Though it seems like every attendee has a mobile device or tablet in their hand, we hear from many event managers that their mobile event app adoption remains low, with average attendee usage ranging from 48.5%-57%.
That's just crazy. Especially when you consider the average Pathable mobile event app attendee adoption is 83%.
That's right. More than 80% attendee event app adoption. And not only are they adopting the app (i.e. signing in), they're also engaging at about the same or higher rates.
In this post, we'll share some causes of why your mobile event app adoption could be low and our favorite, proven 6 useful tips you can start using today about how to get more attendees to download and use your mobile event app.
What are causes of low mobile event app adoption?
Your participants do want to use the tool you've invested in. Typically low adoption and engagement stems from a lack of education, a lack of need, or a combination of both. Attendees are nervous to admit they don't know what they're doing, so they just don't say anything. Good news is there are ways to combat this.
Launch your conference app at least four to six weeks before your event.
Launching an event app, especially for the first time, three days before your attendees set foot onsite is a recipe for failure. Start talking it about the fact that you have an event app early and often. Plan to launch your event app at least four to six weeks prior to your event. Don't have that much time before your event? Launch it as quickly as you can by partnering with a company that will help you with all the details.
Promote your mobile event app almost as much as you promote your conference.
Attendees can't adopt and engage with something that they don't know exists. Promote your mobile event app the same way you attracted registrants. In your welcome registration email, add a note in saying how an attendee sign in or engage with a discussion. Put a quick start guide on your conference website sharing how to get started and ways to engage on your conference website. Mention it as a drop in your know before you go emails. Get your sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, and influencers involved.
Tell the attendees why the mobile event app is important to them.
Think WIIFM, or what's it in it for me. Your attendees are busy people. Will using the conference app make their event experience better, easier, more fun, insert your own descriptor here? Do they need to use it (i.e. you've finally done away with that printed program guide) or is there a reward in it for them?
In clear, concise language, reinforce to your attendees every time you mention the event app why the app is important. Have your influencers, speakers, sponsors, and support you in that message.
Make mobile event app adoption practical.
An attendee needs to plan her/his personal agenda. It's always cold in the breakout rooms and an attendee wants you to know. Attendees need to know how to get from the airport to your venue. Sometimes a microphone breaks in the room and the speaker needs help. Unconference groups like to spring up and meet. Your company has big announcements they want to make at the event. There's a room change. An attendee needs to know where to meet the bus to the networking event. Oprah Winfrey (or whoever your conferences thinks is the *big deal* speaker) is announced as your main stage.
All of these things can be communicated to and from attendees through your mobile event app. Focus all these practical things here and tell your attendees that this is where the buck stops. Then, watch as the event app is where they congregate. They want to stay in the know after all and tell you what they need to happen. It's just practical.
Make mobile event app adoption fun.
Fun isn't always the most powerful motivator, but it can be a valuable one. And when you have the effects of something seen as fun + something seen as completely necessary, man, your attendees won't be able to stop talking about it. Which means even more participants will want to jump in on the action.
Tie event app adoption to a game you're playing with a great reward. Tie event app adoption to a free registration. Tie it to a free hotel night. Tie it to a personal shout-out from the main stage. Make an office twister game or pie in the face challenge where for every attendee who adopts the event app, your executive director or CEO moves closer to certain doom or hilarity.
Whatever makes your people your people, use those things that make you fun and bring the event app adoption into the action.
Make mobile event app adoption easy.
Don't make it tough to get started. Have a magic link sent directly to the attendee that lets them jump right in and get started. Write and widely share a quick start guide (or ask your event app account manager for one, we create branded guides customized for your events if you're a Pathable customer). Train your staff and social media to respond to questions. Record videos. Use our videos. Transcribe those videos for easy written instructions if you want a little something extra to go with the quick start guide.
Don't stop making it easy to adopt and engage once you get onsite. Have your registration staff ask attendees if they've connected when an attendee picks up their badge, and make sure they help those who are still having trouble or need to understand WIIFM. Have your emcee show how he or she is connected from the main stage. Encourage your speakers and sponsors to use the live polling and lead retrieval so that everyone has a reason and a simple way to get started.
Always encourage. Always ask. Most of the time attendees won't tell you if they're having trouble.
And don't forget, the mobile event app doesn’t need to be something only used at the event itself. By integrating the conference app into an attendee's experience as they plan their agenda and check out places to visit in the area before they arrive, helping them see the value of using it onsite, and staying connected to their people long after the event, we promise you should see your adoption numbers increase.
Whether you use our mobile event app or not (though we hope you'll give us a looksee), we hope this guide helps you raise your event app adoption. You've got a lot on your plate. Pathable would love to help.