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Event Industry Trends, Event Marketing
24 June 2024 

How To Use Live Polling to Boost Event Engagement

Bizzabo Blog Staff
Bizzabo Blog Staff
How To Use Live Polling to Boost Event Engagement

No matter what kind of event you’re hosting, attendee engagement is critical for success, transforming passive participants into active and invested contributors.

It’s one thing to attract people to your event. Once they’re there, the challenge shifts to capturing their interest and getting them involved. Engaged attendees not only get more value out of your events, but they’re also more likely to network and absorb information — increasing the chances your event is memorable to them, which also improves the likelihood they’ll return in the future.

If you’re looking to boost event engagement, consider gamifying your event by incorporating live polling. Keep reading to learn more about live polling and why more and more events teams are using it to drive engagement and deliver stronger event experiences.

What Is Live Polling?

Live polling is an interactive tool that allows event attendees to participate in real-time surveys or polls during sessions and keynotes. Using mobile devices or other digital platforms, attendees can respond to questions posed by speakers or event organizers, with results displayed instantly. This engagement technique enhances audience participation, provides immediate feedback, and makes sessions more dynamic and interactive. 

Ultimately, live polling helps create a more engaging and responsive event experience. Since 68.7% of event professionals agree that using technology to improve the attendee experience is a trend with staying power, it comes as no surprise that a growing number of events are using live polling to encourage audience participation.

7 Benefits of Live Polling at Events

More teams are incorporating live polling into their events because the technology delivers a number of benefits, all of which add up to enhance the event experience. These benefits include the following:

  1. Loosening up the audience by breaking the ice and encouraging attendees to participate 
  2. Increasing attendee engagement by actively involving attendees in the session, making them feel like part of the discussion
  3. Collecting real-time feedback and insights by capturing attendees’ immediate reactions and opinions
  4. Enhancing interactions and participation by prompting attendees to share their views
  5. Improving decision-making and event optimization by offering instant feedback organizers can use to adjust content or strategies on the fly 
  6. Creating a dynamic and interactive event atmosphere by keeping the energy high and making the event more lively
  7. Gathering powerful data you can use during and after the event, which enables you to take a data-driven approach to continuously improving your event strategy

How To Implement Live Polling in Your Event

If you’re looking for ideas to increase attendee engagement, incorporating live polling into your events is a no-brainer. In this section, we share some tips that will ensure you get the most ROI out of live polling.

1. Choose the Right Live Polling Platform

Not every live polling platform is the same. 

As you begin searching for a live polling solution, prioritize ease of use for both organizers and participants, which will ensure that polls are simple to set up and attendees can vote easily. While you’re at it, look for robust features like real-time results display, customizable question formats, and audience engagement tools. 

Unless you’re keen on copying data from one platform to the next, look for a solution that integrates with other tools in your event tech stack. Assuming you don’t have endless financial reserves, you’ll also need to consider pricing models that align with your budget.

To meet attendee expectations, encourage use, and increase accessibility, your live polling platform should be mobile-friendly, enabling folks to participate seamlessly from their own devices.

As you vet vendors, here are some questions you’ll want to ask:

  • Can you simultaneously serve the same poll to an in-person and virtual audience, with shared poll results?
  • How can polls be delivered — on mobile (in-person event), within the video player (virtual event), by email, and/or projected on an external display with SMS/text responses? 
  • Can polls be sponsored (or branded)?
  • Can you pre-load polls or do they have to be created during your event?
  • Can you pre-schedule when polls are published or do you have to manually trigger them?
  • Can you share poll results live or is there a delay?
  • Can you capture poll questions and responses for later analysis?

2. Set Up Live Polls

After you’ve chosen a platform, it’s time to start setting up polls! But first, you’ve got to determine what kind of polls you’re going to use. Here are some poll types to consider:

  • Single choice
  • Yes/no polls
  • True/false polls
  • Rating polls
  • Multiple choice
  • Open/free text
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) polls
  • Numerical
  • Ranked choice voting (RCV)
  • Word clouds
  • Preference order

To maximize participation, strategically schedule polls during natural breaks or transitions in presentations; doing so maintains flow and keeps attendees engaged. Limit polls to key moments that align with the content and objectives of the event to avoid overwhelming attendees. If you flood attendees with too many polls, they may get numb to them quickly, hurting engagement.

3. Prompt Participation

Once you’ve set up your polls and determined a cadence, you can prompt participation by using clear and engaging communication strategies — like explaining the purpose and relevance of polls beforehand. You can further encourage involvement by offering incentives for participation and sending timely reminders during the event.

By emphasizing the value of attendee input and making participation rewarding and convenient, events teams can increase engagement and ensure that polls contribute meaningfully to the event’s interactive atmosphere — while also collecting the data needed to continuously improve event strategies.

Best Practices for Live Polling

Now that you know how to incorporate live polling into your event, let’s examine some best practices for ensuring success. 

How To Build Effective Poll Questions

To build effective poll questions, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure they are clear and concise to avoid confusion and encourage quick, accurate responses.
  • Keep them relevant to the audience and event content, aligning with attendees’ interests and the event’s themes to enhance engagement.
  • Use a balance of fun and informative questions to maintain a lively atmosphere while collecting valuable insights.

Combining clarity, relevance, and a mix of engaging content will enable you to create poll questions that maximize participation and contribute positively to the event experience.

Curious what solid live polling questions look like? Use an AI chatbot for inspiration. We asked ChatGPT to come up with 10 questions to ask at a B2B conference on cybersecurity, and here’s what it said:

1. How confident are you in your organization’s current cybersecurity measures?

  • Very confident
  • Somewhat confident
  • Not confident

2. What is the biggest cybersecurity threat your organization faces?

  • Phishing attacks
  • Ransomware
  • Insider threats
  • Data breaches

3. How frequently does your organization conduct cybersecurity training for employees?

  • Quarterly
  • Biannually
  • Annually
  • Rarely/Never

4. What cybersecurity framework does your organization follow?

  • NIST
  • ISO 27001
  • CIS Controls
  • Other
  • Not sure

5. How would you rate the effectiveness of your incident response plan?

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Fair
  • Poor

6. What proportion of your IT budget is allocated to cybersecurity?

  • Less than 10%
  • 10-20%
  • 21-30%
  • More than 30%
  • Not sure

7. Has your organization experienced a significant cybersecurity breach in the past year?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sure

8. What tools or technologies do you primarily rely on for cybersecurity?

  • Firewalls and antivirus software
  • Intrusion detection systems
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Endpoint protection

9. How proactive is your organization in updating and patching software vulnerabilities?

  • Very proactive
  • Somewhat proactive
  • Not proactive

10. What area of cybersecurity do you believe needs the most improvement in your organization?

  • Threat detection and response
  • Employee training and awareness
  • Data encryption and protection
  • Access control and identity management

How To Analyze and Use Poll Results

You’ve collected the polling data. Now what?

Analyzing and using poll results effectively involves real-time data analysis to quickly identify trends and insights during the event. By sharing the results promptly with attendees, you can foster transparency and engagement, demonstrating the impact their efforts are having on the event experience.

You’ll also want to use the feedback you gather to inform future event planning, adjusting content, activities, and formats based on attendee preferences and concerns. By leveraging live polling data in this manner, you can increase attendee satisfaction, optimize logistics, and ensure that future events better meet attendee expectations.

How To Overcome Common Live Polling Challenges

Whenever you’re incorporating new tools into your event strategy, there’s going to be a bit of a learning curve. By anticipating common live polling challenges and figuring out what you can do to overcome them, you can increase the chances your live polling rollout goes off without a hitch.

Technical Issues and Troubleshooting

When it comes to any technology, some attendees are bound to run into issues. You can overcome technical issues and troubleshooting problems by thoroughly testing the polling platform ahead of your event and having a dedicated technical support team on standby during each session.

Additionally, you can provide clear instructions about how attendees can participate in live polling. That way, attendees can self-serve the information they need to maintain a smooth and engaging experience when interacting with live polls.

Low Participation Rates

Worried attendees won’t be keen on participating in live polls in the first place? Engage them with clear, compelling questions and incentivize participation with rewards or recognition. If you’re thinking about gamifying your event, you can award points for live poll participation.

At the same time, you need to ensure the polling process is simple and accessible while encouraging speakers to remind and motivate attendees to share their responses throughout each session.

Balancing Live Polling With Other Event Activities

Worried folks won’t participate in live polls because there’s so much else to do? Integrate polls seamlessly into your event agenda by scheduling them at strategic moments — such as transitions between topics or during interactive segments. 

For the best results, ensure that live polling complements the flow of the event — instead of disrupting it. To do this, make sure polls are brief, relevant, and engaging to enhance the overall attendee experience without detracting from other activities. 

Get Started with Live Polling and Bizzabo

As an all-in-one event management solution, Bizzabo includes live polling capabilities. If you’re looking to incorporate live polling into your next event, getting started with Bizzabo is easy:

  • Add a title to your poll.
  • Select which session the poll will be used for (optional). Polls added to sessions will display the poll on both the desktop version of the session and the session’s polls section in the mobile app.
  • Choose whether you’ll publish the poll manually or pre-schedule it.
  • Choose who can view and participate in the poll and whether they can view the results.
  • Add the sponsor logo (optional).
  • Select what type of poll you want to use (e.g., text, multiple-choice, or scale). Several kinds of polls, including yes/no polls, rating polls, multiple-choice polls, and open/free text polls, are available natively through Bizzabo; we also offer Net Promoter Score polls, numerical polls, word clouds, and ranked-choice voting via integration with Pigeonhole.
  • Add your questions and responses.
  • Publish your poll. 

That’s it! 

The Attendee Polling Experience

What does the live polling experience look like at in-person events? 

Simple: Attendees can view polls on a screen or participate via mobile using QR codes or SMS. If an attendee is using the mobile app, polls that have been set up to be associated with a specific session will automatically display at the bottom of a session tab within the mobile app. Attendees can view the polls and respond directly to questions in the app. If multiple polls are available for a session, attendees can scroll between the options.

Native Reporting

Thanks to Bizzabo’s robust reporting capabilities, events teams can easily capture all poll results. In fact, all published polls are accessible via the dashboard, and teams can export both participants and responses outside the platform for further analysis. With Bizzabo, understanding how attendees experience your events has never been easier.

Other Engagement Features in Bizzabo

Bizzabo’s event management platform delivers much more than live polling. The Event Experience OS ships with features designed to increase attendee engagement, such as session Q&A, multi-threaded chat, 1:1 messages, and surveys.

Since you don’t want to drown your audience in engagement features — they’re there to consume event content, after all — it’s best to balance all of these tools together, strategically scheduling them out in ways that best align with the event agenda.

How Will You Use Live Polling at Your Next Event?

If you’re looking to increase attendee engagement, live polling can make a world of difference. Implementing live polls is an easy way to increase event gamification, turning audience participation into a competitive or interactive element of your event experience. 

By incorporating real-time polling into quizzes, challenges, or decision-making activities, organizers can create engaging experiences that incentivize attendees to actively participate in your event in exchange for rewards or recognition.

Although live polling is a tool for increasing attendee engagement, it’s not the only one. Organizers should experiment with multiple gamification techniques, study the resulting data from each event to see what was best received, and continue to refine their strategies moving forward.

Whenever you’re implementing a new tool to gamify your event, it’s important to ensure attendees can easily use it, know the rules, and understand how the tool aligns with event goals. By leveraging digital platforms that make it easy to participate in gamified elements and offer the ability for attendees to share their feedback in real-time — and continuously monitoring participant engagement throughout the event, making necessary adjustments in the moment — you can create a more engaging event for all stakeholders, delivering a more memorable experience to everyone.

Request a demo of Bizzabo today to learn more about how easy it is to incorporate live polls into your next event.

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