Event organizers responsible for multiple gatherings each year – often with hundreds, if not thousands of attendees – may have a hard time with gathering feedback, not to mention encouraging engagement and measuring return on investment. All of these issues and more can be addressed via second screen technology.

A webinar from Meghan Carey of Glisser, hosted by FMAV’s Anthony Vade, outlined the connection between this cutting-edge tech and the results events pros are looking for. The following are the key takeaways from this webinar.

An IT foundation, and event application

Event marketers are ready and willing to use more IT in their work, according to the results of a Bizzabo study, presented by Carey:

  • 86 percent of event marketers think technology can help with their roles.
  • 80 percent of overperforming companies want to increase event budgets next year.
  • 87 percent of C-suite execs want to continue hosting live events and believe in their value.

How audience interaction works today

Traditionally, adding an audience participation element to a presentation often involves expensive clickers or, increasingly, tablets, handed out to attendees. Alternately, there could be the awkward spectacle of running a microphone into the audience or asking “any questions?” – often receiving a tepid response. Paper surveys are still used in some cases, but printing that much paper is expensive and environmentally unfriendly, plus the data generated must be manually parsed.

Adopting tech means overcoming some challenges. As Carey polled the audience about concerns regarding IT use, price and budget impact were named by many attendees. Seeing ROI also merited a mention, as did getting people onboard with new tech.

Furthermore, many presenters simply aren’t knowledgeable about modern tech or willing to use it. This sentiment is prominent in the medical sector, where speaker knowledge may be deep in a certain arena, but narrow in a broader sense. Finally, either a lack of acceptable Wi-Fi or high internet costs imposed by a venue may also stymie attempts to get systems running.

Successful event tech adoption may hinge on testing capabilities with a smaller audience before hitting the stage at a big conference. Furthermore, due diligence about venue preparations can help deal with internet availability.

When it comes to convincing presenters to use new tech, simplicity is a great selling point, as are clear use cases. Speakers want an engaged audience and to gain accurate and immediate data from their crowds. Good second screen tech delivers these factors.

The 5 main benefits of second screen tech

Carey followed up with five specific areas where second screens drive value:

More conversational presentations: People don’t like to be lectured to and will learn more if they can interact. Speakers who can poll their crowds may learn about those individuals before, during and after the talk, informing their ongoing engagement approach.
Polls for engagement and insights: A second screen app can create a mutually beneficial trade: Audience members get valuable information such as downloads of slide decks, while presenters gather answers to pressing business questions from a captive audience.
Content sharing: It’s not unusual for presentation attendees to take pictures of slides they want to remember or ask presenters to send or post their slide decks. With a good second screen app, they get the information they crave automatically.
Reduced costs: Printing for events is expensive. Handing out branded notepads or rented devices adds overhead. When using a digital tool that is compatible across attendees’ own devices, those costs don’t occur.
More constant engagement: People in audiences will be on their phones no matter what, so give them something on-task to do. Engagement with flexible second screen experiences beats dedicated apps that users have to download, as well as paper surveys.

Event data: ‘Black hole’ or valuable resource?

Are attendees listening? Do they want content? What questions do they value, and how do they feel about the event? This kind of vital feedback flows in while guests sign up for events, travel to them and speak to the organizers after the fact, but their actual experiences in presentations can be opaque and hard to track.

Carey pointed out that second screen experiences such as Glisser gather engagement metrics, which show whether people logged in, clicked “like”, gave responses, took notes or performed other actions.

If an event’s goal is sales, this data is great for lead qualifying and follow up. If it’s a sponsored event, the sponsors will like to have this data. Furthermore, the feedback all flows into one digital repository, not a variety of systems – or folders of paper.

The three keys

In the end, the above value proposition can be cut down into three major points:

  • More engaged audiences, like those responding on second screens, learn and retain more. They take value away from the event and like it more.
  • Second screen experiences gather real data about the event to improve it in the future.
  • These systems are also good for the bottom line, helping organizers save on hardware costs and track ROI.

Questions and answers from the audience

These are some of the most pressing and relevant questions Meaghan and Anthony answered during and after the webinar:

What are great some great Glisser use cases the presenters have observed?
The product’s instant polls have made dense lectures more engaging. Glisser has been used as a gamification tool, with the platform supporting a quiz game and scavenger hunt.

How can event organizers get buy-in from presenters?
Once users gain a little experience with new platforms, using those tools becomes second nature, provided they are simple and user-friendly.

What are some of the best questions for presenters to ask?
Valuable data can come from asking questions with open prompts, ones where the answers will be digested in private instead of displayed on-screen. For example: What could the event organizers do better in the future?

Do participants interacting with second screens not pay attention to presenters?
While adopters of Glisser sometimes worry about lack of audience attention ahead of time, there haven’t been many issues with this in practice.

How does the platform handle negative or inappropriate comments or social posts?
There is a moderation feed, so another employee can screen the comments in real time and make sure only appropriate material reaches the big screen.

Where do financial savings come from?
Event organizers can stop printing handouts or renting iPads. A tablet rental at $25 per device is a huge expense compared to spending $1-2 per attendee to use a second screen platform.

To watch this webinar replay, please click here.


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