Event Apps (As We Know Them) are Dead

Multiple mobile devices

A recent webinar by Event Manager Blog and etouches caught my eye—Event Apps are Dead.

My first thought when reading that title was, “Uhh, should I start looking for a new job?!”

After those few seconds of terror passed, my senses came together and I thought, “Well, of course they are!”

Why Event Apps are Dead

tombstoneTraditional event apps acted as show guide replacements. They gave attendees access to the agenda, attachments, and more basic event info right on their mobile devices. Now, they are becoming much more.

Did you know 93% of events apps on the market offer engagement tools? These tools allow audiences, speakers, and other event participants to interact with one another. And because apps are on mobile, these connections can take place just about anywhere.

These are the type of things event organizers want from their apps. Attendee profiles and the agenda are no longer nice to have but rather expected. Instead, organizers are looking for features that offer more value. Specifically, these four types of features:

Providing Information

Yes, this includes the basics but that’s not where it ends. Apps should provide the right information to the right user. With the right functionality in place, mobile apps can offer a custom event experience to each user.

Providing information in real-time is one example of this. Instead of having users swipe through the full agenda, they’ll be able to see what’s going on right now. And when a user sees a session they want to attend, let them flag it. Then curate that list of their flagged sessions for fast reference.

Another example is instead of a venue map image, create an interactive exhibit hall floor map. Navigating a map on mobile can be difficult, so your users will be very appreciative of the pinch-to-zoom functionality.

PiggybankMonetization

Mobile apps are a great way to offer your sponsors more exposure. Not only is their target audience guaranteed, they’re content is visible to users right in the palm of their hands. Sponsor opportunities in mobile apps include banner ads, premium listings, and push notifications.

And want to know the best part? You’ll earn revenue off all the new exposure you’re offering your sponsors. Want tips for pricing? Check out our Mobile App Sponsorship Guide.

Data Gathering

Mobile apps are also getting smarter with data. Event app traffic reports offer a variety of app usage stats. These include total number of users, popular devices, average time in the app, most visited screens, and more.

Take your data a step further and explore how your audience used the app.  See which sessions were bookmarked to get an idea of what content your audience wants. Review your support requests and see where users struggled with the app, venue, logistics, schedule, etc.

Or better yet, just ask your users! Include an in-app evaluation for users to submit their feedback. Ask what they liked, what they didn’t, and suggestions for improving future events. Increase participation with a push notification. Maybe even entice them with a raffle?

Engagement

Remember that stat of 93% of apps having engagement tools? According to Julius Solaris, editor of EventMB, these tools were the single biggest thing to happen to event apps.

These engagement tools work to provide interactions between event participants. And with these engagement tools in place, your event app value is well extended:

ConferenceBeat on iPhone

  • Live Polling: allow speakers to run live polls to take the pulse of the audience. Have event organizers ask about the event or app itself for tips to improve in real-time.
  • Chatroom: ask for your attendee opinions before and during the conference. At the end of the event, read over the posts and look for any areas of improvement.
  • Photo Gallery: let users upload their photos, view galleries, and share with others via social media. Share event location pictures before to the event to pique interest in the locale.
  • Gamification: Get your members engaging with a game in your app. Host a scavenger hunt or trivia game and include sponsors/ exhibitors in the fun.

Conclusion

Engaging features may be the greatest thing to happen to event apps, but a truly successful app succeeds in all four areas:

  • Providing the right information to the right user
  • App monetization through sponsorship opportunities
  • Smarter data gathering to improve organizational content
  • Engagement tools to allow event participant interactions

Over the past year, our apps have evolved from supporting one-time events to a year-round membership mobile platform. Our new membership app offers all the functionality you need to support all your meetings, big or small.

To see how our apps can offer you and your members alike new opportunities, sign up for a free demo walkthrough. We’ll show you all the app has to offer and work on finding the best mobile solution for your organization.

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