Boost onsite event engagement with an event mobile app

Hope Simona
Hope Simona
Teacher With Mature Male Adult Student Using Mobile Phone At Table Working In College Library
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    Getting registrations and selling tickets for an event is no mean feat; it takes careful research and planning and enticing marketing to spark interest and win attendees over. It’s once they’re actually at your event, however, that the real fun of engaging them begins.

    In this post, we will explore a range of event engagement ideas and take a deeper look into how event mobile apps can help to personalize the attendee experience and deliver that wow.

    The benefits of an event engagement strategy

    Having a solid event engagement strategy offers several advantages that can significantly impact the success of an event:

    • Increased attendee satisfaction: By providing interactive activities, personalized experiences, and opportunities for interaction, networking, and knowledge sharing, you can enhance attendee satisfaction, leading to positive reviews, increased loyalty, and higher attendance rates in the future.
    • Better audience interaction: Engaging attendees throughout the event with interactive elements like live polls, Q&A sessions, gamification, and social media interaction, encourage audience participation, foster discussions, and create a sense of community, leading to a greater understanding of involvement and a more memorable experience.
    • Enhanced learning: By incorporating various interactive and engaging learning formats like workshops, breakout sessions, panel discussions, and hands-on activities, you increase knowledge retention and the likelihood that attendees will apply what they’ve learned in their personal or professional lives.
    • Amplified brand exposure: Leveraging social media, event apps, and live streaming to showcase your brand, products, or services can extend your reach beyond physical attendees and attract a wider audience. Additionally, creating memorable experiences through unique activations and experiential marketing can generate positive word-of-mouth, increasing brand awareness and visibility.
    • Data collection: A solid event engagement strategy enables you to gather valuable data about your attendees and gain insight into their preferences, demographics, interests, and feedback. This data can inform future event planning, and marketing strategies, and help personalize future experiences, ultimately leading to better event outcomes.
    • Measurable results and ROI: An effective engagement strategy allows you to measure the success of your event through various metrics. By setting specific goals and tracking attendee participation, satisfaction levels, social media engagement, and conversions, you can evaluate the success of different aspects of your event, and return on investment (ROI).

    Although there are lots of different ways you can engage event attendees, the multi-faceted and flexible nature of mobile apps for conferences and events is one option that can tick all of these boxes in one go.

    Mobile apps for events

    Mobile apps for conferences and events can offer significant benefits for both event organizers and attendees. Despite the potential distraction of mobile devices, with two-thirds of your guests already using their devices, it makes sense to leverage this technology to your advantage.

    A well-designed and carefully crafted mobile app can help delegates optimize their individual conference experience and interact with other attendees. For event organizers, this translates into greater opportunities for engagement, enhancing attendee satisfaction, and greater ROI.

    78% of businesses that use an event application say it contributes to a positive event ROI – Source

    78% of businesses that use an event application say it contributes to a positive event ROI

    What’s more, with only 30% of businesses using mobile apps for virtual events, adding one to your arsenal can help your event stand out from the crowd.

    But to get these positive benefits, you’ve first got to convince attendees to download and use the app! Read on for some strategies to build and market an attendee app that’s useful, intuitive, and that your attendees will want to use.

    Read next: Global Events facilitated 1,200 check-ins in 4 hours with an event app

    How to get attendees to use your app

    The more attendees use your app, the greater the benefits for every stakeholder: you, your team, your speakers, your event sponsors, and your guests. Set yourself up for success by marketing the app effectively.

    Here are some of our favorite ways to get attendees to download and use the app, by selling the benefits most relevant at each touchpoint.

    • When website visitors view your online program, let them know about the real-time schedule and personal agenda planner in your event app which makes it quicker and easier to plan their visit.
    • If you send out email notifications of any event changes, remind attendees the best way to get up-to-date information is through the app.
    • On your registration confirmation screen and in your follow-up email, invite your guests to download the app instead of printing their itinerary. Include links.
    • In your onsite registration area, display posters with QR codes encouraging attendees to skip the queue with mobile check-in.
    • When promoting your event dinners or functions on social media, mention that the app is the fastest way to receive and use your tickets.
    • Offer mobile-only discounts and promotions.

    Make it personal

    A useful app is one that’s tailored to your audience – one that can be personalized for each individual. In the case of your event app, that means presenting information dynamically and giving users control over what they see on screen.

    For example, say you’re organizing a week-long conference with three different streams, and your delegates want to choose sessions across all of them. Here are some ways you can let your attendees personalize their app.

    • Simplified, personalized schedule: Allow program filtering by day, room, stream, or session type to help attendees easily navigate and choose sessions that interest them. They should be able to add selected sessions to their personal agenda, making it convenient to plan their itinerary.
    • Targeted communication: Instead of sending mass notifications for every change in the event, the app can leverage push notifications to inform registered attendees about updates, such as room changes, speaker updates, or schedule modifications. This targeted approach ensures that attendees receive relevant and timely information without bombarding everyone.
    • Networking opportunities: Allow attendees to build a profile and link it to their social media profiles to provide a place where they can showcase their skills, connect with other delegates who share similar interests, and stay in touch, fostering networking and collaboration.
    • Confidential communication: If there is a need for a more confidential environment, the app can provide a conference ecosystem where attendees can communicate and share resources relevant to the event. This feature ensures that sensitive information or discussions remain within the designated conference community, promoting secure and focused interactions.

    Let everyone have their say

    In-person events sometimes suffer from a dynamic where the most vocal and confident individuals tend to dominate the Q&A sessions, leaving others with less opportunity to participate. Event mobile apps offer a unique opportunity to address this issue through live polling and Q&A features.

    Live polling 

    Live polling allows event organizers to pose real-time questions to the audience, which attendees can respond to directly in the event app and see the results in real-time. This not only engages attendees and offers opportunities for interaction, but it also provides valuable data and insights into the attendees’ opinions, preferences, and knowledge, which event organizers can analyze alongside audience demographics to better understand and meet attendee needs in the future.


    Q&A options in an event app enable attendees to submit questions to the speakers or panelists during sessions. This feature encourages active involvement from all attendees, regardless of their confidence levels or speaking abilities, creates a more inclusive environment, and brings forward a wider range of perspectives and questions. It also allows event organizers to moderate the questions to align with the event’s goals and guidelines, fostering a focused and productive discussion.


    The event app can also play a crucial role in collecting feedback from attendees through surveys, ratings, or comment sections within the app. By encouraging attendees to provide their thoughts and opinions on the event, organizers can gain valuable insights into the attendees’ experiences, satisfaction levels, and areas for improvement. This feedback can then influence the follow-up actions and decisions for future events, helping organizers refine their strategies and enhance the overall attendee experience.

    Add value for your exhibitors or sponsors

    Going paperless at your event by utilizing an event app opens up new possibilities for your advertising plan. Instead of relying on traditional print programs, you can offer innovative event packages to sponsors and advertisers, providing them with greater value and a variety of advertising options. Here are some advantages of using an event app for advertising:

    • Rotate multiple ads from one or more sponsors through the same screen space allowing for more visibility and exposure for sponsors and the ability for you to cater to a greater number of sponsors.
    • Unlike print programs, an event app can support high-definition and visually appealing video ads and images that capture attendees’ attention.
    • Link directly to your sponsors’ landing pages or online stores so attendees can easily access more information and make direct purchases if applicable.
    • Selectively present ads to specific target audience segments, based on attendee profiles or registration details, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion for sponsors.
    • Set a later deadline for receiving digital ads from your sponsors, giving your sponsors more flexibility and time to create and submit their ads.

    It’s important to note that the specific advertising features and capabilities will depend on the event app provider and the features of the chosen app. When selecting an event app provider, be sure to inquire about their advertising features and discuss your specific needs to ensure the app can support your advertising plan effectively.

    Keep it fun

    Alongside making life simpler and easier for your attendees and adding value for sponsors, event apps are also a great way to inject some fun and excitement into your attendee’s experience. 

    Fun ways to engage an audience


    Competitions can add some thrill and extra value to the event experience. Hosting competitions on the app makes participation easy, particularly if attendee details can be pushed automatically into the form, instead of them having to enter their details manually. Use push notifications to notify attendees about the comp and provide a shortcut to enter. 

    Offers and discounts

    Providing exclusive offers and discounts through the event app incentivizes attendees to download and use the app. Think of offers on merchandise, packages, upgrades, or tickets for future events. By making them mobile-exclusive, you create a sense of exclusivity and encourage attendees to engage with the app to take advantage of the special deals.


    Gamification is an exciting tool for event managers to engage attendees and create a competitive and interactive atmosphere. Some fun ways to engage attendees through gamification include:

    • Quizzes and contests:  Incorporate quizzes or contests into the event app to challenge attendees’ knowledge or skills related to the event topic or industry. This can be done through interactive quizzes, trivia games, or creative contests where attendees can showcase their talents. Offering rewards or recognition to winners adds an extra incentive for participation.
    • Challenges and progress tracking: Set challenges for attendees and use the app to track their progress from the beginning to the end goal. Scavenger-hunt-type challenges that require engagement with different aspects of the event might involve mobile check-ins, location-based activities, or completing specific tasks. Tracking progress and providing rewards along the way keeps attendees engaged and motivated.
    • Point-based systems and prizes: Implement a point-based system where attendees can earn points by visiting exhibitors, attending sessions, networking, or sharing updates on social media. Award prizes to the top-scoring attendees, either based on points earned or specific achievements. This encourages active participation and incentivizes attendees to explore all aspects of the event.
    • Live leaderboards: Display a live leaderboard within the app, showcasing the top-performing attendees based on their engagement and points. The leaderboard provides a sense of competition and motivates attendees to level up their gameplay to move up in the rankings.

    Building your event app

    As you can see, mobile apps for events are a great way to engage, interact with, and reward your attendees, but you might be wondering where to start with building or sourcing an app that can do all that.

    The good news for event planners is that you don’t need to start from scratch or hire your own software developers. There are many commercially available, white-labeled apps with reliable and diverse feature sets ready to be customized with your branding and event information. By choosing one that’s bundled with your event management platform, like EventsAir, you can be confident your attendees always have the right information at the right time, right at their fingertips. And all of your data can be kept secure, with one central source of truth.

    For more ideas on building an event app for community building and onsite engagement get a free demo of EventsAir.

    Attendee EngagementAttendee ExperienceEvent Planning & ManagementEvent Technology & AppsIn-Person EventsMobile Apps