Why event apps fail and how to avoid it happening to you

Recent conversations in the last few months have inspired this post on event app failure. It has become common when speaking to events professionals to discover that their 2017/18 event app has failed. This despite heavy investment in the app.


Was it the app, the audience, or the event?

Given the fact, nearly half of the world’s population owns a smartphone*, the answer needs more thought. Here are some of the reasons event apps fail, from the industry itself and some solutions to those issues. We know what works and what doesn’t from years of working hand-in-hand with event partners throughout the UK, Europe and beyond. Take advantage of some sage advice and make sure your next event app works for your sponsors, speakers, attendees, exhibitors, venue, and you.

Causes of event app failure

Not promoting the value of your app
What is it that keeps delegates, sponsors and media partners coming back to your events year on year? If you ask the industry you are likely to hear a multitude of consistent reasons; high-level speakers, senior delegate lists, account management, unique sponsor packages and more! All of this equates to one thing, VALUE – provide value to the attendee and you’ll have a successful event. The same applies to apps… value, value, value!

So, make sure you include the app in your marketing campaigns, after all, it is a huge value add for delegates, speakers and sponsors! Never stop promoting.

Not making the app’s features part of your event
A good app should be built around the main reasons that people attend.

For example, if delegates attend for the quality of your programme, your app should enhance this with live Q&A and polling, timed releases of presentations and whitepapers, shared notes and session ratings.

Do sponsors attend for one-to-one meetings or for networking? Your app could provide a personalised attendee list to enhance their experience, combined with live messaging, meeting requests, an AI meeting manager and more!

It’s one dimensional
Relating to the features, an app should be a Swiss Army Knife. Neglecting one area can result in little to no engagement from either sponsors and/or delegates. If you focus on networking, that’s great for your sponsors, but why would a delegate download the app just to be sold to?

And if you focus the app just around the programme with Q&A, polling etc. What value does that add to exhibitors?

Everything in moderation and provide value to all.

3rd party integration hell
A good event app promotes engagement, but how do you maintain it? Make sure all roads lead to the app.

One of the big no-nos for your event app is to have one piece of software for your messaging, another for your meetings, another for Q&A, etc. As a tech-savvy person, I would struggle to keep up! Keep all your event tasks in the one app and this will help ensure your guests need to use it to make the most of their day.

The app is empty, confusing or broken
Typically, you’re only going to get a couple of chances to convince attendees of the usefulness of your app. If they can’t understand how to use the app – it gets deleted. If the app isn’t populated and has empty agendas, attendee lists, etc – it gets deleted. Slow loading, not loading at all, crashing – the app is deleted. Flashy pictures are great, but if the app doesn’t work, more often than not it will get deleted. So put time and effort into testing your app, ensure your content is useful to attendees, and provide support and assistance in-app and at the venue for it.

Bad wi-fi or signal
Good event wi-fi is a must – 3rd party or through the venue. Bad wi-fi will lead to a failed app. Once you’ve got the structure, make sure attendees know how to log onto the wi-fi. Posters, pull-up banners, and strategically placed members of staff are typically enough to ensure easy usage. Just like a presentation without a speaker, good quality wi-fi is crucial to your event app.

Your Supplier
An app can fail before it begins if you choose the wrong supplier! All our support and sales staff have experience in the events industry, whether that be sales, marketing or running their own B2B/B2C events annually. What does that mean for you? You have someone who is ready to jump down into the trenches pre-event and on-site to get things done to the Event Industry standard. We care passionately that your event is successful and will work hand-in-hand to make sure it is so.

Your success is our success. The better your event runs, the more people attend and talk about your event with others, the more successful your business will become. We’re vested in your event being successful because we want you to return for more apps for your events, conferences, exhibitions, and meetings in future. We absolutely want you to be happy with your event app knowing that it contributed to the overall success of your event. You’ll tell others about us and we’ll tell others about you.

The benefits of mobile apps will see your event’s networking, learning, value and profitability grow year on year. But if the above reasons sound familiar and you’d like to talk about solutions to them – give us a call!!

Smartphone stats courtesy of Statista – https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/

Want to find out more how an app can help your event? Call the Event Builder team on 0121 796 5800