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3 Themes We’re Seeing in Today’s Top Virtual Experiences

  • Rob Patterson

Though citizens across the country are more than ready for new normalcy to take hold, the unfortunate reality is that it’s going to be some time before large-scale live experiences are commonplace again. And even when they do, things will be different. In the meantime, brands have been adapting by creating virtual experiences that allow consumers to engage from afar.

While they certainly won’t replace the power of in-person experiences, there are some advantages to virtual experiences that make them a valuable piece of the brand experience puzzle going forward. First and foremost, you aren’t limited by location. The global nature of the internet allows you to speak to your target consumers wherever they might be. Likewise, the ability to record the experience allows your audience to replay it at their own convenience – creating more opportunity to expand your reach. Finally, virtual experiences offer additional opportunities for data capture, which helps to further demonstrate return on investment.

Yet, despite those advantages, virtual experiences are a new concept to many of us. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to the events that are driving the most interest from consumers during this time. Below, we share three themes we’re seeing in some of the most engaging virtual experiences.

 

Self-Betterment on Eventbrite

According to Eventbrite, there was a 1000% year-over-year rise in online events published in the month of April. Of those events, nearly half could be classified into one of two buckets: health and wellness or business/professional. The former saw a 2200% YoY increase in virtual events published, while the latter rose 1100%. In terms of health and wellness, Eventbrite noted that yoga and meditation classes, specifically, were among the most popular experiences, while seminars and workshops were atop the business category. Though both categories are catering to different audiences, it’s clear that self-betterment is on everyone’s mind while confined within our homes.

 

Entertainment via Esports 

From April 20th to 26th, the NFL, ESPN, and EA Sports hosted a Madden NFL 20 Celebrity Tournament that included star players like DeAndre Hopkins and Travis Kelce, as well as a handful of celebrities highlighted by Snoop Dogg, Lil Yachty, and a variety of ESPN personalities. Throughout the tournament, games were shown on ESPN2, as well as ESPN’s Twitch and YouTube channels.

Similarly, the NHL recently announced plans for a virtual NHL 20 tournament that will include players from all 31 league teams. The league is teaming up with Honda and ESL Gaming, and matchups will be shown on NBCSN, Sportsnet One, and the NHL’s Twitch and social channels. As leagues continue to navigate this time without live sporting events, they’re satisfying fans’ desire for competition and their favorite personalities by leveraging the growing category of Esports. This is one trend that isn’t likely to fall off anytime soon.  

 

Airbnb Online Experiences allow consumers to discover the world around them from the comforts of home.

Image Credit: Airbnb

 

Fulfilling a Need for Discovery

Earlier in April, Airbnb launched its Online Experiences portal, providing consumers an opportunity to experience the sense of discovery that they’re missing out on during a time without travel. Experiences ranging from “Guided Sheep Meditation” to “Coffee Masterclass” have been extremely well-received by consumers looking to escape and learn about the world around them. And It’s not just travel companies looking to scratch that itch for consumers, either. Even MasterCard’s Priceless Cities program, which allows any cardholder to book experiences across the world, is giving consumers a chance to attend virtual happy hours, cooking classes, museum tours, and more with experts and stars in their respective fields.

As we move toward the re-opening of America and the new sense of normalcy, it’s important to consider how both in-person and virtual experiences can complement each other to create an even better overall brand experience. If your brand is interested in discussing how to navigate this crisis or planning for afterwards, contact us today to learn more.

 

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Sources: “Gather ‘Round Your Screen: Online Events are the Live Experiences of Now.” Eventbrite (2020), “Honda Sponsors Esports Matchups Between NHL Players.” Marketing Dive (2020), “What Event Marketers Can Learn from Airbnb Experiences.” Event Marketer (2020).