Best Virtual Conference Platform: Digital Networking

Rank

Picture

Name

Rating

Shop

1.

accelevents logo

BEST OVERALL

Accelevents

2.

spotme logo

RUNNER UP

Spotme

3.

communique tradeshow hosting

Virtual Trade Show Hosting

4.

aventri logo

Aventri

5.

vfairs logo

vFairs

In 2020, the world learned how to do just about everything virtually, including attending conferences.

If your business had to make this shift online or you’ve always relied on virtual events like this to bring people together, there’s a good chance you reassessed your needs for the best platform to do it.

What is the best virtual conference platform out there?

The mark of a good virtual conference platform is one that offers live streaming and pre-recorded video, audience engagement tools, marketing assistance, and ease of use for both the conference host and attendees. With the right platform and an easy switch to, you’ll find it simple to switch to virtual conferences and your participants will get just as much worth from this online event.

To help you step into the modern era and show you what these virtual conference platforms are capable of, we’ve hand-picked a few that can do it all.

With our help, you’ll have a reliable and simple way to host events for attendees from all over the world, and without having to give up any of the best parts of an in-person conference.

The thought of hosting a virtual conference might seem a bit futuristic to some, but these platforms were designed to make the process easy and enjoyable.

No matter the industry you’re in or what you hope to cover in a conference, these top picks of ours will help you pull it off flawlessly for your guests.

Winner: Accelevents

accelevents
  • Automated: Yes
  • Download required: Yes
  • Smartphone friendly: Yes

Accel Events is easily one of the best virtual conference platforms out there, and one of the easiest to use.

Using this software, you’ll be able to customize events, have breakout sessions and separate stages, operate a virtual expo floor with various booths, and use their analytics and reporting tools to see how it all went when it’s done. Accel lets you choose to host a standalone event or sign up to a plan to make it a regular thing, whatever your needs are.

The best thing about Accel is how easy it was to use, and if you’ve never set up a virtual conference before, you have nothing to worry about.

The customization tool walks you through a bunch of questions to set up a conference, and still makes the process fun, for you and your attendees. It has a polished and professional look without feeling too stiff, and with minimal effort.

Accel is a favorite because of the sheer amount of things you can add to your event, including a detailed fundraising feature or being able to sell more than one type of ticket. It’s one of the most comprehensive platforms out there and good for people who like to get down into the finer details and customize their events to their specific needs.

A few minor things are missing from their conference software range that made it challenging for some, including a lack of a fully functioning app.

Although there is a mobile app available, it can only be used for basic functions like checking people into the event, so you won’t be able to create a conference just from your smartphone. According to Accel, there are plans for this in the future, but it doesn’t seem ready yet.

Customers also noted that it was hard to get a reading on prices and there wasn’t enough transparency with the overall cost of each of their plans. The prices are listed as “starting at” only and trying to get an idea without speaking to one of the representatives from Accel Events seemed near impossible, which is pretty frustrating.

These issues aside, Accel Events is still our favorite pick and has lots of extra features including audience engagement tools like Q&A, 1:1 networking opportunities, and interactive workshops for people to get involved in.

You’ll also get access to marketing tools like lead retrieval and branded materials, so it’s one space to do it all.

Pricing can be scaled and you’ll only pay for the people who show up for the event, with each plan priced according to your individual needs. You can choose a one-time event or a monthly or annual plan, with pricing determined on a case-by-case basis.

Accel Events makes it easy to run a seamless virtual conference, even if you’ve never done so before and is a simple tool you can use to boost your brand further.

Runner Up: Spotme

spotme icon
  • Automated: Yes
  • Download required: Yes
  • Smartphone friendly: Yes

Spot Me is an engagement platform that allows you to host virtual conferences, webinars, digital experiences, and more. Within this platform, you’ll get access to features like on-demand fees, breakout sessions for attendees, an activity feed so you can see what’s happening, and live streaming so you can broadcast directly to the audience whenever you want.

Audience engagement is one of the biggest selling points of Spot Me, and they go above and beyond what others do. Not only will you get to use tools like chats, live polling, and Q&A during the conference, but they even provide gamification features to make it fun, and use things like word clouds and chatbots to keep everyone engaged further.

Another huge bonus is the support team at Spot Me and how they’re with you every step of the way. While others have more of an automated process, which could appeal to some, you’ll get personalized assistance from the experts which makes it so much easier to achieve your goals. As far as an easy platform virtual conference system goes, Spot me has managed to deliver.

On the downside, the branding opportunities aren’t as good as with other platforms we’ve seen, so if you want to go heavy on this area, you’ll probably want to shop around. You can still apply some branding to your materials and the events you’re hosting but you seem limited to just how much you can get out there.

Another negative that could be bothersome is their complicated analytics reports that could go over the head of some people. If you’ve never spent time dissecting reports like this, be prepared for a learning curve, as they don’t seem to lay it out in simple terms so that everyone can understand what’s being said.

Spot Me still has loads to offer, including strict security and privacy measures, 24/7 support, unlimited users and streamers, and various amounts of events each year depending on the plan you choose. They have specialized app publishing services that let you create an app specifically for an upcoming event to further engagement with the crowd.

Spot Me is one of the more expensive options out there because of how comprehensive it is, and their packages start with the Business tier and go up to Enterprise, all available on an annual plan only. You can do a free trial and get a virtual demo so you know what you’re getting into, and if you have a lot of virtual engagement and events in your marketing plan, they’re one of the best to choose.

Alternative: Virtual Trade Show Hosting

tradeshow hosting
  • Automated: Yes
  • Download required: Yes
  • Smartphone friendly: Yes

Communique Conferencing has developed a Virtual Trade Show Platform to make hosting virtual events easier, and it’s specifically made for the needs of industries who deal in trade shows. With their could-based platform, you can host functions and hold a 3D trade show including booths, exhibit halls, networking opportunities, and presentations, for the complete virtual experience.

According to customers, this is a true virtual experience that feels as real as it could be. You’ll be able to visit different areas like exhibit halls and look at the booths or break off into the lounge where you can chat with others and network. If you’re after the most authentic experience for attendees, Virtual Trade Show Platform can deliver.

Communique Conferencing also excels in making virtual conferences fun which is a huge benefit for people who have suffered from poor engagement in the past. They offer gamification features so attendees can win prizes, earn points, and see their name on a real-time leaderboard, all of which keep people having fun and interested in the virtual event.

The biggest disadvantage to this platform is that it’s made specifically for trade shows, so it’s not as general-purpose as others we’ve seen. It would be a perfect fit for businesses and industries looking for this type of marketing vent but if you’re hoping for more of a virtual conference platform that can do it all, Communique Conferencing isn’t the best way to go.

Another negative worth noting is that it’s hard to get an idea of pricing just from looking at their website, and you have to rely on reviews from others to find out roughly what it costs. You’ll need to speak directly with their customer representatives to see what pricing is, and it seems to be determined on a case-by-case basis, which is even harder to gauge from afar.

Communique Conferencing has made it easy to integrate their software with other webinar services including Zoom, Adobe Connect, and WebEx, so you can blend everything seamlessly. You’ll be able to use their webcasting service that allows for live, semi-live, and on-demand broadcasts to suit whatever your audience wants.

If you regularly rely on trade shows to boost your brand, there’s no better option out there than Communique Conferencing’s Virtual Trade Show Platform. You’ll need to speak with their team directly to get an idea on prices as it’s not transparent, and they’ll help you come up with a customizable even that suits your requirements and budget.

Alternative: Aventri

aventri
  • Automated: Yes
  • Download required: Yes
  • Smartphone friendly: Yes

Aventri is another cloud-based platform that gives you total control of event management for your company and works for everyone from small businesses to thriving enterprises.

Their virtual conference features let you create an even from scratch, with customized agendas, speakers, and content, as well as all the extras you’ll need like pre-event marketing and post-event analytics. You can also use the software to plan in-personal and hybrid events, so it’s more of a complete event management tool.

The best feature of Aventri is that it takes you through every single step and allows for the complete customization of an event. You’ll get to dive deeper into things like seating plans and matchmaking for potential attendees, so it’s far more feature-rich than other virtual conference platforms we’ve seen.

Another great point is that Aventri continually updates its software and there’s always a new feature or tool to try. People found that their customer support was also exceptional and always available to fix any issues. If you’re looking for a responsive platform that updates with the times, we’re confident you’ll find it with Aventri.

However, customers found their reporting features to be too complicated, and some even found it impossible to unpack the data without help from one of the team members at Aventri. If you like to follow up on analytics and study them, you’ll probably prefer data that’s easier to understand so you can put it into action without waiting for customer support to give you a hand.

Also, their pricing structure is very strict, and there’s not a lot of room for customization. They offer one plan which is the Enterprise tier, and no free trial to test it out. This is a better fit for companies that intend on hosting a lot of in-person and virtual events, otherwise, you won’t be able to find a budget-friendly plan that suits your more basic needs.

Aventri comes with a comprehensive smartphone app that lets you create events from the palm of your hand, and gives the guest access to your event’s attendees as well. Their event management tools are wide-ranging and include a guided registration process, marketing campaigns, lead generation tools, event website builder, and assistance with venue sourcing and other services to help you plan your event.

If your business prefers to mix in-person and virtual conferences as part of its marketing plan, you’ll love everything Aventri has to offer on both ends of the spectrum. With just one plan available, it’s not going to be the right fit for everyone though, but if you can make use of its features, it’ll be a lifesaver. For the conference-heavy company that likes to do things virtually as well, Aventri is one of the top performers in event management.

Alternative: vFairs

vFairs Logo
  • Automated: Yes
  • Download required: No
  • Smartphone friendly: Yes

If you want your attendees to have fun when they come to your virtual conference, you’ll want to check out vFairs. This cloud-based platform lets you build a 3D world to host your conference, and it comes with features like custom event landing pages, information desk, welcoming lobby, and custom registration form. It’ll feel just like a real-life conference for your guests, and you’ll still get to market, network, and boost brand awareness behind the scenes.

vFairs excels in customization and there’s not much you can’t put your brand name on when you create events with them. The types of events you can create with vFairs also sets them apart, including the ability to host food shows, trade shows, job fairs, networking fairs, and conferences, all virtually. If you work in an industry that requires more than just a standard conference, this will be a major advantage.

Unlike others we’ve reviewed, there’s no need to download software to use this virtual conference platform, and it’s got a dedicated smartphone app as well. As far as accessibility goes, vFairs is one of our favorites and doesn’t have the usual limitations that you might find with other virtual platforms. There are lots of integrations you can use as well, so you can seamlessly blend the rest of your business with each event you hold.

This is another company that could do with more transparency when it comes to pricing, as not having anything listed turns people off from considering a certain platform. While you’re on the vFairs website, you can request a chat with one of their representatives who can walk you through a live demo and discuss pricing, but that’s as much as you get. There’s no indication on their site about costs and it seems challenging to find it through other reviews as well.

Another downside to vFairs is a lack of training support, including for attendees and potential booth holders and speakers. There’s a bit of a learning curve with this software so don’t expect to get it right on the first try. Without help, the attendees of your events could feel unsure of what they’re getting into, as could the other hosts and booth holders. Although you’ll have access to a support team who can walk you through it when you need it, the learning process overall is a lot longer.

There are loads of features at your disposal with vFairs, including integrations with your favorite apps like PayPal, Stripe, SalesForce, and Kudo, just to name a few. Your event attendees will get to use a virtual briefcase to store what they like, engagement opportunities with booth holders and other guests, as well participation in polls and Q&As after each session.

vFairs is a great choice for businesses who want to expand further than just a traditional virtual conference but may be too feature-rich for those wanting to keep it simple. You’ll need to speak with one of their customer representatives to find out more about pricing and to test out the software, but if you want the opportunity to mix things up with your virtual events, vFairs is the way to go.

Virtual Conference Platforms FAQ

conference

Using a virtual conference platform to host business events has become the norm these days, and it seems to be the way of the future as well.

If you’ve never used this type of software before or are unsure what’s even involved in the process, check out these FAQs to get a better understanding.

How Do I Choose A Virtual Event Platform?

A virtual event platform should cater to your goals and needs for virtual conferences, including participant size, content delivery, support, budget, customization options, and audience engagement.

The best way to choose a platform is to find one that will help you deliver your dream virtual event in all of these categories.

How Do I Host A Virtual Conference?

A virtual conference can be hosted by using any number of platforms available online or as downloadable software.

As the host, you’ll be able to invite attendees, present content, offer guest speakers, and speak to your virtual audience, as well as giving the audience opportunities to connect and network with one another.

What Are Virtual Platforms?

hosting and stream virtual conference

A virtual platform is a place you can host trade shows, conferences, seminars, webinars, meetings, and more, all by using software that replicates the events virtually.

These software programs enable you to replicate all aspects of an event including audience engagement and audio and visual presentations without ever leaving your office.

What Are The 3 Types Of Virtualization?

The three most common types of virtualization are presentation, application, and desktop.

Presentation virtualization is when a presentation session is delivered through a web portal, application virtualization is when an app runs in a foreign setting by using a common software baseline, and desktop virtualization allows various clients and servers to operate together from one centrally managed virtual machine.

Taking the Conference World Online

There’s nothing quite like the buzz of attending a conference, and these software platforms have managed to capture that feeling for your guests online.

If you’re ready to take a step into 2021 and see what’s possible with virtual conference platforms today, check out our expert recommendations for software that can deliver.


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