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A lot of market players used to ignore new coming trends, such as deep linking for mobile apps, but the evidence so far suggests that there are significant benefits.
As of October 2020, 48.62 percent of all web traffic comes through mobile phones. Despite the slight decline if we compare to 2019 (52.48 percent) when we go back to October 2010, this figure was at a meager 3.81 percent, so since then mobile browsing has soared in popularity dramatically.
From everyday shopping, booking hotels, ordering food to surfing social media and managing your working space we all use our cell phones as mediators. That’s why digital entrepreneurs have to strive a lot to improve the user experience they produce through their apps, to deliver a smooth workflow, keep visitors for longer periods of time, make them share it with friends and give positive feedback.
Mobile deep linking is one of the means (that probably can make a bigger difference than even fonts, designs, themes, features etc.) to engage more admirers, increase conversion and optimize marketing processes. As we know, game-changers lie in details, so this minor improvement can drastically enhance how users interact with your app but few are taking advantage of it.
Wanna enter this chamber of secrets? We’re here to guide you through all the rough spots and teach you how to benefit from deep linking and implement it quickly and efficiently.
Without further ado, deep linking is a technique that allows you to funnel users deeply into your app through a specific uniform resource identifier (URL) and take them to a certain content inside the app, not to its web version.
Technically, this practice not only guarantees better user engagement but also helps in tracking the most effective campaigns.
Deep links will not only open your app but also will use the information in the link to perform a specific action. For example, some of them empower users to generate a deep link and share it with others, and if people don’t have that mobile app downloaded on their phones it redirects them to the AppStore or Play Market.
Deep linking allows mobile app developers to push to a specific page within an application versus simply opening it, but its functions cannot be narrowed down just to downloading an app when it’s clicked.
In other words, deep linking interconnects mobile apps similar to how the Internet operates with clickable links. When the user clicks a call-to-action (ex. push notification, affiliate links, email link), deep linking is the practice that takes users to a specific area within the app itself instead of simply loading the app.
Moreover, the technological structure of mobile apps is not the same as that of websites, it does not provide the ability for mobile apps to navigate effortlessly from one app to another by means of hyperlinks. Yet apps can now be opened to specific pages – deep linking greatly reduces the friction of bringing users to certain sales pages in your app or downloading your app if necessary.
Let’s delve deeper into benefits.
Look at your app’s user journey. How many pages on average do they explore before actual conversion? Think of every single step as a chance of clients bouncing. Now, imagine landing or forwarding visitors right to the target sales pages they are interested in. By means of deep linking you can get them closer to their end-goal. Sounds tasty? We think so.
Here’s a visualisation of the process for your better understanding.
It seems to be quite straightforward, but there are some pitfalls you have to be aware of. Let’s find out what types of applications can benefit from deep linking most.
While trying to sell a product it’s much easier to forward users right to the target sales page in order to decrease time and number of pages they’re browsing before making an actual purchase.
To land buyers directly on a product page, advertised or promoted outside the app you can create direct campaigns for individual bets-selling products for better conversions. It can either be done manually for featured products or by using App’s product feed to create dynamic product-level retargeting similar to what we practice on desktops.
When it comes to traveling, deep linking can bring users directly to specific hotels, tickets, or holiday booking sectors. Even a featured hotel deal or specific air sector could be promoted leading users to a page with those offers or hotel details pre-filled. Boarding pass or booked tickets can be opened from the confirmation email sent, allowing for faster access.
Food Delivery Apps
Based on user preferences, promoted deals or time-limited sales you can provide deep linking for visitors to enhance their experience, prevent declined unsuccessful sessions and help them order quickly and hassle-free.
This practice is widely used by entrepreneurs for promoting seasonal menus with exclusive dishes as well.
App owners can easily push albums or new singles before actual release to leverage the benefits of deep linking. Using targeting or remarketing methods, entrepreneurs are able to engage new visitors and drive them directly to the collections of songs they’re interested in.
These approaches and methods increase your chances to catch new customers and keep them coming back.
Today it’s a common practice to promote games through ads in social media. After clicking on the screen, you’ll be immediately redirected to App Store or Play Market (since these ads are shown solely to those users, who don’t have the game installed yet) to download the game and play.
But what is the mechanism that turns visitors into customers when it comes to mobile deep linking and how to implement it effectively?
Let’s point out: we’re all here to know how to leverage deep links to drive better performance to your app and improve user experience across different channels. To sort everything out we have to delve into details of the process and analyze how clients interact with deep links and why it may affect conversion in a positive way.
That said, the customer journey is the path a user goes through to find use and share your application. In general, it’s quite similar to common algorithms or sales funnels a client experience when purchasing a product or service with minor differences. Here’s how it works with deep linking.
It’s commonly known that mobile search outweighs desktop searches by an extra 28 billion and shares 52,1% of the global market. 40% of people search solely on smartphones, that’s why you have to know certainly how to generate more traffic from mobile devices and see an opportunity where others see difficulties.
Instead of having a single search engine listing, Google indexes deep links from your app and enables you to acquire more users and increase brand awareness as well.
Users discover your app in search results, click the link and open it directly through the app instead of an internet browser. Since mobile apps have better interfaces and are more tailored to users’ needs than web pages, you’ll have increased chances to impress visitors this way.
Today’s market is highly competitive, so it’s not enough now for your application to be designed for discoverability and put ease on the user. When top options have been narrowed down, people will want to find the absolute best that suits them personally and compare you to other market leaders.
Here’s the point where previous statements come into the limelight as well: customers will investigate pricing, ease of use and features, and (what’s more important!) analyze the experience they get when dealing with different apps.
Deep linking allows you to set the users’ focus on your strong sides, benefits, strengths, reviews and make adjustments to customize their path through the app and stay ahead of your competitors.
The third, but probably one of the most important stages is making a decision and commitment to your app. It’s defined by how you have been compared to other solutions and whether you’re able to stay ahead of the curve or get lost in the crowd.
If you opt for contextual deep linking, it allows you to collect more accurate data and tailor an app to your buyer’s persona, aligning their needs with your value proposition, performance and UI/UX you provide.
Whether the term Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) sounds familiar to you or not, it’s absolutely clear that once you acquire more users through multiple campaigns to have to keep them coming back.
When you navigate users back to your application via standard or deferred deep linking from social media, search engines and other platforms it helps you to understand accurately why and how they interact with your software.
Enhanced user experience
Being an entrepreneur, your prior task is taking them as close to their destination as possible. So if you can bring them to desired pages or specific products through one click and remove any extra steps from their path, why wouldn’t you?
By skipping the App Store redirection phase if the app is already installed you make the life of users easier and get them where they want to go, giving them better experience and impression as a result.
Improved customer retention and engagement
If the reality turns out to be far from customers’ expectations, all new downloads will be lost right after the first visit. According to Statista, after three months of use the average user churn rate was 71% as of 2nd half 2018.
The same tendency remains for websites: a lot of people leave it without taking any actions and never come back. That’s why we have to implement various strategies like email options through popups and exclusive content to capture those visitors before they leave.
To put it non-technically, deep linking is a practice to bring more engagement, ensure high retention and usage through active personalization to users’ interests. Moreover, powerful potential of deep linking may be doubled if you combine it with heavily tailored ads to activate clients’ loyalty and conversion.
Better onboarding process for newcomers
Speaking of deferred deep linking approach, application owners are able to acquire more users, since going through the mobile browser version of your application, they will be automatically forwarded to the appropriate download location in the store immediately.
When it comes to contextual technique, your tech team can assist you with the onboarding process to welcome newcommers in different ways depending on where they originally downloaded the app from.
If you certainly know something about your customers’ online behavior, common experiences and habits, they can be navigated to a specific section or product category automatically. That’s only one scenario from the myriad of personalized strategies you may develop.
Increased reengaging potentials
According to Kenshoo, retargeting can lift ad engagement rates up to 400%. So now answer the question, do you use its potential to the limit, especially to catch the attention of inactive users?
To reengage a segment of users who downloaded your app, viewed product pages, and bounced, you have a chance to retarget them in advertising campaigns and use deferred linking to forward them back to the high-interest specific product pages they have already visited. You can also send them push notifications and navigate to the content of their interests.
Intensified marketing capabilities
Today the one-fits-all solutions don’t work anymore, so marketers need some extra edge, such as deep linking. Align your strategy with users’ requirements through personalization and retargeting campaigns to get them to the exact point where they dropped off and increase both the sales and revenue strategically.
For example, we all are used to the following sales funnel: the user sees your website in search engine results, lands on the home page, navigates to the product section, adds wanted items to the cart, confirms the order, pays and checks out.
This scheme might be cut in half successfully by helping customers straightforwardly to sales pages or even use tickets and discounts to deep customers’ loyalty.
Reinforced app discoverability
Take advantage of free exposure from Google, since all your deep links can be indexed and drive more users to the app. Do not limit your ranks to a homepage solely, your app may be ranged for thousands of queries and enable customers to visit deeper functions and features versus landing on the welcome page.
Reliable analytics and insights
The effectiveness of marketing campaigns can be significantly improved with the information you get mobile deep linking analytics. You can monitor, track and discover which links are being clicked the most and by whom, what product categories they enjoy the most, then offer a discount for them to align with this behavior.
The approach to implementing deep links can be two-folded:
The first option is more well-known and wide-spread, while Universal links have been implemented by Apple afterwards, to provide the connection between webpage and application through the same link.