Mobile event apps are almost expected today and will become even more important as face-to-face exhibitions resume.
But with so many offering similar features, how do you decide which is the best one?
While research shows cost is the biggest determining factor for organizers when selecting an event app, it shouldn’t be the only one. Here’s what you need to consider.
1. Functionality. Establish what you require and then find out if the app provides it. What you need will depend on the event, but research suggests session information and personalized agendas are the most popular app features used by attendees. It would therefore be wise to include such items as necessities. However, only you can decide whether an event app is going to enhance productivity and deepen the delegate experience.
2. Ease of Use. Simplicity is key for both the organizer and delegates. The app should be simple to set up and allow you to focus on delivering the best event experience possible for guests, not complex and hard to learn. For delegates, event app design is key to whether it is downloaded and used. The app also needs to be straightforward, intuitive and include features that delegates value to boost engagement.
3. Support. With an attendee-facing tool like an event app, it is critical to have quick and knowledgeable staff available to help solve any technology problems or glitches that may occur before, during and after the event.
4. Integration. Find out whether you can integrate your current event technologies with the app. This could (and should) include ticketing solutions, virtual event platforms, digital maps and interactivity tools for audience engagement. Your event app provider should be able to customize connections between their technology and your existing software to fit your event. Otherwise, your technology will be fragmented, resulting in a waste of time, energy and data.
5. Time. Apps bring value to events only when they successfully connect attendees to the right content and right people at the right time. To do this effectively, organizers need to make sure information seen on apps is always accurate and up-to-date. Questions to ask the provider include: Can the event app block attendees from registering for sessions that run concurrently? Can you define quotas on the number of people per session based on room capacity? Can attendees receive notifications to rate a speaker? If the answers are ‘no,’ it won’t be helpful. Remember, apps should save you time, not add to your workload.
6. Security. Mobile devices are susceptible to malware, which can pose a risk to an organization. If you want to boost your event app engagement, you need to reassure attendees that it is safe and no shortcuts were taken at the expense of security protection.
7. Analytics. Analytics are extremely important for event evaluation, the planning of future events and reporting hard numbers (the who, what, where and when) to an organization’s senior leadership team. They also allow you to benchmark your event app adoption rate. If an app doesn’t have relevant and insightful reporting, then it won’t work to your advantage.
8. Monetization. Connecting sponsors and suppliers with attendees in a personalized way through sponsored advertisements, targeted notifications, logo placement and information about products provides return on investment to these partners. If the app doesn’t have the capability of helping you increase revenue through monetization, you could easily miss out on golden opportunities to work more closely with sponsors and exhibitors. Monetization is also a way in which the investment in the event app can pay for itself.
Ian Webb is head of business development at Eventsforce. The company’s customizable web-based software provides a complete end-to-end management solution that addresses every aspect of the event life cycle, from event planning, marketing and registration to on-site check-in, virtual content delivery, mobile apps, abstracts and awards management, reporting and data management.