Mobile App Adoption

Game On: Increase Mobile App Adoption With Competition

Find out how one association implemented a photo-sharing game as part of its mobile event app to encourage greater attendee engagement.

You’ve made the decision to offer your meeting attendees a mobile app; now the challenge becomes getting those attendees to download and engage with the app.

As one association found, a possible approach to increasing engagement with mobile event apps is to add a little healthy competition.

Respect your audience and serve up only high-value notifications, directing them to helpful content. Anything less and you’re another interruption and attendees will opt-out.

At its International Career Development Conference last year, DECA, Inc.—an association of high school and college students that works to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs—incorporated a photo scavenger hunt game as part of its app (available for iOS and Android) and was pleasantly surprised at the results.

“People actually really got into it,” said Chris Young, a high school division director at DECA. “We had a lot of members who were excited just from the buzz of the game and the app. That was the first time we ever did a conference app, so they were excited about [both].”

To compete, users were asked to take photos of certain objects or people, such as “your DECA doppelganger” or a “cool pair of shades.” For each photo they took, participants earned a specified number of points, and they could keep track of the winners through the app’s leader board.

“It’s easy to do,” Young said. “Many people have smartphones, and they like to take photos with Instagram and Facebook and all the other social media tools already doing it. The app gives more meaning to doing it in a competitive environment that’s fun.”

The game also helped facilitate networking among app users, who could view and comment on other attendees’ photos. Young said about 9,000 people downloaded the mobile app last year, and attendees at this year’s conference, which begins next week, are already anticipating the latest installment. One new addition to the game will ask competitors to stop by and take photos at certain exhibitors’ booths, Young said.  “It’s a great way to gain traffic in the exhibit hall.”

While a game worked well for DECA’s largely high-school-aged audience, it may not be for every association. But there are other ways to increase the buzz around, and ultimately the adoption of, mobile apps, according to an e-book by CrowdCompass.

Here are a few of its tips:

Strategic use of push notifications. With these handy news alerts “pushed” to users, conference organizers can keep attendees informed of the latest happenings as long as they are used wisely.

Avoid inundating users with “low-value messages,” such as “The General Session is starting in 10 minutes!” the e-book states. “Respect your audience and serve up only high-value notifications, directing them to helpful content. Anything less and you’re another interruption and attendees will opt-out.”

Conduct daily polls. Survey attendees and presenters about industry trends that you can distribute through daily polls on the app.

If you’ve got so many industry insiders under one roof, you might as well take advantage of the wealth of knowledge and deliver an added bonus to attendees. Plus, the information can later be used in organizational publications and meeting recaps.

Test drive the app. Get a group of members, exhibitors, and industry sponsors to test your event app before it goes live. You can use their feedback to include or fix things you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of, and testers can help generate pre-launch buzz.

What methods have you found helpful in promoting your mobile app and engaging your mobile app users?


Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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