Results of our research on how the pros use mobile apps for conferences
The purpose of Mobile apps designed for a particular global conference or local meet-up is to increase the engagement of the participants of the Event.
The positive impact is equal for the event organisers, as for the exhibitors, speakers and the attendees. Having a mobile app for your event also helps to eliminate printed materials such as guides, schedules, surveys etc. which contributes to embracing sustainability and is much more convenient for attendees.
The digital experience provided by event apps can dramatically improve the effectiveness of the time spent at event by allowing:
- Networking (looking for clients, partners, early-adopters, investors, or startups to invest)
- Recruiting your target audience to test your product or service concept
- Pre-event exploration of who’s presenting and exhibiting without having to walk around the whole venue
- Starting group chats and forming micro-communities
- Being updated in Real Time as the event unfolds
Our research on different tech events and conferences worldwide demonstrate that companies usually choose either to develop their own purpose-built app or use a mobile event app software platform.
The Corporate Approach to Events
Among big multinational companies, Cisco has an official app for Cisco Global Events, while IBM and Microsoft have developed corporate apps which are customised for every event they hold globally. For this, they use the award winning Eventbase platform, which positions itself as the best conference app for premium brands.
Professional Event Organisers
Event and conferences organisers like UBM, O’Reilly, Gartner are another group of ‘Event app providers’, who offer their clients purpose-built event apps specific to the events they manage.
Trends at App Conferences
Popular tech conferences like Web Summit, Mobile World Congress also develop their own apps for use by their exhibitors, speakers and attendees to help them to navigate effectively through a busy and intense schedule of events during the conferences.
The Web Summit app is a pass to the conference and attendees can register straight away at the airport upon arrival. The app addresses a wide range of issues associated networking, its recommender system suggests attendees with similar interests to connect with, set up meetings with potential investors and create a personalised schedule.
Mobile World Congress app is also designed to provide better event experience for the attendees through a detailed and up to date agenda, sessions descriptions, filtering options to personalise the schedule and network smoothly.
Best Conference Apps
Many event organisers prefer to use event platforms, which allow them to create custom mobile apps for their events to minimise time and cost of event app development. Software for Event app creation has an interface that requires minimal coding and allows for the app to be downloaded from App store or Google Play.
This type of software really saves a lot of time, the market leaders for Event apps include:
Each of platforms enables the event planners to create a branded app and private social network for the event, a feature that fosters effective communication between attendees so that they can plan their time at the event more efficiently and become more active in participating.
Here is a typical list of basic features which help attendees level up their engagement at the event:
- Various forms of registration;
- Agenda and list of speakers;
- Social media integration;
- Sessions descriptions;
- Calendar sync;
- Trip planning (maps, public transport, Uber, hotels).
While the best event apps enable:
- Direct messaging between attendees;
- Live chat with organisers;
- Tools for gathering feedback (polls, surveys etc.);
- Slides and handouts available in app;
- Personal schedule;
- Instant updates; and
- Tools for building network and establishing new business relationships
Gamification is one of the latest and most significant event apps trends. Here is a brief list of gamification features which can help to increase user engagement:
- Contests; and
Pricing is important to consider when choosing a suitable app solution for your event. Attendify’s pricing starts from 999 USD, Eventory has a free tier with limited functionality. If we take into consideration the cost of developers’ time and related expenses, customising event app software is typically much more cost-effective.
Irrespective of how you choose to procure your event app (of the options listed above), the following provides a list of attributes your event app must have to be an effective addition. It must be:
- Intuitive and easy to use
- Rely on little or no instructions
- Benefits both organisers and attendees.
- Gives organisers the ability to collect and analyse data from the event. So they can analyse the qualitative and quantitative performance of the event and identify gaps, which should ultimately lead to continuous improvement.