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Adding different types of virtual events to your marketing strategy can help you extend your reach to a global audience, create networking opportunities within your community, and funnel more leads to your pipeline – all while spending less than you would on an in-person event.

The global virtual event market is expected to reach $366.5 Billion by 2027. It’s a staggering number but not altogether surprising; people have come to expect (and in many cases prefer) virtual event options. The virtual experience allows people to learn and network from the comfort of their homes, cuts down on carbon footprints, and mitigates travel expenses.

Some kinds of events are best suited to small groups, while others can be scaled up to reach hundreds of thousands of event attendees. If your organization is looking for new virtual event ideas to spice up your outreach efforts this year, I’ve got you covered.

In this article, I’m breaking down the most common types of virtual events to help you decide which kind of event is right for you.

What’s the Difference Between Virtual and Hybrid Events?

Virtual events can be broken down into two primary categories:

graphics for the difference between virtual and hybrid events

Fully Virtual

Fully virtual events are held completely online. Networking opportunities, breakout sessions, keynotes, and every other facet of the event are presented in a digital format. Event attendees can watch in real-time, or access the content on-demand after the event has ended.

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Hybrid events offer certain components that are available online (for example, a webinar from a specific partner), and other components that are conducted in person (say, the main stage keynote).

Hybrid events will often film a live event and provide virtual attendees with access to the livestream or recording replay. Tickets can be priced accordingly, with the highest admission price being in-person VIP tickets, and more affordable rates for virtual admission or replay access.

Related read: A Virtual Event Planning Checklist for Before, During, and After

The 7 Main Types of Virtual Events

In a further breakdown from fully virtual and hybrid, virtual events can be divided into several sub-categories. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of virtual events:


Networking is the second largest reason why people attend virtual events. Virtual networking events allow attendees to connect with each other in small groups and 1:1. Depending on the virtual event technology you’re using, attendees might be able to jump in and out of conversations according to their preferences, and even access each other’s LinkedIn profiles while chatting.

Networking is an excellent way to add value and increase attendee engagement. Being able to video chat with new contacts and then follow up post-event provides your guests with a reason to attend your next events too.  


Webinars are the most common format for virtual events. A webinar is generally conducted within a small-group and can be presented live or via a replay. When presented by webcast, participants have the opportunity to ask real-time questions in the chat. Free webinars are a great addition to your event strategy because they provide you with the ability to increase brand awareness while marketing your larger, paid offerings to an audience of qualified leads.

Virtual Conferences

Virtual conferences are large-scale events hosted for big crowds. They provide an event experience that can either be completely passive, or more involved and active. For example, some virtual conferences solely consist of a single “main stage” with keynote speakers, a few panel discussions, and the ability to participate in the chat. Others are more in-depth, providing attendees the opportunity to engage in networking opportunities and breakout sessions, and to visit fully immersive 3D lobbies similar to a physical event. 

Trade Shows

Virtual trade shows are an excellent choice for product launches because they present vendors with many of the same opportunities available in a face-to-face setting. Within the virtual environment, attendees can visit different booths, learn more about the products by chatting directly with a team member, and even make purchases at a virtual POS. Many virtual event platforms utilize QR codes on digital badges, enabling exhibitors to capture leads that can be directly loaded into their CRM via platform integration. 

Job Fairs

Virtual job fairs allow you to connect with your target audience remotely. Since the event takes place outside the confines of a physical venue, you can expand your reach to other geographic areas without worrying about travel or time zone restrictions. If virtual job fairs are your sole focus, consider working with a platform that supports the niche. There are several virtual event platforms that cater specifically to recruiters, offering features like 1:1 interviews, small group networking, and individual booths for various employers.

Training Sessions

Since the pandemic, many organizations have taken their training online. Virtual training sessions are an excellent way to connect with a wider audience and add value, without having to incur travel expenses in the process. Virtual event platforms make it easy to include quizzes, Q&A, and video content in your sessions, just as you might when conducting in-person training. It’s easy to chunk lessons into modules, circulate study materials virtually, and even create breakout rooms so that trainees can study in a small group setting.

Town Halls

Virtual town halls allow you to expand on your traditional virtual meetings to make sure that remote teams across the entire organization remain on the same page. The online event format allows everyone to attend, regardless of their geographic location, and it’s easy to break employees into small groups for icebreakers and brainstorming. Gamification functionality can keep it fun, and interrupt some of the more dry financial and business content to increase audience engagement.

How to Host an Unforgettable Virtual Event

Choosing the best event format is just the first step in the virtual event planning process. Event organizers have a long list of decisions to make before, during, and after the event to guarantee its success.

To help you stay organized, take a look at our Virtual Event Planning Checklist for Before, During, and After. We also have a customizable version you can downloadable for free here.

For some awesome virtual event planning tips, you’ll want to read:

To learn more about the best virtual event platforms on the market today, check out our article:

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By Kyra Evans

Kyra Evans has over 15 years of experience writing about finance, technology, and corporate wellness for many of Canada’s largest brands. In addition to writing, Kyra provides keynotes and workshops in mindfulness and holistic wellbeing to companies ranging from startups to multinational corporations. She writes for an engaged community of more than 30,000 readers on Instagram and TikTok, and her work has been featured by publications such as HuffPost and Authority Magazine. She lives on Vancouver Island with her family.