In today’s interconnected digital landscape, where we have countless apps and websites waiting for our attention, finding the most efficient and user-friendly way to navigate the virtual realm has become important. This is where deep linking emerges.
Deep linking is not just about connecting one webpage to another; it’s about seamlessly bridging the gap between apps, web content, and user experiences. In this blog post, we will help you understand how deep linking is reshaping the way we interact with the digital ecosystem surrounding us.
Table of Contents
- What is Deep Linking?
- Types of Deep Linking
- Benefits of Deep Linking
- Best Practices of Deep Linking
- Use Cases
Deep Linking 101
What is Deep Linking?
Deep linking, in the context of mobile apps, is a powerful strategy that enables marketers and product managers to create tailored journeys for both app users and non-app users. When users already have the app installed, it seamlessly directs them to specific in-app content, such as product pages or checkout, from various starting points like social media, email, or even QR codes. This capability is particularly advantageous for businesses looking to enhance the user experience, as it ensures that users are directed to relevant in-app destinations rather than just the generic app homepage.
Additionally, deep linking extends its benefits to non-app users through deferred deep linking, guiding them to the appropriate app store for installation and seamlessly transitioning to the desired in-app experience. This approach not only improves user engagement but also bridges the gap between marketing messages and the specific app interactions intended to follow, resulting in a more cohesive and satisfying customer journey.
So, whether you’re an entertainment streaming service looking to market a TV show or any mobile app seeking to connect users with specific content, deep linking is the key to unlocking a more personalized and efficient user experience.
Types of Deep Links
There are two primary types of deep links: default and deferred. And then there are contextual deep links. Each serves distinct purposes and contributes to an enriched user experience.
First, let’s explore default deep links, which serve as the simplest form of deep linking. Default deep links are effective only if users have the app already installed, directing them straight to specific in-app content. However, if the app is not present, these links can’t reach their intended destination, resulting in an error message. Default deep links are particularly useful in retargeting campaigns, where app marketers seek to re-engage users who already have the app installed and encourage their return.
On the other hand, deferred deep links offer a more advanced approach. Deferred deep links can be used to direct users to the App or Play Store for download if they don’t have the app already installed. After installation, users are seamlessly directed to the original page they were interested in.
Additionally, there’s contextual deep linking, which takes deep linking to another level. Contextual deep links include the functionalities of both default and deferred deep links, but they go a step further by allowing marketers to have custom parameters. These parameters empower marketers to track and utilize more data, enabling them to create highly personalized experiences. Whether it’s tailoring welcome messages or setting up effective referral programs, contextual deep linking unleashes the potential for more engaging and relevant app interactions.
Contextual deep linking represents a pivotal transformation in the app landscape, as it optimizes user journeys through the utilization of data-driven insights. These diverse deep-linking methods provide businesses the tools to craft beautiful and tailored interactions within their apps, thereby maximizing user satisfaction and increasing user engagement.
Benefits of Deep Linking
Deep linking offers many advantages for mobile apps because it revolutionizes the user experience and drives app engagement. It enables a more personalized onboarding process, while also providing marketers with valuable insights into user interests, preferred social networks, and the effectiveness of specific campaigns in driving app downloads. This level of understanding of customers empowers marketers to tailor their next approach and connect with users on a deeper level.
Deep linking allows marketers to create customized onboarding experiences. When users click on a deep link, they can be directed to a specific page or content within the app that is relevant to their previous interactions. For example, if the user clicks on a deep link from a social media advertisement about a particular product, the deep link takes them directly to the product’s page within the app. This approach not only creates a customized onboarding experience but also ensures that users see content that matches their interests.
Deep links are not only about getting users to a specific page on the application, but they can also track user behavior and interactions. Marketers can gather data on which deep links are clicked when they are clicked, and the source of traffic. This data helps marketers understand user preferences and which marketing channels are the most effective in terms of their campaigns.
Additionally, deep linking extends the scope of your cross-channel campaigns, enabling a seamless narrative across various touchpoints, and creating a cohesive brand voice that understands the consumers. Furthermore, deep linking seamlessly bridges the gap between different platforms, whether it’s from mobile web to mobile app or vice versa. For instance, you can attract web visitors with app-exclusive features, and when they decide to download, deep links direct them to the relevant in-app content. So, deep linking offers endless possibilities to enhance user engagement and promote your app features.
Best Practices of Deep Linking
Crafting effective deep links goes beyond the technicalities; it’s about knowing how to direct users to their intended destination while optimizing conversions. When writing a deep link text, remember that simplicity is the key. Keep it concise, under 25 characters, and ensure your users understand the purpose without needing to click “more”. Also, incorporate relevant keywords into the text for improved SEO value.
Another thing you may want to consider is avoiding clickbait tactics. Overpromising in your link copy can lead to user frustration and churn. Instead, maintain simplicity and clarity and easily ensure your customers know exactly what awaits them when they click.
Adding a clear call-to-action is another important thing to keep in mind while writing a deep link text. You may want to encourage users to take specific actions after clicking your link, increasing the likelihood of conversions once they reach their destination page.
Don’t forget to frequently check on your links as outdated links may lead users to digital dead ends. By using the latest deep linking technologies, marketers can have more control and flexibility. They can easily guide users to in-app content and products, whether they click immediately or after installing the app.
Let’s take a look at different use cases from AppsFlyer, each designed for specific business challenges. Two of these use cases will focus on deep linking, a strategy often leveraged for re-engagement and retention efforts, while the remaining two will dive into deferred deep linking, typically associated with user acquisition campaigns.
Deep Linking Use Cases For Re-engagement and Retention
1. Cart Abandonment: Retail
Cart abandonment is one of the major problems for retail companies, as customers often decide not to purchase items they’ve added to their carts for various reasons. One effective method to re-engage customers who’ve abandoned their carts is through email communication.
With the integration of deep linking, you can elevate your re-engagement and retention marketing strategy. Provide a seamless experience for app users by using a deep linking solution that directs them to the checkout page so that they can complete checkout with the items they had previously added to their carts. This approach allows customers to effortlessly return to their abandoned carts and complete their purchases without the need to search for previously selected products.
2. Social Media to Checkout: Retail
Let’s say a makeup brand shared an Instagram story including a trendy makeup look that included different products. With a link through the story, the brand can direct its customers to a pre-populated check-out page in the app, including every product that has been used in the makeup look.
Deferred Deep Linking Use Cases for App UI
1. QR Codes: Banking
Directing customers from traditional banking methods, such as using a bank’s website or visiting a physical branch, to modern banking methods such as using a mobile application can be challenging, especially with older users who have grown accustomed to these practices.
QR codes have proven to be an effective solution for leading users to the application. By strategically placing QR codes at various touchpoints throughout the customer’s journey, whether on the website or inside the physical branch, banks can simplify the process. These QR codes can be embedded on any page of the bank’s website or featured in marketing materials, offering users an easy way of downloading the app through a simple scan.
In this approach, the use of QR codes serves as a deep linking solution, guaranteeing a seamless redirection of customers to the appropriate app store and subsequently to the relevant in-app content once the app is downloaded.
2. Mobile Site to Application: Media and Entertainment
Newspapers and magazines have transformed from print products to digital websites in the age of digitalization. This industry has demonstrated remarkable resilience by continuously adjusting its business models and distribution strategies to keep pace with the technologies that have emerged. Now, readers engage with content on mobile devices more frequently than on mobile sites. To enhance reader lifetime value (LTV), media publishers must orchestrate a transition, directing their audience from traditional print and web platforms toward their mobile applications.
A magazine looking to seamlessly direct its mobile site users to its mobile application can employ a deferred deep linking strategy. When users click on the banner, the deep linking engine facilitates an automatic redirection to the relevant app store for app download. Once the app is launched, users are seamlessly directed back to the same article, allowing them to continue reading without interruption.
In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, deep linking emerges as a transformative force, seamlessly connecting users to tailored experiences across apps and websites. From enhancing user engagement through personalized onboarding to providing valuable insights for marketers, the benefits of deep linking are profound. As we journey through the digital landscape, deep linking remains important, unlocking a more efficient and user-centric experience.