How about a free conference app?

Your pitch to sponsors probably already includes putting their name and logo into the conference app. That’s all very well, but by treating the app as if it was just a brochure or a flyer you might be missing a trick.

Most apps will have a list of sponsors and exhibitors, and some (like ours) give prominence to sponsors on the front page. But there’s a lot more scope for advertising than that and it can bring in serious money – more than enough money to pay for the app itself.

IMG_0195First, there’s the simple banner ad at the top or bottom of a page. It can be linked to the advertiser’s website, of course, but why not put a special page for the advertiser inside the app for a fully integrated feel?

Then there’s the full page ad, usually implemented as an “interstitial” – that is, an ad that appears from time to time when the user goes from page to page in the app.

IMG_0194And, our current favourite, how about inserting the sponsor’s logo into the programme listing, next to a sponsored session? That’s what we did recently with our app for the ESCP 2014 conference. Our client sold advertising packages that included dedicated pages and inline logos, with in-app alerts shortly before the sponsored sessions.

In-app advertising commands excellent prices, anything from $100s for sponsor logos for a small conference through to maybe $5,000 for a package deal for large conferences. The great thing is, it’s permissive advertising: delegates use the app several times a day to check on their agendas, and on each occasion they see the advertiser’s message.

It doesn’t take much effort to make enough money for the app to pay for itself with plenty left over for pizza.