Deep linking is a relatively well-known technology in the mobile space that seeks to connect the dots in a fragmented mobile environment to improve the user experience.
What is a deep link, anyway?
A deep link is any link, really, that takes the user to a specific location in a website or app. The URL at the top of this very page is a deep link – if you share it with a friend it will lead them directly to this article.
In the mobile app environment, a deep link can take a user to a specific location (or activity page, as it is called in this context) within the app. For example, a deep link may take the user directly to a specific product within a shopping app, or to a specific hotel page within a travel app.
When thinking about mobile ads, deep linking refers to the scenario where one of your app users clicks on an ad for your app and is redirected from their current location directly to the desired activity page within the app.
Deferred deep linking, on the other hand, can occur when the user first needs to be directed to the app store to download the app. In this scenario, a potential user clicks on an ad for your app, is redirected to the store to install the app, and when the user first launches it, they are redirected to the desired activity page.
Why does my app need deep links?
Using deep links can be critical for the user experience with your brand, delivering a smooth journey into the right place in your app. Whether the deep link is in an SMS, an email, a push notification or an ad, it enables a smooth transition to the right location. It is why deep links have shown to drive higher rates of both acquisition of new users and retention of existing ones.
If we look at the impact on user engagement during Ramadan period, for example, we’ll see that retention rates for apps employing deep links are significantly higher than the retention rates of apps that aren’t. This result concerns installs driven by both organic and non-organic installs.
App revenues are also positively affected by the use of deep links, especially when organic users are the ones making app purchases.
The question should not be, then, whether or not to use deep links in your mobile marketing strategy, but rather how to implement them to increase marketing effectiveness.
Deep links: Ramadan use cases
Let’s take the Ramadan festivities as an example for a period of time in which using deep links in your mobile marketing can be critical.
1. Acquisition: Special offers for first-time users
During Ramadan, many Indonesians look for the best travel deals for a trip home. Travel app marketers will plan campaigns to fit this common tradition, with the goal of acquiring new users.
Campaigns may include promises of great deals for first-time users, such as “15% off – Jakarta to Surabaya”. Such an enticing ad can drive a lot of clicks, but if a deep link isn’t in place – it can lead to frustration among potential buyers, as well as lost business and a bad reputation for the app if the experience is sub-par.
A user clicking on that type of ad would expect to be redirected to the precise offer within the app. If the journey into the app doesn’t go as planned, the user is likely to drop off and churn. Data shows that successful deep linking strategies drive up sales and conversions for travel and eCommerce apps.
2. Remarketing and re-engagement: Targeting existing users
A common mistake among advertisers is planning an amazing user acquisition game plan that might cost an arm and a leg, without coupling it with proper remarketing campaigns. Remarketing campaigns must involve the use of deep links, as you don’t want to send existing app users to the app store when they already have the app.
Remarketing campaigns can run in several channels such as push notifications, email blasts or ads. Planning remarketing campaigns opens up plenty of room for creativity.
For instance, if a banking app wants to increase the usage of their fund transfer feature during Lebaran period, they could target existing users who have never used this feature with a special offer (e.g. no interbank transfer fees). This campaign would exclude users who have used this feature, say, three times in the past 3 months. In this example, you can deep link your user directly to the fund transfer page.
Deep linking with AppsFlyer
OneLink is AppsFlyer’s deep linking solution, which allows app marketers and developers to define the deep linking flow based on various scenarios. With OneLink, you can create a single deep link that will:
- Automatically detect the user’s mobile OS (iOS, Android) or if the user is browsing the web;
- Redirect the user to the appropriate app store (Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon App Store, etc.) to install the app (or use a fallback web URL). When the app is launched, you can configure the landing page the user will arrive at;
- Skip the app store and launch straight into your app’s specified landing page (for users who’ve already installed your app)
What are you waiting for?
To make the most of your campaigns, you should implement deferred deep links into your user acquisition flows as soon as possible. Don’t make promises for offers in your ads that you’ll have trouble keeping (or users will have trouble finding).
Similarly, every remarketing campaign that you run should have deep linking implemented so that fewer steps are taken by the users in the app, and the chance of securing a conversion is higher.
If you would like to have a complete overview of how deep links work, refer to our Deep Linking Guide.
To set up deep links for your Ramadan campaigns via AppsFlyer’s OneLink, please follow the instructions below: