Top 5 ways apps can boost attendee engagement - Unbridled Skip to main content

Top 5 ways apps can boost attendee engagement

Looking for a way to boost engagement among attendees? There’s an app for that. Actually, there are several. Commercial off-the-shelf app platforms are becoming increasingly integral to the modern event experience. Their ability to streamline services and connect users through fun features make them popular among attendees and presenters alike.

Though most app services are functionally similar, we provide our clients with multiple options, such as Crowd Compass, DoubleDutch, and Aventri. According to our Sr. Event Applications Manager, Rachel Cheesbrough, Unbridled now produces approximately 50+ apps annually, and the demand only seems to be growing.

That trend is likely to continue as virtual events gain popularity, with apps serving as a bridge between in-person and virtual attendees. Not only do apps help establish parity among various audiences, but they also improve the event experience itself by driving attendees to engage in three core areas: with the content itself, with each other, and with the event organizers. To illustrate this point, we’ve laid out some app essentials that help boost engagement among audience members.

Interactive agendas

As the name implies, the Interactive Agenda lays out attendees’ schedules in an intuitive digital interface. Users are able to expand each item on their schedule to view the meeting description, room location, presenters’ profiles, and other useful information. Easy-to-access maps help guide attendees to their next meeting location. On top of all that, push notifications send alerts when upcoming sessions are about to begin.

Sure, these features are convenient, but what part of the Interactive Agenda promotes engagement? Good question, hypothetical reader. The app also allows attendees to build out their schedule directly on their smartphones. Using the information available, they’re able to pick and choose their desired breakouts and search for subjects that interest them. If an attendee enjoys a particular speaker, they can pull up the speaker’s profile to see what other sessions they’ll be presenting. The schedule accommodates constant customization and reorganization, empowering each audience member to make the event truly their own.

Attendee connections

Apps facilitate meaningful interactions among attendees in more ways than one. For starters, the mobile Attendee Directory allows users to reference basic information about their peers – headshots, names, job roles, and so on. This helps attendees put a face to a name when meeting new people, an especially helpful tool during virtual events.

Like the Interactive Agenda, the Attendee Directory offers more than meets the eye. During or before registration, attendees are prompted to submit a series of personal fun facts, photos, and hobbies. This information is added to the directory, allowing attendees to get to know their peers on a more personal level.

To inspire attendees to form new connections, hosts can circulate push notifications that ask readers to match certain fun facts to their owners. One may ask attendees to “find the person whose favorite ice cream is rocky road,” for instance. Once they’ve found the person, attendees are able to greet each other with direct messages and engage in one-on-one chats. This networking method can be applied to large groups as well for entertaining team-building exercises and other breakout activities.

Surveys

Surveys are an important tool for everyone involved in large events. They give attendees a chance to voice their opinions and help hosts improve their management strategies. While longform surveys are still highly valued for their ability to determine the overall effectiveness of a program, mobile apps are perfectly suited to distribute micro-surveys to attendees over the course of an event. These bite-sized questionnaires only contain a few prompts each, allowing data to be hyper-focused on key areas of interest.

Push notifications alert attendees to new surveys at precise moments during an event. Immediately following a General Session, audience members can expect a survey that asks them to provide feedback on the presentation.

These alerts can have the added benefit of reminding attendees to explore certain areas of the show floor they may not have visited yet. For example, a notification that asks, “Have you checked out every visitor booth? Once you have, take our survey!” gives recipients a clear and immediate destination. Surveys can also take the form of short polls, which are commonly distributed on the app’s Activity Feed. On that note…

Activity feeds

Like apps, there seems to be a social media platform for everything these days. Naturally, the two are even better together. In-app social aggregators that function similarly to networks like Facebook and Twitter are among the strongest enablers of inter-personal engagement. As one would expect, the Activity Feed allows users to share photos, post comments, create hashtags, and like each other’s content.

Because these services are hosted natively in the app, they’re only available to registered attendees. That means content can be aimed exclusively at event topics and related discussions. The Activity Feed also offers features that go beyond standard social media fare. Organizers can start discussion boards, post news announcements, and conduct live polls within the platform itself.

Activity feeds

Like apps, there seems to be a social media platform for everything these days. Naturally, the two are even better together. In-app social aggregators that function similarly to networks like Facebook and Twitter are among the strongest enablers of inter-personal engagement. As one would expect, the Activity Feed allows users to share photos, post comments, create hashtags, and like each other’s content.

Because these services are hosted natively in the app, they’re only available to registered attendees. That means content can be aimed exclusively at event topics and related discussions. The Activity Feed also offers features that go beyond standard social media fare. Organizers can start discussion boards, post news announcements, and conduct live polls within the platform itself.

Apps serve as a bridge between in-person and virtual attendees, driving them to engage with the content, each other, and event organizers.

Games & competitions

The trend of gamification has been booming the last couple of years. Hosting fun competitions is a surefire way to keep folks engaged, and many event apps come ready-made for such activities.

Crowd Compass, for instance, allows organizers to host photo-based scavenger hunts. Not only does this activity motivate attendees to get up and interact with one another, but it can also encourage them to experience everything an event has to offer. For example, if a host wants audience members to check out a virtual reality program, they could urge participants to visit the VR booth and take a picture with the goggles on. Attendees will earn points for each request they complete, improving their standing on the leaderboard.

Numerous types of games can be run through event apps, from hidden QR code searches to good old-fashioned trivia contests. Even a simple competition in which managers award points to attendees for being engaged, asking questions, and assisting others can greatly drive participation. It’s all about pushing people to get outside their comfort zones.

Signing off

Apps are a mainstay feature in many of today’s events. Once you’ve grown accustomed to their convenience and entertainment value, it’s difficult to go back to a time without them.

These examples only cover the basics. As technology continues to advance the capabilities of hybrid and virtual events, audiences can expect apps to become more ingrained in event content, both as a means to drive engagement and to blur the lines between in-person and remote attendees. At this rate, it won’t be long before these pocket programs introduce new and exciting features that take audience engagement to a whole new level.

Signing off

Apps are a mainstay feature in many of today’s events. Once you’ve grown accustomed to their convenience and entertainment value, it’s difficult to go back to a time without them.

These examples only cover the basics. As technology continues to advance the capabilities of hybrid and virtual events, audiences can expect apps to become more ingrained in event content, both as a means to drive engagement and to blur the lines between in-person and remote attendees. At this rate, it won’t be long before these pocket programs introduce new and exciting features that take audience engagement to a whole new level.

If you’d like to learn what our team can do for you, get in touch with us.