Technology has made it possible to bring trade show exhibiting one step closer
to being environmentally friendly by switching from paper to electronics.
It is now possible to put
the entire show guide on one user friendly app.
Companies like Mobi, Guidebook and TapWalk have taken the lead in producing the
first generation of apps that hold the promise of greatly improving the
efficiency of exhibitor’s
these apps do, in a nutshell, is not simply replace the hard copy show guide but
also create an interactive show environment. The way it works is that the
show manager will
contract with a Mobile App service company and then offer exhibitors the
opportunity of participating either by having a basic listing or through more
the show manager will promote the app to its attendees describing the benefits
and the procedure for downloading. Some of the benefits to attendees
include the site map,
listing of exhibitors, conference schedule, social media browsing, interactive
sponsorships, links to exhibitors and product information, to do lists, a place
to share show photographs,
interactivity with other attendees and more depending on the vendor that is
providing the app.
According to Dave Owens, CEO of TapWalk the real value of a mobile show guide
app to exhibitors is access to analytics. If exhibitors can know how many people
clicked onto their
show site, who these attendees visited, and their unique traffic patterns at the
show, this technology opens the door to a new level of sophistication to
calculate Return on Investment
or Return on Objectives.
those exhibitors whose exhibiting objectives are to make a sale or gather
quality leads for future follow-up, they now have access to the names of people
who took the time to open
their show link. It tells this exhibitor which of their competitors the visitor
has seen and how long they spent on competitors’ pages. For those
exhibitors who are interested in developing
awareness of their brand or to create a presence, sponsoring the app becomes a
method of ensuring that their name is top of mind. In addition exhibitors have
access to such information
as the sequence of booths the attendee has visited and the search terms they
real question is, “do they work?” A study of the use of mobile show guide
app used at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) trade
show, which attracted
thirty thousand attendees from 125 countries, the use of their mobile app has
grown. Here is what they reported after their 2013 convention:
Visits to site
Pages viewed per site
Average time spent at site
min, 36 sec.
min. 42 sec.
Average time spent on each page
study suggests that attendees are becoming more comfortable with mobile apps and
relying on them more for up to date show information.
an exhibitor is faced with a decision of whether to participate in the show app,
Dave Owens suggests they ask the show manager a few pointed questions such
Is the app customized to the show or is it generic?
How will attendees be able to upload the app?
When will the app be available to the attendee?
How will show management promote and market the use of the app?
What types of analytics will be available to exhibitors?
What is the level of confidentiality of data collected?
What are the costs and benefits of the particular app that show management
has chosen for their show?
show guide apps provide us access to “Big Data,” on a very specific situational
basis. The possibilities are endless when exhibitors understand how to mine this
data. What we are
seeing in the marketplace now may only be scratching the surface of what is yet
to come but for those exhibitors looking to find the real value for their
investment, this holds the promise of
being a worthwhile tool.