How to create a mobile-centric event (and why you should)
We’re firmly entrenched in the age of mobile. We work, play, and do everything in between on the device in the palm of our hands. Thanks to the fact that there’s an app for everything under the sun, our mobile phones have become an integral part of our lives. In fact, eMarketer reports that mobile apps account for a whopping 90% of time spent on our phones.
But what does this mean for event managers who’re tasked with ensuring their event is engaging enough for even the most ardent mobile phone user? The answer is simple: instead of fighting the mobile-first mindset, embrace it.
Making mobile technology a central part of your event meets your attendees in the place they’re most comfortable – interacting with the device in the palm of their hands.
Your attendees are already engaging in conversations on their phones. By providing guests with a dedicated event app, you enable them to interact in the way that feels most comfortable to them. As a result, you’re able to increase audience participation, interaction among your attendees, and engagement in your event as a whole. But in order to ensure your guests buy in to your event app, you need to ensure that it’s an indispensable tool – as opposed to a token “everyone else is doing it, so we should too” add-on.
Mobile event apps don’t only benefit your attendees - they work to your advantage too.
The benefits of making a mobile event app central to your event are myriad (we’ll explore these in-depth in a future article). In short, they allow you to collect invaluable guest data, which means you can tailor future events and related marketing material to the unique interests and needs of your attendees – making for relevant experiences that resonate with your attendees. What’s more, an event app enables you to extend the life of your event, as you’re able to furnish guests with vital information in the run up to the event, as well as conduct post-event surveys after the fact. In addition, a mobile event app furnishes you with an easy way to distribute vital event information, as well as last-minute updates – without having to scramble at the eleventh hour.
To ensure your event app is an indispensable tool – and is embraced by attendees – it needs to fulfill the following functions:
- Provides attendees with a seamless way to interact
One of the reasons we’re so enamoured with our phones is the fact that it allows us to be social – without having to endure the inconveniences that come with real life interactions. Social media platforms are beloved for this very reason: they provide us with a sense of belonging and community – on our own terms. Integrating a social platform into your event app gives guests a way to form an emotional connection to your event, by way of instilling a sense of camaraderie.
A word of advice: If you are going to incorporate a social platform like Twitter or Instagram, create a dedicated event hashtag that makes it easy for followers to post about the event (and keeps them from deviating from the subject at hand and falling down the rabbit hole of cat memes).
- Facilitates in-person networking
The drawcard of many an event is the opportunity to network with industry influencers. But walking up to a stranger and asking if they have five minutes to chat can be an intimidating undertaking – which means that a large portion of guests end up losing out on new connections. To make this a little (or a lot) less daunting, make sure your event app includes a tool that allows attendees to message their peers. This digital ice-breaker can aid attendees in forming new relationships, and as a result, increases their emotional connection to, and engagement in, the entire event.
- Encourages audience participation
An event app should make the attendee experience as easy and valuable as possible. Importantly, it should provide guests with an effortless way to share their input. Gone are the days of having to raise your hand in front of an auditorium full of strangers; today, your guests can use their event app to partake in a live Q&A feed or survey. And, if you want to go a step further and elevate attendee participation, you can gamify the process, by using your your event app to lead attendees on a scavenger hunt or the like.
- Contains exclusive content that’s distributed in real-time
Want to heighten attendee anticipation before your event kicks off? Send them bite-sized pieces of content in the days leading up to your event. On the day, use your event app to keep them in the loop with real-time agenda updates as the day unfolds. To increase the rate of app adoption, include ‘locked’ content on the app – and use your initial invitation to let attendees know that app users with have exclusive access. Finally, make sure your attendees know about the app – and want to use it. Use social media (along with your dedicated event hashtag), ask your speakers to mention it, and display signage at prominent audience-touch points around the venue.