Event Marketing Through Stories: Instagram vs Snapchat

“It is clear to us that regular users’ Snapchat usage/engagement have gone down significantly since the release of Instagram Stories” writes Charlie Buffin

Event Marketing

For almost one year now, it’s been quite a war between Snapchat and Instagram – Why?

 

Well, on 2nd of August 2016 Instagram has launched the Instagram Stories, which are the identical copy of Snapchat Stories. For those of you who don’t know what Snapchat does, here is a brief intro; a Snap is a picture or video you send through the app to one or more of your friends. It will disappear after a maximum of 10 seconds and can only pe played twice. You have the option to add multiple photos and videos as well into the “My Story” feed which will disappear after 24 hours and can be viewed undefined times; visible to your friends only  if you have a private account or by everybody if you have a public account.

Instagram did not stop here, and one year later it hits again by copying Snapchat’s crowd-sourcing photos which allows users to send photos or videos from a specific location or event. Basically they can add photos from their personal story to nearby locations. Afterwards Instagram will curate the photos and the selected one that would show in the Explore tab as another story, let’s say New York (story). These stories created through crowdsourcing photos and videos can be searched after the location and hashtag. Learn more how to use crowd-sourcing photos for your next event.

Crowd-sourcing photos and Geofilters are two of the features that made Snapchat famous among all types of events

Crowdsourcing photos and Geofilters are two of the features that made Snapchat famous among all types of events; managing to create a high level of awareness within numerous events by collecting loads and loads of photos/ videos from all kind of participants at the events. It is an easy and friendly way to promote and bring awareness of your event . Learn more about how to promote your event through Snapchat.

It was quite a significant hit for Snapchat when Instagram launched its “stories ” because they suffered a substantially daily users decrease.

In only 25 weeks since launch, Instagram Stories reached 150 million daily users. That’s the same number of users that Snapchat’s whole app reportedly reached in June 2016, after seeing a significant growth from 110 million daily users in December 2015, Bloomberg reported.

Another report on TechCrunch found that both Snapchat views and posting of stories counts decreased by 15-40 percent after Instagram Stories launched.

Influencers seek for Instagram’s reach

Mike Albanese the CEO of social talent media company Galore’s says “Influencers that were late to build an audience on Snapchat pretty much abandoned the platform because it was so much easier for them to reach more people through their existing audience on Instagram Stories.”

Influencers have also noticed that the engagement rates are 3-5x higher on Instagram than on Snapchat. No matter how faithful you are to Snapchat, you’ve got to do what’s best for your business.

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Snapchat is fighting back Instagram

In order to fight Instagram, Snapchat launched Custom Stories in May 2017. Custom Stories  is similar to the normal story posting, the only difference is that it allows users to create their own events within their chosen friends. So for example, if you are organizing a birthday party, you can create a story named “`Birthday Party” and invite only the friends you would like to post in that story. Through Custom Stories, Snapchat is trying to focus more on offering a qualitative and tailored content to their users.

Creating the Customs Stories seems to be the logical step after creating  a tool that creates on-demand geofilters on the web, in February 2017, which allows users to create custom stickers for different occasions and events. And as competition with Instagram intensifies, it might represent an important milestone in the process of roping in new users.

Both Snapchat and Instagram are trying to bring people together through their stories. Even if it is about user’s lifestyle, a private event, a concert or a championship they help people spread the word and their experiences.

What makes the difference between the two, especially when using Instagram and Snapchat Stories to market an event?

Instagram

  • Has over 600 Million Users monthly with most of its users over 24 years old  (Read more)
  • Instagram’s users spend 15 minutes per day on the app
  • A big part of the activity users spend their time mostly browsing

Snapchat

  • Has 16 Million users daily with 60% of it’s users under the age of 24
  • Users spend twice as Instagram’s users on the app, approximately 30 min per day
  • 60% of user create content (Business Insider)

It only depends on what are your goals, who is your target and what kind of event are you are trying to market in order to decide if Instagram or Snapchat is more suitable for your event.

Having so many users, Instagram’s best use is to bring awareness and gain new potential attendees. But if you want to create an after event marketing, you can make sure that Snapchat is the right tool for you; Leaving all the content to be created by the community, with the wonderful slew of tools that Snapchat has to offer.

We are curious and looking forward to see how this battle is going to end. If Snapchat will raise back by increasing the number of daily users; if Instagram will manage to surpass Snapchat in it’s quality and number of features or why not  live happily ever after by figuring a middle way to survive on the “stories market” by bringing different added value for their users.

 

How do you prepare for a cashless event?

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Last week was a full one for us here at Oveit; on Wednesday we visited the lovely city of Riga to participate at We are Museums event WAM 2017 – Tech loves Culture, where we met many museums professionals eager to use #tech to offer their customers a better experience; Thursday and Friday were reserved for ICEEfest, Interactive Central & Eastern Europe, one of the biggest  tech-related events in Central & Eastern Europe. At ICEEfest we were in charge with the registration process and also implemented the cashless payment system, offering attendees the possibility to pay using their wristbands. Everything went as smooth as it can so we thought that would be nice to share some insights that can help you to implement this cashless payment method for your next event.

 

Here are some hints for a better workflow:

Use the right tool, so you don’t have to use 2 of 3 different software products for one event (our friends used Oveit to sell tickets, check in attendees, print badges and set up the cashless payment system). We used our software “as a hole” and made it really easy to associate the NFC wristbands to an attendee and credit his/her account.

Test your hardware. For this event, we used 24 laptops, 10 NFC readers, and 6 thermal printers. It all worked well but you can be sure that we didn’t wait for the first guests to arrive before we (individually) tested every piece of hardware that we were going to use for the big event. We checked and double checked so when the guests started to arrive we knew that everything is in place and any malfunction that may occur can be easily fixed.

Make sure you have enough power supplies and a strong internet connection (it is strongly recommended to use a private network for your apps, different from the one used by your guests).

You will need to host 2 different training sessions for people operating the software: one with the cashiers (that will credit your attendees’ accounts) and one with the vendors. It’s incredibly easy to use the NFC cashless payment system (at least ours is) but you must make sure that everyone knows how to use it (don’t assume that they don’t need to test it first).

Have a crew on site that knows how to use the software and can be of help if needed. If you have access credentials for each selling point it would be best if the “guys on sight” have the ability to reset them (they are there as a backup, to fix any problem that may occur). If someone has trouble remembering how to log in (or what’s the correct password) – they will have someone to ask for help. You use NFC to improve the general experience so make sure that you have someone on site for this sort of problems.

Using cashless payments was a bliss; there were attendees from all over the world at ICEEfest, so you understand why using cash would’ve been a problem. First, not everyone had the time to stop by an ATM and withdraw cash; second, the queues would’ve been huge with hundreds of people trying to figure out which bills to use. This system allowed everyone to use their credit/debit card to top-up their accounts and a simple tap for pay at all the 8 stores available on site. The result?

 

A payment system that was very easy to use and no more queueing.

 

If you still have doubts about the NFC technology and how it can help you offer a better experience for your attendees I encourage you to read this article, where you will find (almost) all the right reasons :).

Best practices when advertising your event online

“Online advertising doesn’t have to be a “wild west.” – Benjamin Edelman

Camping

The two cornerstones of an online advertising mix are search ads and display ads. Even if you are promoting your business, a product or an event, these two should always be used together.

Search ads help you find new customers with the aid of search engines. When somebody is searching for an answer or product those displayed at the top of the search engine’s page represent the search ads.

The most popular among search ads is Google Search Network which handles more than 40,000 search queries every second, a total of more than 1.2 trillion web searches every single year.

The most popular among search ads is Google Search Network

When it comes to display ads,  these are the ads which appear alongside the original content on a website, social media channels, youtube, etc.

The leader is Facebook with more than 1.55 BILLION monthly display ads; however the true strength of Facebook’s immense audience stands in the potential granularity with which advertisers can target Facebook’s users.

But which one is best or more appropriate to advertise an event?

Many are arguing one practice against each other, but the truth is that both are good advertising tools and they outshine at their best when used together, since the two have different attributes; Search ads helps you find new customers and Display ads helps new customers find you.

We are going to talk about the most used paid advertising channels which are Google and Facebook and how you can maximize their use  in order to promote your event.

Managing these advertising campaigns is not that easy as it might seem, especially when having to use bidding techniques.

Google Advertising

The advertisement on Google is made through Google AdWords which is divided in two major categories: Google Search Network and Google Display Network.

Google Search Network, as explained above, are the ads which help you find new customers and if used in the right way, your ads will be displayed within the top searches.

One of the major misconceptions is that whomever has the largest advertising budget wins – False!

On top of the money, what Google stands for is delivering the most appropriate content to it’s users. For this to be possible all ads have to pass through a process which is know as ad auction and only the ads with the highest Ad Rank will be placed in the top searches. Yes, a larger advertising budget can help you, especially when bidding for competitive keywords, but another important factor which can help you spend less money is the Quality Score.

AdRank = Maximum Bid * Quality Score

Maximum Bid is the maximum amount of money you are willing to pay for a click.

Quality Score is calculated considering the overall quality of the advertisement and the factors that are constituting the quality score, are:

  • Relevance of each keyword to its ad group
  • The click-through rate
  • Relevance of your ad-text
  • Landing page quality and relevance
  • Your historical AdWords account performance

The one characteristic which “weights” the most from the above mentioned is the click-through rate (CTR). It tells Google how many people saw your ad and actually clicked on it. This allows Google to understand that your ad is relevant and helpful and will increase your quality rank through a high CTR.

Google Display Network

Through Google Display Network you will be able to show your ads on specific targeted sites and to the desired audience, based on your prefered keywords and targeting factors, with the main purpose of helping new customers find you.

The GDN spans over two million websites that reach over 90% of people on the Internet and can help you reach people while they’re browsing websites, watching YouTube videos, checking their Gmail, or using mobile sites and apps.

The Google Display Network will comprise all of the sites where advertisers can buy ads through Google, including the over one million AdSense and DoubleClick Ad Exchange partners as well as YouTube and Google properties such as Google Finance, Gmail, Google Maps, and Blogger.”

The display ads can be shown in different formats: Text Ads, Picture Ads, Video Ads or Rich Media Ads; and they can be personalized in different sizes, shapes and customized to be displayed on different devices.

Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising also known as paid social, has mostly the same use as Google Display Network. Its main purpose helping new customers find your business.

The Facebook ads are divided in two categories: Promoted Posts and Boosted Posts

Promoted Posts are the ones which look the same as the ones from your newsfeed posts only that they  will be displayed in the targeted audience newsfeed only, showing “sponsored” underneath. The main purpose of these ads is to promote your brand to new and potential leads.

Promoted Posts are used to bring awareness of your brand to new potential leads

Boosted Post are the ones that you post on your newsfeed and by boosting them your campaign will try to reach as many people as possible from your existing followers.

Boosted Posts are used to reach as many followers as possible

Before advertising on Facebook you have to set up a few goals, such as your objective;

Do you want to bring more visitors on your website, receive likes on your Facebook page or perhaps get app downloads; It is important to know what result you are aiming for in order to know how to promote it best, since the promote and boost post deliver different results.

Another handy function is that under each Facebook campaign there can be created different ad sets (through which you can create separate audience based on different targeting characteristics) and under those different ads you can create different images and copy.

As an advertiser with this special feature you get the opportunity to target different categories of audience under the same campaign.

Remarketing is the tool which revolutionized online advertising

Remarketing is done by allowing the advertiser to deposit a cookie of their website on the visitor’s computer. Afterwards Google will continue to display ads to those people whenever they will be visiting sites from the Google Display Network. The same practice is used on other channels as Facebook, YouTube, Mobile Apps, etc.

Through traditional advertising your event will receive awareness and acknowledgment within a limited amount of people. Digital advertising increases substantially the span of advertising through not only a bigger crowd of possible leads but as well allows the event to be discovered for those who are seeking it. The mix of both search and display ads is essential in order to cover a higher surface of possible leads.

 

How to improve attendee experience with a smooth registration process

It is known that in business the first impression can be a deal-breaker, especially if you are a small company trying to work your way up. But does this rule apply to the event management industry? Do you think that an attendee’s first impression about your conference can affect your business? Well, the answer is yes!

meeting-83519_1920

And even though it’s fair to say that the very first impression may occur when a customer tries to buy a ticket, let’s talk about the greeting and the registration process (and how to make sure that your attendees feel welcome).

 

Here are some insights:

 

Use the right software

It is impossible to ensure a smooth process if you need 3 minutes to check in or register each attendee. Here are some things you might do to welcome your guests: search each guest by name, look for their printed badge, collect their data. All these things add up to the registration time. But if you use an effective app, you just need to scan a barcode or a qr code to identify and welcome your guest. Here’s what you might do afterwards: check in, collect data into your database and have the badge ready for print. Easy enough when you have the right tools.

 

Make sure everything is functional

As Kelsey Ogletree said, technology has a dark side and I think it’s safe to say that a registration system crashing in the morning of your event falls into the not-so-bright category  . This is why you should always triple check your registration systems prior to your big event (and all the switches/cable). And also make sure that everyone who is involved in the registration process is well trained in using the registration software.

 

Divide the check in process into tasks

If you want to save some time with the registration process (and who doesn’t?) you should encourage the registration team to work with predefined tasks. For example, here’s a way of splitting responsibilities among three team members:

  1. One staff member scanned the ticket and verified access credentials
  2. One staff member printed the badge
  3. One staff member assisted attendees with the wristbands

The result? It takes a lot less time to check in/register each guest.

 

 

And some more tips for a perfect start:

 

Keep your team informed

Make sure your staff members know the basic information an attendee could ask (where is the wardrobe, where are the restrooms, which stairs to use – if there are any etc). On the other hand it’s wise to have an info point with permanent assistance for more specific questions and/or complaints (although you might think everything is in place – and maybe it is – chances are your guests will be at times in need of assistance).

 

Check in has it’s peak point.  Adapt

Keep in mind  that technology cannot solve all issues, so for the registration peak point you should open some extra check in points (most of your attendees will arrive 30 minutes prior to the start, so make sure you have some extra registration points in the first part of the day). Afterwards you can close some of them and your team members can focus on different tasks.

 

Take care of your team

Let me just quote sir Richard Branson on this one: “The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers”. Make sure your team is fully prepared, motivated AND happy (yes, it is hard work, but you can still have fun doing it). Your attendees will be greeted with a big natural smile and that’s always the best way for them to start the day, and they are more likely to overlook any shortcomings that may occur later.

 

Not everyone will respect the schedule

Some of the participants may arrive earlier than expected: some traveled from out of town and came directly to the venue, some are just impatient and some misread the schedule… Don’t forget they are your guests, so treat them right. Ask them in, offer them a cup of coffee/water and explain that they will have to wait for registration. Keep in mind this is a very important part of your customer care process.

 

Water and coffee for everybody

Make sure you have plenty of water and coffee for all your attendees. It is best you let them accommodate with a welcome coffee; you will also need coffee breaks every 2 hours or so, otherwise your attendees will lose their focus.

If you host a full day event you be sure to include a lunch break in the schedule (if you don’t cater the lunch at least offer some information about restaurants nearby).

 

Don’t be afraid to get creative

Let’s admit it: we all love cool stuff. So do yourself a favor and use a cool badge (use a registration software that offers you this feature)  and nice colored wristbands. Trust me, your attendees will notice your attention for detail and will help you spread the word about your “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” event  by posting photos on social media.

 

There are many aspects that you must have in mind when planning an event, from the speakers  list to venue and suppliers. But don’t forget that the registration process is a an important part of your guest’s overall experience and keep in mind that a very good first impression works wonders.

Technology changed the event management game

The world has changed.  Maybe Galadriel smells it in the air (and tastes it in the water...), but event professionals face the changes in their unceasing efforts to deliver the perfect experience. Day by day. And even though technology has a nasty habit of getting you distracted (you get like 12 emails, 8 phone calls and 37 FB/Twitter notifications per hour), it also offers a lot of help when organizing an event. So let’s see how technology changed the event management game:

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Access to real-time data

“Un homme averti en vaut deux” (an informed man is worth two), claims a French saying. And maybe the math is not quite right but we all know the importance of information when planning an event. Luckily today’s apps let you know every minute how many tickets you’ve sold and to whom (through the right tools, such as Oveit ).

For example most of the seats are empty 10 minutes before the posted start time? Verify the app and see how many people checked in. If 80% of the ticket holders already checked in (maybe they are in the lobby)  you’ll only have to deal with a small delay, not a fiasco. Using an event management software keeps you well informed.

 

Yes, we mind waiting

Time is money (for everyone). Professor Richard Larson, from MIT, has estimated that Americans spend about 2 years of their lives waiting in lines. Even sadder is that often the psychology of queuing is more important than the statistics of the wait itself” and people tend to overestimate the waiting time by about 36%. Today you can use an event management app that allows you to use any smartphone for ticket scanning and registration, making the queues go a lot faster (you can extend the scanning points with as many as you want; all you need is a smartphone).

 

Social media helps you meet billions

There was a time when word of mouth was the only way to communicate your event. Today, 3 of the most important social media platforms gather more than 2 billion unique monthly visitors; modern technology gives you the opportunity to market the exact demographics that you want. Although this is not the answer to all of your prayers it clearly makes it a lot easier when you want to make yourself heard.

 

Keep everyone engaged

People spend around 2 hours a day touching their smartphone’s screen and  85% of that time is, in fact, spent using applications. So we can understand why more and more #eventprofs are using applications when it comes to engaging participants. See for example TONOMAT, an app that allows everyone to be the DJ at your party, helping even the shyest to make himself/herself heard (via his/her favorite band).

 

You should always follow up your leads

62% of the leads are not followed up after an event. I really hope this is not the case for you. You invest a lot of time and money in planning your event and you should interact with everyone who registered. If someone spent the time to register for your event it means that they are interested in what you have to offer (not to mention those that actually attend it). So keep in touch with them!

Modern-day apps let you know who arrived and who didn’t, so you can follow up by segmenting your audience with different messages. Here are some examples:

“Thank you for attending …”

“Sorry you didn’t made it, here is what…”

 

Let the world see you shine. Live

40% of world population has access to the internet. Maybe the venue has a capacity of only 500 people, but today you can sell an unlimited no. of tickets for an online experience (live streaming is way cheaper than it was a few years ago). So, just like a big football match, your event can also be watched by millions for a few bucks (ok, maybe not millions, but you get the picture). You can sell live online access for a small price and/or you can even ensure a VR experience for those who cannot attend in person. (this is not something new but today the technological leaps make it possible for anyone to broadcast an event)

 

Replace cash payments to grow the order value

Carrying a lot of cash is not really fun (especially in crowded places where they sell alcohol). Use NFC technology to replace cash payments and you will have:

  • No more pickpocketing
  • Less queueing
  • 0 cash loss
  • 30% increased order value
  • Happier attendees

Oh, and by the way…

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Charles Darwin

 

Further reading:

  • http://www.preoday.com/blog/the-changing-scene-of-consumer-experience-in-festivals/
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/why-waiting-in-line-is-torture.html
  • http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/social-networking-websites
  • http://blog.mobilosoft.com/blog/e-tickets-vs-m-tickets-difference-and-benefits-for-consumers
  • http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/exhibitions-and-events/exhibiting/planning-your-follow-up-after-an-event