12 Tips to Increase Event App Adoption

Man using mobile device iPhone

Event Manager Blog recently released their latest copy of their Event App Bible. With 2,000 respondents and over 100 event app providers, it’s the largest research project about the use of mobile event apps.

Within the guide, event professionals were asked what frustrations they faced with their event apps. 44% were upset that attendees were not engaging with the app and another 42% faced the issue of attendees not downloading the app.

When dealing with event app adoption, it’s important to consider the different types of attendees at your events. Once you understand the attendee’s mindset, you’re able to determine the most effective event app adoption strategy.

Old telephoneThe Technophobe Attendee

Even though most of our lives revolve around it, you will still have attendees resistant to the idea of technology. There are some who fear it and can’t imagine the possibility of owning a smartphone. Others simply don’t know how the tech works.

Whatever the case, it’s important to still consider this audience when planning your event app strategy.

Strategies for Event App Adoption

  • This group of individuals will need all the app support you have to offer. Provide on-site support in a common area, such as registration or the lobby. Include signage around the venue letting people know where to go if they need event app support.
  • You should also include support in the event app itself. Create a FAQ page of app tips and tricks, upload video tutorials for those who prefer visuals, and encourage attendees to submit their questions to the app’s support form if applicable.
  • No matter how much you try to help and explain the value of the event app, some attendees will still choose not to use it. They’re still resistant to the technology or may even just prefer paper resources. You don’t need to print paper guides for all attendees (that’s what your app is for anyway) but let your attendees know they can download and print session materials from the app. Or have your attendees request ahead of time and pay a fee if they want a printed guide.

The Traumatized Attendee

With any new technology, there is a period of learning for both the user and provider. The beginning stages of event apps were no different. Event app providers focused on what features would generate the most engagement while event planners tried to incorporate the new tech in their programs.

However, this time period left some attendees on a sour note with event apps. Nobody was using the app, the features weren’t enticing enough, or the app just didn’t work at the conference. This group of attendees will need the most convincing to try your event app out as it usually takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

Strategies for Event App Adoption


  • Focus on expressing the value of the event app to this group of attendees. Include key benefits of using the app in emails, on your site, basically anywhere your event app is mentioned.  Encourage people to get active with the app early so it won’t be empty the day of the event and people assume there’s no reason to use it.
  • Encourage these attendees to share their ideas about the app before the event through in-app chatroom posts and surveys. The more involved they feel, the more likely they will use the app’s features throughout the event.
  • These attendees may be worried about their privacy so solve their worries by sharing your event app provider’s privacy policy. Put it in the bottom of your email blasts or share it on the app itself. Some apps let attendees customize their sharing preferences to their standards so share that with them as well.

The Overly Active Attendee

These are attendees that are on the opposite scale from technophobes. They love technology and don’t need any convincing on the app’s value. The downside of these attendees is their mobile devices are probably filled to the brim with apps and may not have enough space to download your event app.

Strategies for Event App Adoption

  • The best way to find this group of attendees is by looking for your biggest influencers. The ones who have a massive social media following and are engaged with your brand at your events. Reach out to these individuals personally and explain the value of the app. Ask them to support the event app through sponsoring or promotions to their audience and reward them for their efforts accordingly.
  • Extend the life of your event app to make it worthwhile to download. The value of an app for a two day conference is far less than a year round app filled with member resources and communication channels.
  • Many event app providers offer web based versions of their app. These apps are accessed via a web browser. Although there are certain benefits to having the native app downloaded to your device, offer this option to those who have limited space on their devices.

In the darkIn the Dark

We’ve seen it again and again; just because you build an event app does not mean they will come. Many event professionals assume their attendees will search for the app on their own and stumble upon it.

Instead, you need to ensure your app is well communicated through various channels to your attendees before, during, and even after the event.

Strategies for Event App Adoption

  • Create a set of email blasts for your attendees, sponsors/exhibitors, and speakers. Include links and instructions on how to download the app and its key benefits. Provide instructions on specific features for each audience. For example, tell your speakers how to upload their session materials and how to create audience polling. Explain the multiple places your exhibitors will be listed in the app. Encourage attendees to set up their profiles and favorite sessions.
  • Mention event app info on your organization’s site wherever your event is mentioned. If you have an event website, we suggest having a dedicated landing page to the app with instructions, its value, and a way to submit questions.
  • Communicating your event app can be as fun and creative as you want it to be. Create an event hashtag and generate excitement about the event weeks or even months before. Entice people to register for the event by letting them know there is an event app in your newsletter.

Need More Event App Tips?

Download our Mobile Event App Best Practices whitepaper. With a focus on year-round attendee engagement, you’ll find actionable event app strategies to implement before, during, and after your events.