Businesses are now facing the uncertainty of the unknown. That can be unsettling! Over here at Auaha, we are definitely feeling the effects of the Coronavirus. But even as we take precautions to minimise risk, we remain confident that conferences can still continue, all while also being socially safe. How so? Well, using an event app is a great way to start!

Virtual conferences that are created using event apps allow businesses to place the utmost emphasis on everyone’s safety and well being. That’s because they don’t rely on a physical gathering! Since we live in the digital age, we can (and should)  leverage these powerful tools in order to provide delegates the same quality, conference content.

Transitioning to Digital

Here at Auaha, we love to use our event app! 

Why? Well, we’re knee deep in the event industry, day in and day out. And when we find a tool that increases delegate engagement, improves relationships with event sponsors, up-levels speaker interactions, and decreases printing costs & environmental impact…

We know we’ve found something powerful!

If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you’ve already heard about how event apps can help you transition from traditional to digital at your events, and gotten some great information about how these same apps can increase delegate engagement.

Now that conferences are having to make choices about whether to cancel or adapt their upcoming conferences, event apps will allow organisers to confidently move forward, secure in the knowledge they can still provide delegates with a powerful conference experience.

That’s why we believe that the option to invest in an event app could not have come at a better time. These apps can become the heart of your conference event, providing accessibility and engagement while also emphasising physical distancing protocols. With an event app, you can live stream your event while still having your delegates virtually interact, engage and network with others. 

Whether your event app supplements your live conference, or becomes the tool that allows you to provide an amazing virtual event, these apps are here to stay!

Investment Considerations

Feeling excited?

Before you invest in your first event app, we’d encourage you to consider a few important factors. These include:

  • Making sure you’re comparing apples to apples
  • Having a clear understanding of your app’s functionality
  • Clarifying the amount of support you’ll receive

We’ll go into detail on those aspects in just a moment!

As you read this post, please remember that an event app is more than just a passing fad. As a result, there are new apps coming on the market every day, and more in production.  Since so many companies are producing apps designed specifically for events, the options can get a bit overwhelming! 

Here’s what you should keep in mind: an event app is a business investment. In addition to comparing various versions, understanding your app’s functions, and securing support, you’ll want to have a few ROI markers so you can use them to evaluate if your app is the best fit for your conference.

Comparing Apples to Apples

Event apps are a specific kind of technology. This means you’ll need to compare the features and costs of apps against one another to make the best choice.

In the same way that you wouldn’t opt out of chairs just because you’re paying for tables….

You shouldn’t opt out of an event app just because you already pay for other digital tools. For example, you may have an online registration tool, event website, or livestream service already. Yes, those are amazing event technologies. But no, you can’t rely on using other modern tools as a reason to not invest in an event app.

When it’s time to plan your event budget, give your event app a category of its own. Then, be sure to compare a variety of apps. The goal is to maximise functionality, support, and event-relevant ROI. This will be most likely to happen if you truly consider what sort of app will best serve your delegates at your specific event.

If you find yourself needing to re-envision your upcoming event due to social distancing and group gathering guidelines, you’ll definitely want to be sure to secure an event app! The Coronavirus is changing everything event-related for the near future; be sure your conference budget reflects those changes. (As physical costs for things like venues and food decrease, you should expect to reallocate your budget to digital costs, like video production and modern app technology.)

An Event App’s Functionality

Typically, an event app will allow delegates to load their business profiles into the app. This is known as a digital business card. It may also be thought of as a delegate profile.

Information that a delegate may upload includes their photo, name, title and a short bio that helps them stand out from hundreds of other delegates. These digital business cards are a new way of exchanging business cards. In many apps, making this exchange is as simple as Shake & Connect, which you can think of as a virtual handshake. (If the event is completely virtual, delegates can still connect and share their profiles from home!)

Throughout the course of the event, your speakers can utilise poll, survey, and Q&A options during their sessions. You can create quizzes and surveys to better understand delegate preferences and experiences. And you can include sponsor banners and links to encourage your delegates to connect and engage with event sponsors. This level of engagement is especially vital for virtual conferences, where you can’t visually “read the room” or ask the audience for engagement.

Additionally, you’ll likely also want your app to include an option for post-event evaluations. If you’re used to doing paper-based evals, you’ll be thrilled with these! Using an event app for evaluating everything from speakers, venue, learning objectives, and more could not be any easier. 

With a good app, post-event evaluations should be as simple as choosing your questions, prompting delegates to respond electronically, and then exporting the data. Once you have that, you can use specific points of interest to measure any relevant benchmarks. And if your whole team is operating remotely at the moment, using an app for evaluations gives everyone access to the data quickly and easily, making your next virtual conference a breeze!

Getting Support with Your Event App

Depending on the amount of time and expertise your team has, support features may be absolutely essential. Make sure you clarify how much access you’ll have to support personnel once you’ve purchased an app. 

For example, there are event apps that you can purchase that give you a great deal of freedom when it comes to building what you want. While this can be great, it can also mean that you are completely on your own. Often these apps simply come with some sort of online forum or FAQs section. Since you’re customising the entire platform, however, there is no real help desk that you can call if things go awry. 

Other event apps may include access to support via either chat, phone, or online helpdesk tickets. Sometimes, extra services like this will come at an extra cost. (When you pay extra, then you are given more support.)

You’ll also want to consider this in proportion to how much use the app will get. If you’re doing a test run with a few basic features during a live event, you might be able to decrease the amount of support needed. If you’re going 100% virtual as a response to the Coronavirus, you may want more support to minimise the stress of fully relying on a new tool as the backbone of your event.

Either way, pay close attention to how much support your event app purchase includes. Also note if you are required to purchase the support option up-front, or if it’s an upgrade you’re free to add later.

Whether you rely heavily on support or not, do remember that all new tools take time to learn. Many of us breeze through emails and blog posting now….

But when those tools were new they sometimes felt frustrating, time consuming, and difficult. If your event app gives you the blues, don’t despair! Ask questions, and be patient with yourself and your team. Take a deep breath and remember to consider all of the amazing benefits you’ll experience once your delegates start using your new app!

Measuring Your Event App’s ROI

It is important to measure each of your event’s ROI factors to determine the success of your event app. You’ll use this information to determine if you’ll make use of this event app the following year. We recommend you access the quantifiable ROI metrics that have been built inside the event app as measurement tools. For example:

  • You’ll know how many people both downloaded the app and actively used it during your event
  • Audience engagement can be measured with surveys built inside the app, as well as Q&A live polling 
  • Event app analytics enable you to look deeper and find out what sessions delegates found interesting, what the most visited sections of the app were, what documents were most accessed, and which group discussions were most active 
  • You’ll be able to measure impressions, conversion rates, and clicks on sponsor banners (so sponsors are able to measure the exposure they received from your event)

A Real Life Example of Event App ROI

Last year’s Auckland Women in Public Sector Summit 2019 sold out all 511 event tickets. Using data from those that had downloaded the event app, we were able to capture:

  • Percentage of delegates that had downloaded the event app 
  • Percentages of new and returning delegates (determined using event surveys) 
  • How delegates rated each part of the program
  • The most asked questions from each individual speaker’s session (which both provided value to them and helped us consider future presentation topics)
  • Percentage of how many delegates completed each survey 
  • Exported versions of each speaker’s survey, as well as the overall event survey and delegate Q&A section 

The data we collected allowed us to learn more about what our delegates wanted, and how we could best serve them in the future. It also enabled us to share valuable information with speakers in regards to what delegates wanted to know more about. As more and more conferences transition to digital-only options in the upcoming weeks, data about how to best serve your digital attendees will be invaluable!

Approaching sponsors with hard numbers (views, clicks, conversions) can also help organisation’s secure better sponsorship deals for future events. This is especially true in these changing times; now, more than ever, sponsors are going to need to know their investment counts. Sponsoring an all-digital event will be new territory for them, and event app data will help you counter their concerns with relevant facts.

The purchase of an event app is definitely an investment!

That’s why we encourage everyone to make comparisons, consider functionality and support, and gather relevant ROI information to inform future purchases. We’d also suggest you choose an app from a trusted provider that knows the event world inside and out. 

Auaha are offering you the ACE Event App at a single flat rate that includes our support and our team to load the App with all your specific event information.  Seriously, you don’t have to learn what you don’t need and get up and running faster with a trusted professional at your side.  Contact us if you want to discuss.

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