The Grassroots Success Story of Blackberry Smoke

On Oct. 14, the southern rockers of Blackberry Smoke released their fifth studio album, Like an Arrow and this week they kicked off the start of the U.S. tour. Their next show is this Thursday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at The District.

music interface for blackberry smoke mobile application

Blackberry Smoke is a five-piece country rock group from Atlanta, Georgia and they’re making some of the hottest live rock ‘n’ roll in America today.

Like an Arrow follows 2015’s Holding All The Roses, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Albums chart as well as in the Top 10 of the Top Rock Albums. Fans of their previous work are sure to find plenty to like, with a continuation of their country ballads and rock anthems in the vein of Skynyrd and Zeppelin.

news features for blackberry smoke mobile app

Over the last 16 years the band has emerged as a powerful grassroots phenomenon with a fiercely loyal fan base that reflects the band’s marathon-like touring regimen. Their success has been defined by their relentless work ethic and their exceptional level of fan engagement.

push notifications iphone app blackberry smoke band promotion

Their Mobile Roadie app has enabled them to cement the bond between fan and artist by delivering exclusive news and tour updates.


popup promo google play app for bands on mobile roadie

Some of our favorite features in the Blackberry Smoke app include:

News: From new tour dates, ticket presales and album reviews, to press clippings and interviews, the band keeps fans updated on a daily basis

Discography: New fan of Blackberry Smoke? Brush up on all of their albums in the Discography section and leave comments for discussion with other fans

Popup promos: When the band has albums, songs, or merchandise to promote, they “hang” a sign that pops up when users open the app. You can’t miss it!

Music: The app holds a music library for the band where users can buy as many songs as they’d like

Push notifications: Blackberry Smoke uses push notifications to alert fans of tour dates so that they can snatch up tickets to nearby shows

discography feature interface in mobile app for Blackberry Smoke country rock band

Check out the Blackberry Smoke app and don’t forget to pick up their new album, Like An Arrow!

Blackberry Smoke app available on Google Play and App Store

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Mobile Apps in Education: Past the Tipping Point

“There’s an app for that.”

We’ve all heard the phrase at one point or another, and for good reason. Today there’s an app for nearly everything (ok, literally…everything). The on-the-go applications have permeated every industry imaginable in one way or another, and higher education is no exception.

The Mobile Tipping Point

In 2014, the number of mobile internet users surpassed the number of desktop internet users worldwide.

That same year, a survey conducted by Campus Computing found that 84% of colleges had activated mobile apps by the beginning of the Fall semester, or planned to do so in the twelve months following. In 2013, that number was only 78%. The year before that? Only 60%.

The number of colleges with their own mobile apps has been rising year-over -year since 2010, when only 23% reported having one active.

“Colleges and universities are clearly playing catch-up with the consumer experience. Students come to campus with their smartphones and tablets expecting to use mobile apps to navigate campus resources and use campus services,” said Kenneth C. Green, founder of The Campus Computing Project.

Mobile apps are no longer a good-to-have, college-aged students expect a personalized mobile experience more than any other group. According to Statista, in June of 2015, the age group among which mobile apps proved most popular was with young adults between 18 and 24.


Yes, you read that graph correctly. In June of 2015, young adults ages 18-24 spent 125 hours – a total of over five days out of the month – using mobile apps.

Today, more and more universities are jumping at the opportunity to offer the personalized experience their students crave. Let’s look at how one institution in particular, Cal State LA, uses a mobile app to engage the student body.

Cal State LA

With their own mobile app, Cal State LA has made campus life infinitely easier for all its students. Here’s what you can do with their easy-to-use system:

  • Find local transportation
    With Cal State La’s “Transport Center” feature, students no longer have to carry a campus map with them wherever they go, or Google “public transportation LA” to find out how to get from place to place. Information about where to catch the nearest bus or train is already sitting in their pocket.
    Additionally, they can find available parking areas with an interactive campus map, or get general information about bus routes, transportation costs, and emergency rides.
  • Get a live feed to the campus Starbucks
    The caffeine junkies who can’t make it to class without their morning java will love this one. Cal State LA students can now actually see, via a live feed from their mobile phone, what the wait at Starbucks looks like.
  • Quick link directory
    This mobile directory allows students to contact different departments like admissions, career development, enrollment services, and more, all from their mobile phone.
  • Be social
    Here students can do exactly what it sounds like: be social. The campus app’s wall is filled with comments like “Excited but nervous to start summer classes!” and questions like “Who else is excited about tomorrow’s convention?!”
    Students can also sort by comments made near them, as well as view others’ & post their own photos.
  • Events
    What’s that big gathering in the quad outside your dorm? Now all students have to do is head to the “Events” section of the app to see past, present, and future happenings on campus.
  • Campus Map
    This interactive map not only identifies every campus building, but uses icons to pinpoint ATMs, dining halls, phones, and handicap entrances.
  • Other great features
    Students can also buy parking permits directly from their mobile phones; check leaderboards to find the most active students on the app; take photos of themselves with Cal State filters; and even connect with Cal State on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Other ways apps can be used in higher education

While Cal State’s is a great model of what a mobile application can be, there are still so many other ways they can be used in higher ed. Here are a few:

  • Dining
    Have multiple dining halls? Let students know what’s on the menu, and show them live feeds to help them determine which cafeteria to chow down at.
  • Computer labs
    Not every student has a printer. Computer labs are often highly trafficked destinations for those needing to print large quantities of documents. Help students find available spaces in your on-campus labs.
  • Meeting rooms
    If your campus offers bookable conference rooms, allow students to reserve them for group projects or meetings with faculty.
  • Laundry
    Live feeds to laundry rooms are nothing new. Now, instead of simply showing students which washers and dryers are open, why not allow them to connect a credit or debit card with which they can pay for wash/dry cycles right from their mobile phone?
  • Registrar
    Requiring students to be at a computer exactly when they’re slated to pick classes is an inconvenience at best. At worst, it can pressure them to skip class to do so. So why not let students for classes via their mobile phones?

Your turn

In a mobile world it is crucial to have your own application to give your customers a personalized experienced and engage them on their home turf  (especially when those customers use their mobile devices for 125 hours out of the month).

What would you use mobile for in higher ed? What did we miss? Let us know in the comments!


Millennials Make Mobile A Must For Hotel Marketers

Personally entitled, professionally lazy, technically gifted, and socially progressive are just a few of the labels applied to Americans born in the final 20 years of the 20th Century.

Volumes of market research have been devoted to determining exactly how true those descriptions are, but there’s at least but there are at least two attributes that aren’t up for debate:

1) Millennials embrace mobile devices and engage with them more than any other group

2) Millennials are now the largest generational segment in the U.S., representing more than a quarter of the total population.

As a result, catering to this pivotal customer segment has become a business priority for modern marketers. And for those stationed in the hospitality industry, smartphones open up a crucial line of communication.


As anyone with an Instagram account can attest to, smartphones play a major role in how Millennials discover, coordinate, experience, and share their travel adventures. It’s no surprise, then, to see recent research from Oracle confirming hotels as a hub of mobile interaction.

Prior to arrival, 55% of Millennials have browsed a hotel website via smartphone while 45% have directly reserved a room using a smartphone.
Once at their destination, 24% check-in via mobile while 84% connect their device to the hotel’s WiFi during their stay.


The hospitality industry at large deserves credit for embracing mobility faster than most, but there is still plenty of work left to be done.   

One of the more interesting findings from the Oracle survey revealed that just 12% of Millennials had ordered hotel room service via mobile device.
Initially, it might be tempting to explain that statistic as more a matter of luxury than technology – that Millennials balk at the cost of room service. But when framed against the fact that 39% of Millennials have ordered food delivery via smartphone in other contexts, it seems to suggest hotels may be fumbling an important opportunity.

That suspicion was confirmed by Millennial hotel workers themselves, one-third of which felt their employers “made bad use” of technology. Perhaps worse, only 15% indicated that their employers were receptive to staff feedback on technology issues.


The sum of those survey findings could feel discouraging to some, but for hotel marketers ready to embrace change, it has all the makings of an attractive opportunity for revenue growth..

The most powerful way to turn mobile into a competitive advantage is through the development of a dedicated app. When everything from booking rooms and massages to discovering attractions and directions can be accomplished from a single, portable interface, guests can’t help but be converted by the convenience. Every time they open a device with the hotel’s app installed, they will be greeted with the hotel logo introducing them to services they may not even have been aware of. And by integrating smart social media features, you’ll give loyal guests a stage to sing your praises and convince prospective customers. Thereby a mobile app becomes a way to engage customers prior to arrival, upsell them on services during their stay, and gives them an opportunity to advocate for the hotel brand following departure.

But hotel app development cannot be approached with a “build it and they will come” mindset. Considering that just 13% of the surveyed Millennials have used a hotel app to facilitate a trip, promotional efforts may still be the weak link in app strategy. As a result, hotels need to make sure any app they do create becomes the focal point of mobile marketing efforts moving forward.


Mobile Deep Linking and What It Means for Small App Owners

The mobile app ecosystem is still new – a fact that’s easy to forget until you remember that there are things that we take for granted on desktop that just don’t exist in apps.

Deep linking is one of these things. Its spread and adoption is one of the factors involved in the app becoming more like the rest of the internet.


Deep linking is a link to a part of a site or app that is somewhere on the inside – if we think of the main page or launch screen as the front door, then this is a link to the living room. It’s a simple concept and one that we are so accustomed to on the internet that we may not know what it’s called.

A link to this article is a deep link, while a link to isn’t.

Nothing special, right?

Most links you see are deep links, but that’s usually on desktop. Web pages have the advantage of all being written in the same language – HTML. That means that links everywhere have the same format and are easily standardized. In apps there are different operating systems and programming languages at play.

Overcoming this problem means an incredible amount of functionality is opened to the app ecosystem.


As with most things we take for granted, we may not realize what deep linking enables.

Social sharing relies on deep linking. Imagine if you couldn’t share a specific article on Facebook – you’d share the site and a detailed set of instructions on how to navigate to the article that you wanted to let people know about. That’s annoying even if there are only three pages on the site, but what if there are 300?

Search engines also rely on deep links. They go through websites and deliver relevant pieces of content – specific answers to search queries, not websites that might have content that might interest the searcher.

Deep links create a system of apps that works like the desktop web. An app is no longer an isolated program. Instead, there’s an environment of programs that talk to each other, broadening the utility of the entire network.


Mobile deep linking is mostly used for marketing. If you have a mobile store, it’s valuable to be able to bring a potential customer to a transactional page where they can buy rather than a storefront.

Ease of use is central to a good user experience, which leads to better results. People who have an easy time buying things tend to buy more things and be happier once they do. If you see an ad with a pair of shoes that you want, clicking it should get you to a page where you can buy that pair of shoes. For e-commerce, the utility is clear. But what about other apps?

Deep linking simplifies promotions across the board. Taking new users directly to a particular screen can make their experience more relevant and interesting. From sharing (via text message or email) to paid promotions, you have a greater variety of screens that they can land on.

If you plan events, spread information about your company’s promotions, or just want to share one piece of news, a deep link is the simplest way to do it from an app.

The largest marketing platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) were among the first to adopt deep linking. 2012 marked the Google+ app adopting deep links to content. Other marketers were quick to follow, and for good reason.

If you have direct transactions in your app, then deep linking is a boon. However, regular links to download your app are still useful. Getting people to become regular users is invaluable. After downloads, you can make use of push notifications to drive use as part of a broad strategy for engagement.


If you remember what the early internet was like, you may understand what deep linking can do for mobile.

The web was dominated by large sites that tried to be universal – Yahoo may be the only (barely) surviving one. They gathered an audience and then tended to stagnate, resting on their laurels because users couldn’t find alternatives. The current app market is similar.

Once deep linking on apps becomes as easy as it is on the desktop internet, this will change. With stable ways of finding content, you’ll be able to search apps and find specific functions or pieces of content. It will make it easier to find and be found.
What do you think mobile deep linking will lead to? Let us know in the comments.