What are the top few reasons you attend an event? Most recently, for The Project Intern, we accompanied our competitors to the Ogden Pioneers Days Rodeo. The competitors had been assigned the challenge of conducting research on the effectiveness of the rodeo’s event-marketing campaign. Here are the top five reasons our competitors found that attendees came to the rodeo:

  1. Attended because it’s tradition
  2. Read about it in the paper
  3. Heard about it online
  4. Were participating
  5. Had friends involved

Getting that survey information took quite a bit of time through a variety of methods (one being a text-messaging database). Most if not all of this information, however, could be collected with considerable efficiency through an app. If there was ever a reason to create an app for your event, measurement and analytics is a good one and not even the only one.

Event apps offer a truly interactive way of involving an event’s participants onsite meanwhile simultaneously engaging others offsite virtually. Throw in the fact that apps are immensely popular and that millennials are especially tuned in to the land o’ the native app, and you are looking at a very intriguing tool to not only promote your event and gather analytics but also to engage event participants to a greater degree than previously possible.

Apps can be made for any event (so many events, so little time!):

  • Festivals
  • Fairs
  • Rodeos
  • Sporting events
  • Trade shows, Dog shows, Food shows, Vegetable Shows (vegetable shows might be better classed under fairs—state fairs perhaps?)
  • Conferences
  • Retreats

But beyond the basic features of schedules and maps, what can an app offer to enrich the event experience that a print program or webpage can’t? A surprising amount it turns out:

Personal/customizable scheduling
An attendee can pick out a particular demonstration or speaker they want to hear (at a trade show or conference), and set an alarm. They can find their location on a map and determine what bands are playing closest to them (at a music festival) or what speakers are close by (at a business conference). They can mark specific destinations, such as booths at a trade show. Essentially, the customized schedule is one of the most usable functions of the app.

Lead/note capture
A user can record notes, scan business cards, find information about sales or networking leads, even locate profile information on the business/musicians/bull rider they are interested in remembering.

Real-time updates
Any changes to the event’s schedule can be immediately fed to the app: updated locations, announcements, parking information.

Transportation hubs
How about offering an area for attendees to organize carpools? Ride shares? Find out local transportation schedules?

Social-media platform links
Rather obvious, but links to social media platforms are an essential means of involving those friends and family not at the event in the event. Talk about a great brand awareness tool!

Social aggregation portal
This sort of portal allows attendees to post pics, comments and videos to a feed, such as the event’s live-streaming photo feed, once again offering real-time, virtual access to the event.

Sponsor showcase
An app with a sponsor’s logo and graphic placement in it offers great impact and reach for the sponsor. Guaranteed you will remember the sponsor when you see their logo every time you open the app on your smartphone.

Involve your attendees with badges they can earn by visiting certain booths, scavenger hunts, prizes. Apps that include these kinds of interactive activities structured like games tend to be popular.

Offer links and portals to sponsor products, merchandise for the event or deals for local businesses close by.

As you can see, the event app niche is just really beginning to take off and certainly hasn’t reached it’s apex. If you are thinking about creating an app for your event, check it out! Offer your attendees even more reasons to participate through a cool, customized app.