7 Tips to Boost Adoption of Your Mobile Event App

November 24, 2013

Jen Hawkins

Jen Hawkins is the director of marketing at DoubleDutch, the leading provider of mobile event applications for trade shows, conferences and meetings.

This year, we’ve seen mobile event apps transition from a “nice-to-have” offering at trade shows into an expected, integrated part of the event experience. Attendees are generally glued to their smartphones, and smart event organizers are leveraging that mobile addiction to make a truly impactful event experience.

But for the event applications to make a maximum impact, attendees need to be aware of the app, download it and use them. So, app promotion is perhaps the most critical step.

Here are some tips to boost event app adoption that we’ve learned from experience with our own customers and our own event planning efforts.

1) Start Early

Before your conference kicks off, send an -mail to generate app awareness, asking attendees to respond to a question in the app. For example: Which session are you most looking forward to? What hotel are you staying at? What bar are you hitting up the night before the conference? Simple questions make it easier for attendees to participate and connect in person at the event.

2) Encourage Download at Registration

Set up an "app support" area near registration, staffed with someone who can help attendees get started. Include signage that has both compelling benefits, and clear download instructions. Incentivize attendees to download early, by awarding points or badges for an attendee’s first check in at the app support table. This sets the stage for high participation.

3) Dedicated App Champions

With a busy trade show and packed badge pick-up line, some folks may miss the app assistance at the registration table. Therefore, organizers should have a few staff members - app champions - roam the exhibit floor and other areas of the expo. These easy-to-find app evangelists should be available to answer guests’ questions about the app and encourage attendees to download it.

4) Contests and Gamification

Leveraging games and contests within the app is a great way to jumpstart adoption and activity. For example, you can give a prize to attendees who check in at every exhibitor booth, or enter attendees into a raffle if they leave five or more ratings or three survey completions. We’ve even had customers execute scavenger hunts through our apps and award the winner with a free pass to their next event.

5) Leverage Social Media

For apps with an official hashtag, using twitter to promote your app is a must. Use short tweets to highlight specific app benefits. Some benefits resonate more than others, so put various benefits out there.

For internal events that may not use a twitter hashtag, think of where the social networking happens for attendees. Maybe it’s an internal forum or wiki, or a common bulletin board … be sure to leverage the social spaces in which your target audience interacts.

6) Daily App Recaps

Each day, attendees have interesting conversations on the application. Showcase this engagement to all event attendees through daily recaps of the best comments and photos. Share relevant stats about the top sessions and speakers of the day – and those that are not on the app will be motivated to hop on board.

7) Get Speakers and Exhibitors Involved

Last but not least, encourage speakers and exhibitors to become advocates for the app. Ask the keynote to pose a question that attendees can answer via the app. Encourage exhibitors to give swag to people that check in to their booth location. Not only does it help app adoption among attendees, but it opens up the conversation to all event stakeholders.

Do you have any other suggestions to boost app engagement at events? Share them in the comments below!

To learn more tips and tricks for boosting app downloads, check out the Official App Promotion Guide by DoubleDutch today.

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