Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Enhance Your App's Events with Things To Know

Every day, new audiences attend performing arts events.  And many of them open their programs only to find program notes written for patrons with a much deeper understanding of the art form, the work, its context, etc.

If you knew that a new patron was attending your event, what would you tell them to guide them toward a positive experience? 

This is the thought that prompted us to develop Things To Know - a new feature in the At The Event module for the mobile suite.

What Is It?

Things to Know is a list of short, interesting, and useful facts related to the event.  These can range from trivia about the programming or people involved with the production to parking information to social media campaigns.  Perhaps you want to let patrons know about near by food options or pre-concert activities? Things to Know can be used for anything that improves your audience's experience.

How Are Arts Organizations Using It?




How Does It Work? 


Step 1: Once you've created an At The Event instance, you will be greeted with a checklist showing you what features are available to you.  Click on "Things to know" to get started adding your first item.


Step 2: The next screen will eventually show you a list of all Things to Know added for the ATE, but to get started, click on "Create your first Thing to Know."


Step 3: Here is where you add the important details. Be sure to include....
  • A Name to help you identify it later (this will not be shown to the public)
  • A relevant image
    • 500px wide by 250px tall is recommended
    • Do not number the images, InstantEncore will do that for you
  •  The text information (HTML is allowed in case you wish to link out to more details)


Once you have everything filled out, click "Add" and your first Thing to Know is done!  You will be able to repeat steps 2 and 3 using the "Add Thing to Know" link until you have added everything you wish to include.


You can manage your existing Things to Know by clicking the Name and making any needed edits.  Re-ordering them can be done using a simple drag-and-drop method. To remove one completely, just click on the trashcan icon to the right.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Adding Auto-Dial Links to Phone Numbers in Your Mobile App

As you've added custom information to your app - such as Accessibility, Parking or Contact information - you may have also included phone numbers that your patrons can call to get further assistance.

Using the instructions in the how-to video below, you can easily turn those phone numbers into links that can be tapped to automatically open the smartphone's call app and dial the number directly with just one tap.




Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Get URL - A Tool for Enhancing Navigation Inside (and Outside) Your App

Ever thought about linking At The Event or a custom tab to a video or music album? What about creating a QR Code for a specific event to use in a marketing campaign?

The "Get URL" tool lets you quickly get an in-app or external URL to any tab or content that you've already added.

How Does It Work?



How Might You Use It?


Deep Linking for Custom Tabs 

A few months ago, we talked about how to make your app unique with custom tabs.  If you have quite a few custom tabs that are related to each other, then you may want to create a submenu tab with deeper links to those related custom tabs.  The submenu tab visually organizes information for the end user.


To create a submenu tab with deep linking:

  • Start by creating the custom tabs that will be featured on the submenu tab.
  • Go to Mobile >> Tabs in the control panel and disable the Display in App checkbox for each of those custom tabs.
  • Create the submenu tab.
  • Add a button, bullet, or text label for each custom tab to be featured.
  • Use the Get URL tool to find the In-App Link for each custom tab.
  • Connect the In-App Link to its respective item on the submenu page.

Creating Custom Actions for At The Event's Info Screen

As the video demonstrates, you can use the Get URL tool to add custom actions to the Info screen when you activate At The Event for a performance.


When you use the Get URL tool to add a custom action to At The Event, be sure to use the In-App Link to keep the navigation within your mobile app.

Linking to App Content from an External Source

The video also mentions using the Get URL tool to connect a QR code with content in your app.  (To learn more about QR codes, click here.)  You can also use the Get URL tool to share app content like streaming music via email and social media.

If you are going to link to in-app content from an outside source, be sure to use the External URL associated with your content.

Any questions?  Contact support@instantencore.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Smart App Download URL: How to Connect Your Mobile Users Directly to the Correct App for Their Devices

Now that you've started using the new At-The-Event feature in your mobile apps, you will want to make sure that your audience has the Apple or Android app downloaded to their mobile device.

Including the Redirect Script on your standard website takes mobile users to the mobile website, which will display a banner link to the proper app store. Word of mouth also helps build app awareness, but nothing beats providing your patrons with direct links to the Apple App Store and Google Play pages for their specific devices.

To help you with this, we've created a Smart App Download URL (SmartURL) that will automatically detect the type of mobile device accessing it and redirect the user to the link on the appropriate app store for their device.  If the link is visited from a desktop or laptop computer, it will display a page with links to both app stores.

How the Smart App Download URL appears on a desktop computer.


Since At The Event is specifically available to your Apple and Android app subscribers, the Smart App Download URL guides users directly to those apps and bypasses the mobile website, which is not compatible with At The Event.

Building the URL

The first step is to build the SmartURL. This is comprised of three parts starting with the base URL. To begin, copy and paste this text:


http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/

Next, you will need to include your Partner ID - a unique 7 digit number linked to your account which lets the URL know to connect to your specific apps.

  • Find this by logging in to your Control Panel
  • Click your Partner Name in the upper right corner to visit your Partner Page on InstantEncore
  • Copy the number at the end of the URL:

 

Lastly, you will need to provide a Qualifier. This can be anything, but for basic uses we suggest using the "Menu App Name" from the Mobile >> Basic Settings page in your Control Panel:


These elements are then combined into a single URL that looks like:
http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/PartnerID/Qualifier

For example:
http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/5109242/bcsd2go

Be sure to visit the URL in your web browser and make sure it is valid before publishing it anywhere!

Advanced Techniques

As we mentioned, this link can be used in a variety of different mediums.  If you want to keep track of how much the link is used in different ways, you can use anything you like as a qualifier such as:

http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/5109242/qrcode
http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/5109242/twitter
http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/5109242/facebook
http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/5109242/email



Short URL

Now these URLs are very useful, but they are not practical for social media.  To make them more manageable, we recommend Google's URL shortening service: Goo.gl


In additional to an easy-to-use shortened URL, this service provides some "Details"; basic analytics to help you keep track of exposure including the number of "clicks" and what Platform (iPhone, Linux - which includes Android, etc) visited the link. These analytics are important to have as they will not be recorded by your regular mobile app's Google Analytics.


QR Codes

Also available in the "Details" area of the Goo.gl short URL is a QR Code image.



You can save this image to your computer and then use it in your printed materials such as signage, flyers, and programs.  You could even go so far as to create different SmartURLs for different printed methods to get a fine-grained view of what methods work best:

http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/5109242/qrBanner
http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/5109242/qrPostcard
http://services.instantencore.com/Util/Share/DownloadApp/5109242/qrProgram


QR Codes are the ideal use for SmartURLs as you are guaranteed that your audience member is already using their mobile device and will be able to bring up the correct app with immediate access to your At-The-Event content.

Tip:  When adding a QR code to a postcard, program or other printed item, it is best to include a bit of text telling the mobile user exactly where that QR code will take them.  For example, "Scan this code with your smartphone to download our mobile app and access exclusive content for tonight's show."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Take Your App to the Next Level with "At The Event"

InstantEncore is excited to introduce the next stage in performing arts mobile engagement with "At The Event" - a new feature set for our mobile suite designed to deepen audience engagement and foster community among your patrons before, during, and after the show.


How does it work?

When “At The Event” is activated for an event, a full-image landing page becomes the home screen for your Apple and Android apps on the day of the show.  You control the start and end times during the day for this landing page to appear within the app. When your patrons tap on the landing page, they are taken to special content related to the event.


INFO

The Info screen enables you to engage your patrons more deeply with content specific to the event and the artists involved. Standard features include: location-based check-in, things to know, program notes, featured artist bios, and sponsor information. You also have the ability to create custom content just for that performance, connect to multimedia content already in your app, and link out to external URLs.


SOCIAL

The Social screen highlights the social media hashtag for your event, aggregates posts with that hashtag from Twitter and Instagram, and allows your patrons to respond with their own posts. If a mobile user does not have an account on Twitter or Instagram, they can use the in-app posting form to engage in the conversation.


(Why not Facebook?  Because most Facebook users have their privacy settings limited to friends and family.  In order for an app to pull in hashtag content, it must be publicly posted.  We did not want Facebook users to become frustrated by submitting a post that did not appear in the social feed due to privacy settings.)

OFFERS

The Offers screen helps you to capitalize on your audience’s attendance by promoting upcoming events, season subscriptions, concession specials, merchandise, offers from external partners, and more.


At The Event Resources

Over the upcoming weeks, we will be releasing a series of posts on this blog to highlight tips and best practices for making the most of this exciting new tool for audience engagement.  In the meantime, here are some resources to help you dive deeper into exploring what you could do with At The Event in your mobile app.