For years, deep linking had only been a typical practice on the web until it was more recently incorporated on mobile by various mobile deep linking companies. The great worldwide shift of internet users from computer-based browsing to mobile-based browsing has prompted the incorporation of deep linking tools in mobile use.
Basically, a deep link refers to a hyperlink that easily takes you directly to a specific section of a mobile app, rather than just the main screen. In recent years, deep linking has proven itself to be a powerful tool that can no longer be used just as a bonus feature, but rather as a basic tool for mobile marketers to increase their retention rate, engagement, acquisition, and growth.
This article seeks to shine light on what deep linking and deferred deep linking are. It also outlines several mobile marketers’ experiences with the use of mobile deep linking from various platforms such as Deeplink.me, Branch.io, AppsFlyer and Yozio.
So, let’s start by learning what deep linking is.
In very simple terms, a deep link is a link that directs the user past the main screen of an app and to the content inside it. For example, a link that directs a user to a product screen being offered by a certain company, instead of taking the user to its main screen. When developing apps, developers register a URL scheme with iOS. For example, Twitter registered “twitter” as its app’s URL scheme. When a user tries to open a link with Twitter’s registered URL scheme, say twitter://, iOS will first look through the apps installed on the device to see if any has that registered URL scheme. In this case, if iOS finds that the user has installed the Twitter app on their iPhone, the app will be launched. However, if the app is not installed, the web browser will take the user to Twitter.com.
Aside from launching an app, deep links can also be used to direct a user to specific content or action. For example, the URL fb:// is used to launch the Facebook app, while this URL fb://profile/33138223345 takes a user directly to Wikipedia’s profile on the Facebook app.
Why is deep linking important?
Deep linking is vital in helping mobile marketer’s to drive user engagement. Using deep links can enable you to direct your users to contextually relevant content within your app or other apps. For example, with deep links, you can have a user directly launch Facebook to your business’s profile page.
Furthermore, deep linking can help you get details on how a majority of your users access or install your app. This could either be through email, SMS, social media, advertisements, content sharing, or though in-app referrals.
Deferred deep linking
Deferred deep linking is an advanced form of mobile deep linking that is best for user acquisition campaigns because it works when the app is not installed. As discussed earlier, if the user has an app such as Twitter installed on their device, a deep link will easily help it launch. However, if they do not have the app installed, a deferred deep link helps by sending the user to another URL that will first try to launch the app on the user’s device and if that fails, redirect them to the App Store to download the app.
Various mobile marketers’ experiences in relation to deep linking
- According to Tom Beverley of the Fy app, their experience with deep linking has so far been good. They have been using Branch.io to help them deep link products and brands to existing users as well as set up smart links to send users that are clicking on their email direct to the specific page on their desktop site. They are also using it to trigger acquisition and retention.
- Matej Lančarič of PIXELFEDERATION said that, “We use AppsFlyer’s OneLink solution for deep linking, and this has helped our Facebook reengagement purposes and led to a 20% increase in sales”. And all this increase is a mobile deep linking attribution. In fact, Matej Lančarič added that “We wanted to leverage deep linking into an even bigger boost of sales implementing deep links heading to shop/offers in our game”.
- Jordan Metzner of Washio said that “No deep linking solution is perfect, but we have been able to gain many insights from using these tools [Yozio and iOS Universal Links]. It allows us to do a better job tracking install data, improve user experience with direct links sent via SMS, and give us unique insight into the business. Tracking users on mobile still continues to be a challenge but with great deep linking tools, that mystery can begin to be solved.”
Image Credit: pixel506
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