3 Ways to Get Millennials Excited About Your Event

April 27, 2018

Rachel Grate

Rachel Grate is a writer for Eventbrite, where she regularly interviews organizers of the country's most popular events, from massive music festivals to exclusive food and drink gatherings.

The Millennial audience is a subject of interest and wielder of influence for good reason. A Brookings Institution study predicts that Millennials will account for 1 in 3 American adults by 2020 and up to 75 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2025.

That ubiquity carries with it the ability to affect numerous industries, including live events. Our study with Ipsos and Crowd DNA found that in the past year, 89 percent of Millennials attended at least one event, up 7 percentage points from three years prior.

As the current crop of 20-to-36-year-olds extends its purchasing power, event creators need to continue making the group a priority and to construct the kinds of events that appeal to a Millennial audience – a demographic whose impact will only grow.

How to Host Events That Engage Millennials

Millennial consumers crave authentic experiences. Whether it’s the materials they read or the brands they associate with, this audience wants to trust and connect with what it consumes. For example, 43 percent of Millennials say they connect more with the authenticity of a news story than its content, according to an Elite Daily study.

Millennials want a similar connection with the events they attend. They don't want to just attend a conference or festival, they also want to feel they’re a part of it. So, if you want Millennials to value your event, try these three tactics to foster connections:

1. Use event apps to your advantage. Millennials engage with their smartphones constantly. To keep them engaged with your event as well, create an app that allows users to customize their event experiences and connect with other attendees.

Link your event app to the social networks your users value most. The best event apps encourage participants to communicate with one another, creating micro-communities that give events a more intimate feel.

2. Facilitate sharable moments. Millennials on social media don’t just love to share their own lives, they also enjoy peeking into others’ lives. Almost 50 percent of Millennials admit they attend events just so they have something to share online, while 78 percent say they enjoy seeing others' experiences on social platforms.

Embrace your attendees' desires for connection by using shareable moments to build hype before your event and display excitement during it. Start a contest beforehand that encourages users to attach a hashtag to content associated with your event or set up a photo booth to encourage people to distribute photos, videos and GIFs on the spot. You no longer have to rely on advertising to relay that you put on a good event – people can see for themselves.

And don’t limit yourself to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Blogworld, for example, utilizes Snapchat, Plancast, USTREAM, Sched.org, Foursquare and Plixi to enhance its social media conference experience. Millennials rely heavily on word-of-mouth marketing to inform their decisions. Think of shareable social media moments as another way to promote your event to that audience.

3. Create unique spaces. An event’s shareable moments aren’t just limited to scheduled speakers or great sessions. The venue itself factors heavily into an event’s presentation, so make it a unique space that engages your attendees’ senses and entices them to share with others.

Getting outside of the ordinary can also make branding your event easier. Find a renovated firehouse or gallery space and the décor will largely take care of itself. Tech giants like Facebook and Google have held events at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco and have used the contemporary art and exposed piping to create unique-feeling atmospheres.

If you can’t find a suitable off-the-beaten-path location, transform your venue space with fabric, lights and entertainment to create an unexpected experience. You’ll likely need to bring in an expert to make your branding effective.

Millennial values are changing the business and consumer landscapes in America and to put on a successful event, it’s essential to prioritize the kind of authenticity Millennials seek in their events and experiences. Have you had success in marketing events to Millennial attendees? Share your experiences and advice below.

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