What is deep linking?

February 22, 2022

Deeplinking is today an essential technique of mobile marketing. This way of redirecting the user directly to the specific content of a mobile application is just as useful for the developers/editors of the application, as for its users.

What does this technique consist of? How does it work? How is it really beneficial? And above all, how to deploy it? Let’s see it all together.

A deep link is a specific link aimed at referring to a specific page or product, instead of redirecting only to the home page of the application.
The simplest example of a deep link would be a link to a specific Facebook profile, instead of just redirecting to the home page.

In mobile, deep linking comes to solve a problem that has long bothered application editors. If you share with your friends or other contacts a link to the specific content of a mobile application, it will be opened in the web browser of your mobile, even if the user in question already has the application, which is anything but practical. Mobile deep linking therefore now makes it possible to redirect the user to the specific content of an application by opening it directly instead of going through the browser.

How it works ?

Whether shared / sent via sms, email, messaging, or even through ad (advertising), the deeplink performs the same function: (Re) directing the user to specific content. What if the application is found not to be installed by the user? This brings us to the next point. There are currently 3 types of mobile deeplink:

  • Standard deeplink: The most widely used form of deeplink. This deeplink only works if the user has the application installed on his mobile. Otherwise, an error message is displayed.
  • Deferred deeplink: Overcoming the flaw in the standard deeplink error message in the event of an application not installed, deferred deeplink sends the user to the installation page of the application on the store.
  • Contextual deeplink: Very similar to deferred deeplink, contextual deeplink has additional advantages. Indeed, the contextual deeplink allows in addition to collect user data according to their clicks, but also to design more personalized links.

iOS 9.0 was marked by the advent of “universal links”, deeplinks referring to the specific content of an application if it is already installed. If not, the deeplink redirects to the web equivalent of the content by opening it on the Safari web browser. The Android equivalent exists under the name of App links. The latter are however less used because of their incompatibility with all the widespread versions of the OS. Google has not yet announced any special interest in the issue.

What is deep linking used for?

It is legitimate to wonder about the concrete advantages of resorting to deeplinking. We have therefore identified this in a few points:

  • On iOS, deeplinks would, according to Yeeply, increase the conversion rate by 40%! https://fr.yeeply.com/blog/marketing-mobile-deep-linking/
  • Greatly improve the user experience by avoiding unnecessary detours and clicks, saving time and convenience.
  • The data collected by the contextual deeplinks make it possible to improve the user experience.
  • Improves the retention rate by retargeting users who already have the application but no longer use it. The retention rate is one of the essential KPIs to favor for the success of an application.
  • Allows you to more precisely track the return on investment (ROI) of your campaigns by accessing the data collected by contextual deeplinks. Example: Which channel generated the most traffic? SMS? E-mail ? App2app?

How to set it up?

In 2014, Facebook was one of the first to deploy an open source solution allowing Android and iOS mobile developers to create deep links (deeplinks). The latter is always accessible.

Another solution, the Branch platform , also taking into account the iOS and Android applications. Branch offers a basic plan available for free as well as advanced paid plans.

Obviously, Apple and Google offer their own assistant. The iOS solution for universal links, and the wizard for Android app links

by Guarana

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