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3 Myths of Mobile Apps for Events

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This is a sponsored post written by Greg Kockott, Managing Director at HelloCrowd. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.

Mobile Apps for Events - The new buzz word, the new big technology play in the eventing and conferencing industry. They're great and there's no doubt that they can add enormous value to your attendees, not to mention the savings in printing costs.

EMB_image_3 myths of mobile apps for events

But who can afford to pay the going rate for a Mobile App these days? Who can afford to splash out the onerous price tag associated with a Mobile App? Who can afford to wait 4 to 6 weeks for development? Why should this great technology be limited to your biggest events? Even if your event lasts a full week that's still an enormous investment in what really should be disposable event technology.

Big Events Get Big Technology - What About Smaller Events?

There’s no doubt that a large event with 2,000 to 3,000 attendees can warrant the cost of a Mobile App, but that’s certainly not where the value in Mobile Apps lies. Smaller meetings can derive as much value and engagement from Mobile Apps as their bigger brothers.

The reality is that we’re never going to be able to drive large scale adoption of Mobile App technology unless we’re able to make them available at every event we host. Attendees need to come to expect an app at your event to drive the behaviour we expect from our Mobile Apps.

The goal of having Mobile Apps is to improve engagement and by incorporating a Mobile App into each and every one of your events, regardless of size, event attendees will become so used to engaging with your event through Apps that overall engagement will improve and ultimately your ROI on your event and your event app will improve.

Mobile Event App / Planning Tug of War

On average planners have around 4 weeks to deliver an event from scratch. On average Mobile App providers require around 4 to 6 weeks to deliver a Mobile App for your event. See the problem right there? Planners hope to integrate Mobile Apps into their events but the timeline required to develop them makes them redundant - failure to launch.

Mobile Apps should be built off the back of a framework that allows for the core technology to be reusable while still offering a great custom branded solution to planners, exhibitors and sponsors.

By finding a Mobile App provider that can offer you a multi-event container that allows you to publish events within a few hours you can ensure that every event that you do has a custom build regardless of the lead-time. Find yourself a provider that’s able to deliver on your clients expectations no matter the lead time.

Cost Shouldn't be the Killer

The cost / price of your Mobile App should not be the killer. Mobile Apps are the only piece of disposable technology at the event that requires such massive budget consideration. And this is the primary reason for low adoption rates across events, especially smaller events with smaller budgets.

Beware when signing up with a Mobile App provider as many of them will require payment upfront, offer complicated pricing structures with hidden add-on costs and charge a significant premium to the advertised price for the cool functionality that genuinely drives engagement and ultimately app success.

In Conclusion

Until event planners start demanding certainty of costs and transparent pricing options for their Mobile Apps without sacrificing branding and features the Mobile App industry is going to continue to demand huge price tags with unworkable turnaround times, limited to large events.

Visit our Mobile App budgeting tool and see what your event apps are going to cost you for the year.

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6 responses to “3 Myths of Mobile Apps for Events”

  1. JeffEpstein says:

    Some rather bold assumptions made here, Mr. Kockott, not the least of which is that it takes ‘on average’ 4 weeks to plan an event. Does anyone else find this timeframe aggressive? And I have to disagree that event apps are disposable. When properly designed and embedded into the event’s overall structure, they’re anything but disposable, offering up valuable content, networking and interaction long before and long after an event officially ends. That is more true for small meetings, no doubt, and perhaps that’s where things get confusing. Everything you say applies nicely to those meetings (except for your assumption on price), but not to what the industry typically refers to as an ‘event’. Anyone feel differently?

    • Hey Jeff. Actually I think Greg has a point here and this is not because this is a paid placement, but because indeed the event industry is made not only of mega conventions and 1M budget conferences – probably the meeting industry is – yet this is not the Meeting Manager Blog.

      Not all events are huge and in fact if you take corporate event professionals who routinely plan small workshops and events, the assumption of 4 to 6 weeks is very relevant. I’ve had actually much less time than that when working for corporations. This the assumption that Greg makes.

      Of course a 6 weeks timeframe for larger events is unrealistic.

      With small events apps can be surely disposable. I’ve witnessed that myself planning small customer events for a large B2B company where the app was very disposable and I agree with Greg’s statement that investing a large budget was a very weak decision.

      I believe both worlds and perspectives are valid and surely apply to massively different markets and event professionals. It is difficult with such a huge market saying this is right or wrong. It is more a question of whether this applies to my event (or series of events) or not.

      Happy to listen to your experience with bigger events as much as I am to listen to Greg’s on smaller.

      • JeffEpstein says:

        100% agree that small meetings and events can and should take advantage of mobile apps, and that the budget requirements are very different. Here at QuickMobile, we have years of experience with smaller events, with clients using our multi-event platform for the flagship user conferences all the way down to the regional 25-person team meeting (several of our clients run more than 200 meetings and events a year on our platform). And it’s priced accordingly, based on functionality and value. Our clients can build an app on our platform in hours, not weeks, completely bypassing the App Store or Google Play (as the container app is already released).

        What tripped me up were the repeated references to ‘events’, when really what was being talked about were ‘meetings’. A subtle but intrinsically important distinction, one that we make sure to convey when we position our solution, ‘the app and analytics platform for meetings and events’. Those two worlds are very different, as we all agree.

        • Greg Kockott says:

          Jeff, I disagree. What I’m saying is that not only are we at HelloCrowd able to offer big events a big brand feel with their very own branded multi-event app, but we’re also able to offer smaller meetings the very same big brand feel with their own multi-event apps too. And it doesn’t matter what size event you are or how many features you require or the number of attendees at your event, you still pay the same affordable monthly subscription. It’s true Software as a Service.

          • JeffEpstein says:

            There are a lot of mobile app business models in play; ultimately, the market will determine what fits best, what’s valuable (it’s never as simple as price, unless that’s the slice of the market you’re after). A great mobile app experience addresses the needs and exceeds the expectations of all stakeholders – attendees, planners, exhibitors, speakers, etc. It takes a lot more than basic branding and functionality to deliver on these expectations.

            The same applies to SaaS, which is about a lot more than pricing. It’s a product delivery model, an IT infrastructure model, a service and support model. As the mobile event app industry matures – despite its growth in recent years it still has a way to go – it will likely mirror other tech sectors in how it operates. This means it will settle into a tiered market of a few different value propositions and supporting business models.

            See you out there!

    • Greg Kockott says:

      Mr Epstein, I soppose the crux of what I’m trying to say is yes, there definitely are events that have the luxury of months of planning and time to implement long term communication strategies and yes mobile event apps certainly can be a great long term engagement tool but there are very many events that don’t fit the “big meeting budget” mould. Why should these events be limited to printed schedules, roving mics and paper feedback forms? The reality is that if your attendees aren’t engaging with your app they’re going to be reading email, surfing the net or catching up on Facebook. Given the choice and budget permitting, I bet most small to mid-sized events would relish the opportunity to offer their attendees a great mobile event app that was easy to build and didn’t take weeks to deliver.


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