Thursday, August 27, 2015

At-The-Event Resource Roundup

This is the future of mobile technology in the arts: creating an enhanced event experience for your audience.  At-The-Event gives you the tools for sharing event-specific content, increasing social activity, and encouraging ongoing attendance.

As we approach the start of the 2015-16 season, lets revisit At-The-Event:  what it is, how to set one up, and how to get people's eyes on it. 


At-The-Event Setup:


Spotlight from the Field:

Additional Resource:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

At The Event - Partner Spotlight: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Since 1896, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been enriching the lives of audiences with world-class music.  Now at the start of their 120th season, PSO expands this tradition by utilizing their mobile app's At-The-Event feature to enhance the concert experience for the 21st Century.  Their audiences now have easy access to a variety of event-specific content, social interactions with artists and patrons, and special offers.

At-The-Event Recap

The At-The-Event Checklist highlights
available content items and provides
one-click access for easy editing.
When setting up At-The-Event,  it is important to provide as many content options as possible.  You don't want to advertise exclusive or event-specific content to your audience without providing them with an experience that lives up to its promise.

At-The-Event has three main content areas:

  • The Info screen contains features such as: 
    • Check in (This feature doesn't require any setup, it just works!)
    • Things to Know
    • Program Notes
    • Artist Bios
    • Custom actions - links to other content tabs or websites.  
  • The Social feed aggregates posts from Twitter or Instagram with a defined #hashtag and adds posts made using the In-App form.  
  • The Offers area lets you showcase specific deals, promotions, and partnerships to your patrons.

Now, lets take a look at how Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra used each of these areas for their recent concert event - FUSE@PSO: Brahms + Radiohead.

Landing and Info Screens

The Landing Screen for FUSE@PSO: Brahms + Radiohead on the left greets audience members with an image of the Creative Director and Conductor for the evening.  The call to action "Mash it up!" is unique and relevant to the content of the performance, a mash-up of Brahms and music by Radiohead.

The Info screen on the right presents Spotlight Text at the top highlighting the combination of old and new.  This applies both to the combination classical and contemporary music as well as using new technology to enhance the experience of classic art forms.

Following the Spotlight Text is a series of actions leading to deeper content.  Let's take a detailed look at each of them.

Things to Know

Each "Thing to Know" is a combination of text and image intended to guide the app user toward a positive, informed experience.  For this event, the PSO chose three Things to Know related to logistics.
  • First, they advertise a Happy Hour which begins before the actual concert.  
    • This is why it is important to have your ATE content available several hours before the actual concert starts, so that patrons can get used to the idea of relying on the App as a resource for their entire evening, not just the music itself.  
  • Next is Parking information, another valuable tool in helping people get to the event on time. 
  • Finally, they include a link to the city's Construction Update page, as your preferred Maps App will not always know about various road closures.
Click here for more examples of Things to Know.

Program Notes

There are three ways that Program Notes can be added to ATE.

  1. You can link to a PDF file of the program stored in the File Storage area (under the Extras menu in the Control Panel).
  2. You can link to an external site hosting your program notes, such as
  3. You can include the text directly in the App, as shown above.  
However you wish to include them, it is an easy step to do with possible long term benefits. Wouldn't it be great if your audience started reading the program on their phone instead of on paper?  How much money could you save by printing 10% of the paper programs that you currently do?  How many trees could you save?  Its a simple feature that is good for the environment and your bottom-line.

Artist Bios

Next are the Artist Bios.  Here, we see entries for the creative director and three vocalists.  Tapping on one will bring up that artist's biography.  As with Program Notes, this is another great paper saver.  You can also add longer bios without having to worry about how much space is being used.

Custom Actions

Remember the "FUSE@PSO Interviews" menu item on the Info screen above?  That is a Custom Action that was added by:

  1. Creating a custom tab in the App
  2. Adding content to the tab
  3. Deselecting the "Display in App" checkbox for the tab
  4. Grabbing its in-app link 
  5. Using that link for the Custom Action 
Having link-based Custom Actions gives you the flexibility to link to external websites, a tab within the app, or specific content items - such as Videos, Music samples, etc.  Custom Actions are really the key to making each At-The-Event unique.  They give audience members something special to explore and learn information about the event that isn't in the printed program.


Highlighting a sponsor on the Info screen not only adds value for the sponsor, it also provides positive advertising: something that doesn't get in the way of the content while still being visible.

Everyone who attended the concert and viewed the Info screen saw the acknowledgement for Uber - which links to their website. I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few people thought of Uber when planning how to travel to and/or from the performance that night.


Moving away from the Info screen, next is the Social feed.  PSO used the hashtag #FUSEPSO for the evening and encouraged people to post with it.  They even helped start the conversation by posting photos early on.

For tips on how to encourage your audience to use the Social area of your app, click here.


The Offers area is a great tool for expanding the value of the app for your patrons.  Going beyond digital content and a social experience, Offers can provide your audience with access to great deals.  In this case, PSO offered a free ride from Uber as well as a package price for future concerts, including VIP seating and free food & drinks!

What types of offers are other partners highlighting?  Click here for examples.

How Did It Go?

So, it is important to tell your audience that this content is available for them.  Communication is 90% of the game.  If people don't know about it, they can't use it.

In addition to promoting the App in all of their regular communications as a vehicle to purchase tickets and learn more about concerts, the Conductor and Creative Director for that evening's event made an announcement from the stage encouraging the audience to download or open the app to take advantage of a special package deal for the 2015-16 series of FUSE@PSO concerts.

The results for June 24th speak for themselves: For this one event, they saw nearly 10x their average daily activity.  You should see a spike in activity on any event day, but this is a particularly great result for a weekday night event.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Adjusting Your Mobile App to Facebook's Recent Changes

For those of you who have your mobile app configured to pull content from your Facebook Page into the Buzz area of your app, you may have noticed that your Facebook posts have not been appearing in your app.

What happened

Earlier this summer, Facebook made a major change to how they feed content to other web services by switching from RSS / XML code to JSON.  Correspondingly, the RSS / XML feed link you entered into the Buzz area of the mobile suite is no longer active.

What you can do

The infrastructure for the Buzz area currently relies on RSS / XML code to import content from social media and other sites, so incorporating your Facebook content into the Buzz section of your app is not possible at this time.

While we explore our options for reintegrating the Buzz tab with Facebook, we suggest creating a custom tab in your mobile app linked directly to your Facebook page.

  1. From the InstantEncore dashboard, go to Mobile >> Tabs.
  2. Scroll down past the list of current tabs to the section labeled "Add a Custom Tab."
  3. Enter a text label for the new tab.  You might use "Facebook," "Updates," or "Like us on Facebook."
  4. Select the icon to associate with the new tab.  We have included a commonly recognized Facebook icon in our library for you to use, if you like.
  5. In the "Content" area, select "Display an existing web page."
  6. In the URL box, enter
  7. Click on the "Create" button.
Your Facebook Page will now appear as a tab within your mobile app. It's that easy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Enhanced Push Notification Resource Roundup

Enhanced Push Notifications have been available in our Apps for about a month now and, as we prepare for the 2015-16 season, this is the perfect time to make sure your settings are updated and that you're ready with all the tools you need to make Enhanced Push Notifications a part of your successful marketing strategy.

Here is a list of tips, suggestions, and how-to videos that cover every detail of the upgraded push notification system:

Introduction and Overview:

Enhanced Push Note Setup:

Sending an Enhanced Push Note:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Setting up a Facebook Call-to-Action Button

The 1.50 update brings some great changes to your Mobile App, both on the surface and under the hood.  One less than obvious update has been the inclusion of what are known as "Deep Links".  These are links that let you direct people to specific tabs in your app from external sources.

Now, Facebook has added a "Call-to-Action" button which allows you to easily add an important task as a button on your Page's banner image.  Lets look at how we can use Deep Links with this button to let your Fans effortlessly access your Mobile App from your Facebook page.

First, go to your Page and find the "Create Call to Action" button.  It is important to note that this is for Pages, and not your personal Timeline.

When you click on this, you will see a pop-up box which has a "Choose a Button" menu.  Open this and select "Use App".

Once you have selected the type of Call-to-Action, there will be a place to enter in two URLs.  One for your website and one for your mobile website.  Because we want to focus people's behavior on using your Mobile App, create a SmartURL (remember those?) for this purpose and add it to both fields.

The next screen will let you setup your iOS Deep Link.  Use the format instantencoreCID://deeplink/#home where CID is the same value used in the SmartURL.  The Backup Destination will be automatically filled in from the website field.

The Android Deep Link setup is similar, but you will also need your Android Package Name. To find this, just go to your main control panel, copy the link for the Android App, and use the end of the URL that starts with "com.instantencore".

So, becomes just com.instantencore.bcsd2go_5109242.  Again, the Backup Destination will be automatically added.

Click the final Create button and you will be all set.  Your Facebook fans will now have easy access to your Mobile Apps!

  • If they already have your app installed, it will immediately open it.  
  • If they don't yet have your app, the SmartURL will intelligently direct them to the proper platform.  
  • If the button is clicked on a desktop or laptop computer, it will give them links to both.

Finally,  if you have a campaign going on for a specific event or initiative, you can go back to edit the "Use App" button and update the App Links to go to a specific content item or tab in the App.  Just replace the #home at the end of the Deep Link with a different "In-app Link" using InstantEncore's App URL Builder, available at the bottom of your list of Tabs in the Control Panel.

BONUS: Facebook offers some insights on how many times the button has been clicked.  Just look for the "This Week" box to the right and click on where it says "Use App"