sign for the industry. This provides organizations a viable alternative for reviving conferences or testing the market for new conferences.
  • Big-Name Celebrity Draws: Industry luminaries and celebrity keynotes are big draws for physical events. This year, we saw the emergence of big names being used in the virtual space. From 80’s rapper MC Hammer to political figure Hillary Clinton and financial guru Warren Buffet, virtual events are also showcasing their line-up of stars.

The Worst Virtual Events Trends

  • The “First, Largest, Only” Hyperbole: Announcing an event as virtual is no longer big news; hence the increased use of hyperbole, such as “first, largest, only,” to describe virtual events. For the industry to gain wider acceptance, the industry has to focus on the value of the technology for meeting planners versus touting adjectives.
  • No One’s Home: At a physical conference, exhibitors must staff their booths to meet and speak with prospects. However, virtual booths are oftentimes unattended with minimal interaction between exhibitors and attendees. This will be a priority for organizers to encourage engagement and train exhibitors to demonstrate the value of virtual.
  • Pretty Graphics are Not UI Design: The graphical representations within virtual events have moved from “cartoon” animations to more photo-realistic renderings. However, pretty graphics doesn’t equate good user-interface design. To provide the best experience to all audiences, virtual events have to be designed with an eye to audience flow, intent and ease-of-use.
  • Invisible Virtual Audiences: For hybrid events, many speakers are unaccustomed to addressing a virtual audience plus many organizers are programming for the physical audience but not the virtual. As such, many virtual attendees are feeling disconnected from the event proceedings. Speakers will have to retrained to address virtual audiences while events increase ways for virtual audiences to participate within the event.
  • ROI Confusion: While virtual events are beneficial for reducing costs, increasing productivity and saving carbon emissions, a methodology for calculating virtual event ROI is still unclear. At this time, metrics and ROI are based on case studies regarding specific events within specific industries. The industry will need to agree to a common language and standards to ensure that metrics are meaningful and taken seriously by key event and marketing stakeholders.

About The Virtual Edge Institute is an organization dedicated to advancing the development and adoption of virtual event and meeting technology and best practices for collaboration and marketing. They do this by supporting and contributing research, education, thought leadership, promotion, and professional networking. VEI members help set the direction for the virtual events and meeting industry and create significant business opportunities, solutions and advantages for all. Members have access to various services and deliverables based on their membership level. Learn more at

The Virtual Edge Institute produced the two-day Virtual Edge Summit (January 12-13, 2011, Las Vegas or virtually). The Summit is designed to help attendees rapidly evaluate, implement and maximize virtual programs within their organizations.