festival production

Festival Production: Why Use an Event App?

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If you are a festival planner or are heavily involved in the festival production planning process, you understand that you need a mobile Internet presence and strategy. To some that’s a responsive event website and a Facebook event page. They are certainly important components of any festival’s online strategy but consider this. We are living in the most mobile – first online ecosystem the world has event seen.

In 2022, the people you want at your festival are spending more time than ever on mobile apps. They are engaging with mobile apps 4.9 hours per day (Q3 2022) compared to 4.8 hours in 2021 in the top 10 mobile markets. Overall, Americans are spending 2 hours and 54 minutes on their phones each day; Source. Eighty-eight percent of that time is spent on apps according to Insider Intelligence.

cellphone usage statisticsThat’s Why Event Apps Are Now an Important Component of the Festival Production Planning Process.

No event manager can get by nowadays when doing festival production planning without a mobile internet strategy that includes an event app for their festival, concert series or other type of live entertainment event. These event apps bring added value to attendees, exhibitors, sponsors as well as those planning the festival production.

Since their introduction in 2010, event apps have grown much more sophisticated and feature robust for festivals, conferences, and other types of events. They have transformed the way we engage, communicate, and get informed about events. Most event or festival planners believe that event apps provide a dramatic increase in attendee engagement. As a rule, more engagement in turn can lead to a higher ROI for the event using them.

event app, festival app, An event app is a powerful channel to drive attendee engagement before, during, and after a public festival, exhibition or conference. Today’s event apps come with a host of features, covering everything from marketing the event to letting attendees interact with the festival while on the go. Modern event apps are power packed with a broad variety of valuable features for ensuring attendee convenience and enhanced engagement. One of the event app’s primary pre-event purposes is making all the important information concerning the event accessible to your target audience.

What used to be contained in program schedules or event flyers provided to attendees or information placed on event websites has evolved to event apps with so much more in terms of information, engagement opportunities, networking, and communications with those interested in the event. Event apps are now a tech tool meant not only to communicate the event information to attendees but also a platform to engage them, maximizing their convenience while also gaining valuable real-time feedback.

Apps can enable interactions between attendees, provide updates, and add context to various vendors, exhibitions, sponsors, and performers as well as informing guests about any schedule changes or delays.

Event Apps allow festival planners to get important information about the festival (schedule, performers, location, social media feeds) and features, such as e.g., networking, onto the mobile devices of those involved with it.

A well-designed, easy-to-use event app with great features can sky-rocket your event engagement, attendee networking, and sponsor & exhibitor ROI. A poorly designed event app that is difficult to use with limited features can do just the opposite.

event app featuresAn example of a comprehensive list of event app features from Hubilo.

It’s no longer a secret that the festival event app you use can make or break your event in today’s world!

Benefits of Event Apps Used for Festival Production

Here’s what event planners say:

  • 91% noticed a positive return on investments from such apps.
  • 60% saw an improvement in the engagement of event attendees.

What about visitors? Let them better answer for themselves:

  • 60% actively use their devices during meetings and events.
  • 88% claim event apps to be “extremely important”.

That’s because a good festival event app can:

Promote Your Event 

Creating brand authenticity and showcasing it is part of the role of today’s event apps. Credible brands have mobile apps.  Today, it’s a must-have online presence, similar to what websites once were years ago. Market your event using the mobile app along with other digital marketing channels.

Event Tickets

With easy-to-use integrated payment apps, an event app helps your attendees make purchases seamlessly, even while on the festival grounds.

Targeted Marketing 

Potential attendees who download the app are expressing interest in your event. With easy-to-use attendee engagement features you can personalize marketing tactics based on the interest levels of the participants.

Pre-event Engagement

With a robust featured event app your engagement can start much before the festival begins. Using push notifications and engagement features attendees can start interacting digitally much before the event starts.

Push Notifications

Send out quick updates to engage your potential attendees via push notifications through your event app. You can even link polls, contests, surveys and more using push notifications.

Effective Communication 

A good event app can conveniently connect all event stakeholders – exhibitors, sponsors, attendees for effective and efficient communication, saving time and money.

Instant Content Updates 

In the festival event planning process, you need to make allowance for last minute changes to festival activities. With the event app, content can be updated instantaneously, and you can use push notifications to alert attendees about the last-minute changes as well.

Personalized Agenda 

Event apps allow attendees to highlight activities and performances they want to see and create their own personalized schedule for the festival. This helps attendees focus on their interests during the event with personalized reminders before the activity starts.

Social Media 

Most event apps integrate with social media. User generated content in the event app can be posted to popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Feedback 

Feedback from attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, vendors, etc. is integral to improving the festival experience. Live polling allows stakeholders to rate specific activities during the festival as well as using surveys to rate and leave comments for the overall event after it ends.

Event Gamification

The gamification feature of a good event app allows you to engage attendees by rewarding them for engaging with polls, visiting sponsors, participating in scavenger hunts, answering questionnaires, etc.

Sponsorship Monetization

A festival app allows app sponsorship sponsor ads, sponsor banners, sponsor splash screens and sponsored notifications. This showcases your sponsors to their potential customers and facilitates conversation and engagement between the two. Sponsors get good data on engagement with their brand on the app as well as through the gamification feature.

Event Analytics & Reports

An event app can do a lot to provide you with more information on the demographics and interests of those who download the app as well as those that actually attend your festival. You can see firsthand how people have engaged with the festival app. This analysis will help you secure sponsors for future events as well as design meaningful activities and entertainment for the next time the festival takes place.

There are more benefits than listed here for a high-quality festival event app. As you can see, the benefits are indisputable, and a festival app should be part of your festival production planning process.

Different Technological Approaches to Festival Event Apps

Depending on the circumstances of your festival and budget, you have several options when it comes to creating an event app for your festival. They include a web-based app that are responsive websites using a mobile browser or a branded event app downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store (native application). There are also hybrid apps that offer both.

Web-based event apps are responsive websites that do not need device installation through an app store. Instead, they are accessed through a browser either from the desktop or from mobile phones.

Native apps are developed specifically for one platform. They can be downloaded from various app stores and are not accessible through browsers. Hybrid event apps adopt techniques for both web and native apps to develop Hybrid apps. Such applications can be downloaded to a mobile device and can also be accessed using browsers.

Native Versus Web Event Apps for Festivals

Native apps must be downloaded from App Stores. That requires a good reason to download and use a native event app. Given that drawback, why would I choose a native event app for my festival? The benefits of selecting a native app include:

  • Native apps are far superior when compared to web or hybrid apps. The reason is, they are completely customized for a particular platform. Hybrid apps face a lot of latency issues and limit the user experience while native apps are fast and deliver superior performance.
  • Once downloaded, festival apps generally work perfectly fine when there is no or low Wi-Fi or cell signal. This happens frequently at large festivals or those located in remote areas. Web or hybrid apps will be slow loading or crash in a similar situation.
  • They offer the possibility to access smartphone features that web-based apps can’t offer. That can be e.g. push notifications that can be sent to all participants. Or camera, address book or microphone access.

Using web event apps has advantages as well.

  • They don’t need to be downloaded. It’s hard to get people to download apps. Once they do, they are likely to delete it after the event.
  • They are easy to create and update and have a long shelf life.
  • Less expensive to build than native apps
  • Many festivals are now investing in infrastructure to improve cell reception on-site at festivals, which would greatly reduce performance issues for web event apps.

The Web vs Hybrid vs Native apps selection process factors around criteria like their performance, cost of production, time consumption, and testing procedures.

Conclusion:

Many event organizers don’t realize the potential of monetizing a mobile event app. Just like every asset in your event, the event mobile app can be used to provide space to sponsors & partners to engage with attendees.

A festival event app should be a significant part of the festival production planning process. It acts as a communication channel for attendees and organizers to share important details and insights about an event. It promotes attendee engagement, participation, satisfaction, and monetization. Using one effectively ensures a good event return on investment (ROI).

The benefits of using a festival event app are undeniable. In a future post, I will discuss the specific features that you would want for a great festival app experience.

Related Posts:

4 Proven First Steps in Festival Production

5 Tips for Effective Festival Marketing on Social Media

 

About the author

Robert M. Brecht, PhD.

Robert M. Brecht, PhD.

Doctor Bob has been in the marketing and production side of television and music for over three decades. He, Mike and Glenda form a formidable team in helping artists and venues put on the best events possible.
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