Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

A focused man positioned behind a multi-screen workstation, attentively observing a panel meeting on a stage from diverse camera angles displayed across his computer screens. Additionally, he is diligently monitoring virtual attendees participating in the meeting.

3 Ways to Maximise Sponsor Return on Investment at Hybrid Events

By Deni Kirkova|

Planning a hybrid conference or event? Our Multimedia Specialist reveals the surprising ways to drive engagement from virtual audiences for your sponsor segments.

For meetings, conferences, and events of all sizes, hybrid formats are here to stay.

As pandemic restrictions ease and people come back to meet in person, conference organisers want to retain the virtual element. Its flexibility and reach continue to provide immense value, alongside the connection and engagement you naturally get face to face.

But lacklustre virtual audience engagement, especially during sponsor segments, is a common bugbear that has event organisers stumped. You really want to show sponsors they’re getting a good return on investment. So how can you keep bums on seats and eyes on screens during sponsor slots?

There are ways to manifest greater connection and engagement for those logging in remotely. Read on.

A man sitting at a desk, surrounded by an arrangement of multiple high-resolution computer monitors and technology.
Engaging Sponsor Segments at Hybrid Conferences

Casper Maxwell is a Multimedia Specialist at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). They are passionate about empowering event organisers and delivering engaging solutions for hybrid events.

“What I really want to share are my tips on how to make content better and more engaging. When we think of hosting an event, we don’t think it’s about content. But we are delivering content. And when you go online – that’s 90% of the event,” says Casper.

Unfortunately, all the data shows that networking is challenging for virtual events and the online element of hybrid events. If you’re attending in person and want to leave, you need to go past the drinks or through the conference. And opportunities to recapture attention are not as effective online. But they can be.

“People have the choice to log off and not attend sessions if they don’t want to be given the hard sell and deal with the ads. So, you need to make sure your sponsor segments are more captivating.”

Here's how...

A man standing on a stage speaking to a large crowd with a screen behind him showing a grid of different people.
Take Inspiration from Popular Videos

If your sponsor has a product to sell, certain video styles lend themselves well to creating an engaging sponsor segment.

Look at trends in live streaming platforms like Twitch and social media, such as YouTube and TikTok,” says Casper.

“Get your sponsor to video themselves unboxing their own product, presenting an Ask Me Anything video, or hosting a Let’s Play style segment (How do you use this thing? What do you do with it?). This one is popular in the gaming world. Any of these would work well.

“The other big thing is Commentary and Response style videos. This can be short-form content of just 10 minutes, which is the golden ratio for YouTube.

Plus, it won’t take up much of your schedule.

A professional woman engaged in a virtual meeting, seated at a table and actively communicating with multiple individuals through her laptop screen.
Photography: WREN PHOTO
Make It Part of the Main Schedule

It’s tempting to schedule sponsor segments during breaks. They’re not part of your original vision so popping them in the gaps seems to make sense. But if you do that, you’ll lose people.

Help your sponsors see the benefit of fronting sponsorship by honouring them with a decent time slot.

“When organisers plan sponsor meet-and-greets during break time, engagement will drop off. People need time to have a break, so plan sponsor segments within your main programme.

Boost engagement for sponsor segments or meet-and-greets by making them part of the main schedule.

A group of people who are in a speaking panel sitting in arm chairs on a stage accompanied by two adjacent screens displaying virtual participants. Meanwhile, in the audience, there are two individuals attentively observing the panel—one standing and the other sitting.
Deliver Your Content Live

You’ve got high-quality content in the bag and you’ve scheduled a prime spot. But if you pre-record, you lose golden opportunities to capture virtual audiences through live interactivity.

Get your sponsor on board to deliver the content in real-time. This allows for live engagement from in-person and remote delegates alike.

Our in-house all-in-one virtual event platform facilitates polling, gamification, file sharing, questions, feedback, maps and QR codes to keep people busy and entertained – engrossed in your sponsor segment.

Ready to make your hybrid conference truly engaging? Reach out to the team and discover the difference.