Top 10 tools for running your events online Published March 18, 2020 As social distancing and isolation because of Coronavirus builds momentum almost every industry is affected. With many brands moving their physical events online marketers are now faced with having to identify and test the best technology and software for their specific needs. With the multitude of choice available this is a daunting experience at the best of times, leaving alone when at a time of crisis. In this blog we have done some of the legwork for you and have come up with our top 10 tools for running your event online. GotoWebinar GotoWebinar is an ideal platform to stream your online events, it has a vast range of features and boasts an intuitive and easy to use interface. It is a self-service solution and does not require any IT support so it is very easy to set up and start using. Ideal if you want to quickly bring your physical events online. GotoWebinar is a very scalable video conferencing software, so it can be used for a small event, say 5 participants up to 1,000, for just one flat cost. You can record your online events or webinars using your webcam, or share your screen if you would like to present slides or show your desktop, you can then download these as an mp4 to share on your social platforms such as youtube, Facebook or embed these on your website for further reach of your events. Or even gate these videos if you would like to further monitise your event content or collect additional leads. You also have access to a reporting and analytics suite where you can discover audience engagement metrics, to help you uncover the most highly qualified leads, being those who were most engaged with your event’s content. Image source: G2 GotoWebinar has a number of other useful features including: Automated emails Settings to practice your event Customised branding Audience Interaction settings The ability to share event handouts Lead management features HD Video Conferencing High Network Security Desktop sharing Online registration forms Participate live chat Plus more GotoWebinar has multiple different pricing packages that you can find here and you can also try a 7-day free trial. Review source: G2 Zoom Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing platform that will help you broadcast your events live or pre-recorded. Used by over half the Fortune 500 companies, it is a very well established and respected platform within the video conferencing sector. Zoom is quick and easy to set up and has a free version if you would like to dive straight in and test it out for your events. Zoom has a number of integrations including Slack the popular collaboration and messaging tool. It also has its own API so you can build your own native apps or integrate your existing tech stack, for areas such as managing registrations. Their built-in collaboration tools allow multiple participants to share their screens simultaneously and co-annotate for a more interactive event or meeting. Zoom can support up to 1000 video participants and 49 videos on-screen simultaneously. Features also include recording your event/meetings locally or to the cloud, with searchable transcripts. You can schedule or start an event/meetings from Outlook, Gmail, or iCal. The chat feature is also great allowing you to chat with groups, searchable history, integrated file sharing, and a 10 year archive. Easily escalate from 1:1 personal events to group calls. Open a free account and try launching your online event with Zoom. Review source: G2 Thinkific Thinkific is a software platform that allows you to create your own online courses, where you can stream live or pre-recorded videos to your participants. Their mission is to help revolutionise the way people learn. Thinkific is also one of the most popular platforms to create and sell your online trainings, according to this interesting review of the best online course platforms which lists it under course platforms AND all-in-one tool. The platform allows you to create fully customisable courses that you can offer for free or monitise. This is ideal for online training events, seminars, one to one or group meetings, plus much more. They have helped more than 25,000 course creators in 164 different countries. Here are just some of Thinkific’s key features: Create your course curriculum with their Course Builder Build a customisable website to deliver your courses Fully integrated ecommerce to accept payment for your courses Market and sell your courses to the masses by integrating your favorite business and marketing tools Better serve your audience with participate success tools and deliver your courses in their participant learning environment Thinkific has a free plan, so you can test their platform out and launch your online event or course free today. Facebook Live Facebook Live is a brilliant feature that should be utilised by event organisers to live stream their events. Live broadcasters can decide who on Facebook can see their video and use this content to engage their audience during events and their moments. According to Vimeo, 78% of online audiences have been watching video on Facebook Live since 2018. It’s quick and easy to launch Facebook Live, here’s a quick how to: Tap the camera icon to the left of your search bar. Give Facebook access to your camera and microphone when prompted. Switch to “Live” on the bottom of your camera screen. Choose your privacy and posting settings. Write a compelling description. Tag friends, choose your location, or add an activity. Set your camera’s orientation. Add lenses, filters, or writing and drawing to your video. Click the blue “Start Live Video” button to start broadcasting. Interact with viewers and commenters. Click “Finish” to end the broadcast. Post your reply and save the video to your camera roll. YouTube Live YouTube Live is an easy and ideal way to reach your audience for your event in real time. An advantage of using YouTube for your live videos for your events is they can become a part of an archive and have replay value, especially if you organise them into playlists. Viewers can watch your events far into the future, giving your content more longevity compared to some other platforms. You can stream directly from your webcam or directly from the YouTube app (in order to stream live from the mobile app you must have at least 1,000 subscribers). You can also monitise your videos, so this is ideal for your events by promoting sponsors and other companies that would like to reach your audience. You can add pre-roll ads before your live video starts, mid-roll advertisements, you can even have display and overlay ads during your live stream. Live chat on YouTube Live also gives you an opportunity to chat and gain reactions from your audience throughout the live stream. Overall YouTube Live is a must for companies that want to engage and scale their online audience, with real-time interactions and the ability to build an easy to access archive of videos that can be repurposed and easily shared. BrightTALK BrightTALK is a leading online platform to showcase your events and webinars in real-time or build up an archive of content over time. BrightTALK allows you to create unlimited webinars and videos that can be embedded anywhere. For viewers, they only have to complete a one-time registration and then they can access thousands of hours of content on-demand, they can search by category and follow specific brands that interest them. BrightTALK is a great way to build up an engaged online community for your events and webinars, and you can also invite your own subscribers to signup and follow you. The platform has millions of subscribers and integrations with your tech stack including a wide range of CRM’s to push your registration straight into your database in which you can nurture and engage with, so it’s ideal for lead generation from your online events. Features include: Alerts/Notifications for registrations and reports Customise your own branding Event management capabilities Live chat with your audience or support Q & A sessions with your viewers Views can vote and complete polls Add multi hosts for your events or webinars Screen sharing capabilities On-demand webinars (that can be pre-recorded and uploaded) Access to analytics and reports to view engagement Promote your events or webinars on social media Plus more Discover more about BrightTALK’s solution here Asana Asana is a leading project management software solution, which is ideal for managing your events to stay in sync, hit deadlines and to maximise the effectiveness of your online events. Asana’s platform allows you to visualise your work and move these easily through different stages of managing your events and projects. The timeline feature within the platform gives you a detailed view of how your projects fit together, giving you a clear view and notifications if things change, which is especially if you are running events that involve multiple team members. Your team can request work and submit ideas though forms in order to prepare for your events, as well as access a personal or unified calendar to make all the preparation for your events to make sure they are on track and make adjustments where necessary. If you are running multiple online events you can create portfolios so you can update key stakeholders and gain a fully holistic view of all of your upcoming events. The preparation for online events can be demanding so you can manage your teams workload in one view to make sure that the work is spread evenly and no areas are lagging behind, to ensure you meet those crucial deadlines. Asana has over 100 integrations available so you can ensure that you tie all of your data together to easily manage your online event, from emails, files, tickets, registrations plus much more. These features all tie together by being able to track your collective goals and work towards milestones to ensure your online events run smoothly and offer your registrations the best possible experience to ensure attendance. This is coupled with you being able to add your own custom fields to make sure the platform works to your bespoke requirements. Overall Asana is the perfect project management and collaboration solution to manage your online events, unify your team’s working processes, and execute an effective online event strategy. Asana has a free package for teams of up to 15 people. Find out more about Asana. Brightcove Brightcove is an industry-leading solution for live streaming at scale, their platform allows you to quickly and easily live stream events without the complexity of some other platforms. This is via their intuitive interface, self-proclaimed unmatched quality, and industry-leading support before, during and after your event, giving audiences a broadcast-quality experience. Their platform bypasses ad blockers with a one-of-a-kind server-side ad insertion (SSAI) technology. This allows your live videos to include ad-supported content into one continuous stream, so it’s an ideal way to monitise your online event. This also gives your audiences pause-free, glitch-free and buffer-free viewing, which really gives your viewers an amazing experience throughout your online event. Brightcove is a really stand out solution to be used for your online events as it has some awesome features to help extend the reach of your live streaming content. These include publishing full live streams on your social channels, creating clips during the live stream and pushing them to your website or again your social channels or embed a fully interactive live experience on your website. A standout feature that they offer for streaming live events is the ability for the viewer to ‘time travel’, this lets the audience pause, play and rewind a live stream with just the click of a button. They also integrate with leading social networks such as Facebook so you can stream your live events on those social platforms for further reach. Brightcove is a very scalable solution and caters for everything from a single live stream for an event to a 24/7 channel, coupled with monitisation features such as pre-roll ads, sponsorship opportunities to a range of ad insertions. This is a robust solution that will really make your online events stand out. Based on Amazon’s AWS multi region servers, Brightcove can cater to your scalability and GDPR requirements. Their API also gives you the opportunity to unify their platform to your tech stack to make your life easy running your online events. Discover more about Brightcove. On24 On24 states they are on a mission to transform the way marketers market, powering the live, always-on and personalised webinar and content experiences that businesses need to create engagement, deliver data, find demand and drive revenue. It’s a great statement and one which their platform truly lives up to. Their platform helps build a data-rich, interactive event/webinar content experience, ideal for getting the most ROI from your event as their analytics allows you to understand your audience’s behaviour and turn that intelligence into ways that you can action. These include polls, surveys, offer additional resources and more. You can chat live and engage with your audience and interact with them in a more human level. Overall ON24 looks like a feature-rich, solid solution to successfully run your online events. Prices vary for requirements, but they do offer a free trial. Cameleon Live Cameleon Live allows you to stream your live event over multiple social networks such as Facebook, YouTube Twitch, Periscope, VLC, Weibo, Wowza, Livestream, Ustream, Codem, JwPlayer, Adobe Media Server, Nginx, Dacast, Red5, Pandora TV, Afreeca.tv, Brightcove, Cameleon and others. This is an ideal way to gain maximum reach for your live online events on a wide range of different platforms, without the hassle of streaming on one platform and then having to repurpose your content on multiple platforms after the event. Their solution also allows you to easily design your own live-streaming apps, using their robust and easy to develop software, using their original source code, so if you want to configure their platform to suit your own requirements for your event, the world’s your oyster. A testimonial from one of their customers, shows the simplicity, robustness and time saving their platform gives, rather than developing your own solution: “Easy, simple and extremely powerful. The absolute must-have for everyone working with social media. It saves you a tremendous amount of time and has more features than you’ll ever need.” We hope you found this blog about the top 10 tools for running your events online helpful and we wish you continued success with promoting your events online through these troubled times. If you have any tools you would like to recommend please feel free to share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we would love to add them to this article.