The Ultimate Guide to Audience Engagement with Events in 2023

April 3, 2023 Mario Stewart

Here’s the thing about events. Even with all the must-have, biggest, and most brilliant amenities, if your audience engagement isn’t up to par, your event won’t be considered a success. Authentically engaging your audience from the moment they receive your invitation through to the final step out the door has to be a top priority. As an experienced event planner, your creativity will play a role in how you do just that. But this is the ultimate guide you need to see to ensure you’re evaluating, calculating, and improving your attendee engagement with every event experience you curate.

Audience Engagement Basics

When your event guests are having a great time, you can tell by simply watching them. But there are more engagement points to consider, and engagement isn’t just limited to gauging who’s having fun. Break down engagement efforts into before, during, and after categories to evaluate engagement with precision and intention.

Pre-Event Engagement: Before your event takes place, you’ll want to engage your audience to build buzz about the event, inspire ticket sales, and ignite conversations online.

Event Engagement: During the event itself, you’ll want to leverage every opportunity to engage with event amenities, including experiential activities, entertainment, and interactive elements.

Post-Event Engagement: After the event, continue engaging with your audience using post-event surveys and polls to help you forecast and grow your event success in the future.

Engagement Metrics

Event planners should carve out the metrics to measure engagement at every step, from invitations to post-event surveys. Here are just a few metrics:

  • Digital invitations opened
  • Pre-event online engagement
  • RSVPs submitted
  • Number of guests registered
  • Number of guests in attendance
  • Sessions attended
  • Duration of sessions attended
  • Poll participants
  • Connections made
  • Leads generated
  • Social media shares
  • Event app downloads
  • Chat participation
  • Material downloads
  • Exhibitor traffic
  • Satisfaction surveys completed

And as you collect each dataset, use them to communicate results with your clients, sponsors, and exhibitors. Also, for those recurring events or New York conferences, you can compare data year-over-year to confirm event growth.

Tap Into Attendee Intelligence Tools

The best way to ensure your New York event or conference offers engaging elements is by first understanding your attendee preferences. Every event you curate will be different. And attendee intelligence tools are essential in understanding what your guests actually want so you can deliver precise experiences. Consider these methods for better attendee understanding:

  • Attendee personas
  • Online listening
  • Watching other engagements

Calculating Event Engagement

There are many ways to calculate engagement at both in-person and virtual events. Event planners will want to be mindful of leveraging the methods that make the most sense for the event. These include:

Situational Awareness

Event planners should always be looking for ways to improve engagement in the moment. If the audience looks drowsy, offer a break in the presentation. If the buzz on social media about your event quiets down, liven it up again with a fresh incentive. Open up the coffee bar. Offer up the online poll. Whenever you visibly witness a lull in engagement, be situationally aware so you can act quickly to change things up a bit.

Key Influencers

Whatever event you’re planning, recognize who your key influencers are in the audience. There will be some guests who are well-prepared and enthusiastic about the meeting. In social events, this person might be the lively guest of the group, ready to hit the dance floor. As an event planner, find those influencers in your event and tap into their influence to help boost the overall engagement of the group.

Areas of Improvement

Always be sifting through every event detail to spot what works well and what doesn’t. Each New York event or conference provides you with another opportunity to weed out elements that don’t inspire engagement. And with each new event, audience engagement will approve accordingly.

Get Tech-Savvy About Engagement

If you’ve been in the industry long enough, you might remember life before online events and teleconferencing. Back then, audience engagement and metrics involved more of a manual approach. However, today’s digital ecosystem provides slews of great technology tools that streamline how event planners manage audience engagement. Here are just a few.

  • RFID badge technology
  • Event apps
  • Polling and digital surveys
  • Live streaming 
  • Digital registration
  • Email campaigns and CRMs
  • SMS messaging

Level up your event planning game by harnessing all the best practices and methods for improving attendee engagement. As you learn more about each event, the next event will be even more engaging. And the more successful you’ll ultimately be as a New York event planner. 

Come back here for more insights about growing your event business, and make sure you get to The Event Planner Expo 2023! It’s the #1 events industry conference where all the biggest influencers and most successful event planners go for ideas, inspiration, and to make connections. You can’t miss it this year!

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