Event apps have been around since 2008 with roughly 25,000 apps created to date, an average of just over 4,100 apps a year. That sounds like a lot, but when you consider that over 1.8 million events take place in the US alone its a drop in the bucket, just 0.02% of events! While not all events need an app, its still an amazingly low number when you consider the incredible buzz around event apps in the past few years. So what’s the real story here? Why hasn’t the incredible promise and value that mobile can bring to the event industry experienced wider adoption?
Opaque pricing, fulfillment times measured in months, and products hidden behind “request a demo” buttons have made buying and implementing event apps a needlessly complex affair. Factor in prices that often hit the high four or five figures and mobile starts looking less like the liberating technology it should be, and more like a burden that only big budget events can carry.
Taking Back Control
Fortunately we are seeing a new generation of products, like Attendify, that are helping turn the tide and are giving event planners control in building and deploying mobile event apps.
■ Instant Sign Up - ditch the sales call and start building your app right away. With open registration and transparent pricing you know exactly what you’re getting without the lengthy sales process.
■ Self-Service - simple app building tools have made creating a branded, native event app a guess-free process that is accessible to anyone, regardless of technical know-how.
■ Quick Fulfilment - fulfilment times have gone down from weeks to days, giving you the flexibility to deploy apps on short notice and push updates instantly.
A New Experience
When you think of an event app you’re probably imagining a grid of icons on the home screen and features like a schedule, speakers, sponsors, maps, etc. The event app experience hasn’t changed much since 2008, but apps hold so much more promise than simply replacing a printed event guide.
We’re finally seeing the emphasis shift towards giving attendees and sponsors a powerful engagement tool, not just a digital event guide. A new generation of social events apps are giving planners a way to boost participation, monetize events, and drive results like never before:
■ Social DNA - the new generation of event apps has social built-in at their core. Apps have turned into private social networks with the ability to share photos, messages, polls, engage with likes and comments, send connection requests, search attendee profiles, and much more.
■ Engagement machines - when attendees are given tools to share they take full advantage! Sharing helps attendees increase their visibility, network, and make the most of the event experience.
■ Data Junkies - with more social functionality and deeper engagement mechanisms comes more data. Event planners & sponsors will be the benefactors here as apps offer unprecedented insight into the event experience.
■ Digital event guides - the new generation of apps have made social the emphasis, but they have all the traditional event app features as well; schedules, speaker profiles, sponsor lists, maps, and more.
Event apps have tremendous and largely untapped potential to change the event experience. As we usher out the first generation of event apps we’re experiencing a sea-change in the way apps are built, deployed and managed. Building apps has never been faster or easier, management tools are empower planners, and a new generation of social apps is driving engagement.
Event planners are the big winners here; mobile will enable stronger connections with attendees, open up new monetization channels, and deliver unprecedented insights into improving the event experience.