Event Apps: Why You Need One & 3 Features to Prioritize

You need an event app!

Connected, agile, and interactive experiences are integral parts of the modern marketing landscape. Businesses looking to drive awareness for their brands should regularly use conferences and events to share new products and initiatives. This translates to a definitive need for connectivity, engagement, and flexibility at events.

In short, that’s exactly why event apps exist: they are tools that provide a scalable way for brands, industry reps, and attendees to connect with one another in a fun/intuitive/savvy way. The attendee experience is synonymous with customer experience, or it should be. So what goes into creating a great experience for your customers? You want to deliver value to them, engage them, and offer channels for them to share their feedback. It’s important that you demonstrate an understanding of their
motivations and needs, what they’re interested in, and how they feel about your brand.

With the right event app, you can educate, inspire, increase brand loyalty, drive revenue, and more at your next conference or trade show!

Why are event apps important?

In addition to providing important information about your event, event apps have a broad spectrum of benefits. Check out G2’s 10+ Benefits of Event Apps for Your Next Conference or Trade Show to get an idea of the many ways in which attendees, event organizers, sponsors, and others can benefit from having a great event app.

How do apps help event planners and organizers?

Event apps can do the grunt work for your on-site team, at scale, saving you valuable time and energy. They can enable you to communicate with attendees when unexpected things happen (like when a session room changes or a speaker misses their flight). They can even support pre-programmed and personalized messages to individual attendees, speakers, and sponsors so everyone gets the right message at the right time.

What do event apps offer attendees?

Attendees tend to feel less like event cattle being shuffled through an unfamiliar corporate venue when everything they need to drive their own experience is at their fingertips. There’s tremendous freedom that comes with empowering your guests. No longer are they spending their limited on-site bandwidth trying to figure out where they are and where they’re going, who they need to connect with, and when to start walking to their next session. With an event app attendees can focus on what matters most: the actual event experience you worked so hard to build.

Key features for an effective event app

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when you are considering an app for your event is that the technology has evolved. An event app is more than a digital program guide for your event; it’s a tool to foster community and amplify your event messages. If your decision to invest in an event app is based on features alone, let’s look at the full picture. Features are a means to a bigger end. Think about what you want to accomplish, and go after features that help make it happen, such as:

Features that empower event management

Examples of features that help event planners include: analytics and dashboards, registration, ticketing

Features that engage your attendees on-site

Examples of features that engage attendees on-site include: gamification, audience response, meetings

Features to deliver value to sponsors

Examples of features that deliver value to sponsors include: private meetings, lead capture, and retrieval

Nice-to-have versus mission-critical

When you’re shopping around for any software, it’s all about context. Consider your event’s cultural environment: the dynamics among attendees, their relationships with sponsors and exhibitors, what motivates people to attend, and what they hope to glean from investing in your event. What do they need from your event? Once these event-specific questions are thought about, you can decide what your app truly needs to deliver on for your overall event objectives.

Event apps versus microsites, which is which?

Below is a simple Q&A exercise to help event planners find the best ways to leverage mobile events and a conference microsite. Some of the most successful event organizers and experienced designers use both, after all.

Ask yourself and your teams the following questions to challenge and guide deeper thinking about event tools, modern marketing, and how they all play a role in your next great trade show or fundraiser:

Will our attendees want complete details on sessions, speakers, and networking beforehand?

If Yes, both a conference microsite and event mobile app can help.

Do they want the ability to book private meetings on-site?

If Yes, both a conference microsite and event mobile app can help.

Do we need to communicate with everyone on-site, instantly?

If Yes, a microsite and event mobile app can help, but a mobile app is particularly helpful here.

Will attendees want to connect with each other pre-event?

If Yes, a microsite and event mobile app can help, but a mobile app is particularly helpful here.

Will sponsors want to connect with attendees post-event?

If Yes, go microsite and event app, but note badge scanning and lead retrieval can be done on mobile.

Will our attendees get value from year-round engagement?

If Yes, use both. Microsites are excellent tools for this and complement your event marketing site(s).

Is there a library of resources and evergreen content we want to share?

If Yes, see above regarding year-round engagement. Bigger screen = more content at a glance.

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For more insight on event apps and live events, check out Corporate Event News’ 10 Important Findings from the 2020 Future Event Trends Report.

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