From sponsored sessions to virtual booths, discover the most popular virtual event sponsorship ideas for engaging virtual attendees and driving ROI.
Virtual events are one the most popular event types for 2020 and they're swiftly becoming mission-critical for organizations and brands. In fact, a whopping 90% of marketing leaders plan to invest in virtual and hybrid events in 2020. While virtual events as a strategy continue to rapidly evolve, virtual sponsorships are changing alone with it providing areas of new opportunity for building new partnerships or re-engaging in-person event sponsors.
Whether you’re looking to pivot to virtual events or are redesigning a virtual event sponsorship program, we’re here to help. The following examples offer fresh perspectives and inspiration for virtual event sponsorship ideas.
Virtual Event Sponsorship Value Propositions
Before diving into the different ideas, we want to identify the main virtual event sponsorship value propositions that will resonate with potential partners. When pitching to potential virtual event sponsors, it’s important to clearly communicate the value of the virtual event experience and how it helps drive sponsor goals and objectives.
We’ve defined three areas of value for virtual sponsors:
Virtual events allow sponsors to leverage their brand power and reach a targeted audience. Branding opportunities live virtual booths, virtual sponsor pages, and mobile splash screens are just a few ways to put sponsors in front of virtual attendees.
Virtual sponsors will find value from the data and insights that can be gathered in virtual events. This can include virtual event registrations and attendees, agenda insights, and Q&A participants, and more. Drilling deeper into attendee engagement will help sponsors maximize their time at virtual events and deliver meaningful interactions with attendees.
Whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid—the value of an event is building meaningful connections. Sponsors are eager to connect, engage, and bring value to attendees. Sponsored sessions, happy hours, and sponsored Q&As can be great ways to meet and connect with attendees.
8 Virtual Event Sponsorship Ideas
Now that we have an idea of the types of value sponsors can get from virtual events, let’s take a look at 8 virtual event production strategies and virtual event ideas that will drive impactful experiences for virtual sponsors.
1. Virtual Sponsor Booths
Sponsor booths at in-person events like trade shows and conferences are a mainstay as they allow sponsors to engage with attendees 1:1. While we don’t recommend trying to replicate the entire in-person booth experience, there are ways to build dedicated virtual spaces for sponsors to interact with virtual attendees in a fun way that offers face to face digital interaction.
Below, we have a mock-up of how to create a dedicated virtual booth through Bizzabo’s Virtual Experience Solution.
2. Sponsorship Website Pages
Virtual sponsorship real estate is highly valuable for sponsors looking to showcase their brands during a virtual event. Virtual event website pages provide dedicated space to share a sponsor’s mission, products, messaging, and brand design to help attract their target audience attending your virtual event. It also has the potential to be one of the most high value virtual event resources you provide attendees.
Below is an example of creating a virtual sponsorship website page on the Bizzabo platform. Sponsors can get additional value by sharing downloadable content or highlighting sponsored sessions in order to capture leads.
3. In-App Splash Screens
An important aspect of the virtual event experience is second screen networking. A dedicated mobile event app can help deepen attendee engagement during the live virtual event by providing an immersive experience.
Splash screens, where are presented to mobile users when launching an app, are a valuable virtual sponsorship opportunity and additional sponsorship touchpoint across the entire virtual attendee journey.
Below is a mock-up of a sponsorship splash screen.
4. In-App Sponsored Offers
In addition to sponsored splash screens, event organizers can provide sponsored offers. For example, Bizzabo allows virtual attendees to opt-in to providing sponsors with their details and help sponsors capture warm leads within your event app.
Below is a mock-up of what that experience can look like within Bizzabo.
5. Sponsored Tracks and Sessions
Event tracks and sessions are a vital element in the virtual event experience. Sponsors will appreciate the ability to create targeted content or entertainment that will attract virtual attendees.
Oftentimes your sponsor will come with a formulated idea of what their track, session, or entertainment will include. Giving your sponsor the tools to showcase their brand is a great way to provide a mutual return on investment in the partnership.
Below is an example from #SMWONE that includes the sponsor, Talkwalker, who is hosting the session.
Source: Social Media Week
6. Sponsored Promo Codes
Event promo codes are a great way to drive event registrations. In a virtual environment, sponsored promo codes can have a double advantage: not only do promo codes give your sponsor room brand exposure, but they also incentivize sponsors to proactively market your virtual event.
Below is an example of a promo code built within the Bizzabo platform. A typical sponsor promo code will offer a discount to the attendee or even an exclusive experiential perk while providing attribution data.
7. Pre-Roll Videos and Commercials
If you’ve watched a free video online, you’ve probably seen sponsored content that rolls right before the video. You can leverage pre-roll videos the same way and showcase your sponsors while you have your attendees’ undivided attention with a short sponsorship video right before the session starts. Most companies have a short brand video readily available, meaning less time creating content. It’s common for these videos to typically be 30 seconds to 1 minute long.
Here’s an example of the video Bizzabo used for 1-minute promotion spots in other virtual events.
8. Email Promotions
Branding communications through email are a great way to get virtual sponsor visibility. Scheduled communications to registrants, announcements, or other virtual event promotions can be great areas of opportunity to showcase relevant sponsors.
In this first example, TechCrunch Disrupt sponsor Dell provides a message for entrepreneurs leading up to the virtual event.
In this second example below from WNORTH, virtual event sponsors are highlighted at the bottom of the email.
Key Takeaway: Delivering Value to Virtual Sponsors and Attendees
At the end of the day, virtual sponsors are hoping to connect and engage their target audience at your event. Remember to link any virtual sponsorship program with a concrete way to drive value to your sponsors and partners. For example, that could be through email list development for speakers or even guaranteeing them a spot in one of your next hybrid event ideas. Communication and feedback through before, during, and post-event will also help you improve and optimize your virtual sponsorship programs for the next virtual or hybrid event.
Looking for more resources on building a Virtual Event Sponsorship Program? Dive into the Virtual Sponsorship Workbook for tips, tools, and exercises to get you on track.