Mobile Event Apps vs. Mobile Websites

Posted by Matt Milloway on May 11, 2017

Attendees increasingly expect a native mobile app at their events. A host of impressive features and interactive content continues to be developed alongside the surge in mobile app usage, and along with a greatly improved user interface, gives native applications a major advantage over mobile websites. Yet the latter option still plays a role in giving attendees access to information on the go and shouldn’t be discarded.

Continue reading to better understand the massive benefits of mobile event apps and how mobile websites continue to remain relevant. 

Improved User Interface

Mobile event apps offer both improved performance and integration over their mobile website counterparts. Consider the fact a mobile app and much of its data is downloaded upon installation; navigating content is much faster and doesn’t always rely on an internet connection to load the next page. Actions like social sharing are also better integrated into the experience with buttons and workflows more consistent with a user’s other favorite mobile apps.

Mobile websites, while responsive, often only offer one catch-all solution for smaller devices like iPhones and larger tablets. Content might stack down and remain viewable regardless of screen size, but the ability to truly optimize content and the user interface for different devices presents a challenge. On the other hand, native mobile apps can give users an HD-optimized iPad or tablet-only option truly taking advantage of the extra real estate.

Interactive Features

The bigger game changer offered by native mobile apps is the ability to give attendees a host of engaging and interactive features. Want to send a scheduled push alert with a link to important sponsor content? How about engage attendees with live polling during your keynote presentation? Mobile apps are the only reliable solution for many of these features attendees now expect.

An increase in personalized content also pairs well with the capabilities of a mobile app. User authentication to provide exclusive content to a subset of users, track attendee activity, or protect confidential information is much more feasible on a native mobile application. So too is multi-language support based on a user’s download location—and the list goes on. 

A Case for Mobile Websites

The biggest limitation to native mobile apps is the fact a version must be developed for each operation system. While an iOS and Android app covers the vast majority of user bases, what about a company who issues Blackberries or Windows smartphones to employees while acknowledging many will bring an iPad to the event? Or an event host who simply wants to ensure 100% of attendees can receive content?

Mobile websites are a convenient one-size-fits-all solution giving anyone with an internet connection the ability to see the same event agenda, speaker bios, and other mostly text and image-based content as peers with access to a native mobile app. Interactive features are limited, but content needed to navigate the event and network with colleagues is still essential.

A different mobile website might also serve as a landing page for everyone—even those downloading a native application. Marketing a branded url (e.g. www.event2017.org) that recognizes a user’s device, sends them to the appropriate app store, or defaults to the mobile HTML5 version, is of value for everyone. 

The Bottom Line

Native mobile applications are both faster and offer more features than mobile websites. Event planners enjoy much more at their disposal in terms of personalizing the attendee experience and offering more sources of engagement. Your mobile app provider, however, should at least offer a mobile website to serve as a companion to native mobile apps. Pairing both technologies is a win-win for attendees and gives everyone access to a better event experience. 

For more information on leveraging multi language support for your next meeting, conference or trade show, contact an AppBurst representative: