Event App Musts
What Experience Designers Need To Know Before Choosing An Event App
How and when you choose an event app matters.
Event Apps are a must have. And how you choose one is important.
While so much of the power in events lies in the in-person experience, the digital dimension of an event is equally important in driving an event’s success.
Attendees want to know what is going on, what to expect, and why they should attend your event or conference. Providing a mobile app to your attendees should never be a decision to wait until the last minute.
Most event designers and the apps they choose aspire to create a memorable, seamless and cross-functional experience for attendees. Having the capability to communicate announcements, personalize schedules, promote networking, and solicit feedback contributes to a user-friendly experience. With the right choice, an app can increase attendee engagement with your event content and other attendees.
Here are six things that you should consider before selecting your next mobile event app.
1. Who should choose the event app?
With so much to prepare for a conference, many companies, by default, leave their app selection in the hands of their event planner. However, this may not be the best process.
Event planners lean to industry giant Cvent for its market-dominant attendee check-in system is most common.
While the Cvent app might adhere to some of your event’s immediate needs, the app itself may or may not be the best selection for your attendee. It should provide a solution that enhances the attendee experience. Those who design this experience should drive the app selection process from broader, holistic view, and build the app capabilities into the attendee’s intended journey.
2. What are the baseline features you need in an app?
Event apps are very similar. While some of the premium apps offer certain bells and whistles above the rest, there is no one “perfect app” solution that will offer everything you are seeking. However, a standard set of features has been incorporated in most.
- Scheduling and agendas— often personalized to suit an attendee’s specific interests
- Push notifications for updates and sudden schedule changes
- Networking capabilities and business card exchange
- Social media-styled activity feeds
- Speaker bios with links on how and where to connect
- Event venue maps
- Gamification — such as trivia scavenger hunts and task-oriented point-system games
- Document uploading for program and speaker outlines
3. What are the premium features included in the more expensive event apps?
While at first glance these apps achieve similar things, premium apps have cultivated various ways to enhance base-line functions beyond this scope.
To curate customer feedback at a granular level, find an app with strong polling tools, audience response capabilities, and powerful analytics. Apps at this level utilize features like heat maps that track location-based activity or Buzzfeed style quizzes that provide fun, game-like ways of collecting attendee information.
When presented with impressive, cutting edge capabilities, stay practical. Identify what experiences and outcomes are truly necessary and what your team can incorporate into the event experience.
Some premium apps provide pre-generated questions concerning department, group, or regional information to help make personalized agendas easier for attendees based on information they provide. This data can be analyzed by the companies later to design more effective event content in the future.
Along with improving scheduling features, many premium apps also incorporate wayfinding capabilities into their map functionality. This enhanced navigation assistance at larger events can really provide value.
Another popular solution is an app that enhances the attendee experience through more powerful networking capabilities. Because so many conferences are focused on creating connections and building relationships with others in the industry, establishing a familiar aesthetic like the feeds used on Facebook and Instagram promotes engagement. These features enable attendees to book meetings with each other or make the initial conversation simpler.
Native and Web App Options
Most premium apps like CrowdCompass and SpotMe provide web-based versions for laptop use to accompany native, mobile use. This parallel capability to use the web app proves higher adoption rates of an event app. Studies show that 72 percent of the time spent on devices is on mobile specifically, but additional research has shown that app adoption rates increase when there is a web-based version. It allows attendees a taste of the app without the commitment of downloading it.
SpotMe, does a particularly good job at being an accommodating premium event app with on-site support, on-site servers, and built-in webcasting for off-site attendees who can participate and interact in the conferences content, networking and polling features.
Premium apps also provide areas where the event organizer can sell sponsorships. Branded banner ads, badges, and surveys help provide more options of exposure for sponsors and generate more event revenue.
Some of the most common trends in mobile event apps are improved facial recognition features integrated with event check-in and registration. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can personalize attendee agendas, support Chatbots, enhance gamming using AR technologies, and provide nondisruptive push notifications such as breakout updates.
Another option embedded in some event apps is the incorporation of radio frequency identification (RFID). These wearables like the badges that come with the Klik platform help streamline networking, content sharing and more.
4. What level of customization do you seek and how accommodating is the app?
Cvent is the dominant app in the event industry — especially as it continues to acquire more apps such as DoubleDutch and CrowdCompass. Their acquisition offers new capabilities in the Cvent platform, but Cvent has a reputation of being inflexible with modifications. A newer company may be nimbler to your needs. Remember that the more complicated and difficult an app is to use, the less likely attendees will utilize it.
5. How can your app engage your attendees before the event?
Begin a relationship between attendees and your content on the app prior to the event.
Research shows that 61 percent of attendees engage with content before an event. Connecting attendees with event information is crucial to generate excitement. Word of mouth is powerful marketing, so give people something to talk about.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices and decided on an app, articulate with your attendees in clear and simple language how and why downloading it will enhance their experience.
Informative email and social media campaigns are easy ways to reach out and let your audience know about the technology literally at their fingertips. With an easy email link leading guests to the site, potential attendees can explore the app features and create a connection with the event content before it even begins.
Along with informing attendees about your event app, a little incentive never hurt. People want to be in the know, but there’s one thing they want more — free stuff. Providing simple swag— like an eco-friendly branded re-usable water bottle— to the first hundred people that download the app creates an incentive for your attendees.
6. Will you actually use the features and their data collection to plan better events going forward?
Don’t spend on something you don’t need or plan to use.
While having all the latest trends and features might be nice, it means nothing if you don’t have the capability to make use of them. You must strategize in your initial planning how to incorporate any app’s enhanced features for your best ROI.
Determine how you will benefit from any analytics your app offers. If you cannot assign ownership of this data, should you make the investment to collect it?
Shop early; Shop smart
Achieving attendee satisfaction with the right support tools in your app helps influence your attendees’ level of engagement, generate revenue streams, simplify messaging, and facilitate connections.
Considering these six questions before purchasing your next event app will help to ensure the best solution.
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