There are few topics in the event industry buzzing right now like mobile apps. The past few years have seen a swell of event app adoption. According to a study by the Event Manager Blog, around 40% of event planners have used an event app, with the remaining 60% still holding out over concerns of price, implementation, and benefits.

As many early adopters have seen, event apps can align with show management objectives in a number of important ways. They can…

  • Make events more sustainable by reducing paper and printing
  • Improve attendee data collection
  • Deliver rich analytics to improve lead nurturing and ongoing marketing efforts
  • Accommodate a younger generation of event-goers
  • Make use of attendees’ devices rather than rented hardware
  • Distinguish an event from its competition
  • Achieve a better ROI for hosts and exhibitors compared to other tools

But not all event apps are created equal. Nor will all suit your unique objectives. At a minimum, when looking for your perfect event app, make sure it covers the following bases:

  • Easy adoption: It should be painless for attendees to access and use, no matter their age or technical ability
  • Great data: It should not only promote engagement on-site but deliver actionable, measurable results after the event is over—anything less and an app is just an expensive distraction
  • Branded: It should be tailored to your company and event—it’s your show, after all, not someone else’s
  • Simple to duplicate: It should save set-up time by being easy to replicate, whether you host one show or multiple events throughout the year
  • Service: It should come with dedicated support staff to help set it up and provide best practices for an optimum show day experience

Also, think about how long to leave your app “on” after your event is over. We implemented apps at shows in March that, three months later, continue to be used by attendees and their associates to collect exhibitor and product information. All of their activity is tracked, so the show host and exhibitors continue to collect leads from a show that ended 90 days ago. Extending the life of an event is a surefire way to improve your ROI.

And now, before completely catching event app fever, you might be asking yourself how likely it is for your attendees to even have smartphones, which make the whole event app experience possible. As of April 2014, 70% of mobile subscribers were using smartphones. You can breathe easy knowing that it’s highly likely that your audience is well suited to using a mobile app at your events. 

We were incredibly excited to unveil our new event web app this spring, and the results have been pretty mind-blowing. Click here to check out Show Expert Mobile Leads.

So, have you incorporated mobile into your event experience? How has it helped? What has surprised you? We look forward to your comments below!