Mobile Apps: Native Vs Web App

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This is a guest post by Tim Masterson, founder of conferencehandbook.com. Thanks, Tim, for the insight! If you’ve done any poking around in the mobile world lately you may have heard the terms “Native App”, “Web App”  and “HTML 5” … Continue reading

iPad and Smartphone event apps: 10 ideas that drive downloads

After some consideration, you may have come to the conclusion that a conference or an exhibition like the one that you run requires a native smartphone and/or tablet app. Congratulations! You took the right decision! In case my previous post on app technology and providers has given you some inspiration, I’d be more than happy…

Now comes the tricky part. The reasons to offer a native app for your event might be various.

  • Branding aspects: Being present on the personal devices of your target audience and exposing them to your event brand.
  • Service aspects: Delivering functionalities that go way beyond what a catalogue or website can do, e.g. networking of the delegates before, during and after the event, location based services or personalization.
  • Marketing / sales aspects: Encouraging target audiences to visit your event, sponsor or exhibit.

Whatever your strategy might be, it is important that you focus not only on building the app, but as importantly also on promoting it. Particularly when you have the 3rd aspect (marketing) in mind.

Here are my tips what to bear in mind when you think about promotion tactics for your app:

  1. Consider the best timing for launching your app. A lot of apps are downloaded on the weekends, so it makes sense to choose a timing for the launch that assures that you appear in the “New Apps” section exactly when people are browsing the app stores.
  2. Make sure your description on the App stores contains the right keywords that your audience might be looking for.
  3. Start by generating a QR code (e.g. at Kaywa) that will link directly to the download page on the iTunes and/or Android stores. Scanned with your smartphone, the example on the right hand side will take you directly to the download page of the new Google+ app on the iTunes store. By the way: Add your company logo to the QR code (up to 30% of the surface) and you have a good chance to increase the scans. Berliner Bank did that and registered 6 times as many scans than without their logo!
  4. Make a screenshot of your app and include that screenshot together with the QR code and a brief description of the app features in all your advertising material (brochures, website, roll-up banners etc.). However, there might still be people not familiar with QR codes, so you should also include a download link.
  5. Write a press-release about the launch of the app, together with screenshots of the features and the QR code. You might want to include not only your usual PR contacts, but also special magazines that write about apps.
  6. In case you are using a html-based email marketing system, it is quite easy also to include the download link and code in your email newsletters.
  7. Include a rating functionality in your app (e.g. Appirater), to get people to rate and share their experience with your app.
  8. Use your social media channels to spread the word about your app. Not only your own channels, you may also want to search for groups related to your conference content and post the link to your app there as well. By the way, that is an important element of any social media promotion strategy for your event.
  9. Submit your app to the websites dedicated to App reviews (e.g. Appreview).
  10. Post a How-to-Use guide on Slideshare, showing the main features of the app.

I believe that apps are a great tool for interaction, customer service and innovative branding for your event. My team and I are currently working on launching our app for the World Newspaper Week in Vienna, which will be available for iPad, iPhone, Android and RIM Blackberrys soon. I’ll keep you updated as soon as it’s available.

Augmented Reality: Couponing could be the next big thing for trade shows…

This implementation is really something that could work nicely with trade shows. Use augmented reality to offer coupons, special offers or any other goodies at trade shows. Particularly for consumer events, this might be a great way to get visitors to interact with exhibitors, offer fun and excitement and give the exhibitors additional promotion opps.

The service provider is Junaio, a company from San Francisco that has offered AR services also for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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Ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass diese Anwendung auch gut auf Messen funktionieren kann. Augmented Reality als Mittel, um Coupons und Discounts anzubieten, Sonderangebote oder andere besondere Highlights auf Messen. Speziell für Consumer Messen kann das nützlich sein, um mit den Ausstellern in Kontakt zu treten, Spaß und Spannung zu vermitteln und den Ausstellern eine zusätzliche Promotion-Plattform zu bieten.

Der Service Provider ist Junaio, eine Firma aus San Francisco, die auch AR Dienste auf dem Mobile World Congress in Barcelona angeboten hat.

iPad/iPhone/Android apps for conferences and trade show: Vendors and best practices

Latest update of this post: 30 November 2012

In the meantime, most of the major conferences and trade shows have their own iPhone/iPad or Android apps.

Those apps are used to give orientation on site (exhibitor catalogue and interactive maps, seminar and conference overview, MySchedule functionalities), but they are also great to facilitate interaction between exhibitors and attendees as well as among attendees themselves. Some offer games, digital hand outs and the ability to exchange contact information. Some even include augmented reality features. And of course they can be a cornerstone in your going-green initiative.

Prices for building apps have been going down, and there are whitelabel solutions that allow for easy customizing. I start this post with the intention to update it regularly and present exciting implementations of apps for events, so please notify me if you know of more great examples. Click on the images to get access to the download pages or for more information on these best practice examples and specialized vendors.

Sorted in alphabetical order:

A2Z Event Management

The solution from a2z syncs automatically with their event management software, so that changes in floorplan or programme are reflected across all channels. Provided you use their software for the event organization, too, of course.

Active Network Events

Not really an event app, rather a fully integrated solution. Highly customizable, more on the expensive side, but very flexible. Check out what Active Network Events did for the Cisco Live! Event 2011.


Amiando / Conference2Go

Amiando is well known as a provider of ticketing solutions. It was just a question of time when they would enter the mobile event service arena as well.

In addition to a full agenda which delegates can transfer to their own diaries, the app also provides an integrated attendee search tool and messaging platform to facilitate networking.

Appbaker

At the recent TEDx Rhein Main event, I came across the company Appbaker who offers a SaaS solutions to build you own event app. Behind the company is NetQuest, one of the leaders in traditional Web Content Management systems. Click on the image to download the very nice TEDx Rhein Main app.

Conference Compass

Since 2009, this Dutch company builds apps for several platforms for all kinds of conferences. An impressive 12.000 people have downloaded the app that they built for the European Society of Cardiology.

Conference Handbook

This solution provider from the US equips you with a spreadsheet to gather all necessary information to build the app, and then they roll it out for you. Platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone 7.

Core-Apps

This company is specialized on trade show apps, and their product “Follow me” delivers routing to stands, interactive floor plans and the ability to download brochures from exhibitors so you won’t have to carry them around. Find out more in a post on the Talking New Media blog.


CrowdCompass

CrowdCompass from Portland/Oregon develops native iPhone, iPad, Android and BlackBerry apps for meetings, conferences, events and trade shows.

EproMeetingApps

This company from the US puts a special focus on monetizing the event app, by offering ads and sponsoring opportunities. The one price cross-platform applications work as a Native App on the Top 4 Smartphone platforms (Apple iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile) and may also be viewed via a mobile Internet browser. This cross-platform capability allows organizations to engage the maximum number of users as well as offering sponsors the greatest amount of marketing penetration.


Event Board Mobile

This solution offers everything you need for your conference, plus they put a special focus on the feedback and survey functions. It comes at 699 USD for a customizable version that will have your own event’s look and feel, so it is among the more affordable options.

Event Edge

A vendor from the USA, offering comprehensive native solutions for conferences and exhibitions starting at 1999 USD per event and platform.

Eventmobi

Based in Canada, eventmobi offers an easy-to-use online content management system with instantaneous updates to the app. See the video for more information:


EventPilot

ATIV Software, the vendor that creates the EventPilot software just released the version 6.0. The app is particularly appropriate for complex medical or scientific congresses, with a lot of parallel sessions. You can use filters and sub-sessions to create your personal schedule, and the overview comes with a very helpful color coding. The app supports all important platforms, including the Amazon Kindle Fire.

GenieMobile

The EventGenie solution is used by Reed Expo’s Offshore Europe 2011, among other associations, conference organizers and PCOs. Says Michael Douglas, Marketing Director: “One of the interesting parts of our solution is the corresponding web portal and the CMS tools to manage the apps.”

Goomeo Events / EIBTM Barcelona

The leading event for the business travel industry definitely needs an awesome app. Graeme Barnett went for GoomeoEvents, a French company. Great features, great design, contact data exchange via QR scanning… This one’s definitely worth a download and test.

InLudus

This provider from New York offers mobile applications with features like

  • Gaming towards prizes
  • Electronic transfer of contact information
  • Digital hand outs
  • Digital calendar
  • Speaker sessions information
  • Digital exhibitor directory
  • Interactive maps

InsideGuidance / ART Basel

This is so far the most artistic implementation of a floor plan I have seen. A company from Berlin called InsideGuidance delivers the experience for the world’s leading art exhibition. Their new app for Baselworld, a Watch and Jewellery show, seems even more sophisticated.

At the World Association of Newspapers, we have now used the same technology for the official app “World Newspaper Week” in Vienna. It looks great, you can download it here from the app store or scan the code below with your iPhone or iPad for downloading.

MINT

A number of trade shows and conferences in the Nordic countries use the solution from a company called Delegia, based in Stockholm. It offers delegate interaction and you can also book seminars through the device.

MobileRoadie / LE WEB Conference app

Le Web in Paris is one of the leading Digital Media / Internet conferences. No big surprise they have a great app, too – but what is a bit surprising is that the app was built with the technology of Mobile Roadie. This company usually build mobile apps for artists, musicians like Adele or David Guetta, movies, or even the Dallas Mavericks. So their background is more on the festival/concert side.

Polymash

Producing apps for event organizers as well as authors, artists, designers, photographers, videographers, museums, galleries, news and magazine publishers. Check out their app for the 2012 World Apprecitive Inquiry Conference.

Quickmobile

These guys are specialized in providing mobile event apps for the event, travel and entertainment industries, so their products are quite advanced and correspond perfectly to what an event organizer would require.

I particularly like the video that the organizers of DevLearn 2011 conference published to brief the delegates about the features of the app (built by QuickMobile):

QuickTapLead

QuickTapLead allows exhibitors at trade shows, exhibitions and events to qualify leads and capture lead details easily using their own mobile tablet. QuickTapLead takes minutes to set up, works without an Internet connection, can be used as a kiosk and sends lead data automatically to Salesforce. QuickTapLead is a pay as you go service with no subscription or monthly charges.

Showgizmo

Particularly interesting for exhibitions, when the interaction between exhibitors and visitors is in the focus, as well as lead generation.

Tapwalk

This company from Boston (founded 2010) specializes in applications for airports, museums, amusement and theme parks as well as trade shows. Their focus is to provide orientation through the mobile device. Definitely worth looking at when you organize an exhibition.

TED Conference

Their app is great, yet it is focussed on their great presenters’ videos. You can spend hours just browsing the great content they provide in the app…! However, I do not know who built it.

Top Quark

Top Quark build plugins for WordPress that allow you to create a web app out of one of the most popular content management and blogging softwares, with html5 features. Events like the Event Camp Twin City or WordCamp Chicago have been using it. It is quite affordable and versatile.

Triqle Event Intelligence

I met Gerrit Heijkoop, the person behind the Triqle platform, at the recent ICCA Congress in Leipzig. They provided the mobile event guide for ICCA, which is not such a bad reference! Triqle build web-based apps as well as native apps, and you can use the feed of the web-based apps also for on-site orientation screens.

Tripbuilder

US-based Tripbuilder offers an interesting combination of information on print and mobile app in one go. Their speciality is to give orientation with folding media (maps etc.) and on mobile phones. Find some success stories here.

Twoppy

This is a freemium model to create your own event app with most of the necessary features like program details, speaker bios, maps, twitter stream etc. A great way to design a mobile-friendly website in just a couple of minutes. It is not really an app, though, rather a browser-based application. If you want your own branding and logos on it, it’ll cost you around 150 EUR per application.

In the meantime, you can install a native Twoppy app that lists all upcoming conferences and events that are presented on the Twoppy platform.

Widjet / dmexco

This Cologne-based new media and digital marketing show does a lot of things right, including personalization. They have quite an exhaustive event program, and you can put together your own schedule. A cool new feature in 2011 is the QR code generator and scanner, which allows you to collect virtual business cards at the show. The agency Widjet have developed the app.

XOMO

Xomo is a Vancouver based company with offices in Munich and London. This supplier specialises exclusively in the provision of apps for large events, conferences and trade fairs.

The conference & trade fair app is used by all O’Reilly conferences (Web 2.0 Expo, Strata, Maker Faire, etc), as well as large medical conferences (some of the largest in Europe) Social Media Week 2012, and SXSW. So they are defiinitely worth taking a look at!

Zerista / Mobile World Congress Barcelona

With all the options to connect both with other visitors and with the exhibitors, plus the options to personalize the service, I think the MyMWC app is really outstanding. It goes as far as delivering Augmented Reality experiences, too. US-based Zerista built the app.

Please notify me if you know more providers (I am sure there are plenty more out there) and I’ll update accordingly. Thanks! I also started a discussion about this on LinkedIn.

Check out this guest post I wrote for the Event Manager Blog edited by Julius Solaris, about 8 indispensable features of a kick-ass event app.

You may also be interested in tips to drive downloads of your nice and shiny event app once it is online.

MeetingApps.com: Web resource about event-related apps

At MeetingApps.com, you can find a cool collection of iPhone or Blackberry apps (Android soon to come) that are out in the market for event management and marketing, with a brief description and links for downloading. Kirsten Strand has put together that platform, and she’ll be content to get your tipps about more apps to include there.

They also feature some interesting articles, e.g. about ways to use the iPad in trade show marketing.

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Auf der Website MeetingApps.com findet Ihre eine schöne Übersicht über iPhone oder Blackberry Apps (Android folgt bald), die es für Event-Management und -Marketing gibt, mit jeweils einer kurzen Beschreibung und Links, wo man sie herunterladen kann. Kirsten Strand hat diese Plattform gegründet, und sie ist sicher froh über Eure Tipps, welche weiteren Apps dort vorgestellt werden sollten.

Sie bieten auch einige interessante Artikel auf der Website, z.B. wie man das iPad für Messemarketing einsetzen kann.