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Why's nobody using my app?

Why Is Nobody Using My App?

(And what can I do about it?)

The use of apps within live events often assumes delegates will use their own devices – sometimes referred to as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). One result of this BYOD approach means lower uptake rates than organisers hope.

Firstly, if you have recently held an event and experienced low uptake rates for an app, you are not alone. I have met a great number of event organisers who have experienced it. Outside of technical issues, this is the most common problem. Secondly, while you will be feeling responsible for a low uptake rate, the responsibility actually lies, in my view, with the app provider. However, as it’s your job on the line, here are five reasons why uptake can be low and some suggestions for how to work improve it.

What’s In It For The Delegate?

The biggest way to improve uptake for an event app is to ensure the app does something for the delegate which could not be done in another way. Simply migrating content which you used to put on paper does not count! You have to make the app a genuinely beneficial part of the delegate experience. I believe that one way to achieve this is by allowing the delegate to participate in a dialogue with speakers and fellow delegates in the conference – to share meaningful ideas with peers and leaders through the app.

BYOD Headaches

The biggest turn off for a delegate using an app are difficulties connecting to venue WiFi. This includes requiring a username and password more than once (even if it’s printed all over the walls), or having to use one particular WiFi instead of another. But there are other issues: requiring any changes to phone settings, or requiring the user to overcome any security hurdles before accessing the app.

There’s nothing worse for an event organiser than being stuck in the middle between an app provider asking for one thing and the venue WiFi provider offering another. Crystal will always take responsibility for delivering the WiFi ourselves.

The Provided Device Alternative

At a recent event, a client used a BYOD solution for the 2016 event having used Crystal provided iPads in 2014.

In 2016, the average delegate participated in one vote and visited the app once on each day of the conference.

In 2014, the same delegate voted 12 times, shared 9 free text ideas in group brainstorming, liked 20 ideas, took 10 notes, sent 5 delegate-to-delegate messages and was on the app every hour.

Same audience. Same event. This level of uptake is not always desired – but if it is, providing devices is often the only way to achieving universal engagement.

Is The App Central Or Peripheral?

Some events could run perfectly well without any app – they are logistically simple (accommodation and event take place in one place), they are low on interaction (mostly presentations) and the audience know each other (so networking via the app has limited value). In these instances, other than digitising the agenda and delegate list there is little value for the delegate in using an app… and the usage statistics will reflect this.

Ease Of Use Is Essential

The most essential element to app uptake is ease of use. Your app provider should lead on ensuring this – both in terms of managing the delivery of the right WiFi solution, providing devices if required and in planning the delegate journey with you.

The second essential element is to ensure that, before commissioning an app, you have identified a meaningful role for the app from the delegates’ perspective. If these criteria have been met you can expect high uptake.

7 Questions

7 Questions To Ask Your Conference App Provider

Not all conference app providers service and app are created and deployed equally.

If you care about your event and delegate engagement you will realise that a carefully curated conference app can enhance event messages, stimulate involvement and improve outcomes.

Crystal care about the organiser and delegate experience, and understand how to create and deploy an app to ensure high levels of delegate engagement.

Call us now on 020 3176 2000 and find out how Crystal Interactive answer these questions to deliver the best conference app experience possible.

1. When will delegates download the app?

We all lead very busy work and personal lives. Many people only focus on the next task or meeting, moments before they need to. Delegates are no different. They’ll have the date and venue in their calendar, maybe have thought how they are getting there, and not worry about much else.

In general, delegates don’t download conference apps in advance unless they have an incentive. Quite often a delegate won’t bother to download the app at all.

2. What size will the app be?

App file size is an issue when considering download times and available space on delegate devices. The bigger the app the longer it takes to download. Fine if you are online at home on a fast line, but a completely different experience at a conference venue with several hundred other people all using the same bandwidth.

3. What permissions does the app need to install?

Some conference apps request lots of permissions from the delegate/ device in order to be installed, this is incredibly off putting for delegates and will stop delegates installing the app.

Worse, does the app get installed from an unauthorised place – meaning different from an app store. No sensible mobile user wants to install an app from an unauthorised place.

4. Is venue WiFi and internet fast enough to support the app?

If delegates don’t download the app in advance, they will try downloading during registration or when prompted during the event itself. The venue WiFi and Internet bandwidth will be put under severe strain at this time. If the WiFi goes slow, delegates will give up trying to install the app and/ or will miss a vote or interaction.

5. Who handles the content and project management of your app?

Content management and version control can be a major time sink in the pre event phase.

Someone has to input the content and work out how the features are going to be used and the event flow. Who handles this?

6. How easily and quickly can I update event content in the app?

Some changes to the app will be quick and easy, other changes to the app could require the delegate to download the app again. Find out about the key content of your app and what the impact will be of adding, amending or removing for the following:

App text

Delegates/ Speakers/ Agenda items

Votes and Ask Questions

Slides/ PDFs/ Video


7. How secure is your app?

Most apps are hosted online, so data passing between the app and the online server could be intercepted and read. Will the app contain personal or commercially sensitive data? What are your client’s data security requirements? And how does your supplier mitigate or prevent snooping or data loss?

Find Out About Our Approach

Call us now on 020 3176 2000 and find out how Crystal Interactive answer these questions to deliver the best conference app experience possible.