Mobile deep linking adds significant usability to an app, in turn improving the user experience. If you’re new to deep linking, check out the quick intro immediately below. Otherwise, feel free to jump into the use cases following.
Quick Intro to Mobile Deep Linking
A deep link is simply a link that takes a user beyond the main page of a website or app into deeper content. For example, a deep link of observepoint.com would be observepoint.com/website-audit. Pretty straightforward, right?
“So it’s just a link then?” Yes, it is, but imagine the internet without deep links—sharing and finding content would be a nightmare. Theoretically, you would have to navigate to a website’s home page then dig through the site to find the right content.
Tedious, to say the least. Well, welcome to the world of mobile apps.
Unlike the web, mobile apps do not have a native hierarchical URL structure—deep links have to be proactively programmed into the app.
While apps can and do exist without deep links, navigating to deep content without them is not possible.
The benefits of mobile deep linking are very, very large. Below are some mobile deep linking use cases showing how app owners can use deep links to improve the user experience and retain more users.
10 Use Cases of Mobile Deep Linking
1) App-to-app linking
App-to-app linking allows users to jump from one app to specific content in another app, creating seamless user experiences between apps. If you have multiple apps or affiliate apps, this is a great way to ensure users have easy access to relevant content.
2) Mobile web-to-app linking
When mobile search engines put your brand in front of consumers, it’s likely they’ll have a better experience and be more engaged if you move them to a native app. Smart deep links can dynamically detect the user’s device and platform (iOS or Android) and send them to in-app content.
3) Desktop-to-app linking
You can move users from the desktop to mobile app content using deep links, keeping you close to users when they’re on the go. An example of desktop-to-app linking is the feature on Google Maps that allows users to view on their phones directions they searched on a desktop. The Google Maps website prompts users to provide an email or phone number then sends a deep link that opens the same directions in the Google Maps app.
4) SMS-to-app linking
You can drive SMS subscribers to your mobile app via deep link. In so doing, you add another channel into your app-promoting mix.
5) Deferred deep linking
Deferred deep linking allows you to capitalize on deep links even when users don’t have your app installed. When a user clicks on a deep link, the link checks whether or not the app is installed. If not installed, the user is referred to the correct page in the App Store, and following download, is directed to the deep link content. This technique can increase downloads and retention rates.
6) Campaign tracking
Once you index your app pages with deep links, you are then able to include UTM parameters for attribution purposes, which offers huge value to marketing efforts focused on your app.
7) In-app content sharing and personalized onboarding
Users are much more likely to download and use your app if referred by a friend. Deep links allow users to share specific, relevant content and can be used to build personalized invites for onboarding new users.
8) In-app content for paid ads
Particularly important for mobile commerce, deep links allow companies to advertise specific products within their apps and send users directly to the product page. More direct marketing results in more sales.
9) Push re-engagement
Trying to get users to re-engage? Using push notifications that point to specific pieces of content can send users to the most relevant content to reignite that fire.
10) Email re-engagement
Another mode of re-engagement, email can be used in combo with deep links to make sure users are finding the content most relevant to them.
Don’t Forget to Test
Deep links, while highly useful, add an additional layer of complexity to mobile applications. As such, it is important to test mobile deep links to ensure they are functioning properly for the intended use case.
Proper testing of deep links involves documenting the intended use case/path, using a physical device or emulator to test the use case, and adding variations and iterating. Automated solutions can dramatically streamline and optimize this process. See how automated deep link testing works with a sample audit of your app.
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