Is ignoring half your audience acceptable?
Would you use a venue where only 50% of your audience could see the screen?
Or a catering company that provided food for only 50% of your delegates?
What if there were only enough chairs for 50% of your attendeess?
From surveys, and indeed from marketing material from providers themselves, event apps are on average still downloaded by only around 50% of delegates.
For a large exhibition or trade show, a huge community across a campus, or a music festival, event apps are great at creating engagement where before it was impossible. 50% in those scenarios is a great number to achieve across such a disparate and diverse audience.
For B2B conferences though, where numbers of attendees are in the hundreds rather than the thousands and where delegates are often invited to attend, is it really acceptable to ignore half of them?
Unify or Divide
Event technology should be inclusive in our opinion, and everyone should have the same opportunities to interact and share.
Technology is supposed to unite us, to provide ways to network and share information and experiences. If a large proportion do not use it at an event, then the audience is divided, networking is limited and shared information and experiences are reduced significantly.
If there is a perceived barrier to using it, or something that delegates need to overcome, then it simply will not be able to fulfill its potential.
Live events last for days at most and therefore attendees are not going to invest time in learning how to use a complex app. In fact we believe that if you have to provide instructions for your event technology, then the technology is too complicated to start with.
In other words, if it’s not easy-to-use or intuitive, you will see a marked drop off in usage and interaction.
According to event app providers, there are two key ways to increase the number of attendees that download their event app. The first involves a lot of marketing and promotion pre-event to get the message across in as many ways and as many times as the Event Organiser can. The second involves having key information exclusively on the event app, effectively obliging the delegates to download and install it on their phones even if it is just to see the agenda.
There is of course an easier way to ensure 100% adoption, to guarantee every single attendee has access to the digital information and tools that the Event Organisers and the clients have invested many weeks in preparing. And that is simply to provide a tablet to every attendee with a dedicated solution already installed and running on it. No downloads, no complicated interfaces, no need to force people to use their own device, no risk of everyone disappearing off to Facebook and Twitter (or worse), and most importantly, everyone has exactly the same opportunities to participate.
And when you look at the results from polling, the amount of time each attendee uses the technology, the amount of interaction and the amount of information generated, dedicated tablets offer considerable improvements over a BYOD event app.
What are your thoughts and experiences?