When Jordan Melnick first had the idea to host a live, portrait drawing event in Miami a decade ago, he didn’t know if anyone would show up. “We thought about 50 people would come.” To his surprise, over 500 showed up to share the love of drawing.
Today the movement, now called Sktchy Art School, is 18,000 strong. But they no longer meet on the streets of Miami. They now meet virtually on a Mighty Network, but still share the same love for drawing that brought them together in the first place.
The popularity of virtual events has been growing over the past decade, but it exploded with the pandemic, as every small group meeting, regional chapter, religious gathering, and even big conferences had to learn how to host virtual events and re-discover how to do the work that matters to them.
Whether you came to the virtual event space as an expert, or whether you’re the one shouting, “Is this thing on?” as 500 attendees giggle, there’s one thing that makes a virtual event sing.
A great platform.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through some of the best virtual event platforms out there.
And we promise that virtual event software will allow you to do more than just another Zoom meeting (we’ve certainly had our fair share of those!) The best virtual event platforms will provide you with the features to create an awesome website to host your event and plenty of resources to keep your attendees interested and engaged.
If you want more support in building your online community and running virtual events, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!
In this article...
What is a virtual event platform?
A virtual event platform is a software solution that lets you create an event that people can engage with remotely on their computers or mobile devices. While in the past an event ALWAYS meant going somewhere, a virtual event comes to you. A virtual event platform makes this possible.
Virtual event platforms usually combine a number of features from traditional live events with features you can only get thanks to technology.
Here are some examples…
Traditional Event Features
Unique Virtual Event Features
Mixed Content (Audio, Video, Text, Live Streaming)
Small Breakout Groups
Breakout Text Chats
Announcements from the Stage
Group and Private Messaging
Online Sales & Single Sign On
Timeless (Recordings, Conversations Long After)
While it’s not an exhaustive list, virtual events offer a lot of neat functionality that traditional events didn’t have.
What features do the best virtual event platforms have?
When you’re choosing virtual event software, it’s important to realize that what you’re building is much more than just an event for attendees to experience talks, panels, and presentations from industry leaders. You’re creating an opportunity for attendees to meet like-minded people with similar interests and motivations before and after your event.
Here are some things you should look out for when choosing which virtual event platform is right for you:
- Familiarity: Virtual events are unique, but the best platforms recreate the parts you’ll recognize from a physical conference: panels, “main stage” keynotes, breakout sessions, Q&As, and more.
- Community: The best part of a live event isn’t just speaking. It’s the connections you make. Your virtual event platform should recreate opportunities to make and keep meaningful connections.
- Quality: Due to the pandemic, many companies are trying to hop on the virtual event bandwagon, and not all are created equally. It’s important to do your due diligence when choosing the best virtual event platform for your event because you’re only getting one shot at nailing a live conference. Everyone remembers that one talk or panel they attended where the microphones were cut out or someone dropped or froze during a Zoom conference.
- Features: We’ve worked with many organizers to build and deliver successful virtual events. And what we’ve learned is that the best virtual event platforms do more than just replicate what a physical event would be like. Be creative with the opportunities you can create online to connect your attendees together with features like breakout sessions, live streaming, live text chat, prompts, polls, and more.
Best virtual event platform checklist
- Scheduling and built-in live streaming
- Invites and notifications
- Diverse content options
- Recording and playback
- Community forums, Q&As, Polls
- Member profiles and messaging
- “Ticketing” options, payment gateways, and the option for tiered pricing.
- The option to carry on the community after the event.
- Upsells into courses, masterminds, etc.
- Single Sign On (SSO)
The best virtual event platforms
1. Mighty Networks
Best virtual event platform for events and community
Mighty Networks' powerful cultural software gives you an all-in-one platform with total functionality for creating and hosting amazing virtual events. With th power of Spaces, you get customizeable containers for building events the way you want, and you can add things like communities, online courses, and paid memberships. These are all under one brand, and instantly available across every device—web, iOS, and Android.
What that means is that when you choose Mighty Networks you’re getting more than just an awesome place to host your virtual event. You’re also getting powerful features to build a landing page; engaging tools for continuing interactions with the community of attendees from your virtual event; and a variety of avenues to monetize your brand down the line whether it’s through additional virtual events, paid memberships, or online courses.
- Native live streaming
- Built-in Zoom integration
- Group chat and messaging
- Interactive discussion forums
- Breakout groups (each with their own event options, forums, & messaging)
- Member profiles
- Customizable branding
- Payments, plan creation, and bundling
- Notifications & automatic email updates
- Available on the web or native apps
Mighty Networks is…
- A one-stop solution for virtual events: Mighty Networks not only provides awesome features for delivering your virtual event like RSVPs and messaging (so you can send out reminders), but also provide member profiles, direct messaging, comments, posts, groups, and of course, paid memberships and one-time payments.
- A full suite of interaction tools: When you make your virtual event, you’ll want tools that help facilitate interactions across the whole range of the event, including those moments of serendipity when you bump into a new friend. Mighty Networks is built for this: live text chat, polls, questionnaires, small groups, discussion boards, comments, and more.
- Keep the conversation going: Forget about the email list. A Might Network lets you build a thriving community that can last until the next event. This will let your attendees convene and discuss their relevant interests together in one place. Here are a few examples of when this might be useful: to publish speaker bios and hint at Q&As ahead of an event; repurpose conference sessions into digestible lessons when you create online courses, mastermind groups, and in-depth breakout sessions; and you can offer replays and recorded videos with additional notes and commentary as a benefit of a paid membership.
Virtual conferences for big corporations
Bevy was focused mostly on live events, but with the pandemic made the shift to virtual events. It’s popular with big corporations. Bevy gives a space to host a virtual event. It also gives you a custom page builder to create your event landing page, and a community to keep the discussion going.
Features (Conference Plan)
- Chat & DMs
- Breakout rooms
- Auto check-ins
- White labeling
- Sponsor booth
- Virtual lobby
Bevy comes with some useful integrations too, like the ability to live stream with Facebook or YouTube and Zoom integrations.
One of the downsides to Bevy is that it’s expensive. A lot of the best features (unlimited attendees, live streaming, networking tables, the lobby) only come on the conference plan – which can start from around $25,000 per event.
Heavy-hitting virtual conference platform
Aventri is a robust platform geared towards powering virtual conferences, and it has a lot to work with. In addition to the conference platform for presenters, it also has some neat features to help attendees make connections, things like matchmaking and scheduling 1:1 networking meetings. It also has a lot of good features for sparking community connections, with things like breakout rooms, polls + Q&A, and session-wide chats.
It also replicates some of the features of live events with things like branded sponsor booths and a lobby. Finally, it has some good event management capabilities, with things like budgeting, email marketing, a website builder, and attendee management built-in.
- Live streaming
- Q&A + Polls
- Breakout rooms
- Speaker management
- Sponsor booths
- Marketing features
Best virtual event platform for a one-off event
Accelevents is a virtual event platform for virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. It offers a variety of features such as breakout sessions, integrated live streaming, and A.I.-based matchmaking for attendees aimed at companies that are mid-sized or bigger. It also gives customization options, takes care of ticketing, and even offers some neat features like “gamification” that they say keeps people more engaged.
It’s also a reasonable price for a basic event, from about $500 per day.
- Live streaming
- Multiple stages and breakout rooms
- Virtual expo booth
- Member chat and messaging
- Tiered ticketing
- Q&A and polls
- 1:1 Networking matching
Accelevents is a good platform for a one-time event. It’s not created for keeping connections going between events with an integrated community or ongoing conversations.
Convene is an interesting use case in the virtual event space because they’re actually best known for physical events. They have a collection of physical event spaces you can rent, as well as workspaces and meeting rooms that are available to members.
But due to the pandemic, Convene recently added virtual events as one of its offerings. What’s unique about Convene is not their event platform, which is basic but has some of the same features as others on this list. It’s their blended approach to hybrid events and help with production – including a producer and team members to help pull the event off.
This means Convene is probably a better option for blended events in one of their select live locations, AND it’s for events with a significant budget. It starts from $5,000 for a 2-hour event, but getting all of the features listed will probably run you closer to $25,000.
- Branded event site
- Producer & tech support
- Control room & production team
- Video editing
- Live stream speaking and panels
- Production graphics
- Green room
- Live chat
- Breakout sessions
- 30-day event playback
6. Run the World
Run the World is a fairly new virtual event platform, launching during the pandemic as we all began thinking about virtual solutions to physical events. Run the World emphasizes that its features will make for more fun and engaging virtual events, and stop you from delivering a virtual event that will put attendees to sleep.
Run the World comes with some good event-creation features, with pre-existing templates like “Cocktail Party,” “Presentation,” and “Fireside Chat.” These templates will give you a great starting point for designing your virtual event, especially if you’re less experienced. Run the World also offers breakout sessions, private chats, discussions, and more – a lot of the typical event features.. It’s also on a monthly plan, unlike some of the options above which are pay-by-event, so it could be a good contender for recurring events.
All this being said, the platform is limited. It lacks a lot of the more comprehensive event features the top-of-the-line conference software has, and it lacks community features. This being said, it’s a simple event platform for a reasonable price – which might be good for someone hosting frequent small events that doesn’t want community options.
- Registration & tickets
- Landing page
- Customized color scheme
- Cocktail party
- Round table discussion
- Chat and email
Hopin is a platform that caters to live, virtual, and hybrid events that offers a virtual venue for event-goers. It has features like customization, a “Livestream Studio” that helps you customize your presentation and production, and some marketing features like customized landing pages. If you’re running a hybrid event, this can be mixed with onsite management for things like printing badges.
- Live streaming and concurrent video sections
- Virtual lobby
- Group and private messaging
- Mobile apps
- Recordings and replays
- Breakout rooms
Ready to start?
The best virtual event platforms are ones that offer you a wide variety of features to build a network of value for your attendees. One of the best parts about going to a conference is all the interesting people you meet along the way and the connections you gain.
That’s why we’d love for you to give Mighty Networks a try. It’s the most affordable option on this list PLUS has no limits on Hosts or attendees or the number of events, which virtually every single other platform does. Everything is unlimited, and it starts from $33/mo for the Community Plan.
And, Mighty Networks lets you build a beautiful community to go with your events, meaning that the connections stay strong long after.
The best virtual event platforms will provide you with features that use our digital environment to create lasting connections among attendees, engaging and interactive panels and live sessions, and great pricing and support. Mighty Networks provides you with all of these things in addition to a platform that will grow along with your brand.
Why not come see what type of event you could build? It’s free to try for 14 days..