Event Apps: The Complete Guide
We live in a world increasingly dominated by mobile technology, where mobile devices are always at hand to enhance many of our everyday experiences: simplifying tasks, providing useful information and providing entertainment.
According to a report from Ofcom, 55% of mobile owners use their mobiles to visit social networking sites or apps. In fact, when it comes to smartphones, apps are even more popular than browsers for a whole range of activities, with 48% of people downloading apps on their mobile phone and using 23 of them on average.
With more and more people using apps, especially in a digitally-enabled city like London, it is not surprising to see the uptake of apps specifically designed for the events industry. Event mobile apps are having a major impact on the industry by making the delegate more central to proceedings, empowering them, and enhancing their event experience. The initial technology has been refined with developers successful in making the apps glitch-free, user friendly and genuinely valuable.
The more attendees get out of an event, the greater the success for both you and your client. Event and conferencing apps have become a force not only to engage and empower the attendee but they also allow you to learn from the event and look to improve using data and feedback. The more you know about what attendees enjoyed and what they did not, the easier it is to plan better events in the future.
Event apps can be divided into categories, based on your desired outcome. Broadly speaking, they can assist you and your delegate in the following areas:
A Guide to Event Mobile Apps
As anyone who works in the event industry is aware, engagement is key. If your delegates are not engaging with your event then it will have failed one of its primary objectives. The right app, implemented correctly, can drive engagement successfully.
We are used to experiencing technology that allows us to have what we want, when we want it: from TV to live train updates, from hotel deals to knowing the weather. As with these current technologies, event apps look to offer personalised content to the user in order to increase engagement. With the help of apps, attendees can now plan their own bespoke event experience, ensuring they are more engaged and that their time is managed more efficiently.
With time-pressured professionals, efficiency is central to engagement. They want to get the most out of every minute of their time. Attendees will want to have all of the information at their finger tips like which speakers are presenting, on what topic, and where; a list of exhibitors and their locations; a live feed of breakout sessions, and even which other delegates have attended and their locations. A map of the venue including floor plans can allow them to plan routes or find the easiest way to get from A to B like the Pathfindr app.
Event apps can also help to negate things that may detract from engagement, for example, providing notifications in real time about changes to times and location.
Best Engagement Event Apps
Aimed at trade shows and conferences, xFocus claims to “Generate extensive analytics, increase lead creation and enhance the experience of your visitors.” xFocus provides real-time insights about who is where which is both useful for attendees and those looking to analyse and learn from their behaviour. The app can also provide a detailed map of the venue, a personal history including when and where you met businesses and contacts during the event.
This intelligent event mobile app provides a live activity stream designed to curate your event and drive engagement. It allows you to share content around the key topics to further enhance the event experience for your attendee.
Double Dutch is a comprehensive app that allows users to create their own personalised event agenda, fill out surveys and polls, as well as network with other visitors. It also is customisable for branding and sponsorship opportunities and provides engagement data to “ensure that each event is better than the previous one.”
Bubbli is a free tool that allows event and conference planners to save detailed images of a venue so you can access spherical imaging of how the venue looks which can help you plan the event with engagement in mind.
Whether it’s allowing real-time interaction in presentations or helping attendees network with each other, apps are available to increase interaction and improve the overall event experience. Thanks to apps, attendees can now participate during an event in new and exciting ways, whether this is voting on an issue during a session or asking questions anonymously.
Networking is an important aspect of any event and an app that facilitates good networking opportunities is invaluable. Some apps have in-app chat functionality allowing you to arrange informal meetings with other professionals while others allow you to track who you connected with so you can reconnect with them in the future.
Apps can also help increase engagement during the sessions themselves by encouraging live interaction. This is the principle way in which presentations have progressed in recent years, with audiences now able to interact in real time. Speakers can receive questions from the audience as well as ask questions without disrupting the flow of the presentation. Apps can be used to anonymously submit questions to the speaker, avoiding issues with microphones and enabling people who may lack the confidence. They can also share content and encourage live chats during the sessions. This level of interactivity focuses attention, increases engagement and banishes boredom once and for all.
There are also apps that allow mobile devices to double up as microphones, avoiding many of the obstacles usually faced by Q&A sessions. There is no need anymore for an assistant to run around with a mic, leaving awkward pauses.
Apps can also encourage further connectivity through social media, allowing conversations and interaction to expand and continue beyond the event. Apps can also increase interaction, providing a place to share images and videos and other content from the event.
Best Event Apps for Interaction
This app enables delegates to complete polls during the event as well as submit questions anonymously during sessions that can be moderated and then voted upon. As an event manager or client, you can also capture all the questions posed for valuable insight into your audience.
Crowdmics works on Android and iOS devices and enables the audiences’ phones to become wireless microphones. The app also allows for questions to be submitted by text and has a live polling facility.
Many of the event and conferencing apps available look to provide relevant data and analytics to event managers. By providing a large amount of data on delegate behavior as well as an analytics platform, these apps provide event managers with the information they need to improve their events. It can also provide highly lucrative data to clients.
Some apps allow you to research attendee behaviour, in particular their engagement, throughout your event. With this real-life data at your fingertips, you can analyse the success of different aspects of your event and use this to feed into future events. There are also apps that simplify the process of collecting attendee feedback that will also allow you to identify areas for improvement.
Many apps will allow the audience to rate each session when it finishes so you know which speakers and which presentations were the most engaging. By having this valuable data from an event, you are in a much better position to evaluate the event, measure ROI and communicate this to your client.
Best Event Apps for Feedback
Although not specifically for events, this app allows you to ask the questions you want to the people you want in the form you want from multiple choice to simple yes or no answers.
This tool will help you manage customer satisfaction, creating surveys for visitors and exhibitors. It also allows you to generate reports.
This app is all about understanding your audience better – Loopd is a wearable technology that provides insights on each attendee interaction as well as interactive event heat maps. The analytics platform allows you to crunch the data with a user-friendly interface.
Key Considerations When Looking at Event Apps
The following are all key questions you should be asking yourself before commissioning an app or using an app for your event:
- Why do you want an event mobile app – what are your objectives?
- Which app is right for your event
- How much does the app cost
- Will you use an existing app or get one developed?
- Who is going to populate the app with information and data
- What features will it include
- How long will it take to develop
- How many attendees will download the app
- How many attendees will use the app
- What technical support will be available and when
- Will it work across ios and Android
- Will aspects of it work offline
The Event App Debate
There is still some amount of debate as to whether event apps should be adopted across the industry. The crux of the debate usually relates to the limitations of the technology and user take-up. There are practical questions, ones that consider feasibility, as well as those that are excited by how much they can enable event planners. It is an interesting debate that we have attempted to summarise below:
Enhanced Experiences – Apps can help create bespoke event experiences allowing attendees to get the most out of the event.
Engagement & Interaction – Apps can improve interaction and engagement in several areas of your event.
Data – Apps can collect relevant data on delegates and their behaviour. In a debate on Event Apps, Wayne Morris of Guidebook argued that event professionals were “flying blind” if they did not use an event app. He was referring to the amount of data available that allows you to adapt and improve for the benefit of all. Helen Moon, in an excellent blog on whether To App Or Not to App, explained that apps “will allow you to collect valuable data and input from an event, enabling you to be more accountable to your stakeholders and measure ROI and effectiveness from twitter feeds, audience response and polling.”
Reduce paper – In an increasingly environmentally-conscious world we all have a responsibility to reduce the amount of paper used. By replacing brochures with an app, you can save on huge amounts of paper as well as design and printing costs.
Develops your Brand – A high-quality event app can further enhance your organisation’s image and identity.
Low delegate adoption – One of the main issues with apps is the low take up. This can happen for a number of reasons. Some delegates will not be familiar with the technology and struggle with usability, potentially finding the app too complicated. There are also concerns around third party messaging.
Security – Data security can be a major issue for delegates and is consequently one that app developers are now focussing on.
Development Time – Some bespoke apps can take time to develop which can be an issue for those events with a short lead time.
Cost and ROI – Some apps can be expensive so you need to consider your ROI carefully before committing.
Functionality – Some apps may not be able to do everything you want or need them to do or not be compatible with other technologies. For example, some business people use Blackberries which will not work with apps.
20 Bedford Way
It is essential to keep up-to-date and ideally ahead of technological developments in any industry, especially the events industry. Giving event organisers the power to utilise new technology plays a key role in the success of an event venue, as well as of course doing the basics right. 20 Bedford Way are focused on enabling event organisers in their use of the latest technologies whilst providing state-of-the-art facilities, event spaces with personality and a dedicated team. Reliable Wi-Fi can be one of the biggest downfalls of any event venue but not at 20 Bedford Way – we have excellent free Wi-Fi. Call us today on 020 7612 6143 to discuss your event.