How Stream Chat Helps Run The World Build Communities Through Interactive Online Experiences
The virtual event platform Run The World shares why the Stream Chat API is instrumental in providing an attendee-first experience and priming the startup for growth.
Problem: As Run The World garnered more users, the virtual event platform required a best-in-class chat solution with a custom pricing structure that could support their exponential growth and keep their community engaged.
Strategy: Run The World integrated the Stream Chat API into its platform to replace a different third-party messaging solution. The company activated features such as direct messaging, thread replies, and emojis and reactions to boost engagement and foster attendee connections.
Results: Run The World now has a polished, richly featured chat that is able to scale with the platform as it grows.
About Run The World
Run The World is a fast-growing virtual event platform founded in 2019 by the San Francisco-based entrepreneurs Xiaoyin Qu and Xuan Jiang. Inspired by the serendipitous connections that in-person conferences create — while hanging out in the lobby bar, for example — the co-founders set out to build a virtual event platform to help attendees discover new ideas and meet new people. “We found that people cannot connect with each other socially through traditional webinars,” explains Run The World’s Partnerships Manager Hannah Shen. “Most online conferences are a series of webinars where attendees passively listen. Our entire product vision is to drive engagement and interactions in a virtual environment and create the same social experience one has at an offline event.”
Seeking a Scalable Chat API Solution
As in-person events paused in 2020, Run The World’s attendee-centric technology became all the more important to support the widespread transition from in-person to virtual events. But how could Run The World stand out?
A reliable, feature-rich chat functionality was table stakes for Run The World to lead among many virtual event platforms. The startup had an existing in-platform chat solution that was cobbled together by building features on top of a third-party chat provider’s technology — but it didn’t offer a sleek messaging experience like ubiquitous apps such as Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp. Plus, as the company rapidly added users and started hosting more large-scale events, Run The World realized they required a chat API solution with a pricing structure that made sense to support their rapid scale. “We knew the volume of chats and comments in our events were going to be significant because chat is a high-value functionality for our clients. We needed a price point that was going to help us grow at scale,” says Shen.
Run The World also required more sophisticated live chat features such as thread replies to keep conversations organized and message reactions to encourage engagement and meet the high expectations of their tech-savvy users. The platform needed to add a direct messaging capability in order to cultivate the rich 1:1 conversations that naturally occur at in-person venues.
Why Run The World Chose Stream
Run The World sought a chat provider that was willing to keep pace with their culture of rapid development and iteration. As a growing startup, Run The World was adding new users — and innovative features that gave their platform a competitive edge — at speed. After evaluating several providers, Stream’s chat API was the clear choice due to its easy-to-use chat SDKs and flexible framework that Run The World developers skinned their UI over.
Price was also a key reason why Run The World chose Stream, as the company’s massive growth required a realistic and enterprise custom pricing model that could accommodate significant concurrent connection increases.
Most importantly, the virtual event platform chose the Stream Chat API because Run The World required a rock-solid chat functionality that just worked. “We couldn’t afford to get the chat wrong because it’s how the bulk of people using Run The World participate in the event,” says Shen, who adds that the platform frequently supports events with A-list speakers and attendees such as foreign dignitaries, celebrities, and CEOs. “We had to get the messaging functionality right.”
After choosing to integrate with Stream Chat over building complicated chat features in-house, Run The World now has a reliable, polished, richly featured chat that is able to scale with the platform as it grows.
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What’s Next for Run The World
To continue to serve their users, the platform plans to activate more of Stream’s industry-leading features, including a rich moderation toolset to ensure that community conversations are kept civil. Shen says that chat metrics (such as the volume of comments, direct messages, and emoji reactions) are now part of Run The World’s latest Advanced Event Analytics offerings to help hosts understand audience engagement. She hopes that such metrics can guide event organizers to plan more successful events. For instance, if an organizer tracks that chat engagement is higher with fewer attendees, perhaps frequent, intimate virtual events are more effective.
“Simple and elegant solutions like Stream Chat create a sense of community and togetherness during virtual events." – Hannah Shen. Partnerships Manager, Run The World
Virtual event platforms will continue to be a crucial tool to connect people around the world, and with white-label components like the Stream Chat API and a focus on attendee experience, Run The World is confident they’ll be a leading player in the virtual event sector. “Stream Chat is emblematic of the strength of our platform and the quality of our product. As simple as it is, our chat design and thread replies are frequently cited by users as one of the reasons they love Run The World. People love how easy it is to start a conversation with someone — that’s powerful,” says Shen. “It’s simple and elegant solutions like this that creates a sense of community and togetherness at events on Run The World.”