The growing importance of the mobile platform for promoting and managing events can hardly be overemphasized. By the end of 2016, an estimated 87% of all event planners had proper mobile applications for their events. On the end-user front too, the adoption of mobile event apps has been remarkable – with a whopping 94% of all event attendees, on average, using these apps last year (a rise of 9 percentage points over 2015). With the total number of mobile app downloads predicted to reach ~197 million this year and well over 1500 million smartphones being sold, the mobile platform represents a huge cross-section of people who can be targeted by event organizers, thereby expanding the reach of their events immensely. In this discussion, we will highlight the main reasons for having a full-fledged mobile app to promote your event:
A conference or a tradeshow managed and promoted through a mobile app is a ‘paperless event’. There are no flyers and posters to print and distribute, no expensive full-page newspaper ads to showcase, and no billboards/hoardings to book. Everything is managed digitally, and at a fraction of the cost of the traditional event marketing channels. All that the event planners have to do is regularly upload all the latest information about their events in the apps. Of course, a ‘paperless’, digital event is a ‘green’, eco-friendly one too.
Potentially huge reach
If you are looking to generate maximum possible awareness among people about your event, the mobile platform would work like an absolute charm. We have already looked at the insanely high mobile app download figures (estimated to breach the 350 million mark by 2021) – which indicate that app-usage levels are rising at extremely high rates. When a new event app is pushed out with all relevant details and tidbits – it has a potentially huge audience. Willing visitors can simply download it from the app stores, and get in the loop. When an event has a strong presence on the mobile platform, its attendee figures are likely to go up significantly.
A mobile event app paves the way for effective two-way communication – in a way that print advertisements, or even websites, can never do. Registered users/Willing attendees can view event details (dates, venues, etc.), place their queries, and get satisfactory responses from the backend (presence of a 24×7 backend support team is essential). Visitors might also have the option of drawing up their very own schedules for the events they are interested in. Reminders and notifications (say, when a keynote session is about to start) can be set as well. All of this contributes in building up, and maintaining, that all-important buzz about an event.
A mobile event app takes away the uncertainty factor about the events. Through the application, you can provide the entire scheduling and sessions-related information to the interested visitors, on a real-time basis. That, in turn, would help the attendees to check out all the attractions of your event at a glance, and select the sessions/workshops/meetings that they would like to attend. Most good-quality event applications have dedicated sections for sharing exhibitor information as well. What’s more – making last-minute changes to event schedules and informing the visitors about the same is very easy through a mobile app…and practically impossible if you continue to rely on printed flyers and posters.
Serves as a networking platform
One of the biggest attractions of business events is the peer-to-peer networking opportunities they have on offer. A mobile application focused on a particular event doubles up as a seamless networking platform, based on the ‘common interests’ of users. After registering for an event, a person can check out the profiles of fellow-attendees – thereby getting a fair idea about the type of networking scopes that would be available. In fact, the networking can start via the mobile app itself, with attendees having the option of getting in touch with each other through messaging, or through their respective social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
Note: Even after an event is over, the networking opportunities on its app remain. People can continue to use it to strike up important partnerships and expand the overall reach of their businesses. As a rule of thumb, a good mobile event app is a ‘sticky’ one!
Offer more resources to users
A recent survey found that, 7 out of every 10 event or conference attendees prefer having completely personalized information about these events. The mobile space offers excellent opportunities to provide different types of additional event-related resources to people, boosting the general interest levels in the event. Right from speaker bios and brief background information of exhibitors, to small ‘behind-the-scenes’ videos and hi-res images, exclusive interviews and other downloadable material (e.g., an event brochure in PDF) – everything can be instantly shared on a mobile event app. On a multi-featured app platform like Eventify, adding these resources to the app is extremely easy too. Teasers about new product announcements and updates can be provided as well.
The days when a person had to sit in front of a computer to access information about events have long gone. At present, people use smart handheld devices to look for such information – from practically any place under the sun (geographical limitations have ceased to be a factor). Using a full-featured mobile event application makes sense in this regard – since it will be available on the smartphones and tablets and (if possible) wearables of the end-users. A person can find out updated information about an event, as and when (s)he feels like doing so.
Note: There is no way of accurately predicting the type of device (mobile/laptop/tablet) that would be used to access event information. A mobile event app with cross-device compatibility ensures optimum usability.
Real-time event analytics
As a professional event planner, the onus is on you to keep track of all the relevant stats, figures and updates about your event(s). A mobile app would help you in a big way on this front. On the event dashboard screen, you can view the latest event analytics – which can be analyzed to gauge the performance of the event itself. What’s more, the app would also help in giving the overall return on investments (ROI) from your events a boost. Customized polls and surveys can also be conducted on the app, to learn about the preferences of the registered attendees. Since all the data are updated real-time, you stay in charge of your event, at all times.
Geo-targeting and navigational help
If an entrepreneur in Sydney is notified about a high-profile business conference starting in California in two days’ time, that’s a bit of a waste. With the help of custom mobile event apps, organizers can inform users only about the events in their respective cities or countries – ensuring that a significant percentage of the total ‘willing attendees’ would become ‘actual visitors’. In addition, the visitor section of the event app can also include detailed travel information to the venue of the event. That would help the attendees to arrive at the event without any hitch whatsoever.
Note: Many mobile event apps also provide information on nearby hotels, to help visitors with their accommodation requirements.
Smooth mobile check-ins and other options
Building a mobile event app does away with the need for printed tickets. On arrival at the venue, visitors can check-in on the app and the digital signage points present at the location. From the app, attendees can also view detailed floor plans of the event venue (not having this information can lead to confusions later). Appointments with one or more exhibitors can also be set through the event application. In general, a smartphone app helps in making many event-related processes much easier.
Sponsors and monetization
The scope of a mobile event app is not limited to promoting events and tracking information. It can be used by planners to earn extra money too, by placing suitable in-app ads. Since event apps are already targeted, they offer top-notch opportunities for sponsors to reach out to a focused audience – before, during and even after the event. Care, of course, has to be taken to ensure that the placement of the advertisements does not disrupt the app-usage in any way (and the ads are not repetitive or inappropriate). Event planners can also opt to include loyalty cards and benefits through the app. Earning a certain amount of points/stars would help visitors win prizes – redeemable at select exhibition booths at the venue.
Staying on after the event
Even after an event is over, the app continues to be useful. You can actively seek feedback about the event, as well as let the visitors rate the different features/amenities at the location. These reviews would help you understand the things about the event people liked (and disliked!) the most – and would serve as a valuable reference point for your next event. For recurring events (monthly or yearly), this is a mighty important advantage. Organizers can even sell event DVDs and other goodies through the app platform. The users should be able to rate and review the app as well. A mobile event app helps you capture and retain a focused, captive audience – and is instrumental for maintaining engagement levels.
Mobile event applications typically have strong social media integrations. Visitors can easily tweet about a conference or a keynote presentation, post about it on FB or LinkedIn, while watching it. Apps also make it easier for everyone at the event to seamlessly collaborate with each other and boost their respective business opportunities. An event app is a powerful tool to promote your events, deliver valuable, updated information, and do a lot more…it is certainly something you can’t afford to miss out on!