A common misconception when speaking about new technologies, or often technology in general, is that only the young, hip or nerdy will use it.
While that may be true for some technologies in the initial early-adopter phase, when it comes to the adoption of mobile devices and apps, the numbers prove otherwise:
- Smartphone users aged 35-44 spend more than 33 hours across an average of 29.3 difference apps per month, and those aged 45-54 spend more than 25 hours across 25.8 apps per month
- Over 80% of all generations (silent generation, boomers, generation X and millennials) use mobile to email and browse the web; usage percentages don’t vary much when it comes to downloading apps, playing games and social networking on mobile either
- 29% of gamers are over the age of 50
- 88% of all U.S. residents age 25 and older use mobile phones
- Penetration of smartphones among Americans aged 55+ has nearly doubled over the past year
Given those numbers, you shouldn’t hold back on implementing an engaging app, even if you have an older crowd or attendees of various ages at your event. That said, as an event organizer, you still want to make it as easy and beneficial to the attendee experience as possible. Below are a few tips I hope you find helpful in choosing and utilizing technology that will successfully engage attendees of all ages.
Carefully select and implement your features
Providing useful information and engaging ways to participate more fully in the event are the best ways to ensure your app will get used. Make sure you carefully evaluate which of the available features are valuable to your event’s specific attendees. While a variety of features can be beneficial in numerous applications, including everything under the sun just because it’s available will only detract from the features you really want attendees to use.
Notify attendees in advance
Often by the time attendees get on site at the event, everything is running full speed ahead. They’re catching up with old friends, networking with new contacts and trying to soak everything in at all those great education sessions you worked so hard to secure. Make sure that as many attendees as possible are walking in the door with your event app already on their device. A great way to encourage this is to load your app with valuable content they can use to plan their event experience ahead of time. Find more information about promoting your event app in this helpful post.
Publicize it everywhere!
From the moment your app launches (often in the range of two months to three weeks prior to the event), take advantage of every opportunity you can think of to promote it and its functionality. Include download information on your website, social media channels, and send email communications to registered attendees highlighting timely and relevant information, like the ability to build their own schedules in advance, weigh in on crowdsourced sessions or vote on networking activities. Don’t stop promoting once on site, provide information at the registration desk or even have volunteers nearby equipped to help people with the app install. Call attention to the education sessions using the app’s interactive components in the session details and on signage or projected slides in the room.
Make it fun!
Older generations are increasing their share of the gaming community, and mobile games are played by more than 100 million people in the U.S. alone. Appeal to your attendees’ competitive and fun-loving sides by adding a gaming element to your app, like an exhibitor scavenger hunt, trivia contest or networking game.
Do you think about the age ranges of your attendees when making event tech decisions? Share how you think age effects your event choices with us on Twitter.