How to Build Virtual Experiences

Optimize for Quality and Boost Customer Engagement

How to Build Virtual Experiences

Table of Contents


Top trends in virtual and digital customer engagement


How to create quality virtual experiences


Explore use cases across Fitness, Healthcare, and Education

Top trends in virtual and digital customer engagement

From calorie-burning virtual fitness classes, to the convenience of in-app grocery delivery, and even virtual happy hours with coworkers– the world has adapted to digital and virtual experiences.


Digital leaders shifted quickly to this landscape, offering helpful experiences that connect their consumers to their services. However, Twilio’s 2022 State of Customer Engagement Report points to a disconnect in how well businesses perceive these experiences and how their customers actually feel. 


According to the report, 75% of companies think they’re providing good personalized experiences. But, more than half of consumers disagree. There’s a gap here that business leaders and product teams must address. 

For tech and product leaders, it’s key that these engagements are built as thoughtfully as possible. In a 2021 Deloitte Global Marketing Trends Executive Survey, 75% of executives say they will invest in hybrid experiences in the next 12 months. Forty-three percent of them say this investment is to increase personalization of products and services and to help people feel more connected.

How to create quality virtual experiences

In March 2022, we ran consumer surveys to gauge attitudes towards connecting virtually over video. From our findings, it’s imperative that brands that want to build better connections with their customers provide quality, user-centric experiences.


Here are the top findings from our surveys and actionable tips for product teams to take.


1. Video quality is king – and users will pay for it

Our study found that consumers are willing to pay to resolve their top pain points: higher quality video and audio. Sixty-six percent of them report that better quality would make them willing to pay for a virtual event.


What would make you willing to pay or pay more to attend a virtual event?


Higher quality video


Higher quality audio


A more interactive experience

Twilio tips for better engagement

Sitting in front of a screen all day is exhausting. But video can be more than a screen to passively stare at. 

Twilio Programmable Video’s developer tools help product and engineering teams make video more interactive, from incorporating live chat, to animations and emojis, games, custom filters, and more. This keeps consumers engaged and leaves them with a more positive experience.

As we found with wellness and fitness brand, Barry's Bootcamp, the quality of their virtual solution needed to match the energy brought on by their in-person classes. The ability to customize their customer's environment and create better quality person-to-person workouts, extended their brand experience and increased their connections to customers. As a result, Barry’s saw a 6x increase in their membership rate and 3x increase in retention.


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2.  In-app video experiences remove UX friction

Sixty-six percent of consumers report that their video usage increased or significantly increased since the start of the pandemic and two thirds of them are on weekly video calls, if not more.


When it comes to creating better experiences, out-of-the-box solutions won't cut it anymore.


Building a video application within your existing platform creates a more seamless user experience and erases friction. Users won’t have to jump to a different browser or download a different app just to have a video call with you.

This year (2022), how frequently do you anticipate you will use video for calls?









Twilio tips for better engagement

An invitation to a virtual event is the perfect pathway to personalize engagement with your audience on different channels.

Companies should leverage digital channels like email and SMS to drive participation in their virtual events and keep up post-event engagement. Using customer data will only help personalize those experiences. 


It’s important to remember the following when creating a virtual and connected digital engagement strategy:

  • Build immersive digital experiences that are personalized to your audience

  • Embed customized video streaming directly into your application

  • Leverage quality optimization features, like noise cancellation and backgrounds

  • Connect with audiences through live interactive content

  • Extend your reach by broadcasting to third party platforms

See how Rofim launched a multi-channel platform to engage world-wide health and rare disease leaders to help save lives, with 5,000 teleconsultations held one-to-one between patients and clinicians each month.

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3. While hybrid is here, craft virtual engagements with convenience in mind

Our study found that while consumers attended more virtual events in 2021, they plan to attend the same number of virtual and in-person events in 2022. This suggests that consumers want the convenience of choice and the ability to attend events that they can more easily fit into their busy day-to-day lives and schedules. Brands should look at making both the virtual and in-person experience through the lens of their customers, acting to make virtual experiences as compelling as the in-person experience to delight customers.


What is the consumer preference for in-person vs virtual events?


Average # of virtual events in 2021


Average # of in-person events in 2021


Average # of virtual events in 2022


Average # of in-person events in 2022

When asked about virtual experiences, not only do 65% of consumers report that virtual events are more convenient, they also say it allows them to stay safe and save time and money. From the comfort of their couch, users consume virtual event sessions, workshops, conferences, shopping, and gaming experiences through livestream.


Businesses will need to reimagine their virtual engagement strategy - what works in-person will not be the same as what works in the virtual world. And that is where innovation will be born.

Twilio tips for better engagement

While thinking through these best practices for video applications, keep in mind the following questions:

  • How many people will be using your platform? How are you managing for scale?

  • How are users experiencing your platform? What is the user experience you are looking to create? How will you differentiate it from in-person and other video experiences?

  • How are you keeping people engaged with your application? How can you move the experience from passive to active?

  • How are you fitting your video application into the wider user experience? How will you connect the customer journey across channels?

SchoolCloud launched their virtual meetings with Twilio’s quick deploy video and soon scaled to 200 million participant minutes.  Plus, the organization was able to customize and add efficiency to the user experiences with a countdown clock.

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Wellness brands and virtual experiences


According to Bloomberg news and fitness research firm, ClubIntel, the pandemic accelerated the subscription model of virtual and hybrid workouts for fitness brands. 


In fact, 72% of fitness brands surveyed by ClubIntel now offer on-demand and livestream group workouts, up from 25% in 2019. For consumers, virtual fitness classes are vital as restrictions wane or resurface, giving them the flexibility to return in-person when they are comfortable or to continue to burn calories in their own living room.

How Barry’s leveled up from Zoom to launch game-changing virtual workouts

Like many companies, when the pandemic struck, Barry’s, a popular, premium Los Angeles-based fitness brand, realized it quickly needed to adapt and digitize its customer experience.

Like many, it transitioned to Zoom and named its new service “Barry’s at Home”. As the pandemic stretched, however, Barry’s saw the need for a permanent, branded virtual experience beyond what most normal video streaming platforms offer.


Jenna Hauca, Vice President of Digital and Head of Barry’s X, explained these challenges: “With Zoom, we essentially had handcuffs on, because you can't do any customizations and the platform is what it is. With camera functionality, for instance, there aren’t many options—obviously you can do camera on, or camera off—and we wanted to add more unique functionalities.”


The live streaming component of the newly branded Barry’s X–powered by Twilio’s Video API–is branded and designed to mirror the IRL Barry’s experience. By equipping instructors with a reliable, high-quality video platform, Barry’s was able to build rapport and connection with its clients.


Additionally, with Barry’s X, instructors can see participants and provide individualized feedback directly. Participants can choose how they engage in class for example, and can opt to only allow the instructor to see them on camera.


“Twilio has provided us with scalable and fully customizable video conferencing APIs that serve as the building blocks for our branded customer facing experience. We have full autonomy to build and customize on the front-end without needing to build the underlying technology.”

Healthcare and the development of telehealth


According to the American Medical Association, physicians have overwhelmingly responded positively to the implementation of telehealth with 85% indicating that telehealth increased timeliness of care, 75% felt telehealth allowed them to deliver high-quality care, and more than 70% were motivated to increase telehealth use.


For patients, the top benefit of using virtual care is being more proactive about their health. This mirrors our survey respondents who say the majority of their virtual visits are with primary care providers.


Almost two thirds of respondents said they are attending healthcare appointments over video. The value of getting a faster diagnosis can be life-saving.

How Rofim connects healthcare providers worldwide to fight rare diseases

Rofim, a telemedicine startup based in France, aims to cut in half the 36 months it takes on average for a patient to receive a rare or complex disease diagnosis.


Telehealth is critical to their mission, as Rofim’s platform provides multiple ways for specialists to connect with each other and compare notes on difficult cases. With an integrated suite of video, voice, email, and SMS communication tools – the platform allows clinicians to expand their social networks, consult with each other on specific cases, and instantly connect in video conferencing to share general knowledge or medical breakthroughs.


“Video is really important for us,” Emilie Mercadal, CEO and co-founder of Rofim said, explaining a feature called “tele-expertise.” On the platform, clinicians can share case information asynchronously, attaching static or video imaging along with notes and links. Rofim’s use of Twilio video also enables clinicians to frictionlessly launch a video connection and consult in real time via embedded video chat to discuss a case.

Education and web conferences


Virtual learning increased by leaps and bounds during the pandemic. And use cases for remote learning still exist as consumers have gotten a taste of  the convenience of learning from their homes.


In education, convenience drives virtual attendance. Our survey found that the top use cases were classes, seminars, and exams.

How SchoolCloud fosters convenient meetings for parents and teachers

SchoolCloud, an award-winning scheduling and video software company, helps schools improve their operational efficiency worldwide. 


When the pandemic struck, SchoolCloud moved quickly to incorporate video into their platform for booking and managing parent : teacher conferences. With the help of Twilio’s quick deploy video app, they were able to launch their new virtual solution in just a week. 


Since the visual cue of the next parent waiting outside the classroom is lost in a virtual environment, meetings risk running over. So SchoolCloud added a countdown to the top of its virtual parent : teacher conference meeting rooms. 


By controlling when the video starts and ends, they can ensure every meeting ends on time and foster more intentional, focused conversations. 


The added convenience of video has also seen attendance increase. It's hard for parents and teachers to imagine going back to the less efficient way of meeting in-person.


To date, SchoolCloud has seen 200 million participant minutes on their platform, which they expect to double by the end of spring.

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Build memorable video experiences with a free trial of Twilio Video. Get started with embedded customized video experiences into your applications at scale

Ready to get started?

Build memorable video experiences with a free trial of Twilio Video. Get started with embedded customized video experiences into your applications at scale

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