There are certain event organizers who would have you believe that having mobile devices at the events would be a serious distraction for the attendees leading to a serious downside to engagement at the event. But, what if you could use the same facets of distraction and turn them into tools of engagement at the events instead? Read on to find more about events apps and features like Attendee Matchmaking, Live Polling & Live Broadcast, Gamification and Social Wall that can increase attendee engagement at events.
A recurring nightmare that most event organizers and hosts have are of distracted attendees. A recent survey conducted by IMEX America states that to maximize attention, delegates should be banned from using personal devices during conference sessions and meetings: they should be told to switch them off and put them away before the meeting starts. However,of the many things that a person can do without, in the present day and time, the mobile device does not seem to make the list anymore. You are probably using a mobile device to read this very article or looking at your mobile device on reading the line right now. Most of us have wondered how the previous generation ever functioned without having their entire lives at the tip of their fingers. However, the availability of global connectivity and one-touch information has brought along with it, the need to constantly think about “taking a quick look”, otherwise known as distraction.
Research conducted by the GSM Association, which is the research wing of Wireless Intelligence, states that an average American subscriber has 1.57 mobile devices or subscriptions. The global numbers for the same statistics aim at 1.85 connection per subscriber. This makes it almost impossible to completely remove the mobile devices from their owners at events and conferences. Moreover, completely banning the mobile devices from said events has the possibility of estranging or completely losing valuable attendees while aiming towards curtailing distractions. Also, in serious business events, such bans may not be a welcome feature among attendees or speakers.
As a fix, the objects of distractions should be transformed into advantages. If the attendees are going to be distracted, it is better that they remain distracted with the event itself. Mobile devices can bring in additional advantages and opportunities by encouraging face-to-face connectivity and interactions through mobile event apps. Some of the best measures to turn distraction to engagement using mobile app for events are as listed under:
Attendee Matchmaking and One-To-One Meetings
Often people attend and leave an event only to find out that they have missed out on an opportunity to connect with an influential prospect. The instant regret is “I wish I could have got even 10 mins with them”. Event apps capture attendee interests during the registration process and use the data to cross match attendees who have similar interests. The app also facilities via which an end user can also scroll through the list of other attendees and speaker and schedule meetings for themselves. This eliminates the chance of missing out on important connections.
Live Polling & Live Broadcast
One of the best-known engagement strategies for attendees is to indulge in Q and A and polling. Event apps have further escalated these options to live polling and instant display of results which is a very effective way to adhere the audience’s attention to the session deliverables. The urge to “check with the phone” can be curtailed with having attendees engage in live polls and Q and A through the app, Displaying the result real-time on the stage will subsequently draw their attention back to the event thereby benefitting both attendee and speaker.
There are very few people in the world who are averse to playing games. Playing games and most importantly, winning them gives people a competitive edge. Also, games are some of the most frequently downloaded and most highly rated applications signifying popularity. If the game elements can be attributed to different activity areas especially as online marketing techniques then it will facilitate the user engagement with the product or service, in this case, the event app. Some important features include being able to change the passive content consumption to active interactions via engagement tools such as internal messaging etc. Having app points will help in boosting the usability of these in-app activities and increase attendee participation, thereby turning the distracting elements of the phone to beneficial engagement tools.
Social and Photo wall
Simply having the gamification element is not enough. To engage attendees further, it is important to have a social element present in as well. This can be done in the form of photo walls or social walls. Most events have a lot of photographs taken. It is usual for attendees to share these event photos on their personal social media. Having a social or photo wall in the event app will enable the attendees to share these “live” at the event venue. This will be an add-on element that will help in increasing employee motivation in social as well as internal events. The social walls can at the same time take the data from scavenger hunt rankings, live polls, and other activity feeds and display it throughout the venue. Being able to see one’s “name in lights” is a very powerful mode of recognition enjoyed by event attendees as well as event hosts.
To Sum up
In the present time and age when technology is an inseparable part of our lives, the best measure would be to include it productively in everything that we do. When it comes to events, any technology that you add to your event needs to be able to define their individual purpose. Once established, you can then use the technology in any way that suits your purpose best. Thus instead of categorizing tablets and mobile devices as the enemy that distracts your event attendees, use the same to engage your attendees to the event through networking, gamification and social engagement. Make the mobile devices an equally inseparable part of your events and enjoy a higher rate of networking, greater ROI and most importantly satisfied attendees.