Over the past few years, we’ve seen messaging apps steadily rise and become the most sticky mobile experiences for consumers. Messaging services like WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Line and WhatsApp have finally exploded in popularity in the US, a trend that’s been observed in Asia and Europe for a while. In fact, 2015 was the year that the world’s largest social networks – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – were actually overtaken by messaging apps in terms of total users. Messaging is now not only hugely popular on mobile, but also highly engaging. The Wall Street Journal noted that “messaging apps are used an average of almost nine times a day, compared with 1.9 for all apps”.
As we increasingly shift our attention to these new forms of digital interaction, we are changing our expectations for how we communicate not just with our friends and family, but also in the workplace (Slack), in our local neighborhoods (PathTalk) and – even at events.
At DoubleDutch we’ve been hard at work imagining what it means to attend an event in the age of mobile messaging, and we believe that messaging has enormous potential to transform the attendee experience. We’ve decided to focus our first set of features around the following event-specific use cases:
1. Direct Messaging
DoubleDutch has always provided a private community for your attendees, staff, exhibitors and sponsors to connect. But our new Direct Messaging feature supercharges the networking potential of your app, creating a fast and convenient line of communication between all members of the event community.
Attendees can use Direct Messaging to coordinate face to face meetings, or privately exchange contact information to stay in touch after the event. Event staff can use messaging as a customer service channel to provide quick, personalized outreach to attendees during the event, or use the app as a tool to communicate with venue staff and contractors on site.
In addition to transforming your app into a convenient communication channel, we see that attendees who use Direct Messaging tend to engage with the app almost twice as often as attendees who don’t.
While private Direct Messaging can help attendees to achieve their networking goals, our new Topic Channels feature is designed to connect groups of people with shared interests. Create “Channels” that align with event themes/tracks, or highlight special interest groups within your larger community. Attendees can then join these Channels to participate in public conversations.
By joining Channels, attendees signal their interest in particular topics, which enables us to better provide personalized recommendations, deliver improved Targeted Offers, and ultimately offer a more rewarding experience in the app. What’s more, Channels can extend the lifespan of your app, facilitating purposeful interaction both before and after the days of your event.
Messaging also has clear potential to transform the way attendees interact with speakers and session content. With a separate Channel available for every session in the app, a messaging interface can enable not only interaction between session participants, but also 2-way interaction with the presenter.
Relevant content (such as presentations or handouts) can be pushed down to attendees who are viewing a Session Channel, and attendees can easily discover interactive features such as session Polls, or Q&A. In this way, Messaging makes your event app an indispensable audience response tool, useful throughout your sessions as well as during breaks in the day.
We believe that messaging will provide the engagement engine for modern events. Many different kinds of experiences can be layered on top of a messaging interface, and the use cases described here are only the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned for more DoubleDutch product updates, and ideas for how to leverage these new messaging experiences at your events.