10 Common Misperceptions


Event Apps

It’s time to change our views and start using them

Event apps seem to get a lot of push back, and I never really fully understood why. When I dug a little deeper, I realized that a lot of these opinions were just common misperceptions. With a little clarification, hopefully I can turn these misperceptions into myths and help organizers see the true benefits of these incredible tools for not just the events themselves, but for attendees and sponsors.

So, what exactly am I talking about? What are these so called misperceptions, and why, in fact, are they just misperceptions?

1. My event is already successful, so I don’t need one.

When did good become good enough? What happened to reaching for the stars and continously pushing the boundaries to be better? Just because attendees already enjoy your conference, doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways that the experience could be improved. Look for gaps and find what’s missing.

• Do attendees have trouble networking? Are you not receiving enough conference feedback?

• Do attendees feel like they aren’t engaged enough in the event?

• Are sponsors looking for better/more opportunities to promote themselves?

Whatever the issues, I can almost guarantee that that an event app could help.

2. They’re too much work.

While it may seem like event apps cause more work, they really shouldn’t. In many cases, they should actually help lighten the load. No longer will you need to spend a large portion of your time on flyers, brochures and other print collateral. This is all integrated nicely into your app for easy viewing. But that’s not all. Whenever you have updates or news that you want your attendees to hear, your app makes it extremely easy to reach them in an instant, without much effort at all.

3. It will cost too much money and we don’t have the budget for it.

Event apps aren’t supposed to raise your budget. They are meant to fit within it. You don’t even have to spend money to have one if you don’t want to. Many providers offer free options that provide a lot of value. If you’re looking for a more premium experience, I won’t lie, this does cost money (anywhere between $1,000 and $100,000 depending on requirements). To pay for it, why not provide sponsorship opportunities within the app, where your sponsors pay to be featured? Or even put all conference information (event schedules, speaker profiles, etc) into the app to cut down on print costs? Be creative. There are always ways to make it happen.

4. Our attendees won’t use it because they won’t see its value.

Your attendees won’t see value unless you show them otherwise. That’s why it’s extremely important to have a marketing strategy in place for your app, just like you would have one for everything else (see the ‘promoting your event app checklist’ in a future post). This shouldn’t take long. Ask your provider for any helpful documentation. No need to start from scratch. And don’t forget to use the app yourself. Engage with your attendees. If they see you using the app, they will be more inclined to use it themselves.

5. It will take away from our event experience.

It should actually have the opposite effect and add more value to the event. Attendees want to feel like they are apart of the event, and this is especially difficult to achieve with larger audiences. It becomes harder to interact. Apps fill that void by providing a more immersive experience through interactive features. By providing attendees with this useful tool, it creates a more open, comfortable and welcoming environment. So while having an app at your conference may appear like it will hinder real life conversations, it should be seen as a tool to get them started.

6. If they’re so popular, having one won’t help differentiate us from other events.

Popularity doesn’t necessarily mean that each event app will be the same. The app experience should be tailored to meet your event needs. Find a provider that allows you to customize the app. You should be able to choose the exact features that you need. Even the design should have some uniqueness to it, so that it reflects your brand.

7. Success means 100% adoption.

Believing that everyone needs to download, use and love the app in order for it to be a success sets you up for disappointment right from the get go. Lets face it, no one is 100% successful at anything. But it’s a simple fix, because this view usually just comes down to a lack of clear app objectives and metrics. You need to figure out what a successful app means to your event. And just because you get negative feedback from some attendees, doesn’t mean the app was a failure. Use this information and apply it to your next event. Knowledge is power.

8. Because we used one in the past and it wasn’t as successful as we hoped, it won’t be successful in the future.

Okay, so you had clear objectives and metrics that you wanted to hit and you didn’t reach them. Time to give up? No! Time to reflect. Take a look at your goals. Take a look at attendee feedback. Take a look at your mobile marketing strategy. What worked and what didn’t? Like any other tool, it’s necessary to test, measure and iterate. If you do this, success will come.

9. They become useless when the event ends.

I’ll admit, you’ll see the most app downloads and usage before and during the conference. After all, this is where most of the action happens and the excitement is built. But this doesn’t mean that the app becomes useless afterwards. Instead, it transforms into an amazing forum to communicate with your attendees, where you can keep them updated and gather valuable feedback. As long as you keep the conversation going, it gives your attendees a reason to use the app.

10. They’re unreliable.

Okay, you’ve got me on this one. I’ll admit that this is true in some circumstances. There are cases where apps have constant issues that take away from the experience. But, it’s not always the case. This is where choosing an app provider very carefully comes in handy. Do your research. Ask the hard questions. Check their credentials. Ask for referrals. This is the only way you’re truly going to find out if you’re going to get a bad app experience.

Okay…let’s wrap this up.

While it’s obvious that I’m pro event apps, I definitely understand the issues that come along with them and the confusion that they can cause. They haven’t been around for very long, and it is going to take some time to adjust and adapt. However, I hope this clarifies some issues, even just a little bit, so we can continue pushing the conference industry forward to provide attendees with the best experience possible.

For more information, visit usetangent.com. We’re always ready to answer questions and help you through the process.

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