Second Screens: How to Create a Device-Friendly Environment

February 07, 2018 | B2C Digital

Second screens are being demanded more by consumers in today's world where attention spans are all but nonexistent and multitasking is a survival skill. Led by millennials, today’s event attendees want to absorb the live experience while leveraging a mobile device to access supplementary content or share the experience socially. It’s a trend event marketers are beginning to embrace by leveraging those second screens to boost brand awareness and engagement at events. Following is a look at how to create a device-friendly live experience.

Rethink Live Streams

Brands are constantly broadcasting live content from their events in an effort to expand reach. Historically, the strategy was meant to engage the company’s digital audience. But today, it might also mean that a conference attendee is attending a workshop in one room while simultaneously viewing a live-stream of a keynote taking place in another location on their mobile device. That means event marketers have to rethink how their live content is filmed in terms of which device the viewer is using to absorb it. If most viewers are consuming content from a tablet, for instance, event organizers need to literally set the stage for, and design a filming strategy around, how that footage will look on an iPad.

Educate Your Audience

If attendees are going to be whipping out their phones or tablets throughout an event anyway, why not use the second screen as an educational tool to boost your brand? By either supplying the second screens, or simply directing attendees to websites or applications featuring brand-related content, event marketers have the opportunity to engage attendees both digitally and live—a key event marketing strategy in today’s landscape. At its Tony Awards Watch Party for influencers, IBM served meals on platters built from iPads that displayed the Tony Awards website, where attendees could access more information about the show. The brand also leveraged iPads to immerse guests in BlueMix, its hybrid cloud development platform, giving attendees a hands-on opportunity to test its technology and learn about the brand.

Create an Instagram-Worthy Environment

Social media dominates events of every variety, making environmental design a critical piece of the strategy, especially when it comes to designing experiences around second screens. If attendees are going to share photos of the event on social media (and they will), you need to ensure the event environment accurately represents your brand, and encourages remote viewers to learn more about it. A few ways to do that: create a color scheme that pops, ensure lighting is optimized for photography, create event signage that is large enough to be read in a photo and ensure branding is visible throughout the event space. You can even provide a photo booth or hashtag printer to incentivize the audience to do more snapping and sharing. And don’t forget to ask attendees to turn their Instagram and other social media accounts to public, at least for the duration of the event, to ensure the maximum number of eyeballs are getting a glimpse of the experience.

At Dreamforce 2016, Sparks designed and produced a shareable environment for Coca-Cola that seamlessly synthesized the brand’s aesthetic with the impulse to create for-Instagram moments. By transforming the traditional photo booth into a larger-than-life Coca-Cola bottle, we crafted a truly unique photo environment that attendees would want to share. Branding, lighting, and a sleek 12 ft. architectural framework helped to create a dynamic experience that attendees would seek out and share across all digital platforms.

Implement Second Screen Apps

Any modern conference speaker will tell you that today’s attendees spend as much time looking at their mobile devices as the presentation in front of them. But instead of watching them tune in and out, brands can leverage mobile audience engagement apps like and Livewall to transform the passive attendee experience into an interactive one. Applications that power live polling and Q&As, or prompt audiences to share live presentation feedback, give attendees a stake in the experience, making them feel more connected to both the event and the brand hosting it.

Fact is, hybrid events are the wave of the future. Event marketers need to be prepared to blend physical and digital elements into one cohesive live experience that leverages the best of both worlds. And designing events that embrace the second screen is a great place to start.

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Posted by Chloe Raison | Request as a Speaker

Believer in the power of social media. Awed by digital. Maker of humans. Baker of cakes. Lover of travel.