According to recent studies, mobile addiction is widespread and could even be having an adverse effect at events. Attendees could be spending more time on their devices than engaging with the event. What can event planners in NYC do to win back their attention?
When was the last time you checked your phone or tablet? If recent research from Deloitte is to be believed, it was probably only a few minutes ago and you’re probably due another look anytime now. If you can’t resist the temptation, you’re far from alone and your attendees are in the same boat. Here we look at the numbers and see what can be done to keep attendees engaged in the age of mobile.
Mobile Addiction Is Becoming the Norm
The Deloitte survey polled 2,000 internet users in the U.S. ages 18 to 75 and found that most people check their device approximately 47 times per day. Younger users take this to another level by checking their devices up to 86 times a day. With statistics like that, it’s a wonder anyone has time to do anything else.
These might not be figures to lose sleep over but the research also found that nearly 90% of internet users check their phone within an hour of waking up in the morning and just before going to sleep. If this comes as no surprise, it’s probably already too late for you.
Make Mobile Part of The Event
One way to deal with internet addiction is to use it to the benefit of your event and attendees by making the device part of the event. Adding gamification features like scavenger hunts to events can be a great way to encourage attendees to engage with the event whilst being prompted by their trusty black rectangle. Many event apps now also include attendee matching functionality which takes the pain out of setting up face-to-face meetings by suggesting who to meet. Some apps can even set up the time and place.
If you want attendees to engage with your event, it may seem counterproductive to give them a space that takes them away from it. However, providing a quiet space where attendees can focus on daily business can be beneficial. Wouldn’t you rather that your attendee answers that important email somewhere other than the theater where your headline keynote is being delivered- and then get right back to your event?
Make It Social
Social media is arguably one of the biggest distractions facing mobile users. If you’re a social media user, you’ll recognize the pattern: Plan to tweet about event > open Twitter > see notifications > respond to notifications > what was I going to say? Not only has your attendee just been distracted from the event, they’ve also forgotten to tweet that massively important point from the keynote.
While there’s no way to avoid this completely, it’s possible to swing some of that engagement back to the event by making social part of the fabric of the event. Simple things like providing an event hashtag can mean attendees are quickly able to access the conversation and join in. Beyond that, events can also encourage engagement by using social walls. Why not go one step further and gamify it, rewarding your most engaged attendees?
Mobile addiction, if that’s what it is, could significantly reduce attendee engagement at events if steps aren’t taken to accommodate the new habits of attendees. The mobile phone has become a part of everyday life, from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. Just like other areas of our lives are changing to accommodate us as mobile using individuals, events must follow suit.