Conferences in a Virtual World

We’ve had to make countless adjustments since the pandemic hit in early 2020.

We’ve had to make countless adjustments since the pandemic hit in early 2020. We don’t get to hang out with our co-workers every day, birthday celebrations and meetings are done through a screen, and conferences are held virtually! Two ANDERSON team members had the opportunity to attend the virtual Digital Summit 2021, making it the second virtual conference both have attended. Digital Summit is an annual marketing event designed for professionals to brush up on old tricks and learn some new ones too! Here’s how it went.


Alyssa: This is my second time doing this conference virtually. I really enjoyed that this one was focused on organic social media since that is my entire job. I felt like there were a lot of opportunities to grow in different aspects. I also appreciate that they added the powerpoints and content from the sessions onto the website afterwards.

Austin: Digital Summit online was a great way to learn about new and emerging trends that are coming into the landscape and being one of the first to hear about new stats and how to strategize media plans was really valuable. In addition, I enjoyed the online networking aspect as I was able to connect with professionals in the industry.


Alyssa: All of the sessions seemed kind of the same. It felt like the content was almost copied and pasted from one speaker to another. There were also a lot of technical difficulties: not being able to hear or see the speaker, sessions cutting out, blinking screens, etc. That made it difficult to pay attention. I also would have liked to hear about more than just social media, since that’s what I do all day long. I prefer conferences that expand my horizons and I didn’t really feel like I was presented with the opportunity to do so in a larger way.

Austin: To be honest, I felt like a lot of the sessions were more catered to organic social content creations rather than digital media and digital media strategies. Not to say that it isn’t important to learn those things, but as a digital media buyer and planner I wanted to learn more about ways to enhance digital marketing strategies for clients. Also, the many technical issues were annoying to deal with, but hey, they put a convention online and that’s pretty admirable.

What Was the Most Notable Thing You Learned?

Alyssa: I learned about how, on today’s social platforms, brands and businesses need to make sure they have some sort of societal impact to truly build a relationship and credibility with their audience. Especially with Generation Z being “woke,” it’s never been more important.

Austin: The way the audio marketing landscape is changing drastically. It kind of ties into the next section on why it was my favorite session.

What Was Your Favorite Session and Why?

Alyssa: Content creation burnout is a real, very frustrating thing. When you spend most of your days drafting social media content, it can become repetitive and almost tedious. I took a great class called “How to Be a Social Media Rock Star in One Easy Lesson” and it taught me to trust myself first and foremost. I have this position for a reason, I am creative, I am capable, and I can deliver amazing content. It provided me with great tools and templates to help with content creation, and ways to avoid burnout, including self-care things I can do to promote creativity.

Austin: My favorite session was “The Rise of Audio in Social and Content.” The speaker really outlined how the audio advertising industry has changed over the years, especially during 2020. Last year alone, 100 million Americans listened to a podcast at least once a month. Audio marketing is going to continue to expand especially within visual channels such as social media and video. The biggest place where audio marketing took off was on TikTok as many brands saw an opportunity to jump on trending sounds like Ocean Spray did with Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” In addition, a new voice chatting app, Clubhouse, is eliminating video altogether. There are no pictures or really even text—just audio. Overall there are 240 million digital audio listeners in the US, which accounts for ⅔ of digital media consumers, and there are many different ways for brands to engage their consumers with this touchpoint.

Any Final Thoughts?

Alyssa: I think I liked it! There were a lot of sessions that I felt were helpful and they tried their very best to make it run as smoothly as possible. I think virtual conferences are hard because you really have to pay attention to understand and process the content. I believe all working professionals should attend at least a few conferences in their life; they help us think outside of the box, promote creativity, and allow people from around the country to come together, even if it’s just virtually.

Austin: Overall, I enjoyed the conference and definitely would attend again as I believe there are valuable sessions for continuing education. I think people would get more out of the conference if it were in person, but here’s to hoping that happens in 2022.