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10 proven strategies to increase event app downloads

Investing in a mobile event app unlocks more ways to engage and monetise. But first, you need to maximise your event app downloads.

This article highlights 10 ways organisers can increase event adoption at their shows, using a selection of proven strategies to boost interest.

Meanwhile, you can learn how digital tools like mobile apps and AI will shape the future of events in our new report – Event Tech Forecast for H2 2023.

Why event app downloads are important? 🤔

As a tradeshow organiser, you spend considerable time selecting and customising your event app. To unlock its full potential and improve ROI, it’s imperative to prioritise event app downloads. Here are some benefits:

  • Enhanced attendee engagement: Having readily accessible information like schedules, exhibitor details, speaker bios, session descriptions and interactive maps helps improve audience engagement.
  • Personalised experience: Get personalised recommendations based on attendee preferences, helping them discover relevant sessions, exhibitors and networking opportunities.
  • Real-time updates: Organisers can send real-time updates, notifications and announcements to attendees. This ensures they stay updated even when there are last-minute changes to the schedule.
  • Networking opportunities: Features like AI matchmaking and 365 community amplify the potential for networking – enabling attendees to make valuable connections before, during and after the event.
  • Data collection and insights: The app usage data provides crucial insights into attendee preferences, behaviour and engagement patterns. This helps in future event planning, content curation and overall strategy.
  • Minimise paper usage: Cut the need for printed materials such as brochures, schedules and maps. This contributes to a more environmentally-friendly event and saves costs.
  • Sponsor and exhibitor exposure: Tradeshows often involve sponsors and exhibitors who are looking to connect with attendees. An event app that provides sponsors with enough promotional space increases exposure to these stakeholders and helps advance business deals.
  • Post-event engagement: Once the tradeshow concludes, attendees can access session recordings, presentation materials and follow-up information on the app. This extends the value of the event beyond its physical duration.

10 strategies to increase event app downloads ⤵️

1. Create a compelling marketing campaign 🗣️

Got a marketing budget? Don’t hold back. Invest in concentrated marketing – plan an omnichannel reach-out campaign at least two weeks before the show goes live.

Spread your budget on social media networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and other forums where your audience hangs out.

Don’t forget organic searches and your app’s landing page – they’re gold mines for downloads.

Make your app irresistible – it’s not just about the features, show your attendees and exhibitors what they’ll get.

Go creative with graphics, PDFs, or videos – excitement captures attention.

Make your app accessible and provide clear instructions to use it.

2. Sharpen your social media use 📱

Understand your app’s personality and reflect it in your social media voice. If it’s edgy, show it. If it’s professional, keep the language accordingly.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn can be used to fine-tune your outreach.

Maintain consistency with your posts and engage actively by replying to comments.

Foster conversation and connection among event attendees before, during, and after the event to boost your app downloads.

3. Use drip marketing for emails 📧

Drip marketing campaigns entail sending a series of emails to registered participants to boost app downloads. These emails have automated follow-ups and reminders to boost engagement.

  • Create an initial email and track the responses to it.
  • Send regular reminders to participants that the app can cater to their unique event needs.

4. Create a beautiful event website 💻

An interactive event website with smooth navigation and excellent UI will hook the visitor and encourage them to download the app.

  • Starting early is key, make a web-based version of the app. Include agenda, maps, social events, and more.
  • Tip: Your web developer can easily add a guide tab or link using an iframe.
  • Ensure the landing page has a direct link in your email campaign.
  • Tip: To grab more attention, include it in your final email with directions and last-minute instructions.
  • Mention unique features like custom to-do lists, virtual business cards can prompt immediate downloads.

5. Use pop-up advertisements 🪟

Pop-up advertisements are interactive ads that appear on screen, grabbing users’ attention. As a mobile event organiser, smart use of these ads on your event site can increase app downloads.

  • Initially, design a pop-up that is triggered when visitors land on your website via mobile devices.
  • The pop-up should offer two options: ‘Download the app’ or ‘Continue to the website’.
  • Make sure the value of downloading the app is clearly communicated, like exclusive content or real-time notifications.
  • Compelling copy and attractive design are key drivers for ad success.
  • Don’t bombard users, balance is key. Too many pop-ups can deter potential downloads.

A successful pop-up strategy involves a blend of appealing design and careful execution – you don’t want to annoy people!

6. Offer incentives ⭐

Hooking up attendees with incentives is an effective way to get more event app downloads. Here’s how it works:

  • Pack your app with irresistible features. Include exclusive offers and gifts in an in-app goodie bag and watch how downloads begin to soar.
  • Turn your app into a fun game. Introduce “quests” such as visiting stands, or attending sessions and give them points for completion. Players with a certain number of points can win cool prizes.
  • Don’t shy away from advertising. Keep reminding attendees to download and utilise your app. Use signs, banners, and direct messaging throughout the trade show event.
  • Carry out ‘FOMO’ marketing. Show attendees what they’re missing by not using the app. A text saying, “You could’ve earned points toward prizes if you used our app!” can be highly effective.
  • Transform breaks and waiting periods into fun and learning times. Incorporate live trivia games or scavenger hunts within your app. This will not only keep attendees engaged but also increase their interactions with the app.
  • Place their logos on your app’s home screen.
  • Display sponsored profiles in order of their support.
  • Use eye-catching banner ads on top of the screen.
  • Initiative-sponsored push notifications.

7. Offer exclusive resources 📚

Offering exclusive content is a smart strategy to spike your event app downloads. It plays on the psychology of reciprocity and maximises the perceived value of your app.

  • Offer a free guide to build within the app.
  • Entice with compelling reasons to download, like browsing agendas and building custom to-do lists.
  • Onsite, emphasise the app benefits to boost traffic.
  • Use the app for pre-event surveys to increase user engagement.
  • Replace paper materials with the app and update information in real-time.
  • Include the app in registration and promote early downloads.

Remember, the more value your users see, the more likely they’d want your app.

8. Onsite downloads 📩

Many event participants have a busy schedule – they might not have downloaded the app but are aware of the value it brings.

Ensure the tradeshow venue has physical hoardings and banners that prominently display the QR code so anyone who has just landed at the location can immediately download it.

The venue should have a strong Wifi connection in and around to avoid wasting time searching for internet connectivity.

9. Create a gamification strategy ⛹️

Amp up your event app’s groovy factor and skyrocket those downloads by injecting some gamification into it. Follow these quick-fire steps to learn how:

  1. Think of snappy games related to your event – quizzes, hunts, or contests – that attendees can partake in.
  2. Include a leaderboard to rev up some competition.
  3. Drop some rewards or points for completing tasks or visiting specific exhibitors – folks love a good win!
  4. Live trivia, polls, or Q&A sessions during downtime not only keep engagement up but decimate those pesky yawns.
  5. And the masterstroke – offer rewards or prize draws for high scorers.

Ready, set, gamify! Brainstorm and strategise to turn your event app into the belle of the download ball 😎

10. Provide regular updates 🔔

Keeping your event app updated encourages more participants to download it. By providing real-time content and soliciting feedback, you make your audience part of the event experience.

Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Update the app with the most recent agenda, speaker details, floor plans, and exhibitor locations. This aids in better orientation at the trade show.
  2. Utilise push notifications to share useful travel information, weather, and changes in the programme. Remember, the goal is convenience, not intrusion.
  3. Encourage real-time communication through the app. This promotes attendee interaction and grants access to immediate event updates.
  4. Go ‘Green’. Limit printing and highlight this in your one-page brochure at the registration desk. Also, promote the benefits of using the app here.
  5. Provide a dedicated support team for the app during the event. Assist the non-tech savvy attendees and ensure everyone can access information easily.

Remember to keep it simple: the key is to make your event app a tool to enjoy and enhance the experience, not make it a technical headache for your team or your audience.

Learn more about modern event marketing with our latest expert guide – download it now.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you 😀