So you’re thinking about using a new event app at your next event? Incorporating a conference/event app into your event has the potential to enhance the experience in all sorts of ways, most importantly for you, the organizer, but also for everyone involved in the event. You should be excited more than anything else! That said, researching and evaluating all of your event app options can seem daunting. Outlined below are the 8 most important things to consider when evaluating an event/conference app.
Why are conference apps important?
Event apps are a must have at conferences these days – speakers, attendees, and vendors are all expecting them when they register for an event. And for good reason. Event apps do more than just make it seem like it’s up-to-date with tech trends. They actually provide a lot of value to the event manager, attendees and everyone in between. The top event apps on the market have features that customize the attendee experience, like a personalized event agenda and network match-making. For organizers, a mobile app is the most efficient way to push out real-time notifications, stay connected with attendees, and increase the overall event engagement.
Bottom line? You’re making the right choice to use an app for your next event. There are tons of event apps on the market, so making a thoughtful and informed decision about which one to go with is the next step. Read through this guideline for things to consider, and it won’t be as challenging as you might think.
8 Critical Criteria for Evaluating an Event App:
#1 Your Audience
These 8 considerations aren’t listed in any particular order… except this one. Your attendees should always be at the forefront of your considerations when selecting your event app. What value beyond the event content does your audience hope to gain? Do they come to the event to network? Do they like to participate in sessions?
An investment in an event app is an investment in your attendees. It’s extremely important to make sure the event app you choose is designed to enhance the attendee experience, whether that means increased networking opportunities, interactive discussion boards, more chances for participation in session, easy access to event information, all of the above, or something else.
So before you start really comparing and narrowing down your options, have a strong idea of how you want this to help your attendees.
Be sure to consider how user friendly the app is for both you and your attendees.
The worst case scenario is if the app you purchase creates more problems than solutions. You definitely don’t want your inbox flooded with questions about how to use the app the day before the event, so it’s critical to ensure the event app you’re considering is user friendly for your attendees.
The good news is that the best event apps on the market reduce the need for logistics questions by offering a digital home-base for all of the event information. Of course, it’s up to you to upload that information and manage the back-end of the app, which means it should be intuitive for the organizer as well. The top platforms will make this easy for you, and actually save you time.
For example, Whova’s Event App is bundled with an all-in-one event management platform that saves event organizers time.
Customization options are key. The app you use needs to be functional first and foremost, but it’s also important to make sure it’s able to reflect the branding and theme of your event.
Many event apps have a long list of features available, and you should be able to pick and choose which ones you want to enable for your event. More than that, each feature should be flexible to fit your needs. Most apps these days understand how important it is to offer a custom experience for attendees. Some apps like Whova, go above and beyond with customization options. For example, the Whova event app generates ready-to-use & fully customizable web pages to help promote the event with no coding required.
Be sure to inquire about each app’s options to make the app custom to your event’s specific needs.
Tons of time is something most event organizers don’t have. As soon as you decide on which app you’ll use, it’s important that the set-up process is seamless. While some apps require in-depth training and technical knowledge, other platforms like Whova are intuitively designed to be used by event organizers of all technical backgrounds.
We established the event app you choose should be intuitive. But even if it’s extremely easy to use, it’s important that the platform has a great onboarding experience, set-up support, and user guides available for attendees.
Many of the top apps provide a free trial period so you can test out the platform before you make a decision. It’s a good sign if an app you’re evaluating does this because (1) it gives you and your colleagues the chance to see if it does what you need it to, and (2) it often means the customer support will be more comprehensive down the road.
How affordable is the event app? Of course you have to be sure it will fit within your budget, but be careful here. Searching for the cheapest event app option could end up doing more harm than good.
Keep in mind that the best apps also serve as an event management system that will be able to automate tedious manual event planning and actually save you time & money. These are some questions with pricing that you do need to consider:
- What is the pricing structure?
- Is it price per-event or an annual contract?
- Depending on how frequently you organize events, this could be a game changer.
For some of you, this consideration is already at the top of your mind. You’ll be storing attendee data and event content in a new digital space, which means you need to trust the platform to keep it secure before you make a decision. Don’t stress – it’s pretty safe to assume that any event app will ensure the level of security needed for most events (maybe except the CIA?), but it’s always good to ask about this before you finalize any payment!
Finally, an event app’s feature offerings need to fit into your criteria for evaluation. This one is important – think about what you decided you want to offer your event attendees. If the app doesn’t have a feature you’re hoping for, it could be a deal breaker.
Not sure which features you should be looking for? These are the basics that your event app should definitely have:
- Agenda schedule
- The app absolutely needs to offer an agenda feature, and most apps will have it. But keep in mind: Does it allow attendees to make a personalized agenda? Can it be easily updated with last-minute schedule changes? Is it accessible offline? The more customization options, the better.
- Interactive map
- This feature is a must have if you’re investing in an app. If your app has this you will save yourself from the time spent handling directionally-challenged attendees.
- Networking features
- Your attendees should be able to connect with new and old friends and colleagues directly through your event app. Some apps, like Whova, offer a range of networking options for attendees, like custom profiles, an attendee list with match-making, and digital business card scanning to name a few. The top apps will serve as a LinkedIn specific to your event’s network.
- Sponsor/Exhibitor features
- If you have sponsors and exhibitors at your event, an event app is the best way to offer them more visibility.
- Targeted notifications
- Streamlining communication with your attendees is one of the biggest advantages an event app can provide you.
It’s natural to be overwhelmed by the amount of event software on the market. Many event apps overlap in high-level feature offerings, and the small discrepancies between them can be your deciding factors. Remember — there’s no “one size fits all” app. If you take a little time to consider the 8 things outlined above, you’ll have a better idea of what your event’s needs are, and the process of evaluating and choosing event software will be a whole lot smoother.
Get started with your selection process today by checking out Whova. Click here to request a free live demo & trial account.