How to onboard Event App users with Gamification

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Struggling with onboarding your event apps users? Gamify it!

Event App gamification

Gamification, in simple words, is the process of applying game mechanics and principles to non-gaming scenarios. It is a powerful tool that can be used to engage and motivate users, especially when it comes to onboarding them onto an event app. 

With the ever-growing popularity of mobile event apps, many events, conferences and exhibitions have started using their event apps as an easy way to provide attendees with all the information they need for the event.  

However, getting users to download and use the app can be challenging.  

What is Event Gamification? 

Before we begin, maybe we should look at a couple of examples of ways that event gamification is being used today.  

Gamification in events is the process of incorporating game-like elements into an event to enhance attendee engagement, participation, and overall experience. These elements can range from simple challenges or tasks to full-scale interactive games that require collaboration and competition between attendees. 

For example, RFID or NFC badges at events allow for easy exchange of details and content collection, making networking and lead generation more efficient. Each badge tap earns attendees points, adding a gamified aspect that enhances engagement and enjoyment. This system may also incentivise exploration of less-visited areas, encouraging broader event participation. Whether these points lead to rewards like free drinks, exclusive content or feature on a leaderboard varies. 

Don’t just offer up a leaderboard  

All that being said, leaderboards are pointless. Well, as contradictory as that sounds, you need points to get on a leaderboard. Still, if your only event “gamification” is to offer a top spot on the leaderboard, you’ve already lost the battle for real event engagement.  

Those that want to “win” will be there. Those that click everything, look at everything, set up meetings, and then simply do not turn up – they’ll win the leaderboard. But, you have lost. Your exhibitors will be disappointed with no-shows, your speakers annoyed that the reserved front row seats are empty, and the results from your app data will be skewed with irrelevant information. 

So, while leaderboards are an element of gamification, they should not be the only aspect. Instead, focus on creating meaningful challenges and rewards that encourage genuine engagement and participation from your event app users. Think about the individual and how they will benefit from participating, rather than just checking off tasks for the sake of earning points.  

Not sure what an Event App is? 

Watch Matt Allen and Will Custard talk about event apps in their Event Advice video. 

Event Engagement is Everything

The heart of the matter lies in understanding why people attend events in the first place.  

Beyond the content and networking opportunities, live events offer an emotional and sensory experience that digital options cannot easily replicate. Event planners are constantly seeking ways to increase engagement, knowing that higher levels of participation correlate with more satisfied attendees and if it’s a trade show you operate, greater leads and returns for exhibitors too.  

By incorporating game elements into the registration process, we can encourage attendees to be more interactive and invested from the get-go.  

This shift from passive registrants to active event participants sets the stage for a more engaging event experience. 

How to Gamify your Mobile Event App onboarding?

Now that we understand some existing use cases for gamification in events, let’s see how gamification can improve event app onboarding.  

Draw your attendee customer journey

First, consider the user journey and identify key points where gamification can be integrated. These could include downloading the app, creating a profile, exploring features and engaging with other attendees. Each stage that you would like interaction and engagement, from the first email you send them, to the day of the event.  

Reward them for their first install 

Incentivise mobile event app downloads by awarding points or rewards upon successful installation such as a highlighted profile or early access to event information or exclusive content. Give them something useful based on their demographics, so that it is relevant to them.  

Create challenges and rewards

Once you have identified the key points in your customer journey, it’s time to create challenges that will encourage users to take action. These can be as simple as watching a video or completing a survey, or as complex as completing a scavenger hunt within the app or participating in a live quiz during the event.  

Incorporate social interaction 

Gamification works best when there is a sense of competition and collaboration between users. Incorporate features that allow attendees to compete against each other, form teams, and share their progress on social media. This not only adds a fun element to the app but also encourages users to spread the word and attract more users to download and use the app.  

Reward event app exploration

Make exploring event content or app features fun by creating challenges or tasks that allow attendees to earn points, unlock content or compete with others. This could include points for exploring each area within the app but offer additional, higher-value points for registering for different sessions, setting up meetings with exhibitors, or attending networking events.  

What Gamification means for Event Organisers

Digital badges, check-in challenges, virtual scavenger hunts – these are just a few of the myriad strategies that can be employed to turn mundane event processes into something that captures the imagination.  

The immediate feedback, competitiveness, and sense of progress that games deliver can enhance the initial touchpoint with the event, increasing the likelihood that attendees will carry that engagement through to the event itself.  

The end goal is to create a dynamic and interactive event experience for attendees, and gamification can be a powerful tool in achieving that. From registration to post-event follow-ups, incorporating game elements into every stage of the event process can encourage higher levels of participation and create a more enjoyable and memorable experience for all.  

So don’t just offer up a leaderboard – instead, use gamification to truly engage your attendees and create an immersive event experience. Consider incorporating these suggestions into your next event to see the impact it can have on engagement and participation. Because when it comes to events, engagement is everything.  

Start thinking about how you can incorporate game elements into your event app to onboard attendees and make the most out of this powerful tool for engagement. Remember, it’s not just about winning a leaderboard – it’s about creating a meaningful and enjoyable event experience for all participants. So what are you waiting for? Get creative and gamify your next event app now!  

Unlocking the Power of Data and Profiling

Every touchpoint in the event life cycle is an opportunity to gather data; the onboarding and event app use process is no exception. Gamified event onboarding can provide richer insights into attendee preferences and behaviours, enabling event planners to segment their audiences more effectively and tailor the event experience to meet their specific needs. 

Additionally, gamification allows event organizers to track attendee activity and interactions within the event app. This valuable data can provide insights into which sessions or activities were most popular for each persona type, what features were utilized the most, and how engaged attendees are overall. These insights can help organizers better understand their audience and fine-tune future events to meet their needs.  

Attendee profiling through play 

Interactive elements in the registration process can collect data on preferences, likes and dislikes, interaction patterns, and even preferred communication channels.  

This rich profile data can help organisers craft more targeted marketing campaigns, personalise event itineraries, and ensure that the event is more relevant to each attendee. 

Strategically sensible gamification

It’s a digital world and the options for gamified interactions are boundless, but implementing gamification for the sake of it can be counterintuitive. Strategic gamification means integrating elements that align with the event’s goals and the brand’s identity, and that are enjoyable rather than being seen as an additional burden by the attendees. 

event app gamification

Balancing Act: Avoiding gamification overkill

One argument against gamification is that it can complicate what should be a simple process.  

There is truth to this – going overboard with game elements can overwhelm and deter potential registrants. A balanced approach, focusing on a few well-designed and integrated gamified features, can enhance rather than obstruct the registration experience so revisit your customer journey often, as with any aspect of event planning, it’s important to keep the attendee experience at the forefront and find a balance between incorporating gamification and keeping things simple.  

At the end of the day, the goal is to create an engaging and enjoyable experience for attendees – and gamification can be a powerful tool in achieving that. So don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for your audience and event app onboarding process.  

12 Tips for mobile event app onboarding 

    • Event app onboarding is the act of guiding users through the app’s features efficiently to achieve their event-related goals. 
    • Event app users, being mobile-based, generally have less patience, hence their onboarding process should be concise and straightforward. 
    • Event app onboarding demonstrates the value of your mobile event app to potential users. Once they activate their account, they’re incentivised to stay and fulfill the actions you’ve outlined for their engagement.
    • A progressive onboarding strategy releases more intricate features over time, as users gain more familiarity and comfort with the event app.
    • Function-oriented onboarding provides a step-by-step guide on how to perform various tasks on the event app, while benefits-oriented onboarding emphasizes the advantages and improvements the event app can bring to users’ event experiences.
    • The core components of event app onboarding encompass a simplified sign-up page, welcoming screen, interactive tours, and easily accessible customer support.
    • Simplifying the registration process allows users to start leveraging your event app quickly, reducing the chances of user drop-off.
    • Contextual onboarding provides timely assistance exactly when users need it, enhancing feature activation and avoiding information overload. 
    • A well-structured checklist can be a powerful tool guiding users through the initial phase of the onboarding process. 
    • The use of intuitive in-app UX patterns like tool-tips greatly facilitate the discovery of new features within the event app.
    • Event app onboarding shouldn’t consume more than a minute, hence it should be personalised for each user and only incorporate essential steps. Displaying a progress bar can help show users how many steps they have left.
    • Routinely conduct A/B testing of your event app onboarding flow to identify and implement the most effective strategy for your platform. 


Gamification is a powerful tool for engaging and motivating users in any scenario, including onboarding event app users. By incorporating game-like elements into the onboarding process, event organisers can enhance attendee engagement, encourage exploration and interaction within the app, and collect valuable data to inform future events.  

However, it’s important to approach gamification strategically and with balance, so as not to overwhelm or complicate the registration process. With careful planning and implementation, gamification can unlock significant benefits for both attendees and event organizers alike. 

The argument for gamifying event registration isn’t just applicable to fun-focused or consumer events. B2B conferences, trade shows, and confex style events, which are often marked by their formalities, can reap substantial benefits from transforming their event app onboarding process into an engaging, interactive adventure.  

Here’s what’s got us thinking this morning. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too. 

Are you ready to transform your event experience and take attendee engagement to the next level? CrowdComms is here to help you unlock the full potential of your event app engagement. With our state-of-the-art technology and expert insights, we can assist you in creating an interactive, enjoyable, and unforgettable event experience for every attendee.  

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to elevate your event. Contact CrowdComms  today to discuss how we can help you implement strategic and balanced gamification for your next event. Let’s make your event the talk of the industry together! 

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