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Do Live Online Events Now Provide A Better User Experience Than Attending In Person?

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Do Live Online Events Now Provide A Better User Experience Than Attending In Person?

As event organisers seem to be slowly moving back to planning in-person events our video director Tom examines if live online events now provide a better user experience than attending in person. Does physically attending an event still really offer the attendee the best experience and provide you with the best return on investment?

The first thing to consider is the type of event you're planning and the reason for the event. Does it rely on face-to-face interaction in order for the attendee to get the most from it, for example from networking from fellow delegates.

Having broadcast many events that historically would have only been attended physically I know that attending an online or blended event gives the viewer a much more rounded and very often an enhanced experience.

Let me explain why.


Live streamed events audience interaction tools

In-Person: If you're like me and at a talk you don't really want to put your hand up to ask a question.

I don't want everyone to stare as someone runs over to a hand me a mic. Event organisers have no way to moderate a person's question before they stand up or limit how long they talk for. We've all been at those events!!!.

I've seen this cause awkward exchanges between the panel and delegate mainly around sensitive or political topics. It can also take a lot of time for a range of people to ask questions.

Online: Using a good online platform like Slido allows you to create word-clouds and polls with which viewers can quickly interact. We use this with some of our clients' broadcasts very effectively, normally embedding the interaction tools on the same branded web page we build for the client's event. See examples here.

Your event moderator can also quickly vet audience responses, removing repeated or irrelevant questions before the speakers answer them. You could also poll a physical audience this way, but do you want them to spend the event looking at their phones?


how to target a specific audience with live streaming

In-Person: In order to easily and affordably target a very specific demographic or location in the country that you need to reach you may have to hold multiple events in these places with an inevitable impact on production budgets.

Online: When paired with a well-managed advertising campaign on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, an online streamed event allows you to target an exact demographic or people in a specific area /country. This is ideal if you're launching a product which might be ideal for a particular group for example or wanting to break into a new campaign area. An example of this might be a new pair of hair tongs that you want to launch to hairdressers.


Do Live Online Events Provide A Better User Experience Than Attending In Person?

In-Person: The cost for renting a venue, bringing your panel or speakers to the location, possible accommodation, food and audio visual provision can easily reach the tens of thousands.

Online: Depending on how you stage the online event, prices start at around £1,000 allowing you to reach a global audience with all the advertising your viewers expect.


London live streaming company

In-Person: Attending a one hour talk in London at around noon would be a whole day event for me. My time is very valuable and I would rather pre-register and then attend an online broadcast that only takes up the time of that event. Obviously there are times when I like to get out of the office as well but generally logging on for a quick one hour event means I can then go straight back to my other work without any disruption. It also costs me between £65 - £150 depending on how I travel into London. Some of your attendees may also be neurodiverse. Physical events can often prevent them from attending or cause them unnecessary anxiety.

Online: It's often free to attend an online talk. If there is a ticket price then it's generally less than it would be at an in-person event. It's also a lot more environmentally friendly to watch online. Maybe you care about your carbon-footprint?


best live streaming company in London

In-Person: Very often when attending a larger event I am not seated near the front. I struggle to hear the in-room PA system as more often than not there is no sound engineer and the levels are never right.

Do attendees really bother to complain about this? Do they just accept it and miss important things?

Can it even be addressed if the equipment or skills are not there at the venue. I can also struggle to see the faces of the people talking, meaning I can't pick up on their non verbal communication like humour etc.

Are they demoing an item? How I can see this so far away? Are PowerPoint slides a crucial part of their talk? Can I read them on a screen from so far back?

Online: If live streamed properly the sound is provided by the streaming company and is designed for the viewers at home. The amount of times I have directed a live stream and compared the in-room audio to the streamed audio and one is clear and loud and the in-room is barely audible. Watching online I can clearly see people's faces, assuming enough cameras are used. It's like sitting in the front row. Also if the speaker is using slides these are much easier to read as the live streaming company should mix them into the broadcast full screen.


live streaming an event - UK companies

In-Person: How many events have you been to that you really enjoyed and wished you could have watched again or shared with others? Most physical events are not filmed and once they have ended have no legacy for the company, event planner or speakers. StreamWorks can also just film an event if that is preferred.

Online: Generally speaking, events that are live streamed are also recorded and commonly are available to watch very soon after the event, if not instantly. This allows the event to have an indefinite legacy and it can also be edited for re-purposing on social media, or shared by each speaker, creating more of a buzz post event.


It may be that an in-person event is essential for the majority of your attendees but do consider those who may prefer not to attend in person, can't make the journey or have clashing diary commitments. Do you know how big that audience is? Are you missing out? Maybe poll the potential audience and ask them which they would prefer?

From our experience;

  • Online, live streamed events provide the attendee with a much better aural and visual experience.

  • Remove unwanted barriers like the cost to their time and wallet.

  • Provide better interactivity options.

  • Viewers can watch at a later time to suit them.

Online events are cheaper for you the event planner and greener for the planet which, helps with your company's carbon responsibility plan.

If you have decided to broadcast your next event online or are looking for a new supplier, do talk to our experienced team. We live stream all sorts of events from simple talks in our content creation studio to multi-camera complex events in multiple locations.

You may also be wondering where the best online location is to host the online event. We have an article on that here.

We have many other help articles here.


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