How the Online News Association Captivated Audiences at a Virtual Event

  • Online events can be successful when organizations back them with an audience engagement strategy.
  • The Online News Association (ONA) turned to Viafoura to prevent passive video consumption and provide a seamless user experience during its digital event, ONA20.
  • With Viafoura’s support, ONA encouraged its 1880 attendees to be highly attentive throughout the event.
  • At a time when 53% of people experienced screen fatigue in their daily lives, ONA20 attendees stuck around for an average of 70% of each live video session.
  • By building outstanding digital experiences, Viafoura helped ONA convince event attendees to view around three live video sessions each.
  • Virtual events will continue to drive success for organizations in the future — and Viafoura can help companies secure audience interest and attention.

Ever since the pandemic started, organizations have been moving to embrace virtual and hybrid events. However, some industry professionals are still stuck on a common misconception about online events: They’re all unengaging.

Many companies have actually experienced incredible success by building an audience engagement strategy to support their virtual events.

The Online News Association (ONA) is just one organization on a growing list of companies that had an extremely positive experience hosting a digital conference.

With help from Viafoura, the news association was able to captivate 1880 attendees online in its annual event, ONA20. Explore the text below to discover how Viafoura’s partnership with ONA combatted screen fatigue, leading attendees to view 70% of each live, online session.

The Fight To Activate Passive, Disconnected Viewers

Until the pandemic hit, ONA’s annual events were typically held in person, where media professionals could come together and exchange industry information and best practices. But the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020 meant that ONA had to move its event to an online space. Unfortunately, it quickly became clear that hosting digital speaker sessions wouldn’t be enough on its own to make the conference impactful and memorable.

With 53% of people experiencing screen fatigue throughout the pandemic, event staff needed to find a way to emulate exciting, in-person social experiences online.

And yet, it seemed like basic event solutions couldn’t engage attendees adequately to prevent passive video consumption.

ONA’s staff knew that an out-of-the-box webinar solution wouldn’t offer attendees a noticeable live chat tool that would stand out from its video streams. Nor would many social tool providers offer a frictionless login experience for users that wouldn’t require people to make multiple accounts or go to another website.

Ultimately, ONA had to capture viewer attention around a distinct social tool, allowing attendees to connect with each other — and somehow not break the user experience or disrupt session speakers.

Paving the Way for Outstanding Event Experiences Online

ONA selected Viafoura as its partner in audience engagement for ONA20, which gave the news association all the tools it needed to create captivating digital experiences.

By embedding Viafoura’s live Community Chat tool next to its video streams, attendees could ask questions and talk without interrupting the session speakers. This meant that speakers could address questions and comments from audience members in real time and collect valuable feedback. And with the addition of chat managers to greet users and prompt conversations, viewers were quickly drawn to the social spaces.

Thanks to these collaborative, digital spaces, ONA was able to avoid passive, unengaged consumption around its video streams. Instead, Viafoura’s tools created a safe, social space where industry professionals could share knowledge and expand their networks.

Viafoura’s live chat was also reskinned to align with ONA’s brand and integrated seamlessly with other digital tools. Attendees could even view the speaker sessions and engage during the event through a single login on ONA’s website.

As a result of the partnership, conference attendees remained active and engaged, tuning into the conference for an average of three live video sessions each.

Learn more about how Viafoura helped ONA capture the attention of hundreds of event attendees here.

Embracing the Virtual Future of Events

Many organizations first turned to virtual events out of necessity rather than preference during COVID-19. However, as demonstrated by ONA, virtual events can be just as effective as in-person events and even bring additional benefits to the table.

For instance, digital events remove travel challenges and can sustain high participation and attendance rates. Not to mention that organizations can provide people with unforgettable digital experiences worth sticking around for with the right audience engagement partner.

“If online events have taught [organizations] new skills and a less costly way to bring people together, it makes sense for them to continue online events post-pandemic, whether they are stand-alone or part of hybrid offerings,” Mark Glaser, a news consultant, stresses.

Whether organizations plan to host hybrid or online events in the future, Viafoura’s tools can enhance the experience around any event, supercharging attendee excitement and attention.

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