December 20, 2019
By Felicia Asiedu

Mobile event apps have become an integral part of the modern event planning strategy. When it comes to large events, attendees not only look for mobile events apps, but expect them. From driving pre-event conversations to providing networking opportunities and real-time feedback, these apps offer a myriad of benefits to enhance your event and make it more engaging than ever before. According to a study by Global Experience Specialists, 91% of event organisers who have invested in an event app for their events have experienced positive ROI.

However, these benefits cannot be realised if your attendees don’t use your app. If you want to execute a stellar event and prove the ROI of your app, you need to go beyond promotions. You have to convince your attendees to download and actively use it.

This guide will walk you through different aspects of event app adoption, provide insights on why attendees might not sign up for your app, and suggest a selection of tips and tricks for increasing event app adoption rates.

Defining event app adoption goals

Setting event app adoption goals

Before drafting a strategy to attract users towards your event app, you should first determine your goals. What exactly does event app adoption mean to you?

Depending on the size, complexity and nature of the event, your event app adoption goals can be defined around the following metrics:

  • Number of downloads for the app
  • Frequency – number of page views, time spent on the page
  • In-app communication

‘Number of Downloads’ is a crucial metric as it helps you gauge the popularity of your app and the effectiveness of your app promotion campaign. Unless your event app is downloaded, it is difficult to even begin a discussion around other metrics or app features.

The event app acts as the main content hub for your event. Any information users want to view should be available at their fingertips with a couple of clicks. This is where ‘Page views’ come in handy as they provide insights on which pages are frequented the most and how much time are users spending on each page. Once you have this info, you can make the relevant changes to your app to create better events in the future.

Your event app should engage attendees before, during, and after the event. If your app is not buzzing with activity, it means the users do not find it a convenient communication channel? In that case, you might want to rethink your strategy to encourage more in-app communication. Some good examples include personalising messages, providing bite-sized tips and tricks, gamification of content, creating milestones etc.

Causes of low event app adoption

Causes of low app adoption

According to Cvent’s Mobile Event App Benchmark Report, the average event app adoption rate currently stands at 63% and is expected to further rise in the coming years. However, there are instances where your event app does not appeal enough to users. There are numerous reasons behind low event app adoption, and some of the major ones are:

Difficult log-in process: When it comes to logging into an event app, two things are of utmost importance: 1) Easy log-in process 2) Data Security. Users should be able to login to your app without any hassles while feeling that their personal data is secure. To play it safe, provide the option of social log-ins through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. If you have a complicated process that requires several details or no opt-outs, then your event app won’t be too popular with people.

When it comes to data security, your mobile app, along with the event itself, is GDPR-compliant. Make sure the data rights of your users are upheld and consent is managed on a granular level.

Lack of advertising: People will download your app only when they become aware of it. If you are not advertising your app enough, you won’t be able to reach your target audience and get enough sign-ups. Make sure you advertise your app regularly through strategic channels and mediums (e.g. social media, digital standees at major events etc), while highlighting its features and benefits clearly.

Multi-platform use: Is your event app dynamic enough to work in a desktop environment? Many attendees prefer going about their pre-event tasks like building profiles or personalising agendas on a desktop or a laptop, as they find the wider screen size more comfortable than on their phone. If your app isn’t supported on a desktop, chances are attendees could think twice before downloading it.

Not personalised enough: How far your engagement goes with your attendees depends on the level of personalisation offered in your event app. Your app should enable attendees to personalise their schedules, create personal libraries of presentations and exhibitor collateral, review sessions and stands, and access the right content.

Over-advertising: Let’s face it – ads are annoying. Too many promotions and pop-ups on your app will encourage users to uninstall it sooner or later. If ads cannot be avoided, you should ensure they link to an educational piece of content like a white paper or an eBook, instead of redirecting to another promotional web or product page.

Lacking valuable content: To make your event successful, you need great content. The same holds true for your event app. It should offer all relevant information such as session details, presentations, exhibitor collaterals, and act as a forum for user-generated discussions. Every single piece of content on your app should provide useful value to your target users.

Different ways to increase event app adoption rates

Event app adoption growth

Once you have defined your event app adoption goals and noted the possible mistakes that could lead to low adoptions, let’s discuss the strategy and steps that can actually improve your app adoption rates:

Early promotions

Promote your event app long before your event starts, (at least two months before). Have a link and information with the registration confirmation email; use the app for sending real-time agenda change notifications; and put links to the app in important places on your website. You can also leverage multi-event apps if you conduct recurring events. Multi-event apps allow for multiple unique event apps to be housed in one central app and keep the attendee engagement alive throughout the year.

Easy to access:

Provide different ways to access your app, such as mobile web, native, or desktop web. This will ensure that you don’t miss out anyone.

Holistic networking

Include your event evangelists – your sponsors, exhibitors and speakers – in your app. This will help them make the most out of your event by networking with your attendees.

Educating users

Depending upon your attendee type, you might have to educate them. Send instructions on how to access and use the app, or create a blog post on tips, tricks and best practices. You can also create short video tutorials to help them get started.

Offer Something Special:

Create a fun engagement campaign around your app usage with free giveaways, private social events at the venue or even prize draws.

Keep marketing, but don’t overdo it

It is highly likely that not everyone attending your event will have your app on their phone. So, it is recommended that you promote it during the event as well. Mention your app at the opening of the event and occasionally during the event. You should also promote the app even after your event is over as it is a great way to build community and increase renewals next year. A note of caution though – don’t go overboard. Subtly put your message and highlight the benefits the attendees would get by downloading your app. Their curiosity will certainly be piqued enough to explore it once!

As events become increasingly dependent on technology, a new role of event technologist has emerged. Learn how a dedicated resource handling all your tech needs can do wonders for your event in this eBook Rise of the Event Technologist’.


Felicia Asiedu

An experienced CIM qualified marketing professional, Felicia is the European Marketing Manager at Cvent and has nearly 15 years’ sales and marketing experience in fast-moving technology businesses. She's responsible for the strategic direction of the marketing team in Europe, including expansion planning, campaign execution, demand generation and event management. Before joining Cvent, Felicia held multiple marketing and business development positions with technology providers including Rackspace, Telecity Group (now Equinix), Infinity Data Centres and Merrill Corporation (now Datasite). Having had a healthy appetite for events for many years, she also has experience in planning and hosting both corporate and private events as well as speaking at both live and virtual events.
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