Making the perfect event app - tips and best practices
With the world slowly making its way out of lockdown, we’re seeing the return of public events, conferences and festivals. While event apps have existed before the pandemic, we could see them become more popular and essential in the coming years. Event apps not only benefit the attendee during the event but also the organizer as they can glean useful post-event insights.
Since the introduction of apps, they have revolutionized how we communicate, entertain and learn. An i-Verve report shared that 60% of event planners believe that event apps provide a boost to attendee engagement. By encouraging widespread adoption of your mobile app, you are guaranteed to gain more engagements which in turn can lead to higher ROI. In this blog post we’ll look at mobile event apps and their features with tips and best practices on how to create an event app.
What are mobile event apps?
Mobile event apps (also known as conference apps) are apps designed for attendees of events to heighten their overall experience. What used to be contained to an event leaflet or programme has now evolved to encompass so much more of what makes events special. This ranges from enabling interactions between attendees, providing updates and adding context to various exhibitions and speakers as well as informing guests about any schedule changes or delays.
Attendees and organizers can now get the most out of events by combining the widespread usage of social and scheduling apps with the networking and educational features of conferences and events. Last year, 75% of event professionals who didn’t already use event apps intended to adopt them - the usage of event technology has only accelerated since the Covid-19 pandemic. Event apps also provide data collection opportunities and can gather feedback from attendees which can help organizers optimize future events.
Event app features
Although there are different functions for each event app, there are some features that are universal. Below we share five of the most common event mobile app features:
Gone are the days of event planners or programmes. With the size and scope of some conferences, offering your users ways to personalize their event app experience is a great way for attendees to navigate and get the most out of events. With personalization, you’re allowing users to easily find and add exactly what they want and streamline what can often be a busy and complicated timetable.
Apps like Attendify offer a wide range of integration options with other services (Salesforce, Eventbrite) providing a seamless user experience. By allowing personalized agendas to be loaded into your event app, each session or event is catered specifically to the attendee’s needs.
2. Push notifications and updates
Reminders and push notifications form an essential part of your event app. Whether it’s a last minute change to the schedule or a reminder that an event or giveaway is starting, there’s no better way to keep users fully engaged than providing them with the opportunity to receive alerts about the activities they care about.
Push notifications are also a very practical way to communicate to users - they can be sent to specific groups of attendees either last minute or pre-scheduled. Push notifications have also been shown to increase app engagement by 88% and users who opt-in to them have a retention rate nearly twice that of those who opt-out.
3. Real-time Q&A and polling
What previously used to be a one-sided conversation, the introduction of event apps allows speakers and panels to engage directly with attendees. Audiences can now respond to questions and provide their opinions in real-time. Not only is this helpful from an interactive standpoint but can be very useful for organizers to gather this date for future events.
Providing this feature can also lift the adoption rate of your mobile event app as users will be more likely to download the app if it offers them greater functionality. A 2021 industry report revealed that live polling and live questions are the most popular engagement features used at virtual and hybrid events - events where users can attend regardless if they’re there in-person or virtually.
An important part of any conference or event is discovering new connections and networking. In an examination on the motivation behind conference attendance, 76% of respondents replied that networking ranked as one of their top drivers.
Enabling your users to connect with each other during and after the event can heighten its overall impact. Apps like LineUpr let users view attendee’s profiles, send chat messages and share their contact details.
5. Post-event surveys
Post-event surveys are vital for optimizing and launching future events. Getting as much attendee feedback as possible allows organizers to see which parts of their event worked and areas where they can improve. Using your event app for collecting feedback is far more effective than sending a followup email. You can almost double your response rate by moving your surveys from email to in-app delivery.
Similar to email surveys, It’s important not to overwhelm users with notifications and surveys. A Leanplum report found that, for 78% of millennials and 67% of Gen Z, the main reason users delete apps is too many notifications.
5 tips to increase user traffic on your event app
A successful event app is only as good as its amount of users. If your event app is adopted by a vast majority of attendees you can access new engagement opportunities. The average event app adoption rate is just 48.5% but top performers can achieve up to 87.4%. Depending on event types, your app quality and a range of other factors, there are ways to improve the adoption of your mobile app. Below we share 5 tips to increase adoption for your event app.
1. Make it easy to access
The first step is having a solid app store optimization strategy - users should be able to find and download your app without difficulty. Additionally, implementing schedules and other event specific actions should also be as seamless as possible. Work with the event to sync schedules and updates to reduce any confusion attendees may have. You should also consider syncing existing event logins with the app to avoid users needing to register twice or receiving duplicate information.
2. Give an introduction
There are many distractions for attendees when attending events or conferences. Aside from typical travel demands and work, your user likely won’t get a chance to sit down and explore your app. Having a quick guide or intro at the beginning of an event to demo your app can go a long way in acquiring users. By getting familiarized from the event’s onset, users are more likely to engage with your app early on. It’s also a good way to remind any attendees that have yet tp download your app to do so.
3. Add security
With an event app it’s important to guarantee the security of your users’ data and event information. While you can make your event app have public access (no profiles or logins needed), that can limit the amount of core features on offer eg. networking, personalization and notifications.
4. Encourage engagement
It’s important to keep up your user’s enthusiasm for your app throughout the duration of the event. This can be challenging, but by offering the value of your app over the alternative, you can keep users engaged by using more polls and asking attendees to partake in questions during sessions.
In an Eventsforce study, 39% of respondents considered user engagement as a sizable part of how they can measure the ROI of their event. By making your app an integral part of the event you can find ways to amplify your user engagement.
5. Provide incentives for users
Offering incentives for signing up to your app such as discounts or rewards is a great way to increase its number of users. You can do this by rewarding early registration and including loyalty programs available in-app for return users.
You can also foster app usage by emphasizing your app’s overall utility and offering giveaways or event goodie bags or a fast lane to enter conferences. This can also be a great way to leverage the gamification features of your app - rewarding active polling users, or allow them to view themselves on leaderboards for completing event-based challenges.
Three examples of event apps
Eventee is an example of a hybrid event app. Aside from providing basic features such as event agenda and receiving posts with push notifications, users can integrate it with popular video platforms too. This helps keep the audience engaged during your live streams and allows attendees to access events via either their desktop, mobile or other device.
The Attendify app encourages users to make connections with other attendees in addition to offering custom agendas, sponsor lists and speaker bios. Attendify allows organizers to get data relevant to their marketing goals from specific in-app user behavior. This is a valuable feature to include as companies spend on average 24% of their budget on events and conferences but have difficulty with finding measurable results.
Eventmobi is a good app template for international events. Their app is offered in 26 languages and with KUDO integration can allow attendees to choose their selected language in real time during conferences. Apart from basic functions like registration, live polling, and networking.
They also provide gamification features to help achieve event goals. Users can get rewards from challenges, adding an extra level of interaction to your event. They also offer customization for event planners to add custom widgets and images to show off sponsors and can serve smart mobile and banner ads to raise sponsor ROI.
Event apps and hybrid events
With events starting to come back we see a new push toward hybrid events. Statista reported that 70% of U.S. event professional respondents had moved to virtual platforms either partially or entirely in 2020. Hybrid events are not going away anytime soon - an event organizer network study showed that 34% of event organizers expect to invest more in hybrid events going forward. As events slowly begin to return, the demand for event apps is likely to increase alongside it.
Mobile event apps provide the bridge between in-person and virtual attendance. It’s more crucial now than ever to offer an app that can boost the overall experience for attendees. Additionally, event apps are a great resource for tracking what users like and where they spend the most time, providing event planners with valuable insights for optimizing in the future.