If you’ve been in the events world for awhile, then one vision probably comes to mind when you hear the words “events badge”: a piece of paper with an attendee’s name and title on it attached to a lanyard for attendees to wear around their neck. While over time, the event badge has become more aesthetically pleasing and valuable for event planners through things like RFID tracking technology, it hasn’t fundamentally changed in a way that benefits the attendee…until now.
After decades of little to no change, the digital badge has seen so much evolution in recent years that event planners may not be familiar with how they can fully utilize this technology. Not only can digital badges greatly benefit the planning process, but they can also be used to significantly enhance the attendee experience.
Digital badges can collect data for event planners
Event professionals can collect truly meaningful and game changing data with digital badges. To start they can measure session attendance and dwell time for each attendee. They can also see how many attendees have visited specific exhibitor booths and when they visited each one. Both of these metrics are really important, because they enable an event professional to identify the most popular sessions and exhibitors. This can help an event professional improve on their agenda for future events, create additional sponsorship opportunities, and understand what’s connecting the most with their attendees.
On the flip side event professionals can reveal the sessions and companies who are not performing well, and spend their time making sure that their performance is increased before it’s too late. These are just a few examples of the data that digital badges can provide, and it’s just the beginning of smart event insights.
Attendees can use digital badges to exchange information
Networking is undoubtedly a priority for attendees and sponsors alike and digital badges can make the experience that much more efficient. With the LOOPD Badge, attendees can exchange contact information and receive marketing collateral all by pressing a button and placing it within a few inches of another LOOPD Badge. When attendees exchange contact information, it provides active analytics to the event planner, which helps them understand what their attendees are physically interested in at the event.
If you want to utilize this aspect of digital badges at your event, it’s important that you take the steps to promote full participation by helping attendees understand what the devices are, how they work, and what value they provide. The event planner should educate their registration staff on how to explain the value of the digital badge to the attendee when they check-in at the event. A misunderstanding that I see commonly is that attendees think the digital badge will know where they are at all times. This is actually not true, because Bluetooth only has a range of 30 feet reliably. This means that attendees will only be seen by a sensor at the event venue when they are within 30 feet. The attendee should also know that they can use the digital badge to exchange contact information and to keep track of where they went. This is really helpful for the attendee, because it’s as if they have a personal assistant with them taking notes.
Digital badges can enhance onsite gamification
Digital badges can be used for fun gamification that has a physical component tied to the event. At SXSW we set up a physical scavenger hunt race for attendees to complete with the LOOPD Badge and LOOPD Hubs. Attendees were given a LOOPD Badge and a map with all of the companies they had to visit. When at attendee walked into the companies booth they instantly received confirmation in the LOOPD App that they visited one of the scavenger hunt spots. This can be enhanced by adding clues for attendees, so that they have to guess where to go next. The attendee that completed the scavenger hunt in the shortest amount of time won a prize. This was a lot of fun, because attendees where running around all of SXSW engaging with other attendees and companies.
These are just three examples of how digital badges can enhance your events. If you find technology that integrates with other data and engagement tools, such as a mobile app or event management software, you can take the digital badge experience that much further.
Brian Friedman is the co-founder of Loopd and director of product for mobile, data and engagement at etouches.