Boost Attendance and Engagement At Your Conference With Push Notifications

May 21, 2019 | Knowledgebase, Tuesday Tech Tips & Tools

Content Contributor & Speaker – David Shackleton – IE. About David – David is interested in improving how people use mobile. He is the Co-founder & now CEO at OpenBack, the only Mobile Engagement Platform with Smart Notifications and Device-side DecisionsBecome a Content Contributor today!

Communication is constantly evolving with new technology as we find better, more efficient ways of making connections. This is no different in the world of public speaking, and when it comes to engaging your audience, that means always staying one step ahead of the competition.

This, of course, means packing your event with stellar speakers who have timely and insightful things to say to your audience. And if you yourself are speaking, it means putting together some great content that’ll really knock your listeners’ socks off.

But what else can you do to make sure your audience gets the most out of your event as they possibly can? How can you ensure that they stay interested long after the speeches are over and everybody’s gone home?

This is a perfect opportunity to leverage what those in the mobile app industry agree are fast becoming a primary communication channel between brands and mobile phone users: push notifications.

What Are They?

To start off, what is a push notification, and how can they be leveraged to drive up attendance to your event, to keep enthusiasm and engagement high throughout, and to keep people talking about you in the days following?

Push notifications are messages, often with rich features such as emojis, videos, and deep links, that are sent unprompted to an app user by a server. Users with iPhones need to specifically opt-in to receive push notifications, whereas Android users receive them automatically, and have to go into settings if they want to opt out.

Push notifications are composed and scheduled by whoever is sending them, giving them a lot of leeway to get creative and customize interests according to timing and interests on a user-by-user basis. A notification’s primary purpose is to boost user engagement with the company, and this means communicating in a meaningful, memorable way. But every mobile user is different, which means highly sophisticated software development kits (SDKs) are used to tailor specific messages to different cohorts of users.

As push notification campaigns have become more and more precise, apps are able to access users’ device side data, using insights gleaned from social media profiles, app content history, recent purchases, local weather, and much more. This personal data is then used to target specific users with notifications that would be most beneficial or interesting to them, driving them to engage with the app more down the line.

How Can Push Notifications Complement Your Speech?

Basically, any piece of marketing that might have previously been communicated through an email or a banner at the top of your browser can now be streamlined through the app itself. Their use cases are as diverse as apps themselves, ranging from video streaming to finance exchanges to ecommerce platforms.

This means that push notifications are integral when it comes to raising awareness of your event and keeping it at the tops of people’s minds in the days leading up to it. For example, if you can make it so that everyone who is interested in your event downloads your app, you’ll be able to send them push notifications reminding them complete their registration. And far from just being flat SMS-style messages, push notifications can incorporate rich content, such as videos from your website or a deep link that will take them straight to the registration page.

During the event itself, use push notifications to alert attendees of certain panels or speeches that would most engage them. This is done by leveraging user data metrics to target them with push notifications that would be most relevant to their interests, schedules, browser history, and much more.

An example of how to use customer data to target your attendees with push notifications they would get the most benefit from would be, supposing you were organizing a digital marketing conference. A push notification SDK would be able to assess an individual device’s data, see that in their browser history they recently searched for grammar guidelines and SEO techniques, and using machine learning would gauge that they would get more value out of a talk on content writing for website as opposed to digital PR.


Personalized push notifications could then be used for a variety of situations during your event, including notifying attendees of panels or workshops that would be of interest in real-time. From the perspective of the event planner, push notifications also make things much easier, as you can plan every notification for a specific schedule in advance and assign them times when they can be sent out. And should your event’s schedule change for any reason, you will be able to manage and update your push notification campaign before it goes out.

Other advantages push notifications have over, say, an email blast or other marketing medium, are that, because your push notifications are cached ahead of time, they will be sent out regardless of whether devices are in areas with connectivity or not. Push notifications are also location based, so you have the option to limit your push notifications just to the people who are attending your event. Finally, if you are livestreaming sections of your conference, you have the option to trigger the livestream to be sent out according to different time zones.

Doing Push Notifications Right

It may seem like a simple way to boost engagement, but push notification campaigns are not an exact science. You don’t want to bombard your users with a flood of notifications that are either irrelevant or inconvenient (or both!) to them. Especially if you’re running a conference where you want attendees’ attention to be on the speakers, not on their devices… when it comes to push notifications, take the approach of less is more.

Instead of spamming your attendees with push notifications, send them only a couple of meaningful messages that do a good job at balancing with the content of your event. During the downtime between scheduled events, you could send an invitation to participate in a conference-wide social media communication. For example, if there’s a particular hashtag associated with your conference – say #digitalmarketinggonewild – you can use push notifications to prompt attendees to live tweet their experience at your conference using that hashtag. It’s a good way to get your name trending, and get attendees communicating with each other in a fun way.

Even once your event is over, push notifications can help to keep you in public awareness. Send push notifications thanking attendees for coming, or asking for feedback or insights. You can continue to keep them engaged with relevant information. Once enough time has passed, you can send them reminders to register for early bird tickets, as it’s a safe assumption that they might be interested in attending your conference again.

Ultimately, communicating with your user is a two-way street. If you send meaningful messages, you will get meaningful engagement in return. And when done right, push notifications are a vital tool for customer retention.

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