Conferences Going Mobile: 2012 Trends

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1 Conferences Going Mobile: 2012 Trends White Paper Conferences Going Mobile: 2012 Trends 2012 CrowdCompass All rights reserved. 1 of 8

2 smartphones than PCs. In 2010, more people bought Introduction Going mobile isn t one of those much-hyped but short-lived trends that won t be worth your money it s growing faster than ever and exceeding all expectations. Mobile is changing the way we access and share content. It s shaping the way we do business and revolutionizing the way we communicate. With millions of meetings and events in the world, how do you make yours stand out from a crowd? It s simple. Make it mobile. In 2010, more people bought smartphones than PCs 1. Surprising? You bet. It amazed technology experts who predicted this wasn t supposed to happen until 2011 one year later. Need more proof that mobile is growing rapidly? Out of 6.8 billion people in the world, there are now over 5 billion mobile users 2. This means more than ¾ of the world is mobile! The amount of smartphone users is growing just as fast. They make up 500 million of that total a 61% increase from 2010 and are expected to reach over 600 million in The numbers don t lie; more and more people are going mobile, and smartphone usage is on the rise. So what do all these stats mean for your events, conferences, and tradeshows? It means you need to step up your game and make your events mobile in order to keep up with technology and consumer behavior. 1. idc.com 2. marketingprofs.com 3. gartner.com 2 of 8

3 With the introduction of the Internet in 1997, event planners needed convincing to have websites and offer online registration if they wanted their industry to survive. Nowadays, searching for apps instead of accessing websites is becoming more popular; the average smartphone user has 65 apps installed on their mobile device 4. More than 80% of meeting professionals use smartphones, yet only 9% of planners use mobile apps for their meetings. While some businesses are beginning to realize the importance of connecting to their digital audience, there are still many who aren t meeting the needs of a mobile world. Recent data from a FutureWatch 2011 Survey indicated that more than 80% of meeting professionals use smartphones and other mobile devices in their jobs, yet only 9% of planners have used mobile apps for their own meetings 5. There s a huge missed opportunity here to make the most of your event for everyone involved. For the the first time ever, smartphone users spent more time daily in mobile apps than the web (both desktop and mobile) 4. As mobile app usage increases, more and more event attendees aren t just asking for mobile apps they re expecting them. 4. flurry.com 5. mpiweb.org 3 of 8

4 The Mobile Attendee Opportunity Imagine being able to hear your attendees innermost thoughts during and after your event. Now imagine having the power to reach 500 people through just one person who attended your conference. Sound like the superpowers you always wanted? It s not, unless you think of mobile being a little magical (it s okay we do). Mobile apps make it easy for attendees to share content, their opinions, and their overall experience through social media. Why is this important? More and more people are steering away from traditional media, instead trusting their peers opinions. As of December 2011, 64 million smartphone owners in the US accessed social networking sites or blogs through their mobile devices up 77% from the year before million used mobile apps directly for social networking up 126%. The results: 5.5 million used LinkedIn; 13.4 million used Twitter 6. The most popular social media site is Facebook out of 900 million users, 500 million are mobile 7. If your event gets a stellar review, social media will help spread the word fast. It s not just for individuals, either; companies can promote their brand while connecting with customers in real time. Social media is all about networking whether it s building new relationships or strengthening the ones you already have. It s faster. It s incredibly effective. It s more meaningful. And it can do a lot more for events and conferences than any paper-based product, even with the best intentions. Making your event mobile means more success instead of stress. It gives you the power to easily reach your attendees, let them know about any last-minute changes, and put all the pertinent info in one easy-to-navigate spot. It also lets you connect with hundreds of other people who didn t attend your event but may be at your next. As your attendees sit through speakers, visit exhibitors, and click on in-app sponsors, they have the ability to share everything they re experiencing in real time through their mobile app. By giving them these easy-to-use tools, you re making them a part of your team. In turn, they re adding more value to your event by generating content for you across the platforms people use every day. Mobile technology allows your attendees to become your best advocates helping you make your event more interactive, engaging, and memorable. 6. comscore.com 7. techcrunch.com 4 of 8

5 Extending Speaker Reach Missing a great speaker can make a big difference in whether or not an event is exciting and worth someone s time and energy. Not only does a mobile app make it easier to seek out specific presentations, it strengthens the connection between speaker and audience. Before mobile devices, event attendees had no way of letting others outside the room know about an amazing speaker. If they took notes and shared it later via or even face-to-face, the moment shared between speaker and audience would not be as meaningful or relevant as when it was happening in real time. Immediacy is what gives these moments power. It s not just about the speaker talking on stage to a one-time audience, either. It s about each attendees own audience of family, friends and colleagues all of the others whom the speaker could potentially connect with and impact. Mobile takes social networking hundreds of step further, making the speaker more visible to the social network of every audience member. Mobile phone users with Internet access average over 700 social connections 7. Remember how we said attendees can be your best advocates? Because of mobile apps, they can promote what s going on in the event to the rest of their network. Their live tweeting or real time feedback can capture direct quotes or interesting points made by speakers. They can link to speakers websites or upload a video on YouTube for the world to see the speaker through their eyes. Because of a simple mobile app, a speaker has the opportunity to reach thousands of others and gain a following that goes beyond a one-day event. And the more people your speakers reach, the more popular your event becomes. 7. pewinternet.org 5 of 8

6 Think Outside of the Booth For exhibitors, an event or tradeshow means being stuck behind a booth all day while trying to make long-lasting connections with people in short amounts of time. They count on event organizers to help them be successful. Mobile apps help enhance and expand a company s brand beyond their booth. It s an easier and more personal way for attendees to connect with and learn about exhibitors before, during and after the event. Instead of handing out various marketing materials that may just get tossed or forgotten about later, information is digitalized in a mobile app that can be updated at any moment. Because mobile is measurable, exhibitors can track how many attendees view their information, look at specific products, and click on their website. Having this insider info gives exhibitors better insight on how to improve their marketing. Thanks to your mobile app, exhibitors will see you as a reliable teammate they can count on to stretch their brand beyond the booth and develop new, lasting relationships. Exhibitors can also connect with attendees through gamification a growing trend that uses game-like concepts for non-game apps to promote customer engagement and improve customer loyalty. For example, having an in-app scavenger hunt game creates friendly competition between attendees and drives them to visit booths, talk to more people and become more involved. In April of 2011, Gartner stated that a gamified service for consumer goods, marketing, and customer retention will become as important as Facebook, ebay or Amazon, and more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified app 8. Gamification is huge right now, and it can set your event apart by turning an ordinary conference into a fun, social activity for your attendees. 8. gartner.com 6 of 8

7 New Marketing Channels for Sponsors In 2011, the global market for mobile advertising tripled to 1.6 billion. It s expected to reach over 5 billion in Experts don t see this slowing down. Conference sponsors could be benefiting from this growing marketing channel. Increasing advertising opportunities means a full commitment to mobile from the sponsors themselves. It s not enough to have a mobile presence; the mobile experience must be user-friendly. You don t want potential customers ditching your company s website because of slow-loading and poorly formatted web pages. If a sponsor's banner links to their landing page or a special offer and their website is mobile optimized, they can drive more traffic to the company s website. More traffic means more opportunities to build brand awareness, develop relationships, and increase sales. Mobile apps create new marketing channels for sponsors so they can reach out to potential customers and attract new leads. How exactly does that work? By using push notifications within a native app, sponsors can let your attendees know about an exciting giveaway or reel them in with other tempting offers. Urban Airship, provider of a mobile service platform that helps apps retain user engagement and increase profitability, recently released data that showed persistent and explosive growth in mobile app services. The number of messages sent via push notification on their platform increased by more than 1500% year over year 10. Because people are never far from their mobile phones, it s an effective way for sponsors to reach their target audience and connect with more people at your event. Showing concrete results to your sponsors is one more reason they ll stick with you and your event. A sponsor may come up with a great graphic to promote their brand, but there s no way to tell how many people looked at it. Their banner may be cool, but nothing s cooler than mobile right now. Instead of paying to print bulky signs to promote their brand, they can maintain a strong presence by including banner ads, logos, promotions, special offers and more all within one cost-effective mobile app. No more wondering who looked at what: mobile does it all by tracking results of impressions and clicks. It gives sponsors a better understanding of what their customers want so they can effectively improve their advertising strategies. Since mobile apps give your sponsors more ways to become successful, they ll want to come back to your event year after year. 9. gartner.com 10. urbanairship.com 7 of 8

8 The Mobile Takeaway What s Next? Studies show that going mobile is a popular trend that s here to stay. Having a smartphone means quick access to all kinds of content, easy sharing, and staying in touch 24/7. And because people take their phones everywhere, event organizers now have a bigger opportunity to make a more personal and immediate connection with their attendees anytime, anywhere. If you want everyone involved to get more value out of your event, use the growing popularity of mobile to your advantage. Upcoming Mobile Trends: Match What Your Conference Needs 1) Know your audience before deciding how many platforms to support for your mobile app. Nearly 42 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones with Android and Apple taking the lead in most markets 11. 2) Apps are becoming a commonly used technology tool: Recently, both America and Europe saw substantial growth in mobile app use, exceeding the growth of mobile browser use 11. 3) The opportunity to leverage your attendees is huge. Fully 64.2 million smartphone users in America accessed social networking sites from their device at least once in December, with over half of those doing so nearly every single day 11. 4) Don t ignore the tablets! In under two years, there are now over 40 million tablets in use among U.S. mobile users, outpacing smartphones which took 7 years to reach the same results 11. 5) Go social. Social networking was the fastest-growing category among users of both apps and mobile browsers, growing 240 percent and 90 percent respectively comscore 12. nielson.com 8 of 8

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