So, You’ve Got an App for That. Now What?

A mobile app launches in the App Store, but no one downloads it. Does it make an impact? Unlike the philosophical exercise of the "if a tree falls in the forest" question, this similarly worded one has a definite answer -- if no one is using your mobile app, the work and resources you've put into it are wasted.

The ubiquity of mobile devices, the comfort with apps, and the options for no-code development all have made apps a real option for all types and sizes of events. With app adoption, event organizers can reduce paper, create more interactivity with the audience, and gather data on their experience before, during, and after the event. Today, we want to focus on making sure people are using event apps so that these benefits can be realized.

  • Tell them early and often - Feature the app prominently on the website and in all email communications. Highlight the benefits of downloading it including any exclusive features (use the app to plan out your agenda, get info on speakers via the app first, connect with other attendees, etc.). Promote the app availability over social media as well making it clear that the app is a critical part of getting the most out of the event.
  • Be their guide - Include quick guides on your site that highlight app features and walk users through the main functionality of the site. This could be a simple .pdf or a video demo.
  • Provide real-world support - Have staff members onsite trained to help attendees get up and running with the app and troubleshoot any issues they may encounter.
  • Go to the video - Numerous studies have shown a strong consumer preference for video content, one saying that four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about something than read about it. Integrate 360 videos for previews of the event location, post-pre-event speaker and organizer messages, experiment with VR and AR - advertise this video content is exclusively available through the app to drive interest and downloads.
  • Make it fresh - The beauty of online content is that it can be updated quickly and easily. Make sure your content is not only accurate but continually updated with new details. Consider adding push notifications to ping app users when significant information is added, like a new keynote or details on an evening social event. But use push notifications judiciously - constant app alerts wear out even the most mobile-dependent users.

We'd love to hear from you. What makes a mobile app worthy of a download? What features keep you coming back to the app before and after the event? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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