Let's talk about Event Apps for a moment
First, let's cover some app history:
I was fortunate enough to work for a company willing to adopt technology so I think I was around at the beginning of the app revolution (or close to it in 2013/14).
I was privy to the beginnings of CrowdCompass when Cvent bought them and all of its various bugs and glitches and it simply not working (shoutout to our account managers, Kristen Koenig & Gurpreet Singh for the overtime hours they put in helping us with all those crashes!).
Back then, there was no Android version of the app anyway so it had to be browser-based.
I was here for the whole white labeled app phase where everyone wanted their own branded app with their company's name on it.
Then the app stores said "we're getting too many apps and we can no longer do white label event containers" and Cvent pulled our ability to have our own app.
I've been living in a world since where we just have 1 Cvent app and everyone's events go in there. And honestly? No one really seems to mind.
So let's get to today's environment:
I've done about 6-8 demos thus far and one of the boxes I fill in for myself is a company's event app situation. Do they have a native app? How are they set up?
I'm seeing 3 variations of answers and I'm curious your thoughts on each:
Option 1: White label
A lot of people on my demos are super about white labeling. This seems to be a perceived selling point for a number of companies. "We can white label your app so all of your events are in your own company's name/app!"
Personally, I could care less about white labeling these days but I could be a minority. Perhaps there are still companies out there really excited about this and I've just been trained otherwise by now.
Option 2: Container
This is Cvent's tactic. There is 1 Cvent Events app in the app store and everyone's events go in there then the attendee just searches for your event within that container.
It's easy as we don't need developer licenses or app store accounts that are always hard to track down in the corporate world. The work is done for you and your event isn't visible to anyone else out there if you don't want it to be.
Option 3: NO APP *gasp* / Browser-based experience
As previously mentioned, we saw this in the beginning with Android (we'd tell people to save the page as an icon/bookmark onto their phone for easy access) and it appears to be making its rounds and gaining popularity as an option now.
At Swoogo's 1-day conference in the Spring, they used a browser "app" to share the day's simple agenda/location/messages with us. And on a recent call with idloom, they are also proponents of the browser-based "app" (which is really just modifying your registration platform/experience to be mobile-browser friendly). Make edits one time to your website and it shows on the browser-friendly "app" immediately.
After having run a whole lot of events with apps, I can tell you that the MAIN function/use of an app is the scheduler/agenda. Followed a bit by floor plans. And then maybe followed by speaker pages.
1. I've vowed to stop connecting with people within the app after having been burned a few times so I don't use it for networking (at IMEX I edited my badge to add my LinkedIn QR code and had every new person I met scan that and connect with me on the spot. Then I'd follow up with a DM about how we met).
And when the attendee list is over 250 people, it's hard to find good prospects/connections in there anyway.
2. Appointments are always a colossal fail to me so I don't even try. I just show up and get myself scanned where/when I want (freedom to choose, baby!).
3. I don't download documents.
4. I always/mainly use it for agenda/wayfinding and INFORMATION seeking (like what to expect inside the quiet room or whether I'm welcome at a particular area/party... that's a post for another day because we are definitely not informing enough imo).
SO.... Here's my questions...
If we're mainly using an app for the agenda and wayfinding anyway, do we NEED a white labeled or even a downloaded container app? The argument being "do we really need all these apps on our phones - a different one for every event we go to?"
Could we create a robust, temporary browser-based experience that works?
#eventprofs I'm curious your current thoughts?
What experience do you favor?
What are your clients loving? Does white labeling really matter? Are container apps fine? Are we good WITHOUT a downloaded app!?
Are we still just trying to figure out what's "best" in this arena?
Fill me in :)
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