In 2016 event trends will continue to connect technology with marketing experiences. As these industries converge, the event industry as a whole will see its lines blurred. While many of the emerging technologies in 2016 aren’t new, they will be used more frequently than ever before and with increased event specific applications.
2015 was a spectacular year for mobile — traffic to mobile actually eclipsed that of desktop for the first time in more than 10 countries. Mobile usage and advertising spending will continue to see strong growth in 2016. This year, an estimated 67% of mobile users used their phone to share pictures, videos, or commentary about events happening in their community.
Events will be created, managed and attended more frequently than ever before using mobile. Mobile check-ins and registration are also quickly becoming the standard for many event organizers. As the dawn of 2016 approaches, a new generation of engagement driven apps is on the rise; working to connect users throughout the entire lifecycle of an event.
Apps like The Reach App have surfaced, allowing users to find local trending events and connect with their attendees before, during and after the event. The app uses LinkedIn to help event participants to build local connections more effectively.
Events, in the traditional sense, will most certainly continue to be shaped by this mobile uprising. This year alone, 68% of US mobile users followed news and events using their cell phones.
Virtual reality and wearables are both poised to enter mainstream consciousness and adoption in 2016. Wearables themselves are being adopted at an aggressive rate with an estimated market size of 148 million devices created within the next 5 years. Wearables will increasingly be used to check in event attendees, and store payment information for seamless in-event purchases (think festivals and trade shows).
Wearables will continue to build off of the mobile boom and its drive towards increased engagement through experiential connectedness. Wearables can actively turn a crowd into a participant at an event making it all the more meaningful. They can also enhance the performances of entertainers and artists by closing the gap between human input and digital output.
The Myo Armband for instance lets you wirelessly control technology with gestures and motion. It is currently being used by performers and DJs to control light shows and pyrotechnics at events.
Another turning point for wearables, event tech and events in general in 2016 will be the rise of the virtual reality space. The virtual reality industry, is being designed and defined all at once, shifting the event space as we know it.
A more pronounced shift is destined to occur as VR technology has finally become consumer ready. With the recent release of the Samsung Gear VR headset, VR experiences are realistically accessible to the masses.
While we don’t anticipate VR replacing the live event experience, we are bound to see more 360-degree streaming and experience creation where the viewer is a part of the narrative taking place.
The notion of “big data” has entered the hearts, minds and buzzword spouting souls of the tech masses. Smoke and mirrors aside, data driven services are not only on the rise, but an integral part of our everyday interaction with technology and business. Consumer data has been collected for ages, but it is only recently that this data has been sophistically used to drive consumer insights and in turn provided businesses with the opportunity to convert interest into revenue.
The event industry is no exception to this and is in no way late to the data party. Event data collection is becoming more advanced through the increased use of event management platforms, and cloud based registration tools which help organizers understand their attendees. Intelligence and insights collected by these platforms help organizers better market their events all while creating an ongoing source of communication and engagement. By digitizing the event experience, organizers in 2016 will more accurately predict and attribute their successes to specific activities giving them a better way to measure ROI.
Events as Experiences
Building off the notion of a more measurable ROI approach to events, events in 2016 will increasingly become experiences as brands race to enter the world of experiential marketing.
It is expected that events will use the aforementioned technologies to provide attendees with more engaging experiences where feedback is collected in real-time, pre and post event. Additionally, brands are shifting their budgets more frequently from “things” to “thoughts” to experiences. Marketers are and will continue to invest heavily in event campaigns in parallel to their digital strategy to help humanize their brand.
Events are now a significant part of many businesses regular marketing mix. Experiences will continue to provide brands with the opportunity to deliver to a captive audience both educationally and promotionally.
Bring on the 2016 event trends!