The mobile event app market is currently focused on providing value for the event organizer, and is made up primarily of event specific, “White Label” apps. These apps can provide great functionality for organizers by helping them mobilize and sometimes even monetize their events. However, they’re simply not affordable for most events; Prices range from $5000-$40,000 per app per event, and it takes 3-4 months to develop and approve. In addition, lets not forget that event goers are a bit tired from downloading and learning a new event app for every event they go to.
Alternatively, you can find many “social discovery” apps that focus solely on the attendee side, using their existing social networks to find potential connections to others around them. The only problem is that they are completely disconnected from the organizer and the event content.
The event app market has now become so crowded that it can be confusing for buyers to choose the right tool. Both pricing plans and ranges of functionalities differ from one vendor to another, so a bit of preliminary research comes in handy before commitment. I’ll be happy to give a few insights on this subject from the perspective of Confrenz, a company that works with all types of events (conferences, trade shows, festivals) and organizations.
Cost versus functionalities: goes without saying that your app should offer far more than a digital event guide. You need to think carefully about what you really need: networking, interactive polls/discussions, file distribution? Those usually come at a higher cost, but can be used effectively to drive app adoption and make people come back. This in turn makes the app an additional channel for communication and marketing in-between events.
Options for customization: the majority of products offer little to none development options. You buy features as they are, and if you’re unhappy with them, too bad. At Confrenz, we work differently – each client has their own vision of what their app should be like. As a software house, we respond to that by delivering unique tools.
Networking/engagement capabilities: these aren’t limited only to private messaging. You also need to think of ways to facilitate setting up meetings or the ease of finding relevant contacts. Different attendee registration passes also often reflect different levels of interaction that you want to open. To that, social media integration and LinkedIn/Facebook sign-ins are key to promoting your event.
Customer support: you may not have time and staff to devote to setting up your app, running updates and so on. Make sure enough support is offered for you to focus on other event management tasks.
Event apps can be complex and you may find yourself asking a lot of questions. At Confrenz, we will guide you through the maze and show you how to make full use of it.
In short, the industry is striving for innovation.
We believe that the future is in multi-event apps that will bring together attendees and organizers. Event organizers will benefit from a free, fast to set-up and rich app, which not only provides them with mobilizing event information (agenda, speakers, sponsors), but also helps them to promote their event through social networks. On the other side of the equation, attendees get a tool that helps them socialize, create new connections and maintain those connections in real life, without the hassle of downloading and learning a new app for every event they attend.
The multi event app also opens the door for “event discovery” features, where attendees will be able to find relevant events and get personalized suggestions based on interests and past events. Organizers will focus on promoting their event within the app – and not on promoting the app itself.
Surprisingly, that’s exactly what my co-founders and our amazing team at Bizzabo are working on. Our vision is to become the standard networking app for events of all shapes and sizes. We want to allow each and every organizer, whether it is a small meetup, a corporate event or a huge conference to have a mobile and social app for their events.