Nelson’s Column: Revolutionising consumer engagement and research using Mobile Apps
From the 18th-20th May the worlds leading interactive golf event Golf Live was at the London Club. We partnered with Golf Live to develop an App that will be game changing for event organisers, marketers, exhibitors, sponsors, visitors and researchers. Together Ipsos & Golf Live pushed the boundaries of mobile technology and boldly went where no one has gone before….
The event features star players and celebrities. The world’s leading golf brands attend to showcase new products and engage with consumers. On average over 10,000 visitors attend each year over 3 days. This year’s star guest was 9 times major champion Gary Player.
The purpose of the App was to go way beyond what existing event apps provide:
- + Develop a dynamic, interactive, mobile research & engagement platform for events & exhibitions.
- + Create a platform with new opportunities for Event Organisers, Sponsors, Exhibitors & CMOs to engage with consumers.
- + Prove the concept of flocking (using timely and relevant messages to guide consumers around the event).
- + Most importantly, prove the visitors loved the App and its innovative features.
This First of 3 Blogs Focuses on Key Learnings for the Research Industry
Ipsos & Golf Live agreed a soft promotion was the best strategy. “We made a conscious decision not to overly promote the App. It was a concept we weren’t sure that would work”, James Goode, Event Director.
Golf Live launched the app three days before the vent through Twitter & Facebook. They also had some info sheets on tables in the catering area. The first surprise was the numbers of downloads. Ipsos extracted all exhibitors, sponsors and Golf Live users so we could focus our analysis on visitors only. In total we had 547 visitors with the app, over half had downloaded it before the event even started.
“I was surprised by the number of people that engaged with the App. It was quite an embryonic pick up.” James Goode, Event Director.
So now we have our sample.
How did we then get people to take part in surveys?
We wanted to familiarise visitors with survey questions so we used a few “warm up” questions first.
We asked this the night before day 1 of the event. We received 99 responses (30% repsonse rate). The results (left) were then published to App users. Sharing results with people involves them, engages them and makes research more fun. The results also confirmed that Golf Live is attended by keen golfers, unless 25% of people were lying!
We then took the core event evaluation questions from the 2011 Golf Live post event online survey and loaded them into the app. Most people leave Golf Live from 5pm so we programmed the questions to be sent with a notification reminder at 5.30pm. These questions remained live in the app for two hours, or until a visitor had answered them. Out of 547 users we received 103 responses (19% response rate). It is a great event and our results confirmed that over 90% said the event was excellent.
We stuck our neck out and asked if visitors agreed or disagreed with the following statement.
To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The Golf Live App improved my experience of Golf live today. 78% of people either strongly agreed or agreed the App improved their experience of Golf Live. Not bad considering this was a first for everyone!
In my experience clients often find verbatim comments really valuable and insightful. We didnt ask any open-ended questions through the app because, as it turned out, we didnt need to. Unprompted comments from visitors poured in through the Live Chat feature. The Live Chat feature was rather like a closed Twitter community. The image below shows a screen shot from my phone of Live Chat.
The Live Chat feature was embraced by visitors. Leading up to the event it was a convenient way for the event organiser to engage with visitors. Previous visitors even chipped in to answer questions to potential attendees and promote the event. Here is one example:
2 days before Golf Live, Richard hasnt been before. He has noticed the banter going on Live Chat so posts a question to fellow visitors:
16th May 8.05pm. Richard, Age 32, H/CAP. 6
“Has anyone been to Golf Live Before? Is it going to be easy to see what’s going on? Or will it be packed and difficult to see?”
7 minutes later at 8.12pm a lady responds:
“I’ve been before, its great! Sometimes difficult to see but nevertheless you’ll have a fab time.”
9.40pm another advocate reassures Richard:
“I’ve been the past two years so it will be third in a row for me. Great interaction and lots of fun. Cant wait to see Gary Player, Woop!”
H, Age 20, Handicap 12
How successful was Live Chat? When doing any activity in social media, measurement, context and benchmarking is essential to draw conclusions and take the necessary actions. We needed to provide some context to see how engaging Live Chat was. We chose to compare visitor engagement in Live Chat with Golf Lives established Twitter channel.
Ipsos applied social listening research to analyse the Tweets about Golf Live from the 15th May – 22ndMay.
We manually categorised all Tweets in this timeframe and coded them as:
Manufactured: Golf Live Tweets
Exhibitor: Tweets from Exhibitors
Other: Not manufactured or Exhibitor generated. Tweets from people who were at the show or just commenting on it. We could not be sure all attended.
We adopted the same approach when analysing Live Chat posts to have comparable analysis. Amazingly Live Chat had a similar number of visitor posts with Twitter leading up to the event. Over 50% of messages were visitor generated in Live Chat, similar to Twitters 49%. Live Chat was a remarkable engagement channel. To be comparable to an established channel after only 3 days surprised everyone. It was also a rich source of insight providing hundreds of unprompted, point-in-time comments.
Hard to Reach Respondents, we have an app for that!
If a client approached any market research company and said, “we would like to interview a winner of a Golf Major, preferably one in the 1960′s or 1970′s. We only want to ask them two questions, how much would it cost?”
A winner of a Golf Major is a very hard to reach respondent. Needless to say it would be very difficult and take some time. I would not like to quote for this one. As it turns out, it only took us a few hours, thanks to the app. This is probably my favourite story from the event. Each day Gary Player was giving an audience some tips on how to improve their game. Occasionally, Andrew Cotter, who was hosting the session, would ask the audience if they had a question for Gary Player.
I went to Live Chat and asked our app users:
“If you had one question for Gary Player, what would it be? We will try and get the first question to Gary Player Live so hurry! Please send them in!”
Shortly after posting this Stuart responded with this question, “what is your favourite golf course, one you designed and one you did not design?”
This was passed onto Andrew Cotter who in turn asked Gary Player Stuart’s questions. For those that are interested and want to know the answer I’ll share soon! This story is a great example of what we mean by consumer engagement. It also inspired Golf Live to develop this feature further. They want celebrities to be in Live Chat for short moments at future events.
GPS & Geolocation Data
Geolocation data brings another layer of insight we never had before. Of the 547 visitors who downloaded the app 336 (61%) agreed to Share Location. Of these 80 had their Location settings “Off” which left 256 visitors (47%) we could gather GPS data from. The interactive map gave visitors an incentive for sharing their location. The GPS co-ordinates below shows a lot of people were accessing the app while at home. This proved the app will be a valuable communications and engagement channel for Golf Live prior to the event.
Together with Golf Live we learnt a lot. The final word for the research industry is best left to the client, Event Director, James Goode:
“The App was a great source of insight. The Live Chat feature provided us with a wealth of unprompted comments. Visitors were also happy to respond to our event questions, giving us point-in-time feedback. It was valuable to see Ipsos’ contextual analysis of Live Chat & Twitter content. This revealed just how engaging the App was for our visitors.”
Next week I’ll post some more key learning’s for marketers, sponsors & exhibitors. There is a lot more to come on GPS data, Flocking and how Exhibitors used the app to get closer to consumers. I’ll end with a teasing comment from the marketing manager at Golf Live, James Kennedy:
“We have never seen anything like this before at any event, I think it’s revolutionary. The feedback we have got from visitors and exhibitors has been really positive.”
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