When planning your virtual event, you have to make production decisions that include choosing the best way to stream your content. From choosing an event production software to spacing the schedule out over the course of a week, it can be difficult to identify the best way to run your event and the way that your audience will enjoy it the most.
With any virtual event, you need a plan for video content. But how do you decide on live streaming or pre-recorded content? Both offer unique value to the viewer and can increase engagement depending on how you run it. Better yet, should you skip making this decision and provide a mix of both?
To help you make the right decision, we’ve laid out the advantages and disadvantages of running your virtual event as a live-streamed event or as an event with pre-recorded content.
The Growth of Virtual Events and Video Streaming
This year has proven eventful. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and forced business shut-downs, more brands are turning to live online events for their event needs or for promoting their products and services.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual events were projected to be a major source of brand revenue for 2020.
According to a survey conducted by Vimeo, these digital trends are expected to stay. Eighty percent of responders said that they would rather tune in to live video than read a blog. And when compared to posts on social media, 82% said that they would prefer a live video, and 87% of responders suggested even more interest if the video showed behind-the-scenes content.
Even more pertinent to live event streaming, 67% of audience members were likely to purchase a ticket to a similar event after watching a live stream. A similar 67% reported that when watching a live stream, the quality was an important factor.
We can see this trend uptick as more events are being offered through live streaming platforms. So naturally, much of this is due to the popularity and growth of live-streamed video through social media platforms.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, popular in their own right, have expanded their live video options, now hosting Instagram Live, Instagram Reels, and Facebook Live. These platforms are catching up with video streaming platforms like Youtube and Vimeo, and even the use of Twitter as a way of posting live videos for social recognition.
As video streaming continues to grow, brands that recognize this trend are finding success by hosting live virtual events. Live virtual events have some choice when it comes to streaming video, and that is either through live-streaming, posting pre-recorded content, posting pre-recorded content simulated as if it were live, or a mixture of all these things.
Benefits of Live-streaming
Live-streaming is media that is being streamed to a user as it is being filmed. With live-streamed content, there is no significant delay from the time that the video content is being recorded to the time when viewers are watching it. This makes the video content “raw” and “unedited”, which provides viewers a chance to connect more intimately with the content.
Live-streamed footage also has a chance of showing aspects of a company that viewers don’t normally get to see. Because of this, high-quality live streaming has shown more genuine engagement between viewers and a brand.
Benefits of live-streaming include:
- More affordability: Since live-streamed events do not require editing or much in terms of video production, they might save your brand more money. Live-streams can be filmed from a computer and uploaded directly through the virtual event platform. No matter what platform you are using, live-streaming video needs an encoder so that it is immediately available to the broader public.
- Greater interaction: Live-streaming allows a more intimate look into a brand persona. It might allow viewers backstage or a glimpse into the personalities of those who are a part of the brand. Because of your brand’s authenticity, viewers feel like they are interacting with humans rather than abstract brands. You might find more engagement through live chat features or on social media because of it.
- Immediate streaming: Live-streams are live and that means the video content is immediately available. As an event company, you won’t need to record the content, market it, or schedule any release date. When it’s recorded, all that work is done.
- Time: Unless the live-stream requires that a presentation is given, and that brand needs to prepare for that presentation, then, for the most part, the live-stream saves a brand time on the production end. Invest your time into something else, like creating high-quality content on the live-stream.
- More engagement: As interaction with this content increases, you’ll see increases in audiences and viewers. This is because you will be tapping into a specific market of people who prefer live streaming over other types of content. Simply by offering live video, you are engaging a new audience for your brand.
- More receptivity to a brand: As your brand awareness grows, you might see more brand recognition and receptivity in the market. Live streaming gets your name out there in ways that pre-recorded content simply can’t!
Benefits of Pre-recorded Content
Unlike live-streamed content, pre-recorded content is exactly that—pre-recorded and then uploaded through your event planning software to an online audience. Brands who use pre-recorded content have more control over the product and can specifically time the release of this type of content.
In general, there is more work that needs to be done to promote and produce pre-recorded content. From production, timed releases, and uploading the content, you need to have more of a hand in pre-recorded content.
While more work is needed to get this type of content up and running, there are clear benefits to pre-recorded content:
- The option for retakes: With pre-recorded content, you can be confident with the production quality because you have the option for retakes. Retakes allow you to perfect the content until you are happy with it. This is a stark contrast with live-streamed content, which gets no edits.
- Impress your audience: Since you are able to put more production elements into pre-recorded content, you are able to truly impress your audience. Depending on your budget, you could incorporate a green screen, augmented reality, mixed reality, and even 3D projection mapping for truly high-quality and immersive content!
- High-quality video production: With pre-recorded content, you are able to do it right. You are not forced into getting a device that has an encoder built in it, and instead, you can purchase or rent high-quality video production equipment. With production equipment and even a production company on your side, you can truly produce an impressive and engaging online event.
- Greater flexibility: The biggest worry when shooting live-streamed content is that the content is there for good. In this way, you have to have an entire production ready to go for one-take. You must also practice making sure every line is right and everything is perfect. Sometimes this can be stressful. So, pre-recorded content alleviates this stress and allows the production to go a little more smoothly and more flexibly. You can edit shots together and edit out certain parts of the video that don’t contribute to your brand narrative.
- Appeal to more time zones: Pre-recorded content can be uploaded in a live event for any time-zone, which will allow your brand greater reach globally. Instead of having to be awake at all these times, simply pre-record that content and then manage the publishing schedule.
- Schedule flexibility: Similar to the previous sentiment, brands have more flexibility with pre-recorded content because the presenters do not need to be available at all times. You can have a fully online event before the event is set to air so that scheduling conflicts don’t happen!
Live-Streamed, Pre-Recorded or Hybrid
Choosing between these two styles can be difficult at best. A live-streamed event, for example, showcases your brand’s authenticity and is likely to have a greater reach. However, the benefits of pre-recorded content mean that your brand can appeal to a wider audience and have greater flexibility when it comes to producing the content.
If you are hosting a virtual conference or virtual webinar, then you might want to lean towards a pre-recorded style event. Live-streamed events are great for product unveils, interviews, and showcasing behind-the-scenes looks at your brand. Still, both styles can benefit any type of event.
Of course, one solution to this dilemma is by offering a range of both. By offering both live-streamed content and pre-recorded content you can tap into the unique benefits of each style.
Host a live-streamed portion of your event that showcases your brand’s members “out in the wild”. If this portion is smaller than the pre-recorded portion, then you can go above and beyond what you might normally do. Head downtown into your local neighborhood to show off the ways that your brand is out there in the community. Or, head to a unique wildlife area (that still gets video reception!) so that your viewers can see something new, breaking up the boring content they may be served by other brands.
While you are offering a live-streamed portion, you can still provide pre-recorded content that types into the high-quality production value that you love. Rent or hire a videographer or production team so you can go to the set and experience the very best of video production. Or, buy your own green screen and put your video editing skills to the test!
Running Your Virtual Event with Accelevents Event Planning Software
Putting on a virtual event should be fun, but sometimes making decisions around production can be stressful. Luckily, putting on your virtual event is not stressful with the event software Accelevents.
Accelevents provides brands with a high-quality and comprehensive platform so that they can put on the virtual event of their dreams. With live streaming options, the ability to load pre-recorded content, simulated live features, and lots of integrations, Accelevents makes intuitive sense for any brand that wants to host a live-streamed event, a pre-recorded event, or a combination of both.
Accelevents also has native features for ticket management, registration, and event marketing. That way, you can create a branded event website for seamless marketing all through the Accelevents platform. Make the switch today and see how Accelevents can elevate your brand to the next level of virtual events!