A good virtual event idea can make a world of difference when it comes to attendee engagement, but it’s not always easy to think of creative ideas that will keep your attendees entertained and engaged.

The truth is that there’s almost no limit to the types of events that can be hosted virtually. But even if you’re not a new event planner, it can be difficult to wrap your mind around what’s practical. To help get your creative juices flowing, here are some engaging virtual event ideas that you can use to kick-start your planning process.

Virtual event ideas that are sure to capture audience engagement

1. Drive participation through virtual gamification

Product screen displaying gamification creative virtual event idea

Low audience engagement is a telltale sign that your virtual event is a flop. To avoid this nightmare scenario, try leveraging the popular concept of gamification.

Hosting a friendly competition is a great way to incentivize virtual attendees to participate in your activities. By creating virtual challenges that inspire action, you can celebrate winners and provide a live display of their progress via the event platform and mobile app.
Best of all, gamification can be completely customized to your event. Take Rejuv, a medical spa specializing in aesthetic procedures, for example. When they hosted their first virtual event, they devised a game around the products and services they wanted people to purchase during the virtual conference, and awarded points for every dollar spent. Ultimately, gamification proved to be an effective lead generation and attendee engagement device.

2. Generate excitement with a virtual exhibition hall

Product launches and exhibitions have historically been an exciting way to unveil your company’s hard work to the world. In the past, tickets to such events sold at thousands of dollars a piece. Virtual events, however, are a more budget-friendly way for fans to reach their favorite brands and participate in the excitement.

Maximum engagement and inclusivity are especially important when it comes to sharing products and services with interested buyers, customers, or investors. A virtual event complemented by pre-recorded content, product demonstrations, and live Q&A is the perfect way to showcase your business to a much wider audience.

3. Support a good cause through a virtual fundraising event

If any type of event relies on audience engagement, it’s surely a fundraiser. Fortunately, the right choice of virtual event platform will have all the tools you need to solicit donations in a fun and engaging way.

A gala, for example, is a common fundraising idea that still works as a virtual event. Attendees can listen to a keynote speaker’s remarks while virtually sharing a meal and contributing to a worthwhile cause. The best virtual event platforms even allow you to hold typical fundraising activities such as a virtual raffle. Plus, it’s a great excuse to dress up for the occasion and doubles as a networking opportunity.

4. Energize the audience with a virtual fitness event

Group of people practicing yoga with trainer via video conference at virtual event

Keeping your audience engaged sometimes means asking them to get on their feet and get moving. Incorporating a virtual fitness event, such as a yoga break, meditation session, or dance-off, is a fun way for attendees to stay engaged during a long day of speakers and online training sessions.

Whether it’s a full-fledged workout or a brief standalone session, virtual fitness classes are a great idea and welcome outlet for physical activity.

5. Maximize brand awareness at a virtual trade show

Normally, trade shows involve thousands of attendees moving from booth to booth in a convention center to learn about new industry trends and products. Enabled by a virtual event platform, even this type of event can be translated into an online format.

For example, the High Point Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world. Its host, International Market Centers (IMC), was forced to pivot to virtual in response to pandemic crowd restrictions. Despite this challenge, IMC hosted the first ever High Point Virtual Market Experience—an event that delivered record-breaking engagement. Participating exhibitors leveraged their virtual booths to gain lead generation and drive sales as a result of the event.

6. Host a virtual happy hour

This type of online social event invites attendees to relax, laugh, and play games while building relationships and coming together as a team. Pick activities for your virtual attendees to participate in using breakout rooms, or simply go with the flow. No matter how your virtual happy hour plays out, you empower your employees to kick back and have fun.

7. Compete for prizes at virtual trivia night

Looking for another great team-building idea? Try hosting a virtual trivia night. With the right platform, you can host a healthy competition that allows attendees to divide into teams, flex their knowledge, and compete for prizes. 

8. Hunt for clues during a virtual scavenger hunt

A virtual scavenger hunt is an online experience that challenges attendees to follow clues, solve puzzles, and find specific items before time runs out. This online activity is designed to get virtual attendees up and moving around their living space. Alternatively, you can ask attendees to break into groups, work together as a team, and compete against others to come out on top.

9. Leave a lasting impression through virtual swag bags

Event swag is a staple part of the event-going experience. Rather than a physical swag bag, which might contain branded t-shirts, water bottles, or other gear, virtual attendees can take home a digital gift bag instead. Virtual event swag may consist of items like eGift cards, eBooks, app subscriptions, or online courses.

10. Work together to solve a virtual escape room

It can be hard to come up with original, creative virtual event ideas for team-building exercises, especially if your team members are working remotely. Escape rooms are a fun way to get everyone working together under a common goal: to get out as quickly as possible. 

A virtual escape room follows the exact same concept, only this time using your virtual event platform. Participants will solve riddles, follow clues, and do anything they can to escape the digital room before time runs out.

11. Facilitate connection at a virtual networking event

According to a Markletic survey, networking is one of the top three reasons why people attend any type of event. No matter the size or scope of your networking event, make sure attendees have every opportunity to expand their network and make new connections.

Virtual event platforms are a major asset in this area. Some platforms are equipped with a wide array of networking tools like attendee profiles, one-on-one video conferencing, community chatrooms, and more. Leverage your event technology to drive networking opportunities and create a more engaging, satisfying virtual experience.

12. Collect real-time feedback using interactive tools

If you’re worried about your virtual event going off without a hitch, it’s a good idea to collect real-time feedback from your virtual attendees. This is where having an effective event management platform can pay dividends.

Interactive tools hit two birds with one stone. How? Because they not only engage attendees with participatory features such as live polling or Q&A, they also collect valuable insights. Asking your audience questions throughout the course of the event can help you ensure everything is running smoothly. If not, you can make adjustments on the fly and steer things back on track.

13. Include sponsored sessions to drive sponsorship engagement

Sponsors are essential to any type of event. They not only help fund your event, they’re also a valuable competitive advantage and business partnership. Keeping sponsors happy and driving value to their company is key to proving their investment was worthwhile.

Provide sponsors with their own sponsored sessions, breakout rooms, and virtual booths for them to host their own content at your event. Leverage your virtual event platform to direct your audience’s attention toward sponsorships using banner ads, profile pages, and more.

Plus, at the end of your event, you can accumulate robust attendee data and provide sponsors with undeniable proof of ROI.

Elements of a great virtual event

In the past, the only way to experience a conference, trade show, or networking event was by physically attending the venue in person. Today, virtual events offer a digital alternative.

To wrap your mind around virtual event planning, it’s important to note the basic elements:

  • Event website: This is where your event is hosted via your virtual event platform. In other words, it’s the virtual venue where your event attendees experience the content.
  • Event registration page: A branded ticketing page where an attendee can register for the event, access important information, and check in on the big day.
  • Live content: The heart of any virtual event is the live broadcast of its activities, panels, and presentations.
  • Recorded content: Some virtual events may complement the live stream with pre-recorded videos, presentations, and other content that can be accessed at a later date.
  • Video conferencing: Every virtual event needs a quality video conferencing system that virtual attendees can use to network, discuss, and share ideas.

Each of these elements is supported by a virtual event platform—sometimes referred to as an event management platform. In short, virtual event platforms are what make hosting an online event possible. 

For more information, check out our comprehensive virtual event planning guide.

Elevate the event experience with Webex Events

No matter how creative your virtual event ideas may be, they still require the support of a proper event management platform. Unfortunately, no two solutions are the same, and some may not have all the capabilities you need to execute your ideas.

Webex Events, on the other hand, is designed with all the tools required to enrich the attendee experience, maximize engagement, and capture valuable data. Let’s take a closer look at how Webex Events takes your virtual events to the next level:

  • Audience engagement: According to Skift, 39% of event professionals agree that engaging attendees is the most important element of a live event. That’s why Webex provides access to a robust portfolio of tools that excite and delight virtual attendees.
  • Networking: Make new connections using attendee and sponsor profiles and elevate the conversation to an individual or group breakout session.
  • Custom mobile app: Webex’s custom mobile app can be tailored to match your branding from top to bottom. Whether it be the icon, the themes, or its colors, you control every aspect of the experience.
  • Professional services: Even with the benefit of a proper event management platform, hosting a virtual event isn’t easy. Our professional services team is available to work alongside your team to ensure the platform meets your expectations. From project planning to technical support, our team is around to help when it’s needed most.

But don’t take our word for it—try it on for size. Request a demo of Webex Events to discover the power of a true end-to-end event management platform.