In the wake of the pandemic, the events industry has taken a major hit. Not only have live events of all types come to a sudden halt, but the future of live event management is also highly uncertain at this point. Under such circumstances, digital events have become the most prominent point of communication between brands and consumers. Events that once took place in venues with people physically attending have been shifted to digital platforms; like GEVME’s secure digital events platform, GEVME Live.
But, how does one make sure their attendee engagement numbers go up? How can one measure a digital events’ success?
Pavvi Singh, Regional Account Manager, GEVME, spoke to Tamsyn Barker, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, FIRST and Veemal Gungadin, Co-Founder & CEO, GEVME about ways to level up online engagement.
Here’s what they had to say:
Innovate to Engross
Conferences have evolved in numerous ways over the years. From silent and mobile conferences to focus groups, innovation has pushed the live event industry forward for a long time. According to Gungadin, small alterations, like hiring a professional host or an emcee that knows how to navigate an audience, be it in-person or online, can make a huge difference in the way your live event is perceived by the audience; especially if the host or emcee is well-versed with live event technology. A simple idea–like briefing the attendees beforehand about the topics and modes of engagement–can go a long way in creating a dedicated base of engagers.
Apart from these changes, one can also introduce activities that require two-way engagement; like team-building games and exercises. Also, make full use of the tools and widgets that platforms like GEVME Live offer to keep the viewers engrossed and hold their attention.
Introduce Fresh Tools
A digital event is different from a YouTube video in the sense that it’s supposed to be interactive and user engagement friendly. To make it so, take full advantage of features such as Questions & Answers (Q&As), audience polls, and the chatbox. These tools quadruple your chances of receiving active engagement from viewers. The chat tool, for instance, functions differently on different platforms and has various features.
Live event organizers should allow users to have different levels of engagement with different brands, products and content. Furthermore, the use of videos and images in a logical manner should be encouraged to make the event visually aesthetic and more appealing to the audience. User polls is another such tool that not only helps to keep the audience engaged, but also provides valuable insight to pertinent questions.
Plan the Duration
Knowing exactly how long your event will last is of utmost importance. Most digital events overshoot by a few minutes, but knowing how long the event is supposed to go on helps to devise its flow. Tamsyn Barker, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, FIRST, says not all digital events need to be one long chunk of programming with no breaks. She advises event organizers to divide events into a number of chunks of around 18 minutes each so as to make sure that the attendees are not losing focus as the event goes on. This, Barker says, helps not only in increasing engagement, but also improves attendee retention. Keeping the attention span of attendees in mind is just as important as the content itself.
Simplicity over Complexity
When it comes to live digital events, simplicity is key. Over complication of user interface or subject matter drastically reduces attendee attention. As Tamsyn Barker of FIRST said, brevity is very important in planning the content and how it should be streamlined throughout the event. There should be clarity of slides, design, content, and all other components used in the event. Simplifying your event not only makes it easy for the audience to grasp the information, but it also provides fluidity and better engagement. Another big plus of simplicity is that it helps attendees pay attention without losing interest quickly.
Learn from Success Stories
As online events continue to grow, there are many examples where companies have successfully employed new ideas to attract high engagement. Such examples are always useful when observed carefully.
Live video streaming, for instance, is one way through which many individual content creators have boosted engagement. Live streaming services like Twitch and YouTube continually engage millions of people across topics throughout the globe. TikTok, too, is engaging more than 800 million people globally and has created a niche for itself across demographics by creating influencers and promoting music from new artists, among other methods. The gaming world, too, has innovated in a myriad of ways. The popular video game Fortnite has used stars like Travis Scott and Marshmello to organize live concert events within the game attended by millions of people.
Similarly, no matter the nature of your event, techniques like breakout sessions can help increase attendee engagement. Live music, quizzes, creative games help in keeping your audience attentive. Using the latest technology to execute fresh concepts, like Fortnite did, can prove to be extremely fruitful.
Add a Physical Component
Providing your attendees with gift boxes, gift cards and invitations to other online events can prove to be helpful in improving engagement. With the aspect of physical interaction missing, adding a component that reminds that, at the end of the day, you’re interacting with other people adds a human touch to your digital events.
How to Measure Success of your Online Digital Event?
There are multiple ways to measure the success of an online live event. This can broadly be divided into Quantitative and Qualitative Methods.
Quantitative methods of measuring the success of an online event include data like a number of views, chat entries, questions asked, votes polled, and people who stayed till the very end of the event.
Qualitative methods, as Pavvi Singh pointed out, include answers to questions like what topic was discussed during the event? What themes resonated the most? What feedback did the attendees provide? What were the most frequently asked questions? Analyzing qualitative questions provide useful insight into measuring how successful your event was and what improvements are needed.
With video content, for instance, you get data of all sorts like the levels of engagement in Q&As, polls, and chats. The attendee retention rate can also be gauged more accurately as compared to physical events. You can use GEVME’s Engagement Report Template for this purpose.
There’s no doubt that the future of events is digital. Even when events move back to venues, the latest technology is going to play an even bigger role in years to come. This hybrid version of live events, having a lot more digital components than before, will play a key role in the way a brand engages with its users. Hence, adopting ways to maximize attendee engagement during online events will be the secret behind hosting successful events.
Full episode four of GEVME’s Digital Event Series can be watched here.