In a recent MeetingPlay/BizBash survey, we asked meeting planners: what's your biggest challenge when it comes to app engagement? 48% of planners responded that attendees didn’t know why the event app will be useful.
Adoption is a significant step in any event app process, and one that we talk to clients about often. If you're wondering how to increase app adoption, there are two essential steps to take. First, create an app with content that adds value to the event experience, and then promote the value of the app. Let’s break down each step to make sure your next event app adoption rates are sky high.
Step 1: Build an app with great content
Our survey also found that roughly 40% of planners say they have added features or enhanced functionality to make their apps more attractive to attendees. So which features should you add? There are some that are reliably popular with attendees and that we can recommend with confidence, like real-time polling, interactive maps/wayfinding, networking and gamification.
Networking is one of the top reasons that someone will attend an event. Providing enhanced networking and matchmaking opportunities will definitely capture attendees’ interest. Gamification is fun, and offers the opportunity to compete for prizes. Once attendees see gamification in action, they will all want in on the game.
While these are features we can suggest based on what we know attendees tend to like - why not go directly to the source. Asking your attendees what they want is easier than ever thanks to feedback and survey tools. You can ask attendees what features they like, which ones they are using, and which they would like to see at their next event. This can be a crucial step as part of your post event survey. But, remember, technology and trends can change quickly so if it's been a while between your events, it's a good idea to check back with attendees again before your next event.
Keep it fresh
If you run events year after year, it’s important to ensure your app content stays fresh. Recently, one of our clients told us the hardest part of launching apps is trying to revitalize it every year. This means looking for what’s new to keep their attendees engaged, and this is where expert app providers come in. At MeetingPlay, we help to ease this burden on our clients by staying focused on emerging technologies and always having new ideas to share.
Step 2: Promote the app (the right way)
Once you have an app with great content, make sure to emphasize the content — that's the reason for people to download. If you say “download the app, here’s how,” people won’t feel compelled. Instead, say something like, "download and fill out your networking questionnaire so we can match you with other attendees." This gives attendees a reason to go in and download it right away.
This type of messaging can be woven into all of your marketing materials. Make sure your event's website has a section specifically devoted to the app, and clearly state the benefits. Put time and thought into this page, and make it sound and look spectacular. And when it comes time to launch, you'll want to send a pre-event email. Don't just include steps on how to download. Communicate the tangible benefits and highlight any new functionality for this year’s event. Additionally, do a series of social media posts showing specific features and their benefits to attendees.
Consider pre-event activity that will get attendees into the app before the event even begins. For example, start using gamification beforehand, and award extra points for filling out sections of the app. Or use polling features to get attendees' feedback on the event before the event.
Here’s a fun icebreaker. Attendees will be traveling from far and wide, so ask them to post a photo in the activity feed documenting their journey. The travel process is something we can all relate to, and it’s an opportunity to bond over a shared experience, as well as get people excited about the event and the app.
For all the items listed above, be sure to focus on features that only app users can take advantage of, like gamification, live polling, quizzes, surveys and push notifications (that keep you up to date on changes or other pertinent info during the event). If you are using a QR code (available in the app) or other functionality to expedite the registration process, this is something important to advertise as well. No one wants to miss out on exclusive opportunities.
Keep it going on site
Continue to promote the app at registration and on site. On-site, use check-in kiosks by prompting attendees (on-screen) to download it and focusing on some of the benefits it can offer while they’re on-site. Remind them of features the app will give them access to, like the ability to change their session selections and networking preferences so they can connect with fellow attendees.
You put a lot of your time (and your budget) into your event app. It’s well worth going the extra mile to promote the benefits. A good app provider will not only be able to help you build the right features, they’ll also help you come up with ways to market them to your audience. To learn more about taking your event app and marketing strategy to the next level, contact us for a demo!