Are event mobile apps still relevant, considering that they’re potentiating the digital distraction we all suffer from? Let’s find out …
“How to Keep Meeting Attendees Off Their Smartphones.”
This is the title of a recently published Skift article.
The initial argument revolves around the struggle meeting planners experience when trying to get their attendees to look away from their phones and pay more attention to the speakers or group dynamics.
This is totally understandable.
However, what do you do when people have to check your event mobile app for updates, live polls and Q&A, or chat?
Isn’t the experience your app provides just another distraction?
After all, what keeps your guests from viewing the app while also reading a few emails or checking their Facebook newsfeed?
Well, the bad news is that with or without an event mobile app, your guests will most likely continue checking their phones once in a while (or often, if the event is boring).
The good news, however, is that instead of fighting the “distraction tech,” you can use it as a platform to improving your attendees’ experiences and help them learn or connect more at your event.
As independent planner Dahlia El Gazzar, who runs DAHLIA+, comments for the same Skift article, “In the ‘digital distraction age,’ if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. A host of technologies have been developed to support this approach, from apps for live streaming or polling to those that offer matchmaking and resource posting.”
Considering that most of the content people consume these days is on their phones and most interaction and engagement now occurs in the digital space, there is a way to make your event mobile app more relevant than ever.
Here’s what a quality event mobile app can offer:
Your event mobile app should serve your attendees’ needs.
However, not all your guests have the same agenda, which means you’ll have to customize your app.
You can do that by segmenting your attendees into different types or categories and assigning them specific characteristics, such as access to specific areas or tailor-made activities.
This attendee segmentation will also help you send people personalized messages through the app.
Here’s an example: Let’s say that one day before the event starts, you’re planning a cocktail dinner for entrepreneurs (one of your attendee types) only.
You wouldn’t want to send an email with the evening details to everyone attending your event, since not everyone will be invited (which could lead to hurt feelings and a lot of problems). On the contrary, you want to be 100% specific and share this information just with those people who’ll be attending the cocktail dinner.
Choices for your attendees
Long gone are the days when the attendees didn’t have any other option than to follow the event program as it is.
Times have changed, and now event agendas are more flexible than ever.
With multiple sessions going on simultaneously, guests have the freedom to create their own itinerary.
By listing all the sessions along with detailed descriptions of each session, your event mobile app can help people design their own event agenda depending on their needs and interests.
Access to meaningful connections
Your event mobile app can be a powerful networking tool, and I’m not talking about providing access to other attendees’ profiles or getting to know each other through the chat feature.
There’s a more powerful option: the B2B matchmaking option.
Your guests can use the event mobile app to decide whom they want to meet with for a face-to-face networking session, and subsequently request a meeting with prospects that can potentially transform into meaningful connections and business relationships.
If their meeting requests are accepted, attendees can view their meeting agenda right on the event mobile app. This alleviates the uncertainty factor and randomness degree each networking dynamic involves (and that most event attendees dread!).
The ability to learn and test the attendees’ knowledge
Instead of getting mad because your attendees are focused on their phones during a roundtable or keynote speech, use their phones to your advantage by making your event app an interaction tool.
For example, you can run a series of real-time quizzes, which will help your guests better assimilate the insights they’ve received from the speakers.
In addition, if you incorporate some humor into the quizzes (for example, adding silly questions or blatantly incorrect quiz answers), you’ll likely reengage your attendees and reignite their interest in what’s happening around them.
Co-creation is essential for a positive event experience. After all, the event was created for people, so their needs and wishes must be considered.
You can use your event mobile app for live polls or for letting people decide what questions the speaker should answer.
For example, during the Q&A session, you can display a list of questions and ask everyone to vote for the most relevant ones.
To save time, the speaker will answer only those questions that received the most votes.
Live polls foster participative democracy at events.
Your event mobile app can be a real distraction and annoyance (think irrelevant pop-up notifications or unfriendly interface).
However, if designed correctly, your app can not only improve the attendee experience, but can actually help your guests get the most out of the event.