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Event Technology & Apps
22 May 2023 

The Complete Guide to Mobile Apps for Events and Conferences

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Chaviva Gordon-Bennett
The Complete Guide to Mobile Apps for Events and Conferences

A mobile app isn’t a “nice to have” for today’s in-person event attendees and organizers — it’s a non-negotiable. 

In an age where more than 253 million Americans own smartphones and spend more than four and a half hours using them daily, apps have become table stakes for event organizers — especially given the fact that more than 75% of that four and a half hours is spent exclusively within apps.

By acknowledging that attendees are already on their devices and providing them with a comprehensive mobile event app, event teams can meet expectations while delivering more value and ensuring their conferences stand out. This is why mobile apps are increasingly a cornerstone of an effective event strategy.

The Benefits of Using Mobile Apps for Events and Conferences

Using a mobile app to navigate your next event, you can improve attendee engagement by providing a convenient platform that everyone can access at the ideal time to access schedules, session details, speaker information, and other essential updates. Should anything change during the event, organizers can even pump out push notifications to all app users, ensuring everyone stays in the loop and knows what’s happening and where they should be.

On top of this, today’s leading event teams rely on mobile event apps because they offer the following benefits: 

  • More personalized experiences for attendees: Leading event apps enable attendees to create personalized agendas based on the sessions, topics, and speakers they’re most interested in. As a result, attendees can filter out the noise, focus on what matters most, and make the most of their time.
  • Better networking and 1:1 meeting opportunities: Mobile conference apps also let attendees see who else is at the event. If anyone piques their interest, attendees can proactively reach out to them through the app to connect digitally or set up a time to meet in person. Because networking opportunities are a primary goal for event attendees, an app is an easy way to ensure their time is well spent.
  • The ability to collect valuable data about attendees: Event organizers can collect valuable data about attendees’ behavior, engagement, and preferences with a mobile app. Using this information, event teams can figure out which aspects of the event attendees liked the most and which they liked the least, then use that data to improve future events.
  • Improved overall event efficiency: Instead of having attendees constantly asking event staff questions, a mobile app empowers users to self-serve that information at their leisure. As a result, the event becomes much more efficient while reducing your event’s reliance on paper, making the gathering more sustainable.

Additional benefits of mobile event apps include collecting feedback from attendees via quick surveys before, during, and after the event and potential sponsorship and revenue opportunities (e.g., via sponsored content, branded features, or publishing ads). 

The Challenges of Using Mobile Apps for Events

Although mobile event apps can transform the event experience, they have challenges. 

For starters, getting users to download the app in the first place can be tricky — mainly if they are unaware it even exists. Here are a few tactics:

Promote the event app on your social channels and via email in the weeks and months leading up to the event. 
On event day, ensure your check-in kiosks feature a QR code that takes participants to the app store to download your event app. 
Post signage throughout the check-in area on event day to encourage mobile conference app adoption. 

Additionally, event apps can cause compatibility issues; an iOS app won’t be helpful to attendees with Android devices. But there’s an easy fix: Ensure your app performs well across all operating systems and devices. Additionally, ensure the app is well-designed and easy to use; otherwise, adoption and usage will leave much to be desired. To do this, conduct usability testing ahead of time and consider creating how-to guides that users can access during the event.

Event check-in apps also don’t do much good if attendees regularly struggle with connectivity issues. To avoid this, partner with an event technology vendor with a proven track record of success. 

Finally, mobile conference apps can present data privacy and security challenges. Since the last thing you want is for attendee data to get stolen, it’s essential to look for a robust app built with security and compliance top of mind.

Mobile App Features for Events and Conferences

As you look for a mobile conference app, seek an intuitive design option that delivers strong user experiences. The right solution will enable users to quickly scroll through agendas and sign up to attend a session in a single click. It will also provide out-of-the-box networking experiences — like clicking on a speaker’s LinkedIn page and connecting with them there.

Additionally, an effective mobile event app will be packed with all sorts of features, including the following:

  • Agenda and schedule
  • Speaker information
  • Networking features (e.g., 1:1 messaging and attendee directories)
  • Live streaming
  • Q&A
  • Surveys
  • Feedback
  • Maps and directions
  • Contact information
  • Sponsor pages
  • Session chat
  • And more!

How to Choose the Right Mobile App for Your Event

Unfortunately, you can’t just deploy any event app and expect great results. Ideally, you’ll be able to offer attendees the best event apps on the market today. 

But how exactly can you go about doing that? Keep these four ideas in mind as you search for an event app solution and narrow your options.

1. Consider the size and scope of your event

You might not need an event app if you’re hosting a 20-person workshop, but if you plan to invite thousands of attendees to a venue, you need an app. Make sure that it’s scalable and can deliver high performance for thousands of concurrent users.

2. Think about the features that are most important to your attendees

If an app doesn’t deliver the features attendees expect, what good is it? Consider surveying your audience for features they’d like to see in an event app and let that feedback guide your decision-making process.

3. Read reviews of different apps to get feedback from other event organizers

This might be your first time using an event app, but you don’t have to start from scratch. Read reviews on sites like G2 and TrustRadius to see what other event organizers have to say.

4. Contact the app developer to ask questions about their features and pricing

After you’ve settled on a few options, contact the vendor to learn more about features and pricing. If you feel good about the product, request a demo to see it in action.

Uplevel Your Event Experience with the Bizzabo Mobile App

Bizzabo’s fully customizable and flexible mobile conference app delivers a modern and engaging experience for event organizers and attendees alike. Here’s what you can expect with the Bizzabo mobile app:

  • Empower attendees to ask questions, participate in session chat channels, provide session feedback, and answer live polls. 
  • Allow attendees to search for connections, start 1:1 messages, and instantly message new contacts with the tap of Bizzabo’s SmartBadge™.
  • Offer a fully interactive agenda and let attendees personalize their event experience.
  • Upload a venue map or integrate an interactive map to help attendees navigate the venue. 
  • Send segmented push notifications and real-time announcements based on registration type, field, or platform interactions.
  • Encourage attendees to find and contact sponsors and exhibitors while giving sponsors powerful tools for driving and proving ROI. 

Request a demo today to learn more about how the Bizzabo mobile app can impress and engage your attendees and make your next event the best yet.

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