There’s so many types of apps out there, but one category in particular that seems to be getting more popular every year is event apps. As an enthusiastic festival goer I'm a keen user myself, whether it's film or music festival apps. Apart from these two types, event apps are also frequently used for sporting events and businesses conferences.
The event app is a strange beast, though, as most people will only ever have these apps for a short period of time. For this reason, due to their low pricing and flexible contract periods, app makers actually work really well for this category. Another reason is that they basically have everything you’ll need to create a useful experience for your attendees.
So if you want to create an event app, then you’ve come to the right place. Let’s first take a look at the essential features.
This is your right-hand man when it comes to event apps. And even though it sounds simple, there’s probably more things you can do with this feature than you think, and it differs between app makers.
Not only can you add the details of your events both date-wise and time-wise, but also images. Most app makers even allow you to show the event listing via a map view – this is particularly useful for bigger events, such as a film festival that uses several venues across a city or town.
You can also integrate external event calendars: Facebook, Google, iCal…it’s even possible to import events from Eventbrite and Songkick. GoodBarber and Shoutem both have a particularly robust list of integrations within this area.
Shoutem have a useful feature which lets you ‘feature’ certain events above others. Think of the headliner at a music festival that you want to highlight. Or the keynote speaker at your conference. Obviously sponsors love being featured, too.
This could work well at a music festival if you have a headliner you want to highlight, or similarly for a keynote speaker at your conference. This could also be a good feature for one of your sponsors.
This is a feature that’s useful for almost any type of app. For event apps, these are probably best used for information about your speakers or artists attending the event. You can also pull in articles via RSS, which may be handy if you want to share articles from your website instantaneously. GoodBarber have one of the strongest article hierarchy systems, and also allow you to choose from a number of style options for this section. But every app maker has this feature in one form or another.
This feature is available with most of the app makers we mention, and it’s perfect for events. Basically, within all events and articles users have the option to check it as a favourite. This will then create a separate menu item of their favourites, allowing them quick access to, say, the bands they really want to see at the festival, or the sessions they can’t miss at your conference.
The video and audio features can be used in a number of ways for events. Perhaps you have an event promo that you want to feature on your home screen? It also let’s you add music videos, or tracks, from bands appearing at your festival, and trailers for the films at your festival. This can be done in a number of ways:
Goodbarber even has a neat feature that makes your app useful to people who can’t make it to the event! Thanks to the live streaming add-on, your festival or conference can be made available to anyone. Or perhaps you could offer this feed to people who came to your conference for future reference, within a private area that ticket holders can access post-event? So many possibilities.
If an event happens somewhere, but there’s no one around to tweet about it, does it really happen?
Basically every event these days utilises at least one form of social media, if not several, to promote themselves. How is your hashtag supposed to go viral though if everybody is too engrossed in your awesome app to tweet? Fortunately app makers have you covered. You can easily add Twitter and Facebook pages, or feeds, to your app, allowing users to seamlessly re-share your content without ever leaving your app.
Now this one might seem insignificant, but it’s more important than you might think. Not only can you include your contact details, opening hours, and social media accounts for quick reference, but it’s also the place, if using AppInstitute for example, where users can share your app easily with others. This section can be easily missed, so don’t forget!
All the app makers offer regular push notifications, with some offering more advanced options, which are useful to remind your users know about important dates. This is especially useful the closer your event date becomes!
App makers work really well for events, offering pretty much everything you need, with the added flexibility of no lock-in contracts.
The only thing that you might want to do, but is difficult with app makers, is connect your app to an external database to keep track of your attendees details. This is still hard to do with app makers at the moment so, if it’s essential, you might have to invest in a programmer to create a compatible API workaround.
Shoutem (see review) cover all bases with the essential features, and you can tweak most of them to fit your needs pretty easily. Their ‘Featured’ article will be handy for some events and sponsors. They also have a well-developed events feature that, with a bit of practice, can yield some useful results such as daily schedules.
GoodBarber (see review) offer the most integrations for the essential features mentioned above. This includes several event integration options, as well as for media and social media. While some features are not as customisable as Shoutem’s, they are a little more user friendly. Also their live-stream add on will be a great plus for some events.
AppInstitute (see review) have a powerful events feature, but it might not appear as such to begin with. After you spend a bit of time with it, though, you can basically create anything you can do with Shoutem’s aforementioned custom event feature. AppInstitute is lacking in the integrations area, so you might need to be a little more resourceful to get similar results for other essential features.
Swiftic (see review) have an events calendar, yet it’s quite limited, only allowing Facebook and Google integration. They do have the ability to add media content too though, and of course an ‘About Us’ section where you can add a variety of details and social media links.
If you have any questions about event apps, please leave a comment below.
Another great use of app makers is to make a digital publication, such as a news app. Read more about it here as part of our ‘How To' series.