Which Virtual Event Platform is the Best?
The virtual event market has exploded in a matter of months, and event organizers are left wondering which platform would best suit their needs and budget. To help you whittle down on the number of options, we decided to share our market research data. Here are our notes for the top 5 platforms, based on dozens of conversations with virtual event organizers. Let’s take a look under the hood:
Hopin: For DIY Event Organizers
Hopin has been on the market since 2007, but has recently raised over $125 million dollars to continue its development. Hopin is definitely a big player when it comes to virtual events, but does it mean it’s the right platform for you? Let’s dig in:
- Unlike other event platforms, Hopin can scale up to support incredibly large events.
- Hopin has raised over $165 million in Series A and B funding, so new developments and improvements are constantly underway.
- The platform comes with many analytics tools built-in: from attendee data to chat transcripts, recordings, and more.
- If you need more than the default setup, additional features and add-ons come with an upcharge.
- The Hopin staff does not provide any assistance in helping plan your event to create an engaging virtual experience.
- If you are looking for support during the event, there is limited or no personnel on hand to assist you.
Summary: This platform is a great fit for experienced event organizers who know how to manage virtual events and don’t mind tackling the setup and implementation of their event on their own. If you are looking for a DIY solution on a monthly or annual pricing model, Hopin would be the best platform to select.
Read our in-depth analysis of Hopin here.
Pathable: For Events with Big Sponsors and Pre-Recorded Talks
Pathable entered the market in 2007 alongside Hopin, but there are quite a few key differences between the two services. Pathable has a strong focus on creating a heavily branded, sponsor-friendly experience, as opposed to Hopin’s primary focus on presentations and speakers. Pathable pushes the line between what an organizer would expect to have at an in-person event and what is possible in the virtual world. So how does Pathable compare?
- The platform’s staff will assist the event organizer in loading the platform with all of the assets: from speaker headshots to logos, sponsor information and more.
- If your event relies heavily on sponsors and sponsor engagement, Pathable offers numerous exhibitor elements such as virtual booths and embedded product videos and collateral.
- If you are looking to incorporate a virtual component to an in-person event, Pathable offers an interactive platform and mobile app for both in-person and remote attendees.
- Like Hopin, if you are looking to upgrade beyond the basic included features, be prepared to pay extra.
- The pricing model is vague, with prices subject to change based on the format of your event (i.e. webinar vs. highly interactive, live networking-focus vs. chat networking setup), what features you do/don’t want, how many attendees you can have at a maximum, and what integrations you intend on using.
- The platform is geared heavily towards webinars or pre-recorded content, so this may not be the best tool if you want to promote live presentations.
- Summary: Pathable has been around the market for a while, and there’s good reasons. Their hands-on team can help even the newest event organizer get the platform up and running for their event. Additionally, their sponsorship options and integrations make for great selling points to potential investors, which help in providing more value and notoriety to the event itself.
vFairs: For Events Dedicated to Networking
If you are in the market for a virtual event platform, it’s more than likely that vFairs came up a few times. The interactive event platform is unique in its 3D-designed layout, custom to your event. Whether you are looking to host live or semi-live webinars, vFairs has an interesting selection of features available to utilize for your event.
- vFairs’ support team claims to offer “unbeatable support for all timezones,” and they are also available to assist you in setting up the platform’s networking features.
- This is the closest experience to a simulated in-person event online as we’ve come across, from booths to job fairs to (virtually) crowded hallways.
- The 3D graphics are quite realistic. vFairs is able to simulate other attendees, a conference arena, presentation rooms and much more.
- The 3D graphics can be quite jarring to look at. This is especially the case with older computers, as the smooth transition from point A to point B can be choppy at best.
- If networking is not the priority of your event, vFairs might not be the right platform. Nearly every feature or element has some connection to networking with attendees, speakers, or sponsors, rather than a focus on the content.
- As mentioned with Hopin and Pathable, nearly every feature not included in the out-of-the-box setup comes at an additional cost. Considering the pricing model of the platform itself, this can add quite a chunk of change to get started.
- Summary: vFairs is primarily for organizers looking for a virtual platform that prompts attendees to network, as opposed to attend sessions.
Bizzabo: For Very Large Scale Events
Bizzabo is being promoted as a platform for in-person, hybrid, and virtual events. Big-name companies such as Uber, Gainsight and Rakuten have used it. These large companies have seen value in using the platform, but will it work for you?
- No matter your event size, Bizzabo is able to support your attendees, speakers and sponsors. This extensive workload was made to support even the largest global corporations attending an event at the same time.
- The platform has over 2,500 integrations to choose from, so it’s safe to assume most standard event organization tools you are using would be supported.
- Similar to Hopin, Bizzabo can provide organizers with incredibly detailed analytics on attendee data, chat transcripts, recordings, and more.
- If you are not running a multi-national, large event, Bizzabo’s pricing model can get quite expensive for smaller events.
- Over 2,500 integrations means there are many moving parts and details that event organizers will need to ensure are correct before the event is live.
- As for Hopin and Pathable, the majority of features are not default, and come at a hefty additional fee.
- Summary: As with any large event-geared platform, Bizzabo holds its own in the market. With a wide range of tools available to organizers in their built-in toolkit, event organizers can streamline their process and market their event more effectively. This is a great choice for professional event organizers or video producers, and any group looking to have a very large-scale event.
LoudSwarm: For Organizers Focused on Content and Engagement
Unlike other virtual event platforms aimed at pleasing event sponsors, LoudSwarm provides organizers with a white-glove service so they can focus on creating an engaging experience. The platform itself prompts participants to be in control of their own virtual experience and offers networking opportunities. Is LoudSwarm the right fit for your event?
- The white-glove service team meets with organizers weekly from start to finish to assist with the content creation process, and set up the virtual experience the attendees will be having. Dedicated support staff is available for your attendees and speakers throughout your event.
- The multi-day, multi-track session browser, coupled with DVR features, makes it easy for attendees to control their viewing experience at all times.
- Transparent, up-front pricing allows organizers to effectively plan their budget for the event and eliminate any worry about additional hidden fees.
- LoudSwarm was built around a white-glove service model, and currently does not have a way to allow event organizers to manage content on the platform on their own.
- There is currently not a built-in chat feature to the platform. Instead, well-established chat platforms (Slack, Discord) are integrated into the app for viewing discussions. Attendees can then join those conversations in a separate window or native app.
- LoudSwarm has several locations for sponsor logos and ads, but does not have a virtual booth version of advertising available.
- Summary: LoudSwarm fits a niche with event organizers who need an extra hand in getting their event up and running. Whether it’s an internal sales event or a global networking opportunity, LoudSwarm highlights the attendee experience and engagement level unlike the other platforms listed above. If you are looking for an engaging virtual experience, look no further than LoudSwarm.
After considering each of these platforms, we urge you to consider your objectives for your virtual event and what you hope attendees, speakers, and sponsors will take away. There are countless virtual event platforms to choose from, and this blog highlights just the tip of the iceberg of features worth considering when choosing an appropriate virtual event platform.
Do you have any questions about these 5 platforms? Are you still hesitating between two? Let’s discuss.
Download LoudSwarm’s White-Glove Comparison table here.