From the moment they arrived on the market, smartphone penetration always seemed somewhat inevitable. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in a phone that’s also a shiny portal to an infinite pool of knowledge, entertainment and conversation?
Two thirds of mobile buyers now opt for smartphones, with the majority of those users picking either Android or iOs for their operating system. With a smartphone in your pocket and your apps locked and loaded, the way you experience an event is fundamentally different from someone without access to these tools. .
Speakers’ Voices Are Louder Than Ever Before
And no, we don’t mean literally. Picture a room full of 500 people watching a great speaker deliver a powerful performance. Now imagine those 500 people all have smartphones. What do you think they’re doing? They’re tweeting key quotes, sharing photos on Instagram, taking notes – taking multiple actions using their various apps to share the speaker’s message with the wider world. Speaker presentations are evolving to leverage this, signposting attendees to Twitter accounts, Slideshare presentations and websites to keep the conversation rocking after the session is over.
Event apps amplify speaker voices as attendees turn to social media
Attendees = Ambassadors
Word-of-mouth has always been incredibly important for events. Hearing from a friend or colleague that an event is a ‘must-see’ is compelling. Now, apps are allowing attendees to get that message out into the world as the event unfolds via social media. Turning your attendees into happy, vocal ambassadors for your event has never been more important – check out our post on Word of Mouth Marketing for Events Professionals if you’d like to find out more. With apps for creating and sharing content – from Vine to Camera+ to Snapchat – as prolific as they are, event attendees are perfectly equipped to gather media as they experience the event. Make sure there’s lots of “talking points” scattered around your location for them to photograph.
But The Battle For Attendee Attention Rages On
An attendee with a smartphone is perfectly equipped to interact with your event in all kinds of exciting and meaningful ways. But it also means that you’re going to be fighting for eyeballs against email and other project apps.
More email is now opened via smartphone than via desktop or webmail and many attendees will be taking quick breaks throughout the day to keep on working. Tackle this by providing lounges, workstations, chargers and coffee to respond to your attendees needs.
Your Content Strategy Just Got More Cost-Effective
Sharing content with your attendees on the day used to be limited to your event program, along with any additional pamphlets or brochures and posters or digital signage. Now you can deliver targeted content right into the hands of your attendees at key moments – for example, why not get a content piece pushed through your event app to attendees to read on the train on the way home, or something for them to read over the lunch break?
The best part is that your printing costs have dropped because people are happy to consume most content via their device (although remember that an effective holistic strategy will include both mobile/web and print elements).
Communicating Changes Is A Breeze
Your rockstar speaker got stuck in a monster traffic jam and is going to be three hours late, leading to an impromptu schedule change? No worries – safe in the knowledge that everyone will be checking their phones, you’re perfectly equipped to keep your attendees aware of on-the-fly changes that might otherwise leave them feeling disgruntled. You can push the information to them via your event app, and post across your social media channels safe in the knowledge that most people will pick up the message and be grateful for the warning. Expectations of good communication are higher in this app-fuelled world, but you’re better placed to meet those expectations than ever before.
Spreading Sponsor Stories
Apps at events give sponsors even more opportunities to interact with attendees. Whilst previous branding opportunities were limited things like print materials, signage and verbal recognition, mobile apps give sponsors the opportunity to send attendees directly to their own properties via banner ads and pop-ups. This makes it even easier to measure the value of sponsoring a particular event because of accessible metrics. There’s also way more opportunities for sponsors to up their game with creative activations, contests and games that lead to attendees taking action on their smartphones.
More Marvelous Metrics
Sponsors aren’t the only ones who benefit from the multitude of magical metrics generated by apps at events. Any event app worth its salt will give the event professional organising the event some really great data sets to work with afterwards.
From finding out which sessions were the most popular or generated the most buzz to seeing which piece of content was shared most widely, this information is the driving force behind the evolution of the events industry. Access to this data lets events professionals make smart assessments about what worked and what didn’t at events – meaning they can learn fast and make strategic improvements.
And One Final Tip
It’s a brave new world, and the opportunities for events professionals are endless if you take the time to think about how your attendees are using apps – both your own, and their day-to-day app suite. If you’re conducting an exit survey or doing customer research, make sure to include a question or two about smartphone usage. If you can find out what apps your event attendees are using, and what they expect from you event app, you’ll be perfectly placed to deliver an excellent event experience.
About Noodle Live
Noodle Live brings a seamless social experience to events, conferences and exhibitions using a combination of mobile applications and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) swipe cards to streamline information sharing.
This post was written by Clemi Hardie, founder and MD of Noodle Live.