Top tips to increase event app adoption

You have an event app, tick! You’ve added all of your event information replacing that outdated event handbook, done! But now you’ve found that attendees aren’t downloading or using the app? What!?

Unfortunately, simply having an app doesn’t guarantee that attendees will download it. Like anything, people require a little convincing. The good news is that you don’t need to be a marketing aficionado to do so. Here are five quick and easy things you can be doing in order to increase your event app adoption and engagement rates.

young man checking phone

Communications and education

Start promoting the app a couple of months out of the event. Have details about the app on your website, on social media and through emails. App promotion should include how to download and access the app, plus the benefits of using the app and what’s included.

By utilising a wide variety of market communication channels you can maximise your reach. Consider the following, proven promotional tactics:

  • Creating a social media hashtag.
  • Including a download flyer in the event’s handbook.
  • Sending out an SMS or series of emails.
  • Working closely with your exhibitors, speakers and sponsors to help promote.

Keep the momentum going during the event

  • Ensure it’s accessible on various device types and have a web app for any others.
  • Have an app help desk or concierge on-site if you think your demographic will need some support. 
  • Mention during open of sessions and during housekeeping announcements.
  • Add it to printed signage near the registration desk and in sessions or charge zones. Include an easy method of finding the app – such as a QR code attendees can scan to access.
  • Brief staff on how to access the app. Get them to ask attendees if they have downloaded it and remind them how.


poster with instructions to download app
Photo: The Exchange, app produced by Evise



A common misconception about event apps is, attendees are too busy looking at their phones to network or engage in sessions. The truth is, if done right, event apps can encourage networking via the app and in person.

How to do this? Build excitement with gamification, everyone loves a bit of healthy competition, whether it be for fame and glory of the leaderboard or real prizes up for grabs. Award points for actions you want to see happening,  such as posting or commenting in the activity feed and in-person actions – such as direct messaging or bookmarking attendees by scanning each other’s badges.

Create FOMO with exclusive content

Provide a special incentive for app users. This could be a fun engagement campaign around the use of the app with prizes, secret social events at the venue or free giveaways.


  • Get your sponsors and exhibitors on board with offering prizes for specific actions or feedback.
  • Ask attendees to submit their best photos from the event via the app and award a complimentary ticket for next year’s event.
  • Run a digital passport competition through the app and have attendees visit specific locations around the venue or exhibition hall.

Secret event:
Create a networking or chill zone for app users. Only give them details of the location. This will encourage networking and create a buzz about the app.

Engagement campaign:
For the first 25 people to post to the activity feed or the top 3 people on the leaderboard. This could simply be for bragging rights or you could offer prizes too!


Lead by example

Build a digital community within your app by providing a platform for attendees to share experiences and post photos. Lead the way by prompting discussions and posting images of event preparation to build excitement. By establishing a welcoming social environment in-app, you’ll create a means for your attendees to network and socialise, ensuring their continued activity.

Respond to attendees – let them know you’re listening and ready to respond. Just like a social media business page, be ready to reply to attendee’s comments in the feed. Do they have complaints about air conditioning? Are they confused about what time the bus is leaving for the social function? Did they lose their notebook? Have one of the event staff monitor the activity feed and respond to attendees.