Event Audiences Love High and Low Tech Engagement
Engage event audiences from millennials to baby boomers with these awesome engagement technologies.
Although asking event attendees questions is nothing new, the number of ways to receive their feedback continues to grow.
Sticker or Dot Voting: This is a simple and highly visual method to implement for semi-anonymous voting. Participants answer questions or vote on an idea by placing stickers or dots onto paper sheets or by placing a small physical object, such as a marble, into a physical container that represents their response. Alternatively, you can show a result via subtraction by filling clear containers with candy and inviting attendees to sample from the jar that represents their choice.
Audience Response Systems (ARS): These were made popular by the TV show, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” with Poll Everywhere being one of many service providers. Most systems use a combination of a small handheld device, personal phone, or small tablets with a receiver and software to process and display responses. ARS is frequently used to poll event attendees during sessions or keynotes.
Real-Time Polling and Messaging: Apps like Meetoo go beyond live polling and include chat features. Slack, the much-buzzed about messaging app for teams, was used at Social Media Marketing World 2016 to help attendees locate other attendees with similar interests. Pre-event, registrants used Slack channels to discuss specific industries, meet fellow attendees from specific locations, and access first-time attendee tips. To engage participants, Channel leaders posted weekly discussion topics, posted polls, hosted video chats and arranged in-person meet-ups. By the time the conference began, there were 78 channels with more than 600 participants.
Event organizers track attendees using engagement technologies that chart where attendees go and how long they spend engaged in various event activities.
Passport Programs: Using simple paper-based passports or badge scans, attendees go to multiple areas and collect stickers or get scanned. In exchange for visiting different destinations, they may receive a small prize or be entered into a grand prize drawing. While this option can be easy and inexpensive to implement, it doesn’t provide detailed insight into dwell time or repeat visits.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Wristbands: RFID is a type of wireless technology used to identify objects when they come close to a reader. One of the largest examples of engagement technologies applied is Disney’s MagicBands. Park visitors wear a bracelet embedded with a tiny RFID chip which is used to unlock their hotel rooms, check-in for ride or restaurant reservations, or pay for purchases. In the world of events, EventBrite offers RFID bracelets as an alternative to paper tickets. Target had guests use RFID keys at its Wonderland pop-up shop to add merchandise to a custom digital wish list. When they finished shopping, guests turned in their RFID key to make purchases from their list – sans physical shopping cart.
Beacons aren’t low-tech, but there are different applications of this technology that can enrich the event experience.
Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) Beacons: Using Bluetooth low energy signals, beacons and iBeacons provide location-based information, messages, special offers or other notifications to nearby smartphones, tablets and other devices. Dedicated hardware is required and attendees must opt-in to receiving messages. SXSW has been using iBeacons for years, with this year’s festival placing more than 1,000 around Austin. Event beacons are also being used to speed up registration check-ins and improve networking.
Audio-Based Tones: This new technology from LISNR transmits data between devices using inaudible audio tones. A wide variety of interactions can be triggered across indoor and outdoor event venues—including wayfinding notifications, general announcements or even location-based messages. During the 2016 Grammys, attendees entering the venue received a special welcome message video on their phones from LL Cool J, the event host. Watch for other innovative applications of this technology as its popularity grows.