10 Most Common Event App Adoption Killers

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1 10 Most Common Event App Adoption Killers YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO Avoiding the Top Ten Turnoffs

2 All apps are not created equal. While many conferences, tradeshow and expos have found new levels of success with the help of apps, many have struggled to get traction. So, what separates an event app start from a first-time flop? We ve taken a look at the missteps of experts, event producers and technology providers around the world to create a list of the biggest bad ideas. Read on for a complete run down of the ten most common adoption killers and the simple ways to avoid each and every one of them.

3 ONE Forgetting About Laptop Time Mobile has been the hot topic in events. But, time after time, we see adoption of mobile-only solutions lag behind solutions that provide an integrated experience on any device, including a good, old fashion computer. 2+ MORE HOURS Why? First, in studying user behavior, we found that attendees, exhibitors and sponsors prefer to handle many important pre-event tasks on a laptop. We call this important phase laptop time. And, focusing on it can extend the reach of your event by weeks. For example, if I m building a profile or personalizing a schedule, I m much more likely to do that at my desk, on my computer. It s easier to upload images or content and it s more comfortable to search and explore on a big web browser than it is on a cramped smart phone. Second, the additional engagement you get from laptop time before an event creates more perceived value for the mobile app at the event. With a profile, a custom schedule a list of target solutions, for example, the event app becomes a critical tool to my experience instead of something I need to download and learn while waiting for registration or while rushing between sessions. In fact, we see, on average, TWO full hours of additional engagement on events that incorporate a web portal to compliment a mobile app.

4 TWO Failing to Make It Personal The most-used business applications have two things in common: they are purpose built and highly personalized. Event apps tick the first box by their nature, but it still surprises us how little time event producers put into creating a personalized experience. So, what does it mean to personalize an event app? The goal of an event app, simply, should be to dull the noise at an event and point people to the right connections, content and solutions. That s the difference between a traditional digital directory or program and a modern event app So, it should be no surprise then that the highest adoption rates come from apps that help attendees find the right things and build an app experience around those things.

5 THREE Weaving a Web of Technologies Attendee technologies abound at modern-day conferences, tradeshows and expos. From polling applications to surveys to video streaming platforms and mobile apps, it s hard to be an attendee these days. And as a result, we often see low adoption across all the tools in use at an event simply because there are too many things to learn. But, there s a solution. The most successful event apps create a nexus point for everything your attendees do at the event. Whether they re taking a session survey, participating in a poll or watching streaming video of your keynote, your event app should be their platform for engagement. If there are other web sites, devices or apps that your attendees need to use, you are hurting your adoption rate and diminishing your audience engagement. Of course, it s likely that your event app provider won t have all that built in to their solution. But, the best apps on the market will integrate with just about any digital solution to provide a hub for everything people need to do at your event. The most successful event apps create a nexus point for everything your attendees do at the event.

6 FOUR Building an Empty App You would never plan a conference without rich, valuable sessions. And you d never let people wonder through an empty exhibitor hall. Yet, all too often we see people create apps that lack valuable content. Event apps support three types of content: First, apps provide a link to live content, helping attendees build a schedule, find their way around the building or participate in Q&A or live polls.? Second, apps augment your event with digital-only content, like presentations, handouts and exhibitor collateral that people can t get anywhere else. Third, the app is a hub for user-generated content like discussions on social media. Producers of the most successful, highly used event apps focus early and often on maximizing the value of all three content types. For example, they make sure exhibitors fill out their digital booths just like they do their physical stands. And they encourage speakers to seed discussions in social media to spark conversation.

7 FIVE Being Cute, Not Intuitive You want your app to look awesome. And that s fine. But, all too many event producers have fallen victim to great looking apps that are difficult to use. One of the biggest causes of poor app adoption is an unintuitive app design. And there are two rules to live by: 1. Be familiar: Look to the most used apps in the world for guidance, including Facebook, LinkedIn, itunes and Google Maps. Those apps have spent significant time building an experience that works and, maybe more importantly, they have set your audiences expectations for apps SHOULD work. Users don t want to in fact, they will not learn a new app interface at every event. So, when you create an event app, make sure it uses well-established best practices for icons, menu design and layout. 2. Avoid the Noise: The more clicks it takes an attendee to find the information they need, the more likely it is you ll lose them. Modern app designs have moved beyond directory-style interfaces to living, breathing home screens that present the information that is most important, most timely and most relevant to the individual. The lower the noise, the higher the adoption.

8 SIX Cluttering the App with Old School Disruptive Advertising Nothing is worse than an ad, right? Well, kinda. Research shows that app usage declines when users see ads as a nuisance. This is what we call disruptive advertising, and it is characterized by its lack of relevance and its tendency to get in the way of a goal someone is trying to achieve in the app. Yet, this old school technique is still the most common type of advertising in event apps. Some apps rotate banners every few seconds or plaster them at the top and bottom of every screen. After all, you need to sell sponsorship, right? The trick to creating powerful advertising in your event app is not to make it ubiquitous, but rather to make it relevant and contextual. So, as should be the rule for all content, choose an app that allows you to put ads in front of people who are likely to respond to them. And, instead of linking them to a web page, send them to a piece of content, like an ebook, that will help them make a decision and keep them in the context of your event. Advertising doesn t have to kill adoption. In fact, it can improve it when it provides relevant, useful information.

9 SEVEN Building Barriers to Entry- When You re Trying to Tear Them Down We hear it at every event. What s my password, someone asks, frantically trying every permutation of letters and numbers they can think up. When your audience can t access your app, they can t adopt it. So, a smooth, hassle-free login process is key to success. Yet, event producers frequently create barriers to entry in their efforts to eliminate them. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to the question of which login technique tears down the walls between your audience and your apps. There are, however, a few rules to follow as you make your decision: 1. Focus on getting adoption early so people aren t scrambling to set up accounts at the event. Remember, this can occur on a laptop where it s often easier to create or look up a password. 2. Know your audience and select the authentication method that is likely to feel most familiar. For some that might be the social sign on with LinkedIn, Google or Facebook while others might prefer to create a new password (still the most popular). 3. Provide a way to recover a lost password on any device 4. Beware of the allure of single sign on (SSO) unless you know your attendees are familiar with those usernames and password. We ve been to plenty of association events where single sign on becomes a barrier instead of facilitator because members don t know their association login.

10 EIGHT Poor Promotion One of the most common missteps on the road to app adoption is not part of the app creation or implementation process at all. Rather, despite time invested in content, customization and usability, many event producers just plain fail to communicate the value of the app. There are two important parts of promoting an app communicating the value and creating awareness. The first goal should be to create a compelling communication plan that conveys the value of the app, focusing on branding the app experience as an extension of the live experience. For example, the Biotechnology International Organization talks about its app as the mybio experience, promoting the personalization, digital-only content and interactive tools it provides. Second, once the message is refined and the key values are well established, it s critical to promote the app at every step of the process, starting before registration and continuing through confirmation pages, reminders, invitations, on site signage and even in sessions and keynote presentations. The most successful event apps are much more than apps they are digital experiences that span the entire lifecycle of the event.

11 NINE Neglecting the Take Away One of the most common problems event apps solve is providing an easy way for attendees to keep key content, contacts and information from events. This may be called a Trip Report or a Library. It s the digital backpack that attendees take with them to share materials with their bosses or follow up on sales leads. One of the biggest mistakes event producers make is failing to take advantage of this important tool whether it s through lack of promotion or lack of feature set. Make sure the people at your event have a way to collect what s important to them and take it home. Make your app the most critical tool they have for getting real value out of the experience.

12 TEN Starting Too Late Finally, the number one mistake made by even the most experienced event producers is also the easiest to avoid They start too late. Event apps are still a relatively late item on the event planner s checklist, often purchased less than three months before an event. That leaves very little time for some of the things discussed in this ebook, including creating a strategy, gathering content, designing a user-friendly experience and promoting the application. Here are few things to consider when deciding when building your app: You want to promote the app experience as an additional reason to attend the event so you should have an initial plan ready before you promote your event. You should be ready to invite attendees when you open registration. Though, you ll probably wait until there is critical mass to let people in, you ll need to make sure proper integrations are in place from the start. If you have exhibitors, you should start promoting their role in the app during the sales process, often up to a YEAR ahead of the event. Your speakers, exhibitors and sponsors are notoriously slow so consider how much time you need to give them to submit materials for the app. It takes, on average, six days to get an app approved in the app store so you are already a week later than you think. Planning for the most-used apps generally starts more than six months before the event. So, while you can pull one off in a couple weeks, great adoption requires proper preparation.

13 INTRODUCING Customer Centric Events from Zerista To create event app experiences people actually love, the modern event producer needs a platform that both connects your audience to what s important to them and uncovers sales opportunities so exhibitors, sponsors and event producers can thrive. This year, Zerista became the first solution to do exactly that, pairing its award-winning event app with an innovative marketing automation tool set. Zerista s mobile and web platform starts by making intelligent connections between your audience and the people, content and solutions they re looking to explore. In the process, it gathers all kinds of interesting, hard-to-find data. The application then provides a set of tools that event producers, exhibitors and sponsors can use to find, target and sell the most qualified prospects. Visit to see how it works today, and get a free look inside some of the world s most successful event apps. The result is industry-best engagement with more than 2.5 hours of measurable attendee engagement per event and previously unheard of ways to generate and measure event revenue.

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