According to a comprehensive report compiled from sources such as Nielsen, SmartInsights, and Pew Research Center, we spend over 4 hours a day on our smartphones. This means that individuals with the willpower to ignore their phones for long spans of time are in the vast minority. If you take a moment to digest this information, you’ll see just how much cell phone behavior can affect your next event.
For most events, attendees will split their attention between at least two screens; the screen you actually want them to pay attention to and their phone. No matter how hard you try, there really is no fighting it- people will continually use their phone throughout your event no matter how badly you want their attention.
Rather than finding ways to force your attendees to give their attention to what you want, bring your content to them!
For Conferences and Trade Shows
Many conference events take advantage of the real estate they have to work with. These types of events can boast a multitude of spaces of all shapes and sizes, each of which will likely have its own display screen. Utilizing software like NiceMeeting allows presenters to share their presentations with attendees in real time on their phones, combining the split-screen attention phenomenon into one common interface. NiceMeeting includes integrated polling and even boasts an option for attendees to push questions to the speaker or host in real time. The best part? All interactions in the app are recorded so conference planners can track individual user behaviors.
If your event operates more on a “free roaming” basis with limited small sessions, consider setting up a dashboard or social wall in a common area for all of your attendees to see. Encourage attendees to provide feedback via an event hashtag, through a structured survey through a polling app, or during their initial registration. Social walls can show updates to live polling results, “gamification” scores, and your event appropriate social content all in one place. It’s well known that the best way to get someone to pay attention is to display their name up on a big screen!
For Concerts and Sporting Events
As soon as the action stops, most attendees give all of their attention to their phone (the ESPN app will make sure of that). Encourage your attendees to interact with the venue by displaying a number they can text to have their message displayed up on a scoreboard or on-stage screen. If you’re looking for a way to drive concessions or merchandise sales, Bluetooth beacons are a great way to let your attendees know any services you have to offer and how they can access them. If an attendee wanders close enough to a particular vendor area, have a coupon automatically sent to their phone for a slight discount on snacks, drinks, or merchandise. You can even encourage them to leave a positive Yelp review of your venue by offering a discount on their next ticket when they leave your venue for the night. This is a great way to help fans interact with the entire brand of a team or artist rather than just enjoying the show!
For Retail Locations, Bars, and Restaurants
Encourage people to check in on location-based apps like Foursquare, Where, Gowalla, or post that they’re in your location on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram. Not only will you gain useful information about which customers frequent your location, but you’ll reach other potential customers in their sphere of influence who may have never visited your location before!