If you’ve attended an event, or even walked around any street recently, it’s a safe bet you saw a lot of folks walking around with their heads down, eyes trained on their smartphones, thumbs busily scrolling up and down their screens.
What’s so awesome about their phones? Most likely, they were engaged with an app.
According to Flurry Analytics, U.S. consumers in 2014 spent 2 hours and 42 minutes daily on their mobile devices – up by 4 minutes from the previous year. What’s more, they spent 86% of that time using mobile apps, versus 80% in 2013.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to take advantage of the public’s smartphone-loving habits by incorporating a mobile app into your next event.
Follow these 5 tips to max out your mobile event app:
1) Keep it simple
Often times, event planners get excited by all the bell-and-whistle add-ons that some mobile app developers promise. It’s easy to be allured by the promises of games, intricate beacon opportunities or other high-end items that sound great in theory.
However, ease-of-use, security and reliability is what matters to your attendees most. Oftentimes, add-ons can be overkill for the attendee experience, and sometimes having too many parts can create issues within the app itself. Attendees like the functionality of an app that allows then to receive real-time updates, manage their agenda, and provide feedback about their experience. Which leads to…
2) Utilize Mobile to Build a Better Relationship with your Attendees Onsite
Provide your attendees with electronic event information: sessions, speakers, maps, personalized schedules – and more. You can also push real-time updates and announcements, like changes in schedule, event news and bus schedules. Encourage your attendees to like, share, upload photos and tag content on social media. Attendees can even use the mobile app to schedule 1:1 meetings or network with others. During and after the event, send surveys about the keynotes and sessions to increase response rates.
3) Use the App to be a Wonderful Marketing Tool for Your Event
Give yourself ample time to select and configure a mobile application, that way, you’ll have more time to promote your event to speakers, attendees and exhibitors/sponsors. Promote the mobile app early and often (e.g. on your event website) to encourage downloads and access, and include links in email communications to a mobile registration site. Encourage attendees to view session and speaker information online, and also make sure to provide updates on new speakers, sponsors and exhibitors. Upload 2-3 minute videos that are only available via the mobile event app.
4) Maximize the App Drive More Event Revenue
A great way to offset the cost of a mobile app and increase sponsor revenue is to offer advertising within your app, including logo placement on every page. Other options include rotating banner and splash screen ads (interstitial pages that appear when the user clicks an icon, but before their requested page comes up). There should also be an opportunity for enhanced listings within the exhibit directory (listings with additional links and materials for download, or listings that are moved to the top of a page on an alphabetical list). Push notifications sent by exhibitors to all (or select groups of) attendees is a way to sell sponsorships, along with exhibit surveys – selling the right for an exhibitor to host a survey within your app.
5) Utilize the App for to Cut Down on Cost and Environmental Waste
Having a mobile event app can also drive down printing and shipping costs. Having all information on the app reduces the need for paper binders and less paper is better for the environment. A mobile app is more than just a replacement for programs, printouts and handouts, as pointed out above, it can keep your attendees engaged far more than they would be with a piece of paper.
As ubiquitous as mobile devices have become, it only makes sense to have a mobile app integrated into your event. Your attendees will certainly enjoy having it on the device they stare at all day – you’ll just have to make sure they’re not looking down too much and literally running into each other.