Understanding the cost of mobile event apps

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There are a lot of considerations that go into selecting the ideal event app provider for your brand, but budget and return on investment are two of the most common. An event app provider that has lower upfront costs can be an attractive entry point into the world of event technology, providing an easy way to launch your app without making a significant dent in your event marketing budget. But many brands that select this route find that in the long run, apps with low upfront costs can end up costing their brand in other ways.

Whether you’re selecting an entry-level template app or a customized Enterprise Event App, it’s important to consider not only the upfront costs, but also the total cost of ownership and the long-term return on investment that your app will provide to your event strategy. Is it more cost effective for your brand to purchase an entry-level app, or invest in an Enterprise Event App? What associated costs can you expect to follow your investment in an event app platform? What’s the total lifetime cost of your event app? How do you understand the true ROI of your event app?

We’ll break down what costs you can expect up front when purchasing an app, plus the hidden costs associated and the invisible costs you might incur from selecting an app that doesn’t meet the needs of your enterprise.

What core costs go into buying an event app?

The upfront event app platform cost can range anywhere from $5,000 to upwards of $50,000. With such a wide range, it can be difficult to understand exactly what value you’re getting when deciding between a basic template app and an Enterprise Event App. One of the most significant and costly differences between the two is scalability.

An Enterprise Event App platform will be able to host all of your events in one single app, whereas template apps host a single event. If your brand is only hosting a one-off event, a template app might be all you’ll need. But if you’re planning to use event technology for several events in your portfolio or hosting a large event annually, an Enterprise Event App can save you a significant amount of time and money. Once your event app is designed with your branding, it’s easy to create and add new events to your app, from your largest global conferences to small tradeshows and intimate stakeholder meetings.

You’ll also want to consider what features you need within your event app. Many features will add to your upfront costs, but will also contribute to a better attendee experience and the overall event value. If you’re looking for a simple digital schedule for your attendees, a basic app is all you need. For global enterprises that need to wow their attendees at premium events, a feature-rich Enterprise Event App will be a necessity. These additional features, such as detailed app branding packages, intelligent features like chatbots and recommendation engines, on-site app support, upgraded security and hosting packages, and custom integrations will be worth the investment because of how they contribute to your overall ROI.

What invisible costs are associated?

Invisible costs to your event budget include things like attendee engagement and brand reputation. An app that isn’t engaging your attendees, or isn’t being used, is a waste of money and not contributing to your overall event ROI even if the upfront cost was low. But more importantly, an app that is damaging your brand’s reputation may actually cost your enterprise a lot of money in the long run.

Launching a mobile app that isn’t in line with your company’s branding can create a feeling of disconnect in your mobile and live event experiences. Low entry point event apps generally offer light customization options, such as the ability to apply your logo and brand colors, but fall short when it comes to complete branding capabilities, such as brand fonts, banners animations and splash screens. Enterprise event apps offer a higher level of design and UX that will ensure a fully branded digital experience.

Your brand’s reputation is also at risk if you partner with an event app provider that doesn’t offer usability, security and scalability. When speaking with providers, consider asking about their infrastructure and scalability: can the app perform as quickly and powerfully with 50,000 users at your premiere event as it does with only 2,000 users at a small conference? Most importantly, consider the cost of shadow IT and using an app that’s not up to your organization’s security standards. An enterprise-grade app will already have the security measures in place to meet the needs of your CTO.

Finally, consider the cost of not investing in event technology. Your mobile event app becomes your attendees’ key brand touchpoint before, during and after your events. It’s where they will be looking for session information, but also navigating to your exhibitors, seeking networking opportunities, reading brand content and engaging with your speakers. Your attendees already expect a compelling mobile app experience from global brands, whether or not you’re investing in event technology yet. The cost of failing to “wow” attendees runs deeper than you might anticipate.

How does your event app improve your overall event ROI?

Early event apps proved their value simply by cutting printing budgets. But as event technology has grown in leaps and bounds, event apps provide event organizers and attendees with a lot more than just a digital schedule. As such, the return on investment of an event app has also grown, but it has become far more difficult to calculate, too.

Meeting planners will be familiar with this complexity, as determining the ROI of events in general is notoriously difficult. Loosely speaking, ROI calculates how much money was made versus how much money was spent. While it’s easy to tally up the amount of money spent on an event or app, it’s difficult to accurately predict the true value until long after your attendees have left. To determine how your event app contributes to your customer journey and sales metrics, we look at event app data and analytics. With an enterprise-grade event data and analytics tool, you’ll be able to sync event app data in real time, and visualize it in the business intelligence tools you’re already using. This lets you see engagement and blend event behavior with sales metrics to track customer journeys.

Test-drive the award-winning Best Event App

If you’re looking to better understand how an Enterprise Event App can engage your attendees, bring your branding to life and improve your event ROI, learn why Eventbase has won “Best Event App” four years running with a personalized demo. We’ll talk with you about your enterprise’s event strategy and full event portfolio, and how your investment in an event app with enterprise-grade branding and security can help bring your event strategy to the next level.