5 Ways Configurable Interactive Trade Show Games Offer Better Value Than Custom Development

Value of Configurable Interactive Trade Show Games and Contests

Over several years of creating interactive digital games for event producers and trade show marketers, we’ve evolved our business model towards configurable digital trade show games, because it provides far greater value to our clients, and makes both of our lives easier.

We used to do mostly custom programming, creating one-off solutions that required weeks if not months of work, 5-figure budgets, and a lot of late nights and weekends.  After years of stress, we realized that we could change the way we serve clients by building a game platform where choices and customization was done via a simple interface, not programming.

And so, we invested in creating the SocialPoint Audience Engagement Platform that makes games that still look custom (many varieties of visual styles, client’s brand, colors, messaging, and logo built in).  Yet it provides greater value to our clients than custom programmed digital games in 5 key ways:

1. Lower Cost (by 62% to 90%!)

Many high-end exhibitors continue to hire digital marketing agencies to develop digital interactive games that require custom programming. That programming doesn’t come cheap.  Before our change to configurable games, we commonly were hired to create interactives at a budget of $8,000 to $12,000 each.  We also had to send a software programmer on-site to allow for last-minute changes and tech issues, adding another $4,000.

That total cost of $12,000 to $16,000 is 4 to 10 times more than our $1,500 to $4,500 per event price now.  And yet we still won those custom programming deals, but usually only with the largest exhibitors.  Now, our digital trade show games and contests are affordable to a much larger swath of trade show exhibitors, and for more events, not matter how big or small.

2. Shorter Timeline (& Less Time Overall)

Custom programming takes weeks and weeks, if not months for large projects.  It’s not just the time to create the code that runs the game or contest.  It’s the time to define the project with all the shareholders, to brainstorm solutions, to prioritize features, to review iterations, and to test and debug the finished software.

Getting managers available to give their feedback and approval across multiple steps stretches the timeline out – sometimes too far to even make custom programming a viable option for an event, by the time you start working on it. (And guess what – when your project will cost over $10,000, you will have more senior managers who want to be involved.)

Yet, with our configurable interactive games, we can work with you in a matter of days to get your game or contest set up with your brand, your content, and your marketing strategy. It will take you less time to do, and let you get started closer to your event date.

3. More Features

You would think that with custom development you would get exactly what you asked for.  And yet, because of budget and especially time constraints, exhibitors often settle for less than ideal.  More than that, custom development is limited by what one single client can come up with.  With our configurable platform, we have built in many great ideas you probably would not have considered, or perhaps have afforded, giving marketers more features in each game than they would ever attempt to pay for by themselves.

For example, our Virtual Prize Wheel features the ability to automatically monitor your prize inventory, to avoid offering a prize that you no longer have.  It also lets you pre-determine in what proportions you want to award different prizes – and change those proportions on the fly.  Or, in another example, our Challenge Bar Trivia game can let you make the trivia questions get progressively harder the further a player gets into their game. These are notable features that everyone can use, not just the one company that asked – and paid – to have it included in their custom-programmed interactive.

4. Lower Risk & Greater Reliability

An inevitable part of any software project is debugging – finding the parts of code that throw up an error.  While some bugs manifest themselves right away, other bugs only show up in certain situations.  Unfortunately, with custom programming, unless your programmer did exhaustive testing, that certain situation may not happen until you are at the show site!

Our configurable software has been tested across many months of events, for hundreds of marketers, so new clients benefit from an army of testers.  And our software is done and working now – so you have less risk of an unexpected development issue slowing you down. Plus, with our client-level interface, you can make changes to trivia questions or prize choices on site, without needing a programmer.

5. Robust Analytics, & Reporting

When we made custom programmed interactive games for clients, very few had the stomach to pay for us to create reports to track their results.  At best, they would get an export of all the data their game gathered, and then they would labor to discern what happened at their event.

But, with our Audience Engagement Platform, clients get data and charts tracking key engagement metrics across games, days, and events.  And if a client uses different SocialPoint games or contests, they can compare metrics between them, to see which game or game format helped produce better results, or which events themselves were better.


I hope this article has helped make clearer the many ways you get better value from our configurable digital trade show and event games and contests. With our configurable games, you can avoid unnecessary “excitement” of excessive budgets, tight timeframes, and the software development cycle — and keep the excitement in your booth with your attendees, where it belongs!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate greater attendee engagement at your events.

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is a thought leader, researcher, speaker and award winning innovator on event technology. In 2011, BizBash Magazine added Sam to its annual innovators list. Since then, Sam has won awards from Exhibitor Magazine, IBTM World, RSVP MN, International Live Events Association and MPI for innovation in event technology.