It is becoming increasingly difficult to effectively reach our audience to deliver our event content. This is in part due to increased smartphone addiction which leads to a decreasing attention span, an increasing amount of distractions, and an expectation for information to reach us in small, digestible pieces. So how can we overcome these obstacles to deliver content that will be absorbed? If you can’t beat them, join them — or in other words, leverage smartphone addiction to create a better event experience! But how do we know what the participants think of our event? How do we get them to engage and have fun? And what does event engagement even mean?
What does Event Engagement mean?
You often hear about event engagement in event circles as something that is highly sought after at meetings and conferences. But what does engagement really mean and how do we know if we have attained it?
One definition we like here at MeetApp is, “the degree to which attendees are fully participating in and captivated by your event.” Note that, although we love to talk about how you can use an app to achieve high event engagement, technology is not mentioned in this definition.
Event engagement is a metric. On one side of the scale, we have a completely passive person who hears what is being said but is not taking part in the discussion in any way. On the other side, we have an active participant who is fully focused on and captivated by the discussion. This person is asking questions, taking notes, laughing at jokes, or applauding a good point. In other words, they are an engaged attendee.
“An engaged attendee is a happy attendee” – Sal Camarda, CEO at MeetApp North America
Still pretty abstract, right? This is where technology comes in. You can use an event app as a tool to both contribute to increased attendee engagement and to make it easier to measure that engagement.
How do you Measure Event Engagement?
As an event professional, you aspire to create fun, motivational, and inspiring event experiences – but how can you do so and how can you leverage technology to do it?
Start by defining your goals. Create goals that will drive your participants to interact with the content and with each other. In addition, make sure your goals are measurable. For example:
- Increase the number of responses to evaluations. This gives you an idea of what was popular during the event and what needs to be improved for next time. This can be measured through evaluations and surveys in the app.
- Increase networking. You want your participants to interact and establish meaningful connections that they can benefit from both during and after the event. For example, one way to measure this is by the number of posts in the event app’s activity feed.
- Increase interactivity. You also want the participants to interact with the speakers so that they feel like they are part of the discussion. Rather than speakers “talking at them,” you want to create a bidirectional conversation. This creates a more active learning environment and can be measured by the number of answers in live polls and the number of questions submitted to the speaker.
You also want to increase app adoption. Your other goals are largely dependent on the participants using the features of the event app, so you want to be sure that the app is used. You can encourage this by:
- Promoting the app well in advance of your event. Send out push notifications, showcase the preparations in the activity feed, and kick off a fun competition.
- Drip valuable and fun content leading up to the event, such as a video greeting from the CEO, a poll asking for guest speaker suggestions, or happy news about the latest annual result.
- Incentivize and Gamify! Award points and prizes for each completed activity in the app, to the first person to share on the activity feed, or to those who complete all surveys in the app. Incentives and competitions will always increase engagement and participation. We love to compete – leverage that!
These are some examples from our latest webinar “The ABC’s of Event Engagement” about how you can create and measure event engagement at your next meeting or event.