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Preview: InstantEncore


The latest news and updates from InstantEncore, the leading provider of mobile solutions to performing arts organizations around the globe. Our partners use the InstantEncore platform to power their mobile apps, enhance live experiences, and create deeper

Updated: 2018-03-08T08:01:22.378-08:00


Partner Showcase - Seattle Shakespeare Company


When you think of Shakespeare, you probably don't think of mobile apps.  But Seattle Shakespeare Company does.  For the past two years, they have used their mobile app to connect contemporary audiences with the power and vibrancy of Shakespeare and other classical playwrights.We recently spoke with Communications Director Jeff Fickes to find out what prompted Seattle Shakespeare Company to pursue their mobile engagement strategy.Jeff FickesWhy did you decide to offer a mobile app for your patrons? When mobile apps first appeared in the marketplace, I knew that I wanted Seattle Shakespeare Company to have one. We had meetings did some research, and then saw that the development was going to be out of our reach since we’re a relatively small company.But I kept dreaming. I had been doing a lot of reading about the direction of consumer trends and everything I read pointed me in the direction of optimizing for mobile usage. We redesigned our website to be mobile responsive and optimized our email campaigns to be read on mobile devices. I still kept thinking about a mobile app.Click on image for a closer look.We’re a theatre company that performs in three different indoor venues, 13 different outdoor venues, and has a tour that performs all over the state. We are a mobile theatre company. I wanted us to be easily accessed where ever our patrons are and to be able to communicate with them whether they’re in a theatre, seeing a park show, or a student seeing Shakespeare for the first time with one of our tours.Why did you choose InstantEncore’s mobile app solution?I actually stumbled upon InstantEncore. I was searching around in the App Store to see what other theatre companies were doing in terms of mobile apps, and saw that some of the larger theatre organizations across the country (Guthrie Theatre, Arena Stage, and Berkeley Rep) were using InstantEncore. I immediately requested a demo and got very excited about the prospect of making a long term goal happen.InstantEncore offers a great deal of flexibility and allows you to tailor the app to your own needs. It worked with our ticketing system and the pricing was within our budget. I didn’t need a lot of convincing. We started devising a plan for how we wanted to use the app and got it set up within a week or so after signing up.Seattle Shakespeare Company usestheir app's At-The-Venue featureto engage audiences at performances.Click on image for a closer look.How have you promoted your mobile app to your patrons? We’ve promoted the app through lobby signs, curtain speeches, our website, email notices and program ads. We’ll most likely do a small facebook digital ad campaign in conjunction with our upcoming outdoor shows this summer, as we’ve found it to be very useful for locating which park show is performing where - since the shows are in a different location practically each night. What are the main benefits of your mobile app for your patrons? Aside from being able to engage with patrons on a device that many people have a personal attachment to, I believe it’s worked well for us from a branding standpoint. We were one of the first theatre companies in Seattle to have a mobile app.Just the fact that a theatre company of our size who focuses on classical plays has an app says something about the company. It sort of shakes off the perceived stodginess of classical plays and gives people a digital interaction in addition to the stage experience.I believe that patrons start to experience the play well before they enter theatre. They’re conceiving of it in their mind through the advertising images and words written about it. If they’re engaging with the play (learning about it and the company) through a mobile device and can do it where ever they may be (on the bus, waiting in line at the store, at home on the couch) we become much more a part of their lives. The perception of the work on stage takes on a different relevance because we’ve engaged with them on their terms, on their time. The art can seem more relevant to a contempo[...]

Partner Showcase - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra


The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) has been enriching the lives of audiences with world-class music for 120 years.  In 2012, PSO launched their mobile app for Apple and Android devices.We recently caught up with PSO's Joyce DeFrancesco, Director of Media Relations, to find out what prompted this established performing arts organization to launch their own mobile app and how have patrons responded to it.Joyce DeFrancescoWhy did you decide to offer a mobile app for your patrons? When we began considering a mobile app, it was clear that mobile viewing of our site was growing. Having a mobile app would provide a better customer experience for our users.Why did you choose InstantEncore’s mobile app solution? We reviewed a variety of options when selecting a mobile app solution. Instant Encore stood out because the framework is geared towards performing arts organizations. Also, they have a relationship and understanding of Tessitura, our ticketing database, if we should choose to integrate.  PSO Mobile AppClick on image for a closer lookHow have you promoted your mobile app to your patrons? We include a notice about our mobile app in our monthly e-newsletters and e-blasts about specific concerts. We push it on our social media and in many print publications.What are the main benefits of your mobile app for your patrons? The mobile app provides our patrons with up-to-the-minute information about the concerts they’ll be attending and an easy way to provide them with links and access to even more information!Which feature do you like best? Why? The push notification feature and its targeting function has been a wonderful way for us to get information and special offers to the patrons who are interested in a direct and noticeable alert.  What’s the feedback on the app been like from your patrons? We haven’t received much feedback on the app, which we take as a good sign. When people don’t like something, they usually don’t hesitate to let you know! This is a “no news is good news” situation.PSO welcomes app users to the concert with a geofence push notification.Click on image for a closer look. How easy was it to implement your app? The app was very easy to implement. We simply had to entered our concerts and created any pages we wanted. After that, we alerted Instant Encore, and they launched it in the app store.What has customer support been like? Customer support is a breeze with Instant Encore. They are very responsive to any questions – from emergencies to simple inquiries. [...]

Maximize Convenience and Customization for Your App's Home Screen with Cards


The Home screen is crucial for your mobile app's success. It's the first thing people see when they use the app. Making a good first impression sets the tone for their entire experience.If they see old information or a blank screen, then they might assume the app has nothing relevant to them and delete it.So how can you avoid this without spending too much time doing maintenance? With the newest option in your toolkit - the Cards home screen!Cards combines the convenience of the What's New home screen's automatically updated content feed with the endless customization options of the Slideshow home screen.Activating the Cards Home ScreenTurning it on is easy.  Go to Mobile >> Tabs, and look for "Home: Cards" in the Type column.  Enable the Display checkbox for that item.Activate and manage the Cards option in the Tabs area.Click on image for a closer look.To manage your Cards tab, click on the link in the Text column.Once the tab is set up, users will be able to scroll through a list of all available Cards that link through to your content.Header ImageExamples of Header Images.Click on image for a closer look.The first feature of your new Cards tab is an optional Header Image.  This banner image can be whatever you like. Just make sure it isn't too tall that it eats up all of a phone's real estate. We recommend a 3:1 width to height ratio.Some popular examples are:A photo of your ensemble, performance venue, or building exteriorThe logo and branding of your organization.A major sponsor (Note: It will not link to their website)Content CardsWithout having to do any extra work, this tab will automatically create Cards for your active At-The-Venue Experiences and for your upcoming Event listings.  There will also be Cards that highlight the most recent Music, Video, or Buzz content. If there is no content for any of these, then that Card won't display. Everything is taken care of for you.Access specific content or view all.Click on image for a closer look.However, you still have the power to do more.  You can drag-and-drop them to rearrange their order. Managing them lets you customize their label or decide if you wish to hide it. You can even add Custom Cards to supplement what your new home screen has to offer.Custom CardsCustom Cards in action.Click on image for a closer look.Custom Cards are very similar to Slideshow Slides, just smaller (and in some ways better!). Instead of a full screen graphic, all you need is another 3:1 banner.You will be able to add a Headline and Description to give your users an idea of what content they will access through the Card.  This should just be a short paragraph at most. You will want to have multiple Cards visible on the screen at the same time to retain the Cards feel.The Action Text should be a short phrase that tells users what you want them to do. "Tap Here", "Read More", "Learn", etc.  Then, provide an In-App URL to another tab or content item, or even an external URL. The entire Custom Card will act as one large, easy-to-tap button that links the user to that content.This gives you the power to do whatever you want. Link to another Custom Tab with parking information, highlight a specific Music Album, link to your most popular Social Media platform, or highlight a Season Sponsor. One other big change from the Slideshow Slides is that in addition to being scheduled, you can leave the date fields blank to have the card always display.Additional ResourcesVideo: Managing the Cards Home ScreenVideo: Adding Custom Cards to Your App's Home ScreenPartner Example: Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (for best results, view on a mobile device)[...]

Automatically Enhance the Audience Experience with At-The-Venue


Since 2014, InstantEncore's mobile suite has enabled performing arts organizations to enhance the audience experience with event-specific content released within their mobile app on the day of the performance.Our new At-The-Venue (ATV) feature uses automation tools to make this easier than ever before. With At-The-Venue, you can automatically generate an ATV experience for every event in your calendar AND identify specific content to be included in every ATV experience.ATV's automation tools help you to consistently enhance the audience experience for every event, amplify the relevancy of your app for patrons, and save staff time by reducing app management tasksSync ATV with Your EventsPrior to the release of At-The-Venue, app administrators needed to manually create experiences for events on their calendar. Now, you can synchronize the creation of ATV experiences with Events in your app.  And all it takes is the click of a button!Click on image for a closer lookIn your account, go to Mobile >> At-The-VenueIn the Checklist on the right, click on Sync with EventsClick on the Enable Sync buttonOnce you enable the sync, an ATV experience will be generated for each upcoming Event. The follow items will be automatically included in the experience:Event TitleEvent Date and Start TimeClick on image for a closer lookEvent ImageYour Event Image will also appear as the image on your ATV Info Screen for the event.If you use the Icons, Slideshow, or What's New home screen options, the system will use your Event Image as the default Landing Screen image for your At-The-Venue Experience. If a particular image does not work for the Landing Screen, you can override it by uploading a new one.If you use the Cards home screen option, the system will use your Event Image in the card for your ATV Experience.Check-in prompt for social media: Facebook, Twitter, FoursquareDefault content (covered in the next section)Advanced TipIf you do not wish to have an ATV experience appear for a synced Event, you can hide it with the click of a button.Click on image for a closer lookGo to Mobile >> At-The-Venue.From the list of upcoming ATV experiences, select the one you wish to hide.In the Checklist on the right, click on Display.Click on the Hide button.Add Default Content to ATV ExperiencesWhether you synchronize ATV with your Events or manually add new ATV experiences, you can now designate certain content to be automatically included in your upcoming experiences by default. While you can always add custom content to your ATV experiences, there may be certain items that you wish to feature every time.  Adding default content prevents you from repeatedly adding the same content for each experience.To begin adding default content for your ATV experiences:Go to Mobile >>At-The-Venue.In the Checklist on the right, select Default Content.In the first section on this page, you can designate a default hashtag, sponsor name, sponsor URL, and time zone.Click on image for a closer lookHashtag If you use a common hashtag for all (or the majority) of your events, then adding it to the default content area makes perfect sense.For any events using a custom hashtag, you can add it to that particular experience and override the default hashtag.Sponsor Name & URLAdding a default sponsor name and URL to your ATV experiences is a great way to provide consistent visibility for your mobile app sponsor or another major sponsor for your season.Time Zone If all of your events take place in the same time zone, then adding it as default content for your experiences will eliminate a repetitive task.The remaining sections on the page enable you to add default Things to Know, Offers, and Custom Actions to your ATV experiences.Click on image for a closer lookThings to Know If you knew that a new patron was attending your event, what would you tell them to guide them toward a positive experience? Things to Know is a list of short, int[...]

10 Tips for Managing Geofences - Connecting When and Where It Counts


Geofences allow you to create location-based triggers around your venue. Think of it as putting a ring around your theater, concert hall, museum or other venue. When your patrons cross the geofence ring, they receive a customized message on their phone prompting them to open your mobile app.Here are 10 tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your geofences:Getting StartedCreate one single Geofence.1. Keep it Simple.There will always be some give and take with determining a user’s location. Especially when considering all of the technologies and factors that go into it. As an example, avoid placing one Geofence around your venue, another around the parking lot next door, and a third one for the coffee shop across the street with which you have a partnership. Even if a user parks in the lot and grabs a cup of coffee across the street before heading into the event, they might end up receiving the event notification first, then one for the coffee shop, and lastly for the parking lot at which point they’re already in your lobby.TIP: Use one Geofence to surround everything and then supply parking and coffee shop information as part of the At-The-Venue (ATV) Experience content. 2. Encompass the Entire Venue. And a Little Bit More.The size of your Geofence is important. The minimum diameter is 200 meters (or about 650 feet) which will cover most small to medium sized venues. Increase the size as needed to cover larger venues. But don’t make it too big as users who have the App might receive a message even though they are not attending the event.TIP: First, adjust your Geofence so that the entire venue is inside of it. Then expand it to add some buffer room. An extra 50 to 100 meters wouldn’t be unreasonable. 3. Managing Multiple Venues.A single venue is easy. Create your Geofence, set an Any Time or ATV message, and you’re done! But for our partners who present at different venues, Custom Messages are key.TIP: You can use these to create time-specific messages at each Geofence for each event. This will help you avoid sending messages to people if they happen to arrive at a location when you don’t have an event going on there. You can also mix-and-match. Setup a main Geofence with an Any Time message and Geofences for special venues with only Custom Messages.4. Planning AheadIt is important to have your Geofences set up well in advance of any events taking place. If you create a new Geofence around a venue two days before an event, odds are low that patrons will have opened the App in that time. This means that their phone won’t have the latest Geofence information, they won’t receive a message when they arrive, and they won’t know to open the App to view program information. TIP: Make sure everything is set up well before your next season begins. Then, as users open the App to buy tickets or after receiving Push Notifications, Geofence information will be downloaded and they will be all set. Crafting Messages5. Find Your VoiceThe different kinds of Geofence messages (Any Time, At-The-Venue, and Custom) call for different approaches based on their use. TIP: Craft a message that makes sense given the context of when people will receive it.The Any Time message is sent to users once per day (between the hours of 5:00 am and Midnight) when they enter the Geofence. Since users may enter the Geofence at any time, even when there is no scheduled event, this should be a generic message: "Welcome to Lincoln Center, home of the New York Philharmonic.""Tap here to see upcoming SFJAZZ events.""Dallas Opera information is just a tap away!"The At-The-Venue message goes to users if they enter the Geofence during an active ATV Experience. Because it will be used for every ATV Experience, the message should be applicable to any of your events. Ideally, it should let users know that they can use the App to find more specific information: "Tap here to get info about today's Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center[...]

Introducing 4 New Features Now Available for Your Mobile App


InstantEncore is continually improving our mobile solutions platform so that we can deliver maximum benefit to arts organizations and their patrons.  This week, we're releasing four exciting, new features for your mobile app.1. Automated At-The-Venue Experiences allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="420">Creating At-The-Venue Experiences (or ATVs) are a powerful way to connect with your patrons. Your ATV can prompt them to check-in on social media, deliver program information, showcase upcoming events, present them with promotional offers, and more.And now, it's easier than ever to create an At-The-Venue Experience. Every time you add an event in your account, you automatically generate an ATV for that event, and schedule it to appear in your app on the day of the event.Managing At-The-Venue content is easier, too.  If you have content that you'd like in all your ATVs, you can set it up once and have it automatically added to any Experiences you create.  You can also copy existing content from other ATVs in your account.And of course, you retain the ability to add custom content to specific Experiences or create new ATVs from scratch at any time.2. Geofence Push Notifications allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="420">Geofences allow you to create location-based triggers around your venue. Think of it as putting a ring around your theater, concert hall, museum or other venue.When your patrons cross the geofence ring, they receive a customized message on their phone prompting them to open your mobile app. You can set a permanently active geofence around your venue with a default message.You can set a geofence to only send messages to patrons when there is an At-The-Venue Experience active in the app.You can set a geofence to send custom messages during scheduled times.Geofence push notifications are a contextually relevant way to greet your patrons and put them on the path to a memorable experience.3. Cards Home ScreenThe Cards Home Screen empowers you to to highlight your most recent and relevant content for your patrons. Content is grouped together as "cards" presented in a vertically scrolling format similar to feeds on social media apps.The control panel automatically generates cards for your events, videos, music, buzz items, and At-The-Venue Experiences. You can change their order of presentation or disable a card from appearing on the home screen.You also have the ability to create your own cards.  Custom cards may be connected to content within your app as well as external content online.  They may be added or deleted at any time. You can also schedule them to be active within your app for specific periods of time.4. Collapsible MenuThe new collapsible menu makes accessing your content incredibly convenient.  Patrons simply tap on the icon in the upper left corner of the app to reveal a scrolling menu of available tabs.Over the next few weeks, we'll dive deeper into these convenient, easy-to-manage tools with best practices and tips for using them to engage your patrons.[...]

Partner Showcase: Dallas Summer Musicals


As the preeminent nonprofit presenter of Broadway theatre in North Texas, Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) produces, presents and promotes excellence in live musical theatre with year-round performances for diverse audiences of all ages.  Since its launch in October 2014, the DSM mobile app has garnered nearly 7,000 downloads from patrons.We recently talked with DSM's Amanda Farrow, Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, about their mobile app and how their patrons have responded to it.Amanda FarrowWhy did you decide to offer a mobile app for your patrons?We were looking for a way to engage our patrons while they're in the theater and give a more in-depth look at the touring shows we bring to the Music Hall. We also wanted an easy point of reference for our patrons to get more information about tickets and a behind-the-scenes look that our website didn’t offer. Additionally, we wanted to send instant alerts and the push notification feature was exactly what we needed.Why did you choose InstantEncore’s mobile app solution?InstantEncore is set up for arts groups, and they have a great understanding of our very specific needs in regards to content, displays, selling tickets, and much more. We also loved the level of flexibility and customization the app offers. Most of all, we appreciate the level of professionalism and expertise they offer to us as customers.How have you promoted the mobile app to your patrons?We have highly promoted our app in our venue with signs, small business sized cards we have on the tables in our lobby (see below), our in-theater and in-lobby videos, our email campaigns, a constant presence on our website, and our social media platforms.What are the main benefits of your mobile app?A quick point-of-reference for our shows and the content they provide. Also, the ease of purchasing tickets for our patrons, the push notifications for instant alerts, and the At-The-Event feature with behind-the-scenes info, social media stream, and special offers.What’s the feedback on the app been like from your patrons?The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Our patrons have been very engaged. They love the additional content we provide through the app.What has customer support been like?Awesome. I didn’t get a technical degree and had trouble understanding a few aspects of the app. I always received a response I understood and could fix whatever issue I had. Also, the staff responds quickly and always responds with the information I need. I also love all of the blog posts with clear and detailed instructions.[...]

InstantEncore, Inc. Appoints Chris Montgomery As CEO


San Diego, March 1, 2016 – InstantEncore Inc. has appointed Chris Montgomery as Chief Executive Officer. Montgomery begins his role immediately and will be based in San Diego.

Montgomery brings a wealth of experience across the mobile, digital media and the performing arts sectors. He is keenly aware of the changing dynamics of the mobile and live entertainment experiences and will be responsible for accelerating growth, harnessing innovation and re-defining what the performing arts experience means in the future.

“Chris comes to us with a wealth of experience in both the arts and technology worlds - a truly great fit for InstantEncore. We couldn't be happier to have him on our team, and it bodes well for our future”, said Evan Schumacher, CTO of InstantEncore. “Chris also has strong vision and leadership abilities that will help us further develop our mobile solutions platform and innovate across the performing arts sector.”

Prior to joining InstantEncore, Montgomery held leadership positions across a number of music and technology related companies. As EVP, Commercial Development for the Royal Conservatory he lead the expansion of the famed music curriculum across North America. As Head of North America and Global VP of Marketing for EMI Classics, he managed the legendary catalogue of EMI Classics recordings and worked with countless recording artists, ensembles and venues around the world. He began his music industry career at BMG Entertainment in Toronto.

Montgomery has also held a number of key international digital media positions. At Diamond Multimedia, he was on the team that launched the first portable mp3 player (Rio) and spinout, He launched the first on-demand subscription service at, and following the acqusition of by Vivendi Universal, was appointed SVP, Digital Media based in Paris. He progressed though the organization to CEO, Europe. He has also consulted in the areas of digital media and strategy to companies ranging from Target, British Telecom, and Sony. As a recognized expert in the areas of music and digital media, Montgomery has published case studies and has spoken at leading industry conferences.

Montgomery earned an M.B.A from the University of Edinburgh, a B.A. in Education from the University of Toronto and a B.A. in Music from the University of Western Ontario. Montgomery is also an Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh Business School and sits on their International Advisory Board.

About InstantEncore Inc.
InstantEncore is the leading provider of mobile solutions to performing arts organizations around the globe. Our partners use the InstantEncore platform to power their mobile apps, enhance live experiences and create deeper relationships with their audiences. InstantEncore partners include Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Curtis Institute of Music and Dallas Summer Musicals. With Tessitura™ Network, Inc., our partners include the New York Philharmonic, The Shaw Festival and Santa Fe Opera.

For more information, contact:
David Dombrosky, Chief Marketing Officer

Best Practices for Encouraging Donations from Your App Subscribers


If your arts organization is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit, then you know the importance that donations play in funding. Your mobile app can be an incredibly powerful tool to help collect donations, but there are also some restrictions you need to work around. Apple and Google both have policies against collecting donations within your app. To accommodate this, we actually need to take some special steps when linking to a Donations page. Simply linking to a URL isn't enough, because by default this opens in what we call the "In-App Browser." This browser lets the user view any webpage they are linked to, but it is still technically running in the app. Correspondingly, Apple and Google won't allow the app to collect donations in this manner. So, lets take a look at a few best practices for linking out to your donation processing system:1. Avoid using the "Custom URL Tab" feature to add a basic link to your donation page. Yes, this is the simplest and fastest way to create this link, but this tool will only open pages using the In-App Browser, which isn't allowed. Bach Collegium San Diego's app clearlyarticulates how mobile donations willbenefit their organization's work.2. Use "Custom HTML Tabs" instead. In a Custom HTML Tab, you can add extra information to encourage patrons to make a donation. This is a perfect place to list the different donation or membership levels and what benefits or rewards might come with them. Letting users know that even the smallest donation level carries with it some extra perk can convince those, who think they can't afford to make a large donation, to at least contribute something. Every dollar helps! Write a paragraph explaining how the donations benefit your organization. Tell users what programs they will help fund, or which artists you will be able to hire from their gift. Don't let people think they are just tossing money into a black hole; make them feel special  Finish off with an exciting call-to-action. By now they've read how their donation will benefit themselves and your organization, now you need to get them to click that link to actually go make the donation. A simple "Click Here" is pretty un-engaging. Get creative with a sentence or graphic. 3. This is the most important part. When creating the link in the Custom HTML Tab, you need to set a special target to make sure that the link opens in the device's default browser app instead of the In-App Browser.  Follow these instructions depending on whether you prefer working in Design or HTML mode. Design Mode: Highlight any text or content you wish to turn in to a link Click on the "Create Link" icon. (It looks like a little globe with a chain-link in front of it.) Paste the link to your donation page in the URL field. In the drop-down box next to where it says "Target," select "Custom Target." In the text box that appears, type _system Click OK.HTML Mode: Working in HTML mode, just add target="_system" attribute to the donation link code.Once you are done, save the changes you've made to the tab and your mobile app will now be compatible with both Apple and Google's donation policies![...]

Why Should I Download Your App? (and Other Questions to Guide Your App Promotion Strategy)


One of the questions that our partners often ask us is, "How do I get more people to download our app and use it?" Of course, the specific answer to this question varies from partner to partner based on how they promote and utilize their apps.With a hat tip to the Socratic method, here are three questions you need to answer in order to advance your app promotion strategy.1. Why should I download your app? Every patron expects an answer to this question before they download your app.  It is not enough to simply tell them that you have an app and instruct them to download it. You need to give them a compelling reason.What can I do with your app that I can't do with your website?Can I access event-specific content in your app on the day of a performance?Can I interact with artists and/or other patrons in the app?Can I access special promotions and offers?Can I receive alerts and notifications based on my personal information and preferences?Can I listen to streaming music or watch behind-the-scenes videos?What constitutes a compelling reason varies, but it should always be approached from the patron's point-of-view.  Remember, the question is "why should I download your app?" - not "why do you want me to download your app?"2. How are you sharing that compelling reason with your patrons?This banner appears in the lobby when the Curtis Institute of Music has event-specific content in their app for a performance.List all of the opportunities you have to communicate with your patrons. How do you communicate with patrons who are in your venue?  How do you communicate with patrons who are off-site? How might you leverage each of these opportunities to share a compelling reason for downloading and using your app?Here are some tips as well as examples from our partners.Don't forget your patron's context.  That can have a dramatic impact on which compelling reason you choose to share with them.  For example, let's consider email messages.If you are sending an email message to encourage patrons to purchase tickets for an event, then you might prompt them to download the app to view a teaser video or interviews with artists.For patrons who have purchased tickets, you could send them a reminder email on the day of the performance to prompt them to download the app for access to special content about tonight's show.After they attend the performance, you might send an email thanking them for their patronage and encouraging them to download the app for access to behind-the-scenes videos or recordings from the performance.No doubt, you have several compelling reasons for a patron to download your app.  Presenting them with the most appropriate reason for their current context increases the likelihood that they will download the app at that point in time.3. Now that I've downloaded and used your app once, how will you prompt me to continue using it?The answer here is communication.  But you're not starting from scratch.  Every time you encourage patrons to download your app for a compelling reason, it reminds your current app users of the great content available to them.  The compelling reason to download is also a compelling reason to open the app and use it again.You do have an additional channel for communicating your app's value to its users.  Push notifications serve as a powerful tool for prompting your current app subscribers to use the app repeatedly over time. Simply put:  if you have a mobile app, you should be using push notifications to communicate with your app users. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="420" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//" style="border-width: 1px; border: 1px solid #CCC; margin-bottom: 5px; max-width: 100%;[...]

Estimating Your App's ROI - Introducing "Tap Event" Tracking in Google Analytics


Over the summer, we enabled a feature in Google Analytics for your mobile app called "Events." This feature gives you the ability to track when a user taps certain buttons.  Tapping these particular buttons does not result in a new screen view within the app.  Instead, they lead to an external action. Note: To clarify, these are NOT events like concerts, shows, or other performances.  They're user behaviors taking place within your app. To avoid confusion, we will refer to these behavioral instances as "Tap Events."We track the following Tap Events from your app's event listings: Get Tickets: When the user taps on the "Get Tickets Online" button to open an external ticket purchasing site.  Phone: When the "Call Box Office" button is tapped to automatically dial the number.  Map: When the venue address button is tapped to display the location of the venue on a map and get directions.  Program Notes: When the "View Program Notes" button is tapped displaying a PDF of the program (this button only displays if a PDF has been uploaded within the event's details).To find these Tap Events in Google Analytics:Log into your Google Analytics accountGo to the Property ID for your Native AppsFinding the "Behavior" option on the left Go to "Events" Click on "Overview"Viewing Your App's Online Ticketing TrafficThe most valuable piece of information here is how much traffic your "Get Tickets Online" button is receiving, which lets you get an idea of how much your audience is using the App to purchase tickets to your events. You will want to track this data after Push Notifications are sent letting your audience know that tickets are available for sale, when there is a special promotion, or on the days leading up to a specific event.To view this data, click on the "Screens" section under the "Events" menu.  Each Screen Name corresponds to a different performance.  You can then click on the "Secondary dimension" menu, go to "Engagement", and select the "Event Label" option.This will further break out the results by the different Tap Events and you can see how many times the "Get Tickets Online" button or the other previously mentioned buttons were tapped.Isolating the Tap Events for a Specific PerformanceIf you'd like to focus on a specific concert or show, just click on the corresponding screen name, then "Event", and "tap". Now you will see a list of all Tap Events that took place for that performance.Changing Targeted Date RangesDon't forget that you can also change the date range in Google Analytics.  The default is for the past month.  You may want to adjust this to see the Tap Event activity for a specific two-day period, the last two weeks, your entire season, etc.To refresh your memory on some other tips and tricks, read our post Google Analytics: Understanding Your Mobile Audience. If you haven't set up Google Analytics yet, create a Property ID and get started![...]

Android Download Numbers Are Back!


You have been patiently awaiting the return of Android download numbers to your app's control panel. Wait no more!  Android downloads are back!

How to Access Your Android Download Numbers

  1. Login to your InstantEncore account.
  2. Go to Mobile >> Preview/Checklist.
  3. Scroll below your app preview area.
  4. In the Native Apps section, you will find download numbers for both Apple and Android.


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:


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 RecapThe At-The-Event Checklist highlightsavailable content items and providesone-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 KnowProgram NotesArtist BiosCustom 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 ScreensThe 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 KnowEach "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 NotesThere are three ways that Program Notes can be added to ATE.You can link to a PDF file of the program stored in the File Storage area (under the Extras menu in the Control Panel).You can link to an external site hosting your program notes, such as 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?  [...]

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!

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:


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"[...]

7 Tips for Customizing Your App's Welcome Screen


As we mentioned in a previous post, the Welcome Screen for your app is a great tool for encouraging new app users to stay connected via notifications.To get you started with this tool, we have provided you with a default message:Enhance your experience with personal notifications.We will only send you relevant messages with insider info, special deals and pertinent updates.We encourage you to adopt, edit, and add to it so that the message is unique to you and appeals specifically to your app users.7 Tips for Customizing Your Welcome Screen's Message1.  Thank your patrons for downloading your app.  Many patrons will visit your website on their mobile devices.  Those who download your mobile app are interested enough in your work that they want to give you a presence on the most personal of their devices.  It's always a good idea to thank them for that.2.  Use special formatting to draw the user's eye to parts of the message you wish to emphasize.3.  Affirm for your app subscriber's that your messages will meet their wants and needs.4.  Let them know that they can customize their information and interests to tailor the notifications they will receive. It can also be reassuring to let them know that they can change their selections at any time.5.  If you have specific types of notifications you will be sending out, let them know.  There are a few options listed in the default message, but feel free to include other types that apply to your app.6.  Encourage them to help you give them the most relevant notifications by answering some questions.7.  Add simple instructions for customizing notifications both now and later.No matter how many adjustments you make to the Welcome Screen's message, be sure to:Encourage app users to maintain a deep connection with youAssure them that you will not spam them with irrelevant messagesLet them know that they can control which notifications they receiveQuestions?  Contact us at [...]

Push Notification Interest and Category Suggestions


Setting up your Interests and Categories is a crucial step in activating the power and flexibility of Enhanced Push Notifications. It is also important to have them setup before your App is published, so that when your users open it for the first time they are greeted with the personalized notification settings they are expecting.Which do you think looks better?Quick TipsInterests are topics that an audience member should be able to opt in to as many as they wish.Categories should only have one possible answer that an audience member can give such as their age range or location.We recommend having 10 or fewer Interests and Categories total to avoid overwhelming users.Use short Category labels so that the entire label can be seen.Don't get TOO personal with your Category options, as many people value their privacy online.If you haven't yet set them, here are some suggestions that might make filling these out a little easier.  Keep in mind that the goal is to not copy over ALL of these, but to pick and choose ones that would be relevant to your performances and to your audience.InterestsNotifications:General InformationNews and ReviewsConcert AnnouncementsMusic and Video RecordingsDeals and OffersBehind-the-ScenesExclusive ContentWeather AlertsLive BroadcastMiscellaneousGenres:ClassicalOperaEarly MusicNew MusicJazzBluesRockPopCountryGospelWorldMusical TheatreBroadwayBalletDanceTheatrePlaysDramaComedyFamilyFilmFormats:Full EnsembleA CappellaVocalInstrumentalChamber MusicRecitalsFully StagedSemi StagedDress RehearsalSeries:Main SeasonWeekend ConcertsMatineeLunch Time ConcertsSummer FestivalHolidaySpecial EventsParticipate:EducationalOnline ClassesWorkshopsMasterclassesLecturesQ&AAuditionsVolunteerCategoriesAge (option 1)  65 and over  55 to 64  45 to 54  35 to 44  25 to 34  15 to 24  14 and underAge (option 2)  60 and over  50 to 59  40 to 49  30 to 39  20 to 29  19 and underBirth Month  January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  DecemberLocation (local ensemble/performer)  Home City  State/Province (outside City)  Country (outside State/Province)  World (outside Country)Location (touring ensemble/performer)  North America  South America  Europe  Asia  Africa  AustraliaPatronage  Season Ticket Holder  General  Senior  Student  New PatronFavorite  Bach  Beethoven  Mozart  Schubert  Debussy  Stravinsky  Brahms  Verdi  Wagner  Bartok  Other[...]

A Better Way to Encourage Opt-Ins for App Notifications


In the previous post, we talked about the benefits of using push notifications to communicate with your patrons.The challenge with push notifications is persuading people to opt-in for them. Many people opt-out of receiving an app's notifications because they think they'll be bombarded with an endless series of sales pitches. But, what if you could alleviate their fears and empower them to choose the types of messages they want to receive?InstantEncore's new enhancements to our mobile service allow you to do just that. Let's take a look at what's changing and how you can leverage those changes to strengthen your connection with mobile patrons.What's Changing?For most apps available on the market today:Android users are automatically subscribed to notifications.Apple users are presented with a notification opt-in screen immediately upon opening the app for the first time. For Android users, receiving the first notification can be disruptive. Why am I getting this message? When did I give them permission to send me this?  This disruption can trigger an Android user's fear of spam and prompt them to manually turn off notifications.For Apple users, receiving the required opt-in screen immediately upon opening the app for the first time is like asking someone for a second date before you've gone on the first one.  Since Apple uses the same default opt-in screen, it comes off as generic and can predispose a user to tap "Don't Allow" out of habit.So, how can we change this process to be less disruptive, less presumptuous, and more unique to the app experience?With this month's update, your app's notifications opt-in process will feature three new elements designed to alleviate users' fear of spam, help you get the right message to the right patrons, and increase the likelihood that a user will elect to receive your notifications.Welcome ScreenWhen someone opens your app for the first time, they will see your Loading screen followed by a Welcome screen.The purpose of the Welcome screen is to prompt the user to stay connected with you, communicate the value of your notifications, and reassure them that you will not spam them with irrelevant messages.We have prepopulated your Welcome screen with default text, but we encourage you to edit the text so that it is more specific to your app and the types of messages you will send to patrons.Information CategoriesWhen a patron taps on "Next" at the bottom of the Welcome screen, they are taken to an area where they can enter personal information and indicate their messaging interests.You create the information categories and their possible answers. App users are intuitively prompted to select the answer which best applies to them.When you create your categories, focus on information that will help you target the most relevant patrons and provide them with content they value.We recommend limiting yourself to two or three categories, so that you don't overwhelm the user.In the example above, we created the category Patronage. How might we use this category to send targeted messages?  Here are a few possibilities:Send special messages with behind-the-scenes content as a season subscription benefit.Create a subscription campaign focused on app users who frequently attend events but are not subscribers.Invite occasional attendees to return with targeted ticket specials.Remember, app users are prompted to select the answer which best applies to them. So generate your list of possible answers with that in mind.InterestsIn addition to providing personal information,[...]

Why Should You Use Push Notifications?


Mobile is personal. It’s a 24/7 connection to your patrons that places your content and messaging within arm’s reach anytime, anywhere.Correspondingly, downloading your mobile app onto my smartphone is a personal act. I am investing in a relationship with you.Maybe I went to your website on my phone to buy a ticket, and it prompted me to download your app. Maybe I attended a performance where you had special content available in your app. But once I have bought that ticket or attended that performance, then what?What will keep us connected and encourage me to use your app again?Push notifications are text messages linked to content and sent directly to your app subscribers. They're a powerful way to keep your patrons engaged, share timely information, and remind them of the compelling content at their fingertips.When an app subscriber gives you permission to send them notifications, they expect you to do that. They also expect you to deliver value every time.Push notifications are similar to broadcast emails and text messages in that the patron chooses to receive them. But how effective are they compared to email or texting?In comparison to broadcast email:Push notifications have a higher probability of reaching your patrons. Broadcast emails can get caught in spam filters or bounce back from servers and full inboxes. Because we keep our mobile devices within arm’s reach, we’re likely to receive a push note much faster than an email. Push notifications also have higher open rates and engagement than broadcast email When compared to text messages:Push notifications are clearly associated with you – rather than a series of numbers. Because of this, mobile users are more likely to click through on a push note. Sending broadcast email often requires you to sign up for an account with a service provider like ConstantContact or MailChimp. The costs for those services are often determined by the number of messages you send. And with text messages, you end up paying a fee for each message sent.Push notifications are already a part of your InstantEncore service. You can send as many messages as you like without incurring further expenses.While push notifications have a lower opt-out rate than text messages, it’s not quite as strong on average as email.  In our next post, we'll discuss how InstantEncore's new opt-in screens help address this challenge by predisposing your app users to opt-in for notifications rather than opting-out.[...]

4 Ways to Connect Your Mobile App with a Responsive Website


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Highlighting Sponsors, Funders and Partners in Your Mobile App


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The Repertoire Section: Getting Creative with Work Titles


At the heart of any event listing are a few key pieces of information:  when is it, where is it, and what is it?To answer this last question, each event entered in the InstantEncore control panel features a Repertoire section - a list of musical works to be performed during the event. These works are then tagged with even more information, such as the composer of the music and any artists or ensembles who are performing on it, letting the audience know exactly what is in store for them.Click this image to see the complete Event listing.But wait!  What if my event doesn't have classical music or any music at all?Due to the wide variety of types of events, there is some flexibility in the system.  Here are some tips and examples for using the Repertoire area if you're not presenting classical music.The Biggest SecretWhen adding a new Work Title to the system, you can actually leave the Composer field blank even though it is listed as "Required Info."In fact, we encourage you to leave this blank unless you are adding the name of the person who composed the music. Authors, choreographers, and others - though important - should be set in the Miscellaneous field if you wish to tag them.You can then set the Title to whatever you want! Lets take a look at a few examples.DanceDance and ballet can have strong ties to classical music, but the focus is often more on the dancers and choreographers than the people who perform the music.Major ballets, such as Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker or Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, will be listed as normal music works. Shorter, non-programmatic dance pieces can be added with "Dance Name (Choreographer)" in the Title field while leaving the Composer field blank.  This shifts the focus away from the music and towards the choreographer.Dancers can be added as Artists.  For their instrument, a "Dancer" option is available.Click this image to see the complete Event listing.TheatreTheatrical works are even more straightforward.  Again, leave the Composer field blank. Enter the name of the production in the Title field, and tag any additional relevant information.Click this image to see the complete Event listing.Popular MusicOftentimes, popular solo artists or bands will not have a predefined program.  For these, you can use the "Program TBA" feature as provided, or if you want to be more specific, you can add something more descriptive such as "Program to be announced from stage" in the example below.Click this image to see the complete Event listing.Getting CreativeSometimes your event just doesn't fit any predefined category.  Set a work title that briefly describes the event. This can be anything you want, but short, informative descriptions are the best.  Keep in mind that if it is generic enough, you will be able to use it again for similar events in the future!This Saturday matinee concert featuring a mix of music and visual performing arts is best described as a "Free Event."Click this image to see the complete Event listing.The Elmhurst Symphony's Art of Conducting event is part of their "ESO Lecture Series."Click this image to see the complete Event listing.If you have questions on how to use the Repertoire area to best represent your event, contact [...]

5 Frequently Asked Questions


Here are a few common questions that you may have run into while using InstantEncore. If you have any questions of your own, don't hesitate to let us know at support@instantencore.comQ: I've just updated my email address, where do I change my settings so that I can continue to receive updates? A: All you have to do is log in to your InstantEncore account and find the down arrow icon in the upper right corner of the website. From the drop down menu that appears, click on the "Settings" option. On this page you can update your Username, Email Address, and Password. Just remember, changing your username will change the URLs for your InstantEncore platforms: I went to tag an artist on a video I added to InstantEncore, and I noticed that their last name is misspelled. How do I fix this? Should I just add a new entry? A: If you notice any misspellings in artist names, work titles, venues, or anything else of that nature, just drop us a line at with the wrong entry and the correct spelling. We will do some research to see if the existing entry should be changed or if a new one is needed. Only add a new entry if you are 100% sure that you are adding new and unique information to the database. This helps us keep everything in order and makes it easy for other users on InstantEncore to find the right information. Q: The start time for my event has changed, and I can't remove the existing Date/Venue. How do I update this? A: Events on InstantEncore always need at least one Date/Venue listed on them. So, add the new time for the event before removing the old one.Set the Date, Time, and Venue information.  Don't forget to include the Purchase Link if it is a ticketed event.Click the "Add Date/Venue" button at the bottom. You will see it added to the list of Dates/Venues. Find the incorrect entry in the list, and click the red 'X' next to it to remove it.If the venue has changed but the date and time remain the same, it will overwrite the existing entry and you won't have to manually remove anything.Q. I've created a custom tab in my Mobile App, but after copying some content from my Word Doc and pasting it in to the design editor, it looks all weird on my phone.. Help! A. You have to be careful when copying and pasting content into custom tabs. You can inadvertently bring over hidden HTML code from the Word Doc or website source.  This hidden code might behave differently in the app and cause your content to look strange or unreadable. You can switch between theDesign and HTML editmodes by clicking on theappropriate tab in thebottom-left corner of theCustom Tab editor.If you need to paste content from another source, I recommend switching to the HTML edit mode and pasting the text in there. This will strip out any formatting and leave you with just the pure text.You can then switch back to Design mode and format it, adding in line breaks, bold/italics, and anything else.It may seem like more work than just pasting directly into the Design mode, but you'll end up saving time and headaches. Q. I love seeing how many downloads my iOS app has, but why don't you list the Android stats? A. We would love to list the Android stats as well! Unfortunately, Google does not make it easy to bring this information automatically into [...]