Audience Response Systems in Mobile Apps | Boost Audience Engagement

July 9, 2019

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As a meeting planner, you want to boost audience engagement and collect as much feedback and data as possible. Audience response systems (ARS) help you accomplish both. During live events and conferences, audiences can interact with hosts, speakers and vendors with your event app, placing votes, responding to polls and participating in the action – all in real time. Let’s walk through how to make the most out of ARS.

Event Polling Apps

Event polling has come a long way from simply asking for a show of hands in the crowd. Today, a live polling app can cover more territory, more efficiently. Best of all, apps can be used in a variety of mobile polling devices for meetings and can really help to engage attendees. For example, with an audience polling app, presenters can ask the audience, “How long have you been with the company?” Attendees open a poll in their event app and select 1 year, 1-3 years, 4-5 years, or more than 5 years, and the results will appear immediately on the presentation screen. Live mobile polling questions are usually done in a multiple choice response  format, ensuring that results can be charted and integrated into the presentation in real time.

If you want to mix it up, you can ask an open-ended question to generate an audience responsive word cloud in real time. We recommend asking your attendees a question that calls for a one-word response. For example: “What one word comes to mind when you think of our brand?” As the responses roll in, it’s collected to create a cloud image, with the most common response appearing in the largest text size. Each word’s size indicates its frequency, creating an intriguing and impactful visual. Clients love using these polling systems for presentations on stage.

Event Surveys

Surveys can help you gather information on all types of topics: food options, the event location, the registration process and anything else you want to get a read on. Surveys are a wonderful tool for understanding what’s working and what isn’t, and events apps make surveys super simple and efficient.

We usually recommend that our clients send out short, high-frequency surveys. Surveys can be as simple as rating a session or speaker using either a 1-5 star rating system or open-ended questions. The easier the process for attendees, the better response you’ll receive. It’s important to seize the moment and send surveys in real time. If you’re asking your audience about a session, send the survey immediately after the session ends.

Send surveys both during and after the event. Post-event surveys should be sent soon after the event comes to a close, while the experience and details are still fresh. Send a notification and reminders as needed. With a Stova app, you can plan and develop everything you need for your surveys beforehand, so the whole process runs smoothly. For specific tips on what to ask, on check out 14 Questions to ask in your Post-Event Survey.


Everyone likes a little friendly competition. For many events, gamification is an important part of the app, and the event experience as a whole. Creating a playful activity and rewarding attendees with points or prizes will keep them alert and engaged. Points can be distributed for completing actions, including posting photos and participating in surveys and live mobile polling.

To ensure participation in your surveys, incentivize participants with gamification and rewards


Event app quizzes promote healthy competition, motivate your attendees and keep them engaged in the event content. Offering a quiz in your event app is perfect for creating a quick knowledge check at the end of a training session or after a new product rollout. Ensure participation by adding quizzes to your gamification plan-users can earn points for correct answers. Quizzes can also take shape as an (offsite) trivia night contest at a nearby bar or venue! Read more about trivia and gamification here.

Gamification possibilities don’t stop there. To learn more, check out our comprehensive, step-by-step guide on event gamification. And, as you can imagine, another crowd favorite is bingo!

Live Attendee Questions

Your event app can also help streamline audience Q&A sessions. A live questions app feature allows attendees to ask questions through the app polling system, saving your speaker time passing the microphone around the room. This is an excellent feature as it is inclusive-ensuring that everyone who wants to ask a question has a chance. If you choose, you can also elect a moderator to comb through the questions as they come in, passing the most relevant and interesting ones on to the speaker/host.

Questions that are made “public” can be voted on. This is a fantastic way to generate peer interaction and audience engagement. Your moderator can keep an eye on which questions generate the most votes and pass the most relevant onto the speaker. In addition to handling questions in real time, Stova’s back-end reports include email addresses of those who ask questions, making post-event follow-up a breeze.

Mobile Voting Apps

Event voting can be done in real time through a live voting app – perfect for ranking, rating and engaging your audience. Voting apps give you the  option to make responses public or completely private and secure. Our clients frequently use a real time voting app to elect or nominate potential leaders – this is a good example of how beneficial a secure mobile voting system can be.

With Stova, you can design an audience voting app so that everyone in the room can participate in voting and viewing the results. Or, keep it more intimate and controlled by creating a voting app that is available only to those you’ve selected or given permission. The best real time voting apps will offer you flexibility when it comes to who is able to participate and view results.

Quick case study: secure event app voting

To demonstrate how you can use ARS voting, let’s walk through a quick case study of a Stova client.

The challenge

The client holds an annual conference where thousands of business representatives come together for learning and networking. At each conference, they elect next year’s board council, each from a different district throughout the country, totaling 11 elected council members.

Historically, the client conducted voting with paper ballots; a different ballot for each district. Not only did this method require daunting amounts of hours for distributing and counting votes – it also required all event attendees to remember to fill out a paper form during an already busy week of events.

The solution

The client used secure voting within the their Stova real time voting app. This allowed attendees to access only voting for representatives from their district, eliminating confusion. Additionally, the ARS voting allowed the event planners to turn voting on and off at specific times, as well as send alerts and reminders to attendees if they had not voted by a certain time.

The voting results were secured through a back-end database, accessible only to pre-defined individuals. This approach to voting was so secure that it exceeded the requirements of meeting rules and protocols.

The outcome

In the end, our client was able to accomplish three main goals by utilizing a live voting app.

  1. Event app adoption rates were 200% higher than they had been historically.
  2. Reporting and calculating results was automated and exact, reducing previous event planner time spent by over 400%.
  3. Our client was able to increase post-event engagement by over 138% by offering the elected district representative results within the app.

Needless to say, the client was thrilled to leave paper voting in the past. “We knew we needed a solution different than our traditional paper voting systems,” the client said. “One that guaranteed security, but would also provide engagement opportunities. Stova’s mobile event app provided our conference with both! We’re thrilled with the results, especially the reporting!”

To take advantage of ARS and an advanced event app, contact us to schedule a demo!

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