Imagine the scene: an event with dozens of sullen acquaintances staring down at their drinks quietly. Eyes make contact here and there briefly but quickly avert their gaze. In another scenario, attendees are sitting in sessions barely looking at the speaker, instead appearing to be playing games on their phones or dozing off. Is this the event of your dreams? Or do you want a connection between attendees – networking, conversation, a demonstrated passion?
Meeting planners always aim to amplify attendee engagement. And while there are numerous ways to do so, incorporating an event app is one of the most effective methods for getting attendees to take an active interest. No, an event app is not just an agenda on your phone. Event apps offer so much more, and are customizable to your event’s theme and needs.
Before looking at ways an event app improves attendee engagement, let’s properly define the term. Corbin Ball, an expert on meeting and event technology, defines it as “an emotional involvement or commitment by an audience”. Juraj Holub sees it as “the interaction between the subject, our attendees… our speakers and their content.” So how exactly does an event app create this interaction and commitment? Here are four key ways.
While it would be ideal if attendees engaged vigorously with the event out of pure passion, providing incentives is often key to maximizing engagement. Event-wide competitions give attendees incentives for completing engagement-related tasks such as visiting sponsors’ booths, asking speakers questions, networking with fellow attendees, or any other goal you choose.
QuickMobile offers a “Game Center” in which event organizers can set point values for certain tasks and attendees can then complete these tasks with the goal of topping an in-app leaderboard. In the past, we’ve attended customers’ events using the QuickMobile app who have featured prizes as large as a vacation to Hawaii. Imagine the frequency with which attendees were networking, commenting, and visiting key areas of the conference center when such a valuable prize was at stake!
2) Session Q&A / Live Polling
Crowdsource discussion topics or field questions before, during, and after a session by adding a Q&A component to your event app. No paper, pen and collection box or microphone runner (awkwardly rushed over to the next question-asking attendee) required! Not only does an in-app Q&A make it more efficient to collect questions and topics, but it will increase the willingness of attendees to submit their questions by removing the stage fright inherent in having to put your hand up and shout out across the room or speak into a mic.
Live Polling allows a speaker to receive immediate feedback from the crowd and for responses to be displayed on-screen via aesthetic graphs. No more need for a “show of hands” – receive exact data, immediately translated visually.
3) Surveys and Quizzes
Event apps don’t just make it easier for speakers to receive feedback. Organizers can also use an event app to survey attendees or assess retention of knowledge. Answer data will be automatically aggregated so that you get a completely objective view of attendees’ preferences, potential pain points for future improvements, and just how much of an impact those keynote sessions really had.
4) In-App Networking and Attendee Communication
Lastly, event apps are perfect for promoting attendee-to-attendee engagement. QuickMobile’s event app features:
- Attendee Lists: a Rolodex of names, titles, companies, emails, etc. to immediately compile a “virtual business card” allowing attendees to network with ease. Attendees can message each other and set up meetings directly from the app.
- Contact Exchange: Similar to Attendee Lists, this feature allows for more privacy while still increasing the ease with which attendees can share contact information. A simple PIN code system allows attendees to immediately share contact info right to their connection’s device.
- Hashtag Feeds: Promote out-of-app engagement by featuring a hashtag feed to remind attendees to post about the event on social media! These posts are then featured in the app to show all of the online buzz your event is creating.
- Bulletin Board: Create a mini social network just for your event! This feature allows users to share their thoughts and comments, and offers moderation settings for you to ensure that Gary, who had a few too many beers, doesn’t lower the tone of the event.
So are you ready to create an event that breaks attendees out of their shells and has them interacting with exhibitors, asking speakers great questions, and networking non-stop? Or would you settle for those sullen floor-gazers?
Find out more about how QuickMobile’s event app platform can amplify engagement at your event by requesting a demo with one of our product specialists.