How festivals are engaging audiences through mobile

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By Paul Swaddle, Chairman and Co-founder of Pocket App

Festival season is officially in full swing. From Glastonbury to Wireless and from Love Box to T in the Park, the UK plays host to some of the greatest musical spectacles in the world over the summer months.

However, contrary to popular belief, festivals do not only provide an opportunity for revellers to dust off their wellies and start practising their best air guitar moves. They also provide an opportunity for festival organisers to enhance audience engagement through the use of mobile applications.

In this day and age, to remain competitive or in some instances steal a march on the competition, music festivals should aim to have an effective digital marketing campaign, and to do so they must have an active mobile app campaign. Why so? Well, mobile apps are a great communication stream for any music festival. They help to give customers regular updates, create a sense of community for the festival and provide a practical source of information. Mobile apps can provide festival goers with convenient access to the festival's online presence, offer location based services such as festival maps, privacy, personalisation and security, meaning that they are a very viable resource to enhance the customer experience.

At Pocket App we have particular expertise in this field having created a number of event specific applications based on our robust, reskinnable conference product 'Pocket Events', an application which utilises a user-friendly and fully editable content management system. Through Pocket Events users can upload a wide variety of material related to their event including agenda, speaker notes, images, Twitter feed, venue information and so on.

Festival organisers should ensure that the user's journey at the festival is replicated in the app. In the same way they have a "customer journey" in real life, a festival's app needs to flex and change depending on where the user is on that "journey". With all that said, here are 3 ways a mobile app can help festival organisers amplify their brands:

1. Pre Event - Build Hype & Drive Ticket Sales

The branded app is already relied on by festival attendees as the go-to guide for navigating an event. Organisers can benefit from using mobile apps to help drive ticket sales and promote their line-up. In addition to spotlighting their acts, films and parties, interactive and visually appealing mobile apps can make it easy for attendees to explore the line-up and also serve as a powerful way to boost your ongoing marketing efforts.

2. During Event – Enhance Customer Experience

Favourites and personalised schedules, social sharing, interactive maps - these are all must-haves for helping festival goers plan and navigate their event experience. To further ensure that attendees are on top of every detail, you can provide valuable and timely content through push messaging or an iBeacon-enabled app.

Alert fans to tickets available in their vicinity and provide attendees with critical event updates. Keeping your attendees informed and in the loop can go a long way in making an event memorable.

3. Post Event – Review & Repeat

Every festival has a following. From music fans to film buffs, audiences often look back on their festival experiences to determine if they'll return the next year. However, this doesn't limit your reach and engagement after your festival has ended.

After the last act, your event app is an additional marketing channel to drive attendance for the following year. Features such as social media sharing allow fans to broadcast their experiences to their networks or Spotify playlists help to keep your festival top of mind.

Having a mobile app for your event streamlines the entire user experience and gives your team peace of mind that your attendees are in the know about everything happening. Inclusive of critical information such as travel information, links to festival's other social media platforms and artist background, mobile apps add to the overall festival experience and are a viable virtual space to help engage customers and also feed in much needed information in an accessible manner.

For any festival organisers keen to learn more about how mobile applications can play a central role in increase attendee engagement and boosting brand awareness, don't hesitate to get in touch.

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