event apps the pros and cons

Feb 03, 2016

Event apps have become very popular of late, with dozens of different providers available at varying costs, not to mention custom-built event apps.

Are they worth the extra investment for an event? We think the answer depends entirely on the event style and what the client is trying to achieve.

Benefits of event apps

  • Engagement

Many apps offer interactive features such as live polling, facilities for asking individual questions and editing for multiple users. These features can both encourage group work, as well as enable attendees uncomfortable with speaking into a microphone a more informal way to have their questions directly answered.

  • Live information

Schedules, information on speakers and sponsors or newsfeeds. Event apps can provide a wider picture of the event, directly accessible at attendees’ finger tips. This will allow them to focus on the event content, rather than trying to find out where they need to go and when – a very useful benefit at large events such as trade shows or events with multiple speakers.

  • Inclusivity

Event apps also make it possible to enable people who couldn’t attend the event to share in the information presented and engage with colleagues and even presenters.

  • Instant feedback

Obtaining instant feedback may not only help on-site logistics to solve potential problems, but also means that with the right questions asked at the right moments, feedback on the success of different aspects of the event can be obtained instantly. This can be more beneficial than sending out post-event surveys as attendees will still be focussed on the event.

Against event apps

  • Technology for the sake of it

Not all events have a need for event apps. If the style of the event is focussed on all delegates participating in the same activities or attending the same presentation, all the information they need may be easily relayed by the presenter. In this case, using smartphones may be more of a distraction than an aid.

  • Too many platforms

Many companies already have internal communications systems in place. If they are already using Yammer, their own bespoke system or an online Delegate Management System, adding another place for them to access information may mean that once the event is over, the chances of them using the app again diminish considerably.

  • Preparation

Attendees may not come fully prepared with the app already downloaded and may be reluctant to use their data if no free Wi-Fi is available on-site.

While we offer both event apps and delegate management systems to our clients, in our view both types of technology need to be used in a suitable way to balance cost effectiveness with efficient content delivery to best suit the event.