3 Key Differences: Parallel vs. Hybrid Events

Parallel v Hybrid Blog

We all interpret words and terms in our own way, especially when it comes to event formats. Parallel event is one of those terms. While it’s important to understand the basic idea of a parallel event, what’s more important is taking that understanding and designing your framework to fit your content and audience needs.

One thing we can identify as an area of improvement for a digital audience is the engagement factor. Try as we might, setting up successful and satisfying engagement spaces for digital participants can be limiting and difficult. While we want to use events as a vehicle for enticing participants to attend in-person, we want to ensure we’re building trust and ease in the online vehicle as well.

To understand the basic principles of parallel events, let’s compare some of the differences between hybrid and parallel events.


  1. The content for a parallel event is more than a live stream
    Hybrid events typically stream the majority, if not all their content to an online audience in tandem with their in-person audience. Hybrid content is an extension of the in-person content, whereas parallel event content is modified and presented in a digital environment setting, with a focus on engagement.

  2. The engagement opportunities focus on the digital participants
    While it’s convenient to access a live stream from an in-person event, the engagement opportunities can be lacking for the digital participants. In most cases, there’s a moderator onsite to monitor an online chat or Q&A panel, however that doesn’t provide the direct contact with a speaker. With a parallel event structure, you can design the session to provide dedicated face time with the session speaker.

  3. Parallel events are designed for one day and any time
    Time and distractions are two challenges of engaging an online audience. While the typical hybrid stream can last up to 8 hours with minimal breaks, a parallel event allows for maximum engagement in minimal time. With a parallel event, we’re looking at a three-hour time frame with sessions, breaks and engagement activities, as opposed to 8 hours of consecutive content. In addition, a parallel event can be hosted concurrently with an in-person event but doesn’t have to be with this format.

It does seem like there are many similarities with hybrid and parallel event formats and understanding the differences can help you to build your event portfolio and increase creativity for content and session formats.

Interested in learning more? Join us for the Parallel Event Summit: Paving the Way for Audience Focused Experiences on June 28th. Register today!

Looking for more details and tips for starting your journey on parallel events? Download our eBook now!



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