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Why Virtual Events May Not Always Work

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Laptop sitting on a table with the screen showing multiple participants in an online meeting.

The pandemic brought with it a tremendous increase in virtual events. However, the hype seems short-lived, and even with the pandemic decreasing in severity, many people have lost interest. Admittedly, some of these events still attract a good audience. However, in general, there are many reasons why virtual events may not always work.

Why Virtual Events May Not Always Work

Virtual events may not always work mainly because they lack the personal connection most people crave. While they may be able to attract a subset of the overall target audience, they are often limited, offer mixed return on investment (ROI), are more prone to technical glitches, and are generally not as interactive as in-person events.

Virtual events are also less effective in networking and often attract a distracted audience. For these reasons, most sponsors tend to shy away from virtual events because they can yield mixed results. It is hard to sell products virtually, and it is even harder to keep your audience engaged.

Why Are Virtual Events Prone to Failure?

According to marketing reports, the biggest challenge facing virtual events is a lack of audience engagement. Truthfully, it is hard to keep people engaged in a virtual environment. They may watch your live stream for a few minutes but switch to email, a phone call, or search on the internet. There are so many distractions causing virtual audiences to lose interest very fast.

A lack of personal interaction is another big red flag for virtual events. This is unfortunate because social interactions are invaluable for any event. They allow you to:

  • Build strategic business connections
  • Set up a conducive environment for networking
  • Promote your products at an event
  • Connect more with your audience

The Main Reasons Why Virtual Events Might Not Succeed

Apart from the hurdle of having an engaged audience and a lack of social interaction, virtual events might also fail because:

  • They don’t attract many sponsors
  • They are limited
  • They are faced with the potential for technical problems

Let’s look at these issues in more detail below.

Virtual Events Offer Limited Business Opportunities

First, pricing on a ticket could vary significantly and it may be less than what an attendee would pay for being in-person. On top of that, you won’t be able to sell as many products as you would at a physical event.

This is especially bad news if you are planning an event with an exhibit or tradeshow component. Although many virtual event platforms can provide a virtual exhibit featuring the sponsor, which can include sponsor contact details, virtual giveaways, videos, photos, etc, it still doesn’t compare to actually meeting the sponsor in person.

If you are planning a product launch, it will be hard to pitch the product through a screen. Your audience might feel like they are seeing an advertisement and quickly opt out of the live stream.

Virtual Events May Not Attract as Many Sponsors

You might get a few sponsors for your virtual event if you have a good social media following. However, for most event planners, getting brands to sponsor a virtual event is a huge challenge.

The truth is that brands don’t get much out of virtual events. Putting brand logos or marketing materials on the screen will likely be an unwelcome distraction and might send some of your audience away.

So, unless the brand is actively part of the event, the low Return on Investment (ROI) is bad for business. That is why most will be hesitant to sponsor your event.

Virtual Events May Not Offer Great Networking Opportunities

Since people will not be physically attending your event, they won’t be able to build valuable relationships. One problem with doing events virtually is creating a vendor and customer relationship.

It is hard for networking to thrive in such an environment. This is because networking is born naturally. When people meet, get to know each other, and have a conversation, they are more likely to form a meaningful connection than when they are forced to do so.

Unfortunately, virtual matchmaking as a networking strategy is not very effective. It is like forcing two people who barely know each other into a business relationship.

Virtual Events May Not Always Allow For Personal Connection

Most people crave personal connection. That is an irrefutable truth. In fact, according to Sprout Social, 78% of customers are likely to trust brands where they have a personal connection.

In-person events spur far healthier personal connections than virtual ones. When you meet in person with other people, you get to have deep conversations and create valuable memories. As a brand, having a personal connection with your customers means that you also have their trust.

As a result, they are more likely to trust you and become long-term clients if you meet them in-person.

Virtual Events Might Face Technical Issues

From bad internet connections to power outages, most virtual events are susceptible to technical glitches. This can affect both the event planners and their audience. According to Markletic, 38% of marketers admit that they face technical issues while hosting virtual events.

These issues may include:

  • Sound problems
  • Bad video quality
  • Internet/WIFI issues
  • Speakers not prepared

These issues happen at the most inconvenient times and can completely derail your event.

Virtual Events Have Distracted Audiences

It is much easier to pay attention when seated in a conference hall than following an event from a phone or computer. As a result, your audience will be distracted most of the time.

People watching your event virtually can easily switch between tabs or abandon your live stream to open a new window. They might also be listening to music or multitasking.

Therefore, it is generally hard to get an audience’s full attention virtually because of all these distractions.

Related Questions

Below are some common questions you might have about virtual events.

How Do You Keep Virtual Events Engaging?

You can keep your virtual events engaging by offering incentives, having short sessions, calling out audience members when they join or comment, and coming up with creative and fun activities to do.

What Are the Biggest Advantages of Virtual Events?

Virtual events might have advantages such as better data gathering, flexibility for both the audience and event organizers, better attendee feedback, and reduced event expenses.


As you can see, there are many hurdles you might face while organizing or running a virtual event. These include lack of audience engagement, limited networking opportunities, technical issues, low ROI, lack of sponsorship, and minimal personal connection with audience members. However, with the right event production partner with extensive experience producing virtual events, like Vario, you may be able to overcome many of these challenges. Check out our exclusive event solutions and let us know how we can work together.

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