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How to Monetize Your Event App in 2019

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Event apps aren't a new technology; in fact, they've become a staple at most events. Another thing that isn't new to the space is the idea of monetizing your app by selling ad space to sponsors and exhibitors. We've all read the articles with titles like "10 Ways to Monetize Your Event App." Yet most methods are tired and overused... it's time to modernize the way we generate sponsorship revenue in our app to be more impactful and compelling for our sponsors, and more valuable for our attendees! 

Splash Screen Logos are out, Custom Landing Pages are in. 

I'm not saying you have to get rid of the logos on your splash screen, there is just a more impactful way to highlight key sponsors and exhibitors. Everyone has seen sponsors logos on an app splash screen before- you know that loading page that briefly shows when you open the app? If you blink, then you might miss it!  Because this loading page flashes so quickly, it's not the best place to highlight sponsors. 

The modern solution: Custom Landing Pages. 

Instead, each day when your attendee launches the app for the first time, they can land on a dynamic home page with information about that day. If your event is multiple days and you want to show a different landing page highlighting different sponsors each day- you can! Utilizing custom landing pages provides better exposure for sponsors than a quick flash of logos on a splash screen.

In-app banner ads are DEAD... really.

When was the last time you logged into Instagram and saw a flashing banner ad across the top of your screen? Banner ads aren't used in modern apps for a reason; they've been proven to be ineffective and they distract from your brand.  So, how are leading apps advertising today? 

What we're seeing instead are promoted (or sponsored) posts natively integrated with the feed of attendee-generated content. These types of posts more effectively promote brands, products, or offers without disrupting the user experience and without making your app look like a website from the early 2000s. 

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Promoted Posts can be pinned to the top of the activity feed for a set amount of time before they start to move down the feed as other attendee-generated posts are created. These can be an image, video, body of text, or some combination thereof. They can also have a call to action button that links attendees to the sponsor's in-app profile, their website, a white paper, or even a survey or poll. These posts can also be used to drive traffic to an exhibitor booth by having the call to action include something like: "show this ad at our booth to be entered to win a prize" or "in the next 20 minutes we're offering a 20% discount."

In-app offers are the hottest new way to monetize

We recently rolled out a valuable new channel for generating revenue called "Offers." This is a section in the app attendees can click on to see exclusive promotions from your sponsors and exhibitors.  Think "Groupon but for Event Apps." 

Each offer has an image and title with an expandable portion for attendees to read more about the offering. By clicking the 'I'm interested' button, your attendees are essentially raising their digital hand so that your sponsors and exhibitors are able to follow up with those attendees in real time. Your attendees can easily discover great offers while your sponsors get a bunch of new leads falling into their laps. It's a win-win for everyone!

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Use gamification to create more effective sponsored app sections 

Having a logo displayed in your app is nice exposure, but what your sponsors and exhibitors really want is to make face-to-face connections. You are the puppet-master... you hold the strings and can make this happen! Attendees love some friendly competition, especially when a prize is on the line. 

Did you know that you can use gamification as a way to drive traffic to sponsors' and exhibitors' booths? Incentivize attendees to visit key sponsor booths by setting up a scavenger hunt with clues or a passport program where they get earn digital stamps for visiting the booths on the list. It's fun for attendees and drives traffic to your sponsor and exhibitor booths.

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Don't forget the Data!

Sponsors want to see proof that their presence at your event was worthwhile. Everything your attendees do in the app is a data signal that should be tracked. You can use this data to demonstrate to prospective sponsors the engagement and exposure their brand will receive. 

You can also use this data to further help solidify to your current sponsors the ROI of their brand presence in your app.  Now having app usage data to share with your sponsors is all fine and dandy, but if people aren't using your app... well, that's when things get a little awkward between you and your partners.

This is why it's critical to have an app centered around engagement. If attendees open your app and land on a static screen with a bunch of icons they're going to open it a couple times to view the agenda and then not give it another thought the rest of the event. These type of apps are outdated and boring. It's time to modernize!

Moral of the story- don't get stuck in the past

Any MySpace users out there?  **crickets** Anyone still using Yahoo as their main search engine?  **crickets**

Of course not! But why is that? Where did websites and apps of the past go so wrong? 

Think about the most engaging apps on the market today- Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. These addictive apps are centered around engagement. Every time you open them you're landing on a dynamic home screen where there is always something new to look at; they pull you back in over and over again into the conversation. 

So what does this have to do with modernizing in-app sponsorship? Well if you're using a static out-dated app, attendees aren't going to use it and your sponsors aren't going to get the engagement they're expecting. 

In order for any of these strategies to be effective, you first need to make sure you're using an app centered around adoption and engagement.  

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Get Modern!

Still using an old-school app? It's ok we won't judge- let's chat about upgrading your technology so that you can modernize the way you monetize to drive more sponsorship revenue!

By Lindsey Stevens | December 5, 2018

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About the Author: Lindsey Stevens

Picture of Lindsey Stevens

Enterprise Account Executive, DoubleDutch

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