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Jillian Gogel Content Marketing Manager AppsFlyer

Taking the Road Best Traveled in Mobile with Deep Linking

Competition in the mobile landscape is fierce; in this space, advertisers simply cannot afford to get it wrong. While new technologies and resources are increasingly available, one of the biggest challenges app marketers still face is smoothing out the user journey from ad to install (or one of any number of conversion actions).

Enter deep linking, a technology that carries users across different channels and environments for a contextually relevant experience. The reality is that viewer attention spans are shorter and patience is running thin. What’s more, mobile is incredibly fragmented with many app frameworks, devices, platforms, operating systems, software versions, media sources, as with the difficulty of linking to in-app content with regular links. Deep linking ensures that links won’t break along the user journey, wherever a potential user may find them, thereby increasing conversion rates.

Let’s dive into this game-changing technology to cover all you need to know about deep linking.

What is a mobile deep link?

At its core, a deep link is simply a specific link that contains all the information needed to take a user directly into an app or a particular location within an app, as opposed to the home page.

For example, instead of coming across an ad for a specific roundtrip trip flight to NYC, clicking on it, and landing in either the device app store or app home page, depending on whether the app is already installed, with deep linking, that user will be brought straight to the relevant landing page in the app, even if an install is required.

What types of deep linking currently exist?

The deep linking process that occurs depends on whether a user has previously installed an app.

Deep linking can either be direct, in which the user is brought directly to a specific landing page from an ad, or deferred, where a user is first redirected to the app store for install before continuing to the specific landing page from an ad. 

Why should I use deep linking as a regular part of my marketing tech stack?

The bottom line is that an effective deep linking tool, such as AppsFlyer’s OneLink, makes both acquisition and re-engagement better for users and marketers alike. In particular, deep linking is useful in the following ways:

  • Optimizing conversion - Especially for e-commerce and other brands that sell products or services in their app, only deep links allow you to drive users straight to the point of sale, even after install. At AppsFlyer, we’ve seen a 2.5 times higher conversion rate when users come from a deep link rather than a regular attribution link.
  • Optimizing onboarding and user experience - Users can go to the app store or app, and get driven to a particular spot in the app after the install. Compare this to the over 60% of users who drop off after download without deep linking.
  • Personalization - Deep links allow user information to carry through install, which enables apps to deliver a custom welcome message or personalize the first experience in other ways.

In short, with numerous challenges on the user and technology sides, deep linking uplifts the user experience for better conversion rates, as well as keeps marketing insights close at hand for continued optimization. Deep linking recently became prominent, but it is undoubtedly the road best traveled for user acquisition.

As a final note, while attribution and deep linking do lie at the heart of mobile growth, it should be clarified that deep linking is ultimately a feature of attribution and a commodity in the mobile landscape. For this reason, when choosing your attribution and deep linking provider (which should actually be the same), you should first ensure the tool meets your attribution requirements - this is the bottleneck. Most attribution tools also provide the ability to deep link, which should be a secondary consideration when building your mobile tech stack.

For a more in-depth look into deep links and how best to harness this tech for your marketing goals, check out our complete guide here.