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

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:

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:

For example:

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:

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:

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 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:

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.


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.


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.)


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.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Google Analytics: Understanding Your Mobile Audience

You've set up your Google Analytics IDs and started collecting information, but what does it all mean? With all of the raw data that is collected, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. So, lets take a look at a few easy metrics you can view to get a sense of how your app users are interacting with your mobile apps and mobile website.

Page Depth (Mobile Web) and Screen Depth (Native Apps)

The Page/Screen Depth view is a useful tool to get a sense of how much users interact with your app. While Visit/Session Duration will give you a general idea of how long users were viewing your app, the time is a lower bound and not an exact measurement.  It also does not show how much content they consumed during that time.  The Page/Screen Depth measurement will show how far into the app users explored.

Mobile Web:

Audience > Behavior > Engagement > Page Depth

Native Apps:

Behavior > Behavior > Session Duration > Screen Depth

Your content should be organized so that the majority of the visits are within the first 3-4 pages.  Having some traffic at larger depth quantities is good - it means that people are exploring everything the app has to offer, but remember that mobile apps are as much about convenience (quickly see event information, check out a new video, etc) as being a prolonged immersive experience.  If the majority of visits are occurring at large depth quantities, this could mean that the content your users want to see most is buried too deeply in the app, and it should be made more accessible for a better user experience.

Content Tracking

Now that you have a general idea of how people are interacting with the app, you can see specifically what content is most popular.

Mobile Web:

Behavior > Site Content > Content Drilldown

There are two types of entries you will see on this report.  A webpage icon next to the path denotes a single page while a folder icon is for all of the pages further down that path.  Click on one of the folder icon entries, find "Primary Dimension" and then click on "Page" to see the analytics for specific content in your app such as events, music, and video.

Primary Dimension > Page
Native Apps:

Behavior > Screens

Because of the differences in how native apps and mobile websites are constructed, the "Screens" report for your native apps is used to review the same information as "Content Drilldown" from the mobile website. You will notice that this view lacks the folder system from before, so in order to isolate a specific type of content, use the Search box on the left and enter in "/music/", "/video/", etc to see a narrowed down list of results.


Operating System

Another useful tool in understanding your audience is the ability to see what kind of device they are using to access your content.  While this example will focus on the Operating System, you will see from the examples that other interesting information such as service provider, mobile browser, and much more can also be seen.

Mobile Web:

Audience > Technology > Browser & OS > Operating System & Pie Chart
Native Apps:

Audience > Devices and Network > Devices > Operating System & Bar Graph

In either case, selecting "Operating System" from the list of Primary Dimensions will display the traffic your apps receive from iOS and Android devices.  Using the "Pie Chart" and "Bar Graph" views can help visualize this data instead of just looking at the raw values.

Push Notification Tracking

As you know, Push Notifications can be one of the most powerful tools in keeping your users engaged and up-to-date on events and new content in your App.   By setting custom date ranges and changing the time scale of the general Audience Overview report, you can easily monitor the effectiveness of Push Notifications that have been sent. Since Push Notifications are specific to the native apps, we will only be looking at that set of Google Analytics data.

Audience > Overview > Set Date Range & Click 'Hourly'
As you can see, there are noticeable reactions to two push notifications that have been sent out.  Hovering your mouse over the chart will also reveal the number of visitors to the App on an hour by hour basis.

Comparing the Push Notification log to Google Analytics

Keep track of your Push Notification reactions over time to see what kind of messaging techniques attract the greatest response.  Google Analytics has an additional tool that can be useful for achieving a further granular view of how users react to Push Notifications.

Real-Time > Overview

By having the Real-Time Overview display active after a Push Notification is sent, you can monitor the response.  If your message directed your users to view a specific piece of content or alerted them to changes in an upcoming event, you will not only be able to see incoming traffic, but if the specific Screens related to that content in the App have been visited recently.

Stay Tuned

A future update to the mobile apps will include the ability to track exit links via the Events report, giving you the ability to monitor when users have clicked ticket or donation links, visited sponsor sites, and much more.

Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn even more about Google Analytics, we highly recommend visiting Google's Training & Certification program to fully develop your analysis skills.