Joel Crouch, general manager for Europe at Eventbrite, looks at some of the lessons the company has learned from the more than one million online events held on the platform in 2020.
The UK has entered a second national lockdown. In-person events are on pause once again. That’s a hard pill to swallow for an industry that has only just started reemerging with thoughtful, socially distanced event formats, which included a boom of drive-in events, safe Halloween events, and bike and cycling events.
This second lockdown might feel like a step backwards for events in general. It is worth remembering, however, that online and hybrid can be a viable alternative to in-person events.
Here are a couple of things we have learnt from the more than one million online events on Eventbrite in 2020.
We saw a shift back to in-person events after the UK’s first lockdown, but a sizeable share of events remained online. Pre-Covid, these numbers were in the single-digit range. This might indicate a sustainably increased demand for virtual events – even for a time when in-person events will finally return to normal.
UK yogis, for example, seem to have firmly embraced online yoga. Classes went virtual during the first lockdown, and even after in-person events returned, more than half of all Yoga events stayed online. And now that the UK is in lockdown once more, and Yoga events have fully moved back online, Yogis don’t seem to mind at all: We are issuing nearly as many tickets to Yoga events as we did right before the pandemic – when the vast majority of yoga events were still in-person.
More than one third (30%) of the audience of UK online events logged in from abroad. Virtual events allow event creators in the UK to reach entirely new audiences in places like the US, India or Australia.
Online events around professional development, like coding events, are thriving throughout the pandemic – arguably because people feel less secure about their current jobs and are looking to upskill.
Virtual events around mental health seem closely linked to lockdown measures. The volume of these types of events grew strongly during the first lockdown, and tickets issued peaked in May and July with more than 30,000. This figure dropped off by about two thirds in August when measures had been relaxed, but online mental health events are once again on the rise now that infection levels are increasing and we are encouraged to stay at home most of the time.
At Eventbrite, we remain dedicated to helping organisers host ticketed online events. We’ve made it easier and more seamless than ever to use Eventbrite with Zoom and Vimeo, two of the leading live video streaming platforms, to put on and promote ticketed online events. In addition, we’ve published helpful information on how to host online events or webinars, a guide on how to price online tickets, and identified common mistakes when producing streaming virtual events.
If you are running an online event, also consider that the government’s ‘Here For Culture’ campaign is running a social media showcase from 16-20 November, encouraging people to get involved and consume culture online. Adding #hereforculture to your social media posts might help drive additional traffic your way.
Looking further ahead, the news of effective vaccines gives us confidence – this pandemic will eventually be beaten. At Eventbrite, we share the hopes of everyone in the events business that the worst will soon be over, and that we can all return to doing what we are best at: bringing the world together through live experiences.