You and your team have created and launched a comprehensive mobile app for your upcoming event. The data has been updated, the navigation has been evaluated, and seemingly endless rounds of testing have ensured that the app downloads easily and runs on major operating systems without a hitch. Bugs and kinks have been identified and resolved so that your attendees will enjoy a user-friendly and seamless experience.
Your enthusiasm for the project wanes when the number of downloads fails to meet your expectations. Attendees may not utilize your mobile event app for any number of reasons:
- Some do not own a smartphone or tablet – by choice.
- Those who own a smart device may not have the skills, experience or desire to use all of its features.
- Technology improves and is consumed at varying rates around the globe. While smartphones have become indispensable for many in the West, adoption rates are lower in emerging economy countries. Restricted and controlled access to the Internet in certain regions may also complicate and delay how technology is consumed.
- Yet Twitter reports on its website that 79% of its accounts are based outside the U.S. and 82% are active users on mobile (https://about.twitter.com/company, numbers approximate as of June 30, 2016).
With such a disparate array of influences, challenges and consumption habits to consider, how can savvy meeting professionals crack the mobile app consumption code? Organizations invest considerable staff time and financial resources in the development of their mobile event apps, as they strive to improve the attendee meeting experience.
Which steps should planners take to boost app adoption and engagement rates among attendees? Here are some strategies to consider:
- Message early and often: Most event professionals would not rely on one advertisement or one email or social media post to promote their upcoming event. Your company likely employs a variety of communication vehicles – email, direct mail, digital and print advertisements, and social networking – to attract the attention of prospective attendees. Follow this same approach to increase attendee mobile app awareness. Programming for mobile app may begin well in advance of your event, and some information may not be available for publication. Awareness, however, still builds over time, and your messaging stands to gain greater traction when the message is repeated early and often.
- Make it social: Social media success depends greatly on engagement. Harness the power and reach of your social media channels in creative ways to encourage your followers to download and utilize your mobile app. Communicate to your followers that your app is fun to use!
- Make it visual: Popular social media sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and, more recently, Snapchat, have garnered large audiences due to the compelling visual images these platforms offer. Studies consistently demonstrate that social media posts that include video or photos perform better than those that do not. Adopt this approach and incorporate visual elements from your mobile app in your outreach efforts. For example, show screenshots or short video snippets that demonstrate the practical elements of your product.