The Definitive Guide to Event Engagement

Boost your event engagement strategy by utilizing features like gamification, polling, and networking, your attendees will be highly engaged before, during, and after the event.

What is Event Engagement?

Event engagement is when attendees are fully participating in all aspects of an event. Successful events allow attendees to learn something new, connect with peers, make new connections, and hear inspirational speakers. They may also give attendees the opportunity to see a new city and take advantage of all that city has to offer. Event engagement can be measured by sessions attended, connections made, surveys completed, social media activity, event app adoption, and many other metrics.

With so much happening before and at the event, attendees trying to do it all risk becoming distracted or fatigued.

How do meeting planners stay ahead? Event engagement is the answer.

Event engagement is important for your event for many reasons. It is what motivates attendees before the event, it’s what keeps attendees interested throughout your event, and it’s what continues the momentum after your event.

Engaged attendees will connect with other attendees, to your sponsors and to your content - overall event engagement generates true excitement and brings value to your attendees.

Business people chatting and drinking coffee at a conference in the office-1

This guide is intended to be the complete resource for the meeting and event planner that covers all of the essential components of event engagement including:

  • Overview of engaging attendees before, during and after the event
  • Pre-event engagement tactics
  • Onsite engagement tactics
  • Post-event engagement
  • Event engagement data & ROI


Event Engagement for
Meeting & Event Planners

Success starts with Attendee Engagement

Meeting planners are looking beyond just attendance numbers as they measure the success of their events. It has become increasingly important to provide meaningful experiences for attendees. Interacting with attendees during the full event journey – and offering them the best possible value for their time spent at the event – is the new norm.  Event engagement is what motivates attendees before the event, it’s what keeps attendees interested throughout your event, and it’s what continues the momentum after your event. 

Here at MeetingPlay we understand the importance of a successful event, whether it be a virtual event experience or hybrid, and that begins with attendee engagement.

Below are some helpful tips and resources:




The Event Attendee Experience

Here are the vital areas for an event manager to consider when planning their event to make sure it is planned to perfection and the attendees walk away impressed!  

  • The attendee journey: Picking the right location
  • Attendee paths: Guiding attendees through the venue easily
  • Event content: Identifying reasons delegates attend and building content accordingly
  • Event catering: Top-notch food quality is paramount

A better event attendee experience starts with knowing your audience.  

How a Mobile Event App can Power Meaningful Connections

Networking is crucial.  A key focus during an event is to provide numerous communication opportunities.  The more opportunity you give attendees to connect during an event, the greater impact you will see and the more attendees will return year after year.

Leveraging an event networking app is a great way to engender greater connections during your event. 

Here are some tips for how to provide the best networking and communication opportunities using a mobile event app.

  • Attendee-to-attendee:  Scanning QR Codes lets attendees view their profile information and provides contact info as well.
  • Attendee-to-speaker: Utilizing an audience response system with live polling and live questions gives a means to connect attendees with speakers directly.
  • Boost the way exhibitors/sponsors connect with attendees: An app allows attendees to connect with sponsors but also acts as a lead retrieval system so that sponsors can connect with leads directly.
  • Use a mobile event app to communicate directly with attendees: Provide WiFi information, dress codes and maps of the venue.  Send out SMS alerts to attendees for more time sensitive information. 
  • Take communication beyond your event: Integrating social media into your event creates buzz.

You can read more about using an event networking app that connects attendees during your event here.




Personalized Event Experiences

It's important to note that there is something beyond just ‘engagement’ that leads to successful events, and that foundation is based on creating personalized event experiences.  

Creating a personalized event experience is achieved through a personalization algorithm that delivers custom experiences such as experiencing content that is most relevant and applicable to them.

  • Customized event programming: Allowing attendees to see event content that is most relevant and applicable to them.
  • Personalized home pages: Help users to interact, ‘engage’, and receive the information that they want, when they want it.

Event engagement starts with allowing each attendee to personalize their event experience attending your event. 


Pre-Event Engagement

Strategies that Ensure Success

Attendee engagement should begin prior to any event or meeting. From the moment an event is formally announced, communicating with potential attendees is key. Here are tips for pre-event engagement that will show you how to utilize social channels and cues to help promote your event and engage with attendees. You’ll also find an example of a unique pre-engagement technique executed for one of our clients.

Promote Your Next Event

Using Social Media

Without question, social media is the key activation tool to promote your next event.  There's a pretty good chance you already have followers. Here are ways to you can leverage that audience and grow awareness around your event:

  • Create a hashtag for your event - ask your followers to share it
  • Promote your event across all channels - Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Create specific event groups and pages
  • Update your social channels regularly
  • Use testimonials
  • Engage with influencers

You can read more about using social media to promote your next event here.


Pre-Event Engagement Example

Here is an example of a pre-event engagement technique used by a client: 

  • Prior to the event, they use a mobile event app to ask one simple question: “In one word, what does leadership mean to you?
  • This question encouraged attendees to download the event app prior to the event and answer the question.  By simply executing this ‘call to action’ – attendees were effectively adopting the event app, as well as engaging with other event attendees, prior to the actual event.
  • One word answers to the question ranged from:  influence, influencer, trust, inspiration and more.
  • From these simple one word answers, an event word cloud was built and presented during the beginning session of the event.
  • The event word cloud presentation was displayed across not only the presenters board but also the event social media wall.

Read the full case study about pre-event engagement here.


Additional Ways to Enhance Pre-Event Engagement

There's a lot of detail that goes into pre-event engagement.  There are four ways we've seen events promote effectively time and again.  Below we share the specifics:

  • Keep the conversation going.   Don't sit back on your laurels; keep the pace up on social media.  Engage with attendees as much as possible.  
  • Email your database.  Don't let those folks in your email database stay stagnant.  Use your email platform to engage attendees.  Provide information to register in advance, customize their experience and promote conference speakers.  Add links from your email to all relevant pages for your meeting website.

Want to go a level deeper?  Read the Tips for Pre-Event Engagement strategies here.

Onsite Event Engagement

Onsite Event Engagement that Keeps the Energy High

We know that engagement is strongest on the first day of an event. After day one, engagement wanes as attendees start thinking about the office and see their email piling up. The goal is to keep attendees as engaged through the duration of the event as they are on day one.


Six Ways to Drive Onsite Event Engagement

Addressing event audience expectations has changed drastically over the years.  When you attend an event or conference today you anticipate a much more personal type of involvement – even if you’re sitting in a conference center with 1000 other attendees.  Here are six ways to keep engagement high onsite:

Interactive audience questions

Leverage your mobile event app to ask questions. Allow real time Q&A to take place. Whether during a speaker’s actual presentation, or a time reserved for after – allowing audiences to engage in real time with your event speaker, drives engagement and event attendee delight.

Live polling (audience response systems)

Again, a sophisticated mobile event app is key. Here are some examples of how live polling at an event can be executed (more on this below).

Event Gamification

Event app gamification allows event attendees to earn points through various tasks and games.  This creates a fun environment and allows attendees to engage with one another.  Also, gamification can be used to drive traffic to event sponsors.

Social Walls

Event attendees love to share their images and posts to a central social wall at an event.  This engenders shared experiences and is a lot of fun. If you want to take the impact provided by a social wall and amp it up, you can try a Live Engagement Display.

Attendee matchmaking

Allow a way for attendees to find each other based on titles and reasons for attending.  Also, allow for proximity alerts for matches.

Push Notifications

Promote special offers and update attendees on fast-breaking news at the event.  A great sponsorship opportunity as well.


Interested in learning more about ways to engage your event's audience?

Read more about onsite event engagement ideas as well as our blog post 3 More Ways to Improve Onsite Engagement.


Using an Audience Response System to Increase Engagement

Providing voting within event apps is an essential component of leveraging attendee engagement.

There are several forms of audience response systems you can use at your event:

  • Event polling apps.  Polling questions are typically multiple-choice or in true/false question format, ensuring that results can be charted and available in real time from the presentation screen.
  • Event survey apps.  Surveys, unlike polls, traditionally ask multiple questions across a wider range of question types.  These surveys can ask for comments, or predefined data such as an event attendee's name, title, and email address.
  • Event voting apps.  Event voting apps can be similar to event polling apps, with a public group availability to view both within the app and within the presentation, or they can be a highly secured method of official voting.

Read more about using an audience response systems to increase engagement at your next event.


Using iBeacon Technology at Your Event

What is iBeacon technology? iBeacon technology is a class of BLE – bluetooth low energy that transmit their data to nearby devices – interacting with smartphones, tablets, iPads, and more – basically any electronic device capable of Bluetooth technology, that is in close proximity of an iBeacon.

Ways that iBeacon can help your event:

  • Push notifications: Event attendees don’t have to be actively engaging with your events mobile app and can still receive important updates, agenda changes, or sponsored notifications.
  • No scanning required.  iBeacon app can help record vendor and attendee information, to be utilized at a later time of connection – without the need for business cards, fliers, or pulling out a pen and paper.

Read more about using iBeacon technology and indoor wayfinding that can improve attendee engagement.


Avoiding Event Fatigue

Fatigue can set happen even to the most well executed events.  Sometimes your attendee engagement can begin to wane.  Here are some quick wins to rally the troops:

  • Personalized profile and matchmaking.   Alerts that let attendees know when a potential networking match is nearby.
  • Gamification.  We're hardwired for games and good fun competitions.  Take advantage of your mobile app technology to create games throughout your event.

Don’t let the energy of your event crash. Read more here about avoiding event fatigue at your next event.

Post-Event Engagement

Why Post Event Engagement is a Vital Part of Any Event

Congratulations! You just hosted a successful event. The time immediately following the event is critical, as your attendees are still on a post-event high. It’s important at this stage to capitalize on this momentum. 

Here are ways to capitalize on your great event:

Say "Thank You."

Be sure to update your event page and all social outlets. Tweet it out!

Follow-up Survey

Promote a follow up survey through you meeting event app. This will also provide valuable information for your next event and your sponsors.

Share Content

Post videos and transcripts from important keynotes and other valuable presentations. This is a great source of re-purposing content that keeps attendees engaged post event.

Event Engagement Data & ROI

Measuring the Interactions at your Event Provides Valuable Insights for All Stakeholders

A powerful mobile event app can provide data about your event engagement that in turn reveals important insights.  This data helps both real time adjustments and post event reporting that demonstrates ROI.  

Here's how the mobile event app data can help:

  • Proving event ROI: You can see where attendees spent their time in the app and how they connected with other attendees. With this data, you can quickly discern the ROI of all aspects of your event and show the strategies that worked best at the event.  
  • Event sponsorship ROI & leads: Providing lists of leads generated during the event is extremely valuable.  Event apps can provide a list of attendees that checked in to the booth, answered an associated poll question, or downloaded an associated asset. This data alone expands exhibitors list of leads and connects them with people they did not have a chance to connect with.
  • Measuring event success and planning for the future: Surveys are great, but not everyone is going to fill them out.  A mobile event app provides the empirical data such as which presenters and sessions were most popular.  This will help you design your next event.
  • Real time event adjustments By seeing when attendees are engaged the most and when they start to lose drive helps give you know when to give them extra encouragement.  When the energy starts to wane, you can communicate directly via a real time message or SMS text.

Here's more info about event success data and ROI.

Ready to put this guide to use in your own events?

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