As demand for virtual experiences increases, so do virtual event platform options. Over the last year, our virtual events team has worked with the market’s leading platforms to support our clients’ needs. The MGME team has produced virtual events of all sizes over the last year. National broadcast webinars, multi-day training sessions, even an international “Follow the Sun” 24-hour event. We produce webinars (on-demand and simulive), small meetings, conferences and tradeshows, and 2D/3D immersive events using various platforms depending on our client’s goals, timeframe, and budget. Our Virtual Event Producer, Margot Sikorski, and Senior Event Technology Manager, Rachel Bennett, provided a full review of their top 4 virtual platforms to help you decipher which is best for your meeting needs.
We recommend Pulse to clients who are looking for an immersive 3D experience—what we consider a Tier 3 meeting. Tier 3 meetings transport your attendees to a virtual environment designed for any corporate brand or event theme. With Pulse, attendees can navigate through traditional venue locations such as general sessions, exhibit halls, and breakout rooms. On top of this, clients can elevate their event with virtual arcades, speakeasy bistros, wellness centers, and even firepits. The virtual speakeasy is the perfect place to stream a simulive blues band. You can even host a reception overlooking the New York City skyline on the virtual rooftop. Pulse boasts great tools for attendee communication and networking such as live text and voice chats. The 3D Product Demos and custom trade show booths are ideal for exhibitors. Integrated sponsorship opportunities include customized signage, mini theaters, and interactive games. The platform also provides analytics such as user profile details, time spent at locations, content viewed, and post-event attendee surveys.
As you can imagine, a platform as robust as Pulse requires more time to build out. This is not the platform to use if your client needs a quick turnaround. Breakout capabilities are provided through a separate platform. Our team also notes that event analytics are bound by budget and once the virtual environment is finalized, last-minute changes are limited.
SpotMe is a virtual platform that offers both live and on-demand capabilities in a very user-friendly, website-like interface. Like Pulse, the platform features group discussion boards and personalized agendas. An advantage over Pulse, SpotMe offers video breakouts within the platform. This is a complete solution for those looking to organize a virtual workshop or fun networking session. Video breakouts allow up to 50 participants, screen sharing, and unlimited meetings and minutes. Our favorite feature? The interaction tools for attendees - clapping hands, moderated chat/Q&A during live sessions, and a gamification tool. This platform is a great solution for employee training and recognition events as users can build custom games to ensure attendee participation, building a sense of community across the audience. Other notable features include live polling, a moderated home feed, AI-powered matchmaking, a built-in mobile app, and video-on-demand.
If you are looking to completely customize the platform to your brand, SpotMe isn’t your solution. Sure, you can upload your logo and add brand colors, but this is as custom as it gets. Another drawback to consider is that SpotMe does not yet have a calendar plug-in, but word is that it’s coming soon.
Have a lot of content? SwapCard is an excellent solution for a virtual conference and tradeshow or Tier 2 meeting. Through this end-to-end event platform for virtual and hybrid events, clients can generate leads and increase brand awareness through a robust offering of networking features such as a personalized meeting schedule, 1-1 meetings, and (coming soon) roundtable video conferencing for breakout sessions available directly through the platform. Content is delivered in three main forms: live, simulive, and pre-recorded. Standout features of the platform include virtual exhibition booths, attendee agenda customization, matchmaking through AI, and an instant reporting dashboard.
SwapCard requires a high level of support from a technical specialist, and the event setup is time-consuming. The platform costs a little more than similar products and requires access to strong broadband for guest speakers. Event professionals have also reported difficulty using third-party services and SSO.
In Rachel’s words, "What I really like about Swapcard is the networking tool that lets the attendees set their own schedule and make appointments and connections through AI matchmaking."
Zoom is a virtual conferencing tool efficient for small scale, or Tier 1 meetings, such as Speaker Meetings. It is ideal for audiences with limited technical knowledge as you can easily share content, reach a large audience, and incorporate live polling and chat. Attendees can utilize filters, hand raising, and screen sharing with the click of a button. Have a shortened production schedule? Zoom requires less time to get up and running. We’ve implemented virtual events utilizing all the basic video conferencing platforms. Zoom tends to be the most reliable. For those seeking a large-scale solution, Zoom Video Webinars allow you to connect up to 50,000 people including 100+ interactive video panelists for a more interactive experience.
Due to the overuse of the platform for internal and external meetings, many people experience “Zoom Fatigue.” Audience engagement and interactivity among attendees and speakers are limited. Customization within the platform is also limited in terms of building strong product awareness.
"The Zoom platform allows large audiences to come together and share information,” says Rachel. “The live polling, Q&A, and chat feature support great engagement with your audience."
Choosing the right platform lets meeting professionals educate and engage attendees with keeping their messaging goals in mind. Now you know which platforms are appropriate for your meeting needs.
Planning your next virtual event? We are here to help.