What are the Best Conference Apps and Event Apps Out There?
(Editor’s Note: We’ve taken some of the ideas in this post and compiled The Event App Buyer’s Guide. It’s a free eBook for people looking to choose the right event app for their organization. Learn a complete method for evaluating vendors, including an Event App Scorecard that allows you to objectively compare competitors with a numerical rank. Or watch the same info in our free webinar. Make your decision process simpler today!)
When you’re looking for the best conference apps or event apps it’s easy to get lost in a sea of possibilities. The landscape of providers and features is varied, and seems to always be in a continuous state of flux. It’s exciting for buyers because it means unprecedented innovation, but it’s also becoming easier and easier to lose sight of the things that really matter when choosing the best event app.
Defining the Best Conference App and Event App
When we say “event app,” we’re usually discussing a basic set of non-negotiable features that make up any product. You want an app that will help guide your attendees around the event, pick their agendas, get important updates from the organizers, network with other attendees, and provide feedback. Starting there will help you narrow down the best conference apps and event apps.
Narrowing the Choices
A lot of time and energy is put into selling event app buyers on features that are often minor or inconsequential. At the end of the day, you’ll want your event app company to be able to answer the following questions to your satisfaction:
How easy is it to create an app?
Will it work for my attendees both online and offline?
Will attendees know how to use it to successfully navigate my event?
Can I make last-minute changes and publish them immediately?
We’ve created a chart to help you quickly narrow the choices when it comes to event apps and conference apps based on a few key distinguishing features.
The above is based on a reasonable amount of research on our part from providers’ feature listings and conversations with clients. Not all providers publish their pricing, so we grouped them based on the cost of their average event app or conference app. $ is $0-$5,000; $$ is $5,000-$7,000; $$$ is $7,000 and above. Please note that individual offers to clients can vary widely.
A Native App that Functions Offline
Not all apps are stored on your device’s internal memory. Some have content that lives on the web and is dependent on an internet connection. A good test of this is to ask your provider to give you instructions to download a sample app, download the app, turn your phone on airplane mode, and explore which pieces of functionality still work.
White Label Apps
You may be looking for a standalone app that is totally branded with your look and feel and is independently available in the app stores. If so, you’ll want to make sure the provider is offering white label service.
Interacting with presenters is becoming more and more important as attendees expect to be engaged. Don’t underestimate the power of this functionality. If you can empower your presenters to ask the audience questions, and display the answers in real time, you can do a lot of interesting, creative things.
Customizable Icons and Colors
Your event has its own look and feel, and your app should reflect that. An inability to customize might hinder your overall branding. In order to save development time, many providers don’t build in the ability to change the names, quantities, or looks of the sections in the app – there are just a fixed list of options.
If you’re working with a team to create an app, you’ll want to make sure that each member can log into the content management system independently while still collaborating on the same project.
Session Attendance Limiting
If you have limited space, you’ll need an app that caps the number of people attending a particular session.
Your app may be intended for a select audience. If so, make sure your provider can assure that only those who are meant to be using the app have access, and that the information in the content management system itself is safe from hacking and abuse. If this is important to you, check to see if the company has been through enterprise security audits, and ask for the results.
Drag & Drop Editing
Managing your app’s content should be as simple as possible. A drag and drop interface will allow you to create a better app faster.
Does your app provider offer more than just a test drive? Access to the entire system before you commit will ensure that you are making a wise investment. Even if they don’t have a free version, ask for a login to their content management system. If they can’t provide it, it’s a red flag.
With Guidebook’s Builder, you can toy around with creating an app right away!
Different companies structure their prices in different ways. Unfortunately, most companies do not publish their pricing online, and it’s up to you to negotiate a good deal with them. This can often work against the consumer and lead to unexpected fees.
Making a Decision
After you have narrowed your choices and demoed the products of your front-runners, the time will come to choose the best conference app or event app. Beyond a list of features and a quoted price there are several intangibles that should drive your decision.
When you look at the app, is it visually appealing? Is navigation of the app self-evident? And can you truly brand the app to your own specifications? We find that users prefer a clean, simple and modern style when using an event app.
Is the app going to work regardless of your venue’s connectivity? Can the provider give you any guarantees about the app’s functionality? Find out now before it’s too late!
Perhaps most important of all – will the provider be there when you need them most? Be sure it’s clear whether or not you’ll have a dedicated account manager and how to get a hold of someone if something isn’t going quite the way you planned. Your satisfaction with the service is directly linked to the effectiveness of your app and the happiness of your users.
Check out our method for comparing event apps in The Event App Buyer’s Guide. Learn the most important parts of an event app, plus use our Event App Scorecard to objectively rank your top vendors with a numerical score. Download it now by clicking below!