Event Apps: A Buyer’s Guide
Every event can be enhanced by a dedicated app. Today’s consumer demands easy access to whatever information they need instantly. Whether it’s an internal event for your staff, or a large public event, you’ve probably thought about making a dedicated app. And if not, maybe you should.
In the enterprise space, event apps are becoming more commonplace than most other app genres. That’s because they offer instant ROI and cost savings to the business by giving value to their customers and saving on printing costs. It’s also because making an events app no longer means going to a development agency. You can do it yourself, from your desk, without any coding or design know how.
There is a growing market of event app builders ranging in price from free to £20,000 and beyond with the average price sitting somewhere between £1,500 and £5,000 per event. With this disparity in price, you’d expect a similar disparity in functionality, design and features -however, this is does not seem to be true.
The amount of listed features each event app builder has varies from very few to more than you know what to do with, the latter being a common train of the more expensive builders. So it is important to find out which features you need for your event. Moreover, it is important to assess the value and return on investment each feature will offer you.
Attendee engagement is the name of the game. The customer of today is never more than 3 feet from their mobile phone. At an event, they won’t be more than 3 millimeters. Unfortunately, they’ll probably spend more time on their devices than they will listening to the keynotes.
However, event apps offer a unique opportunity for event organizers to use this attachment to mobile technology to increase engagement before, during and after the event – extending the life of the event itself.
The main features that you can include in mobile apps to help increase engagement are:
- Feedback, surveys and live polling
- Interactive agendas
- Session content
- Push notifications
- Social media feeds
Fortunately, all of these engagement features are all offered at the lower end of the £1500 – £20000 scale, although some at differing levels of complexity. So why would you pay for an expensive (£20000) app solution if you only need these?
One reason would be to have a native app, instead of a mobile website. A native app is downloaded onto the device, rather than opened in a browser. The main drawback of many of a cheaper event app builder is that they either don’t offer these functionalities or, if they do, they only offer one operating system at a time. This can be a problem in a world with just as many iPhones as Android devices.
Another reason you may have to pay more for your app would be to have it completely branded to your company. Adding colors, logos and custom fonts is an important way in which the app becomes ‘on brand’ and familiar to your users.
In addition to app branding, you would need to pay more for a white-labelled app. The cheaper app builders often don’t allow you to do either branding or white-labelling. The more expensive may offer either of the two, or both, but will charge you for it from £10,000 to £100,000+
So looking for the solution with the right features, branding options and deployment details is very important.
On top of customization, you need the freedom to make updates on the fly. An event is a dynamic environment, you need to be able to adapt to this. Plus part of the advantage of having an event app is being able to update it between sessions. What if a speaker changes at the last minute? No worries about having to re-print the programme.
A solution that doesn’t offer you autonomous updates isn’t the solution for you. You don’t want to be on the phone to the respective customer support team, asking them to update your app, which they’ll probably do after their next cup of tea.
You want to update it when you say it’s ready to be updated. And you want that update to be instantaneous.
Your app needs to be fully available offline (with the exception of 4K Video… maybe). Without that functionality, you don’t have a feasible event app platform. Here’s the reasons:
- Your users will become frustrated with loading times
- These loading times will depreciate as the amount of attendees increases
- The internet is not always available or of good quality.
- A glowing example of a failed event app was the Bestival App – only available with internet connection in a field with little to no 3G connectivity, at the best of times. The user become instantly dependant on old forms of information.
You app becomes worthless and the £5k – £10k you spent on it becomes a waste.
As well as features, you need customer service. Your event app isn’t going to run completely smoothly, you want an expert to guide you through the process and point you in the right direction. A good company will focus their efforts on two things: exceptional customer service and an exceptional product.
Without those two aspects you, the customer, are not going to get maximum value from the product you’ve bought.
I’ve spoken a lot about value so far. But it’s true, what is an event app if it’s not a valuable tool that gives you strong ROI?
However, one value that people often forget is the value your attendees are getting. Your attendees should be getting maximum value from the app. Will they continue to use the app because it’s a VALUABLE tool for them? The app will have to deliver all of the things your attendees will need to have a better experience in order to be of value to them.
What about features that your customer or you won’t find value in but cost more money? You should find the solution that delivers as close to exactly what you need as possible. A good company will always look to develop features you desire. After all, the customer is always right.
With a market so full of competitive solutions, you should find the right one for you. You should be able to match your needs exactly to an app solution. To find the solution that’s right for you you should focus on three key things:
- The Product
- The Company
- The Value
As an enterprise customer, you shouldn’t be spending £20K for an events app. As a festival organizer, you shouldn’t be spending £20K, so why do it? Do some research and find the right solution for you – it’s out there!
If you’re interested in finding out more about how Fliplet can help with your next event visit our event apps page