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Consider the App's Overall User Experience

An intuitive interface boosts adoption

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On average, attendees spend more than $1500 to attend an event. They’re losing time at work and with their family to come to your function. So, when they arrive on site, their motivation is high to hit the ground running and begin learning, networking and influencing right away. They need an event app that’s simple to use and can be adopted in minutes.

On the other side of the equation, event professionals often have an annual event roster in the double digits, with few technological resources at their disposal. Therefore, it’s no surprise that 79 percent want an event app that’s quick and easy to set up and manage.

The bottom line?

Both parties crave technology with an instinctive user experience. It’s a critical component of the “Event App Equation”: An intuitive interface = increased app adoption = enhanced staff and attendee engagement = an upsurge in actionable data collection = a boost in long-term ROI.

The top 4 signs that an app offers a great user experience:

Seamless, self-service set-up

Ideally, the event app should offer event producers a step-by-step build process, including drag-and-drop functionality. As an event organizer, you should easily be able to tailor your app with the features you need, then add content and publish with just a few clicks—no design or coding experience necessary.

Interactive interface

This one applies to both event staff and attendees: Is the event app easy to download? Are features and functions quickly accessible and understandable? Are graphics engaging and helpful in managing the user journey? Is it easy to log in, pick up the event pulse and start interacting? These are all key components of a smooth UX.

Holistic help center

An event app shouldn’t require a high learning curve, but everyone needs a little assistance once in a while. Can attendees access a comprehensive help section within the app? Are administrators able to answer their own questions via a robust online help center, or get live support via chat or ticketing systems?

Free build experience

No event producer should purchase an event app blind. In addition to a comprehensive demo experience, make sure your event tech vendor lets you skip the guessing games and build your app for free before you buy. That way you can test the app’s interface—both from an administrative and attendee perspective—before it’s too late.

Assess the App's Features and Functionality

9 app components planners and attendees want

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The best of today’s event apps are built around one tri-tipped theme: They foster engagement and enhance the event experience for both attendees and administrators, via an immersive and intuitive platform. In fact, according to one recent study, 60 to 70 percent of the most highly leveraged app features are engagement-based.

We’ve already covered the importance—to both event professionals and attendees—of app being backed by an easy-to-use interface.

Look for These Event App Features:
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Private social network

Leading event apps spur attendee interaction with content via exclusive social channels, where individuals can post, comment, like and share photos and links with their colleagues. The ability to showcase activity on a social wall is another must-have.

Branding options

Whether you’re creating your own externally “branded” app using a vendor’s template and your developer account, or housing your app inside the vendor’s “container,” the platform should foster a host of opportunities to reflect the look and feel of your organization.

Customizable schedule

No two events are alike, so why should you be forced into a cookie-cutter agenda template? Look for an app that lets you personalize your schedule by topics and tracks, and supports comprehensive session descriptions, speaker bios and document uploads.

Polling, surveys and gamification

Real-time polling and survey features allow the voice of your attendees to be heard. Gamification spurs further attendee engagement. All three functions empower event pros to compile valuable data for post-event nurturing and optimization.

Push notifications

An app that keeps your guests up to date in real time is a boon for the event experience—and a lifesaver for the event planner. Event producers also love that these notifications can be scheduled in advance to run throughout the event.

Interactive maps

Help attendees navigate to their sessions and breaks, as well as find exhibitors, sponsors, and other key venue locations by choosing an app that lets you upload and personalize a location guide. The map should be easy to create and update.

Network-building functions

In addition to educational opportunities, the ability to network is a primary driver behind event attendance. Your app should include a portal where attendees can build profiles and engage in both private chats and group messaging.

Analytics prowess

If you’re looking for long-term event ROI, you'll want an app that not only allows you to collect priceless attendee data, but also manage it, analyze it, and leverage it later on for segmented and personalized follow-up campaigns.

Seamless sync to registration

Consider event tech that offers an intuitive and comprehensive registration system in addition to the event app. Look for one that is able to smoothly integrate attendee check-in data between the two platforms at the touch of a button.

Choose a Platform with Solid Back-end Analytics

Does the app put your data to work?

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Ah, the Catch 22 of event production: A full 68 percent of B2B marketers say they leverage face-to-face events for lead generation, but 19 percent of event marketers don’t know their functions’ ROI.

While event marketing has historically fallen behind digital marketing in terms of sophistication and tech-stack prowess, savvy event producers now understand that it’s crucial to create a seamless attendee journey between digital (online) and experiential (offline) interactions.

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In other words...

It’s time to bridge the gap between event marketing and digital marketing.

In order to realize true, actionable ROI from an event, it’s imperative to collect, manage and analyze quality data. That’s why when choosing an event app, serious consideration should be given to the solution’s back-end analytics platform.

Key analytics components to research and demo include:

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Does the app capture data across the entire attendee journey, including your website, registration system, the app’s private social network, real-time polling, surveys and content downloads?

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Are administrators easily able to segment data post-event to create personalized follow-up campaigns based on attendee content preferences, social activity, survey results and other at-event interactions?

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Can you integrate data from the event app with other third-party platforms in your marketing tech stack?

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Does the vendor have machine learning-based capability queued up on their product roadmap in order to squeeze predictive analytics from your event data?

Scrutinize the Vendor's Support Situation

Will a helping hand be there when you need it?

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If you jumped directly to this section, you’re in good company. A whopping 78 percent of event producers said that support is their number one concern when it comes to event management software, and almost 57 percent said support offerings impact their decision when selecting an event app.

Here’s what to look for when considering a vendor’s support offerings:

Comprehensive self-service support

Does the vendor offer a well-rounded online help center that’s simple to use when you have a quick question or want tips and tricks?

In-app help

Are there how-to and troubleshooting guides for attendees within the app itself? How easy are they to find and navigate?

Responsive live-agent assistance

What’s the average response time from an actual human when you’re experiencing an issue? Do they offer live chat, email ticketing or phone support?

Check Out Onboarding and Success Offerings

A good Success Team is your long-term partner

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In addition to having friendly support at your fingertips, you should also make sure that your event app vendor offers robust onboarding and client success programs—to every account, not just as an upsell opportunity.

Even with the most intuitive of apps, an event producer can benefit from onboarding sessions by learning tips and tricks, shortcuts and sanity-checking their app set-up. A well-oiled Customer Success team will be your partner from onboarding through post-event recap, helping you crunch the most ROI out of your app and actively soliciting feedback.

Make sure an event app:

Offers free onboarding

The best vendors have no problem hosting multiple sessions as you get closer to your event date.

Sets you up for success

A Customer Success Manager should be available to guide you through your app journey.

Dig Into Pricing and Package Options

Good plans offer transparency and flexibility

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Ah, event budgeting, often the perfect combination of caviar-laden tastes and sardine-burdened bank accounts. In fact, close to 60 percent of event planners named shrinking budgets as their most immediate challenge. It doesn’t make things any easier when there is such a vast range in event tech pricing.

For example, a recent study found that the average minimum app cost was $1900, while the average maximum price was five times that amount.

So how do you make sure you’re getting the most for your money—and that what you see during the demo will be what you get once you sign up?

Tips for getting the biggest bang out of your event app buck:

Do your research

You’re already on the right track! Make sure to consider at least three event app vendors, giving particular priority to referrals or those with high customer ratings.

Seek vendor transparency

Your sales rep should be up front with you about whether their app has specific capabilities. Those with integrity will admit if their tech isn't what you need.

Avoid the bait and switch

Beware of event-tech vendors that promise you the moon only to bombard you with add-on costs later. Their materials should make it clear what features are included.

Look for pricing flexibility

Does a vendor offer a-la-carte and package pricing? Is there an opportunity to save if you pay for multiple events at one time? Is there a non-profit discount?

Evaluate the App's Reliability Factor

Service uptime is key when your event's on the line

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Of course, your app can have all the features under the sun—at a fantastic price point—but it won’t matter if the platform is constantly experiencing technical issues. Ratings and reviews (both from event attendees and producers) are a good indicator of an app’s reliability. You’ll also want to see a product roadmap to learn how future updates will impact functionality.

Examine the App's Ratings and Reviews

Does it have raving fans or are users raving mad?

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Research shows that when it comes to factors impacting their decision in choosing an event app, only about 26 percent of event planners said recommendations, 16 percent said popularity and eight percent said Google research. But reviewing existing client sentiment should be a core component of your app research process. To suss out the facts, take a look at the following proof points:

Review sites

G2Crowd, Capterra, the Apple App Store and Google Play rate event apps on a star system, and offer customer feedback.

Case studies

Read through the event app vendor's case studies. These are a great source of information on specific success metrics.

Testimonials

Check out customer testimonials on the provider's website. These help paint a good picture of their industry expertise.

The Ultimate Event App Checklist:

Compare Top Vendors with This Interactive Tool

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Download this free checklist and start rating event app vendors for different areas of product excellence. We’ve given you a head start!

Download Checklist

It's Time to Apply Your Actionable Insights

A successful event tech journey awaits you!

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Whether you’re an event app first-timer or a seasoned pro, it makes sense to do your research each time you’re in the market for a new solution. By following the tips included in this guide, you’re well on your way to successfully finding the right fit in the ever-changing world of event technology. Best of luck on your journey!