Nowadays, there's an app for just about everything — even your large-scale events. Whether it's Pathable for conferences, Attendify for networking events, DoubleDutch for consumer events, CrowdCompass for engaging event participants, or FestApp by Aloompa for festivals, conference apps can help attendees fully experience your event with the help of their phone or tablet. But how? And which app should you choose for your event?
Why Add a Mobile App to the Mix?
We live in a digital world. Your attendees are used to consulting mobile devices and specialized apps to get and send information. It makes perfect sense to give them this same opportunity to make the most of your event. Here are some of the ways your guests (and you) can benefit from an event app:
- Apps make your event more experiential, literally hands-on.
- You can communicate with attendees throughout the event with special messages, scheduling reminders, and other updates. You (or presenters) can conduct real-time surveys or polls to capture immediate opinions, or you can query attendees before or after your event.
- Attendees can learn about fellow attendees via profiles and communicate with each other to determine who they want to meet at the event. You can use it to plan better-targeted in-person networking.
- Attendees can also converse digitally, messaging one another or engaging in group discussions.
- Attendees can plot and keep track of their agenda — sessions or performances to attend, etc.
- You can collect rich data that helps you understand your attendees better and identify which aspects of your event were most popular. Next year, it will be even more amazing.
- Sponsors can benefit, too, in two ways. You can offer them branded messaging or advertising opportunities within the app, and they can use the app to engage directly with attendees. This can be a real benefit to sponsor recruitment.
Experts say you’ll benefit most by choosing a branded “universal” app you can customize rather than downloading a template. This has to do with behind-the-scenes design and usability details that affect Apple’s willingness to make your app available via their App Store. Keep in mind that you may need to purchase a more robust wi-fi connection from your AV provider or venue, to support the large number of attendees and people trying to connect to the internet and these apps. Obviously, you want attendees to have easy access to download and use your app.
You want everyone to use it, too, so promote your app in marketing materials, emails, and social posts prior to the event. Encourage speakers and attendees themselves to invite others to join in and share the digital wealth.
Which App Should You Choose?
Faced with an overwhelming amount of options, it can be tough to figure out which app is right for your event. Of course, that depends, to some extent, on the event itself. Some apps are specifically designed to facilitate networking. Conference apps (also called event apps) offer a broader range of features, often including networking support. Here are some specifics you may want:
- Attendee profiles, speaker bios, and/or exhibitor listings
- Full agenda with the ability to read about and select sessions and activities
- Calendar integration
- Real-time targeted messaging for you and attendees
- Ability to share photos, comments, etc.
- Community forums
- Private meeting arrangements
- Venue maps or trade show floor plans (with GPS locators or bookmarking options)
- Social media integration
- Ability to incorporate ads or commercials
Branding is a must! Your app should leave no doubt it’s all about your event.
For conferences, consider Pathable or Presdo Match. For networking events, Attendify and Whova can work well. For broader-audience events such as festivals, check out FestApp, DoubleDutch, or Eventbase. We also love Guidebook for a completely customizable experience. They even have templates pre-made and users can choose one based on event type to make app creation smooth and easy. Read about many more options here.
What’s New Keeps Changing
The thing about technology is that it is constantly evolving. Today’s hot conference apps won’t be the latest and greatest forever. But you have to start somewhere, and showing your attendees you’re up to date with tech will get them more engaged with your brand as well as each other. So pick an app and go for it!