9 Features to Look for When Choosing a Virtual Platform
November 11, 2020
One of the things to consider when producing your first virtual meeting is what virtual platform you will host it on. There are many different virtual meeting platforms out there. The key is to determine what goals you have for your virtual meeting and that will determine what features you will want in a virtual platform. Think of the attendee experience as well. What will make your attendees want to come back again? After producing virtual meetings for clients and ourselves, here are 9 features that we think you should consider when choosing a virtual platform.
Virtual Platform Features
Participant Count – How many people will be attending your virtual meeting? Determining this number will help you decide which virtual platform to choose and which package you will need to purchase. For example, a free version on Zoom only allows up to 100 participants. If you have more than that you will need to factor that into the budget to purchase a package that will allow up to 300, 500, or 1,000 participants.
Video – Is your virtual meeting conversational or a lecture? This question refers to having the attendees being interactive on video or not. Some online platforms don’t give attendees the option of having their video “on” such as Team Live Events or ON24. Determining your meeting’s style will help you decide if you need a video feature or not.
Audio – Does the virtual platform have a mute function? If your attendees will be speaking during your meeting, you will want to have a mute feature. This is important in case an attendee has background noise that becomes distracting during the presentation. If there is no way to mute someone, the other participants will be frustrated and not have a good experience.
Desktop Sharing – Does your online meeting or event have visuals that will be presented? If yes, you will want to make sure that your meeting platform has a desktop sharing feature. You should be able to have full control of what your attendees see while sharing your screen. Make sure that if you want to share a video during your screen share that your attendees will also be able to hear the audio. Most virtual platforms with the desktop sharing capability have a setting for this.
Breakouts – Does your virtual presentation involve breaking into smaller groups? Breakout rooms are sessions that split off from the main meeting creating smaller groups for easy collaboration and discussion. You just need to choose the right virtual platform that has the capability of producing a breakout session. For example, Platforms such as Zoom and Adobe Connect support this aspect of virtual meetings.
Polling – How do you plan on engaging with your attendees? A polling feature is a great option to increase engagement during your virtual meeting. There are many types of polls you could do including fun ice breaker polls, re-engagement polls, feedback polls, etc. Not all virtual platforms will have this feature. Be sure to double-check that they have the polling add-on before pursuing a virtual platform.
Q&A / Chat – How will your attendees communicate with you? Having a chat feature as part of your virtual platform encourages attendees to talk to each other about the presentation and ask questions if any arise. This feature is important for your virtual meeting. Make this feature a top priority on your list of features you need in a virtual platform.
Security – How important is security for your virtual meeting? Depending on the size of your virtual meeting, you will want to look into how strict the security works on a virtual platform. This could include having a password to get onto the platform or some sort of verification that the attendee is meant to be at the virtual meeting. A security feature can protect not only you but attendees that have purchased a pass to be a part of the event.
Digital Recording – Will you be sending out a digital recording after your virtual meeting or have On-Demand content? Then, you will want to make sure your virtual platform has a recording feature built in to record the virtual meeting. This is another important feature to have because it is an additional aspect that your attendees can have post-event. It will be beneficial have as a marketing tool as well as if you choose to make it On-Demand content.
Top Virtual Meeting Platform Suggestions
Zoom Video Webinar - Zoom is a video conferencing platform that was founded in 2011 and became very popular in 2019. The Zoom Video Webinar feature lets you broadcast up to 10,000 view-only attendees. With Zoom Video Webinar, you can broaden your reach, engage with attendees, and measure success. This platform offers a free trial, but no free version. The starting price is $40 per month, but there are more packages to choose from.
Microsoft Teams Live Events - Microsoft Teams Live Events is an extension of Microsoft Teams that broadcasts your meeting to a larger audience. This virtual platform allows you to have different group roles, event types, and up to 10,000 attendees. You can seamlessly coordinate a virtual meeting and handle large amounts of attendees using Microsoft Teams Live Events.
Adobe Connect Webinars - Adobe Connect Webinars provides a virtual experience for attendees and specializes in marketing your product, services, and brand. You can customize the rooms with your branding, measure engagement, and break the barrier between presenters and attendees.
ON24 - Founded in 1998, ON24 has become a top technology company that specializes in webcasting, virtual events, and environmental technology. Their focus is creating an interactive experience, engaging with the audience, and data-rich digital marketing strategy. Pricing of ON24 is not available on their website. To learn more about their pricing you must contact a representative from ON24.
GoToWebinar - GoToWebinar is a video conferencing software package that has online meetings, desktop sharing, and enables users to connect online. You can set up with ease, draw in attendees, and generate reports to see what went well. This virtual platform starts at $49.99 per month per user. There is no free version, but they provide a free trial for you to try out. GoToWebinar has four pricing tiers to choose from including Lite, Standard, Pro, and Enterprise.
The LaClare Group can help you choose the right virtual platform for your next virtual meeting. Virtual meetings are here to stay, and we want to help you produce a successful one. Sign up for your free initial consultation today below.