Event Guide

Mobile Event Apps: Top 12 Mistakes To Avoid

July 31, 2023
10 min read
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Mobile event apps make things easier for attendees and organisers, there are no two ways about it. From generating greater buzz about upcoming conferences and establishing a stronger brand presence, to smoother check-ins, seamless networking opportunities and easy agenda monitoring - the advantages of having a dedicated event application are pretty much well-established.

Not surprisingly, nearly 40% of event organisers have started using app-based solutions - and nearly a quarter of marketing budgets are being used for event planning. These numbers are expected to rise steadily in the foreseeable future.While having a mobile event app has multiple advantages, a serious challenge for the organisers lies in the form of making the attendees adopting the application.

The problems can be further compounded if there are: a) any glitches in the app, and/or b) the onboarding process is complicated, and/or c) the organiser overlooks one or more important functionalities. In today's discussion, we will walk you through some common event app-related problems that a conference organiser might face:

Not having the right event technology partner

Using an event management platform (which will provide app builder service, among other things) is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for event planning success. It’s important to find an end-to-end event tech tool whose services are in sync with your precise requirements. Picture this: if Live Q&A is a feature that’s important for your event but your event app does not have it - you will have to subscribe to additional platform(s), leading to additional expenses. Take a demo, trial the app, be assured of its capabilities, and then get onboard. Look for a vendor that is not just GOOD, but one that will be GOOD FOR YOUR EVENT.

Ignoring the security aspect

On your dedicated mobile event application, you want only valid registrants and/or approved ticket-buyers to be able to sign in, right? However, unless you are careful about the onboarding security element, you might accidentally allow just about everyone to access the premium elements (videos, documents, etc.) of your event. This risk is particularly higher in case of fully virtual events. Make sure that the event app has a secure password/passcode feature for onboarding. No one except the registrants/ticket-holders should have login access. If you keep the app’s content open for all, you will be inviting unauthorised access.

Not paying attention to the branding requirements

Event attendees will be extensively using conference apps before, during, and after the event. You might also have a companion web app for the event. The chances of consolidating your visual branding elements (logos, icons, colours, designs) on the mobile and web platforms are excellent - and it will be a bit of a waste if you are oblivious to this. Ask the event management company about how you can customise and add your branding tools in the app. A properly thought-out strategy can increase the brand recall value of your event/organisation manifold.

Not setting up networking properly

One of the biggest reasons anyone attends a business event - technical or otherwise - is the opportunity to network with industry peers, decision-makers and fellow professionals. That being the case, it is imperative for your event application to facilitate peer-to-peer networking. Make sure that there is a secure Live Chat feature, 1:1 appointments can be set up, there is a Private Social Community feature, and you can control how people are going to interact. In short, if your mobile event app does not double up as a powerful networking tool, its utility will remain low.

Not having the UI and formatting optimised

Having an event app with messy formatting, and inconsistent UI/design elements just reeks of laziness on your part. It’s not only about the broad screen layouts either. If something like a long session name is not accounted for, the overall layout of the app screen(s) can be affected. Make sure that the in-app navigation is user-friendly, there are no formatting inconsistencies, the font used is as per your brand requirements, and there are no problems with the sessions/video playback screens. If attendees find a countdown timer overlapping with session description text - they will inevitably form a negative impression, about the app in particular, and your event in general.

Not making the app available on all platforms

On average, conference attendees use ~1.6 devices. There will be both iPhone and Android device users in your list of attendees. If your mobile event app is not available on any one of the platforms - you are likely to lose out on a sizeable portion of your registered users. This, in turn, is likely to have an adverse impact on overall user-satisfaction levels. In addition, there will always be some users who would prefer using their web browsers to join a virtual event (instead of downloading the mobile app). For them, you need to have an optimised web portal for your event ready.

Making the onboarding process overly complicated

No one in the world likes filling up long forms. Do not expect your attendees to follow overly long and intricate signup steps to set up their profiles on the app, just to start using it. As a rule of thumb, it should not take more than three steps to log in to the app and browse the different screens. If required, provide a tutorial section - with clear instructions. The focus should always be on ensuring that attendees do not face uncertainties at any stage. It does not take much for anyone to abandon a mobile app.

Not having a proper communication channel

The next session might be starting in 10 minutes, there can be a last-minute change in the hall for breakout sessions, and you might want to give the attendees a chance to upgrade their tickets. For all such quick and important communication requirements, you need to be able to ‘converse’ with the participants right through the app. Make sure that you can easily send push notifications directly on the app (do not send notifications too frequently, however). On the event management platform you use, the notifications you send should be trackable. Having an option in the backend for sending accompanying emails is also recommended.

Not giving attendees the option to sort/filter information

On a mobile event app - particularly those which have a lot of information - little things matter. For example, it might be greatly convenient for people if they are able to alphabetically sort the speakers, sponsors and exhibitors. Having a properly functioning ‘in-app search’ feature is also vital. In addition, make it easy for the delegates to get in touch with the sponsors or speakers. The app should clearly provide the contact details (email addresses, contact numbers, etc.). Try providing as much relevant information as possible at the fingertips of users - do not make them browse through a lot of non-essential details.

Not promoting your event app well

You might have done a great job of customising your event application, with smooth operability and dynamic content syncing. However, unless you make the attendees ‘aware’ of the existence of your conference app, its adoption rate will never pick up. Use your website, your social media channels, and email sequences to share the download links - and clearly highlight the main features and benefits of using the app. Unless everyone installs and uses the app, you will not get the full value out of it.

Not checking the compatibility of the app with the videoconferencing platform you use

Another very important consideration for online events. At the very outset, find out what video platforms (Zoom, Vimeo, Webinarjam, YouTube, etc.) that the app supports, and set up the virtual sessions accordingly. For this, clear upfront communication with your event tech partner is of essence. In addition, also make sure how you can control the accessibility of the videos you set up in the app. You do not want attendees to launch the app on event day - only to find a “this video format is not supported” message waiting for them!

Not considering offline usability

Connectivity is not something you have much control about. What you can make sure, however, is creating a mobile event application that remains usable even if a participant loses network access at any time. While things like video session access, live chat and live Q&A might be unavailable, people should still be able to browse through static information - like session descriptions, event descriptions, speaker bio-s, and others. The app should not become useless offline.Prior to your event, give your app a couple of trial runs - to make sure there are no accidental crashes and/or other technical glitches. If possible, ask your event management vendor to set up a mock event on the app, to check all functionalities. The event app should not take up too much of storage space or cause battery drain either (ask the developers about this). Event attendees expect uniform excellence in their event experience, and event apps feature very prominently in it.

About the Author
I'm a Growth Hacker at Eventify, Inc. for four years and was with Teksmobile since 2014. Formerly a technical writer and corporate communications manager, I now focus on maximizing event organizers' ROIs through custom solutions. My role involves collaborating with professionals to drive growth for the Eventify platform.

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