How to Use Gamification to Boost Attendee Engagement

June 15, 2022

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The ability to keep audiences engaged is a defining success metric for any event, but that isn’t always easy in the era of virtual and hybrid events. After all, if someone is attending remotely, it is inherently harder to keep them engaged when everything happens through a screen. The challenge can be even greater in hybrid events, where it is important to offer a similarly valuable and closely aligned experience for both in-person and remote attendees.

While live video feeds and instant messaging are cornerstones of any virtual or hybrid event, they alone can only go so far when it comes to allowing remote attendees to interact with your presenters and with other attendees. Gamification offers an innovative way to engage remote audiences and create exciting new experiences for in-person attendees  all by leveraging the very same mechanics used in video games.

How Does Gamification Work?

To gamify means taking mechanics conventionally associated with video games and applying them in non-gaming use cases, such as marketing strategies and events. Practically everyone likes games in some form or another, which is why gamification is a proven way to incentivize attendees to become active participants in your events. For example, you can have audiences complete simple but fun challenges like virtual scavenger hunts or reward them with points or badges for participating in certain activities. Doing so lends a competitive flare to your events, which also encourages attendees to interact more with each other.

While the term itself might be quite new, gamification has been around for years. That said, it is a relatively new territory for event organizers. However, now that hybrid events are the new norm, it offers a proven way to bring both remote and in-person attendees together with memorable shared experiences all while allowing you to collect valuable data. Gamification has a proven track record for enhancing productivity and morale in workplaces and learning institutions, and that holds true for events as well.

Event organizers should approach gamification as a strategic decision that helps them achieve their event goals. These might include, for example, enhancing networking opportunities for attendees, boosting session attendance, or simply broadening your brand recognition. Event gamification ultimately helps you to encourage your attendees to pay attention to what matters most. For example, if the primary goal of your event is to improve lead generation, then you might want to use gamification to incentivize people to sign up for your newsletter. Similarly, if your event is all about fostering high-quality matchmaking connections, then you’ll want to set up fun audience participation games around meeting new people.

Event Gamification Ideas to Try

Mobile Event App

Event gamification typically revolves around the software you use to engage your attendees. For in-person attendees, this usually comes in the form of a mobile event app that has been adapted to the specific needs of your event. Remote attendees will typically engage through your web-based portal, which should ideally offer the same features and functionality, albeit on the big screen. What’s important is that all attendees, regardless of whether they are there in person or joining remotely, have as similar an experience as possible. With a consolidated software solution, you can also use gamification to gather valuable insights into your audience, such as which sessions were the most engaging or which booths received the most visitors.

Networking Games

Many trade shows and other large corporate events revolve around networking. People attend them to forge valuable relationships and make lasting friends. Therefore, gamification can help encourage people to get together in a meaningful and memorable way. For example, adding a competitive element to your event attendance can encourage people to team up and connect in ways that they’re not likely to with the one-to-many approach of seminars, presentations, and other traditional formats. You can also use gamification to run social media contests or to run scavenger hunts across both virtual and in-person channels.

Incentives to Event Attendees

Event gamification is especially valuable when it comes to holding the attention of your remote attendees, in which the physical separation might otherwise be a barrier to engagement. Such environments often require some extra incentives to get attendees to participate meaningfully. For example, you might incentivize people to join in with live Q&A sessions by rewarding them with points for participation. Alternatively, your goal might be to get people to visit more event booths either virtual or physical. If that’s the case, you might reward points, badges, or ranks for their participation. The inherently competitive and addictive nature of these methods offers a proven way to drive engagement, which is precisely why they have been so successful when it comes to learning and skills development.

Attendee Feedback

Just like every other digital activity, gamification leaves a data trail that, with the right platform, you can easily translate into actionable insights. That said, there’s still no substitute for asking your attendees what they like and don’t like about your event by conducting live surveys and polls that both remote and in-person attendees can participate in. However, it isn’t always easy to collect such feedback, hence the power of gamification to offer incentives that many people will find irresistible. Sometimes, all it takes to get an attendee to complete a quick survey is a little extra recognition in the form of points or ranks and that’s exactly where the true power of gamification lies.

Stova’s event management software provides everything you need to grow your brand and boost event attendance and engagement. Our mobile app supports event gamification, live polling and surveys, and more to help you maximize your return on investment. Book your demo today to learn more.

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