With the advent of mobile apps came the age of play stores where every need was met with a suitable answer through an app. There is an app for activities ranging from keeping track of your daily expense to checking your heart rate. Over 102 million mobile app downloads occur across the world and it has been estimated that this will cross the sum of 260 million by 2017.
Initially, the most difficult task was to convert visits into app-installations in order to create a customer base. Once users began downloading the app, the challenge was to retain them.
The traditional method of retaining interest was through banner ads and Push Messages. How successful have the traditional methods been? The answer is evident through mobile app use statistics. Today, there are over 195 million active AdBlock users throughout the world and over 50% of app users prefer not to use push notifications. Earlier, when users clicked on a link present in an email, it would carry them to the home screen of app. Then, the user would have to navigate to search for particular content. The need to sift through content to reach the desired information is one of the reasons email/banner-ads did not score points for marketing effectively. A solution to increase involvement of the customer with app lies in the practice of deep linking.
What is deep linking?
When users click on a certain link, they are taken to a specific location within the app, than landing on the home screen. This method is known as deep linking. Since the users are carried directly to the customized space, they don’t have to spend time searching for the content marketed on the ad. This increases the probability of retaining customer’s interest in the app. Deep linking revamps the way in which customers interact with the app. It can be used in mobile app install ads and in mobile app engagement ads.
With deep linking, it becomes possible to create links that will assist users in their experience of the app. Moving beyond the repetitive “Come here!” pointers, deep links create a holistic matrix of content. When the user clicks on a call-to-action (CTA) (like- push message or email link), the user will be taken to the specific region that contains content which has been marketed on the CTA. Thus, (in web vocabulary) instead of landing you on shoes.com, the link will send you to the specific page: shoes.com/bella/collection1.html. In the architecture of mobile apps, the capacity to browse from one app to another has not been aced yet. However, the ability to move between particular pages within an app is being mastered through deep linking. Goodreads and Netflix are great examples of deeplinking.
Creating Deeplinks in Your Mobile App
In an app, every section is a potential region for deeplinking. Start by designing campaign pages which exhibit the value of your service/product. Flip through each page of the app, asking: “In what way does this page show the value of our product?” Also establish the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) for each screen in your app.
To create deeplinks in your mobile app, you will need to create a customized URL scheme. This will need to be registered with the operating system. After you have mapped the pathways to destinations or tasks in the app, developers can establish deeplinking in Android and iOS with ease. In case of Android, the developer documents can be used to learn the method of adding intent filters. In case of iOS, when the customer deeplinks into the app, the open URL method of AppDelegate of the app is started. At last, your company must deliver links which will transfer users to the app (in case it is already installed) or to a mobile page (to prompt installation). After the deeplinking has been set up, marketers can send out the link for outbound marketing through paid ads, social media networks or emails.
Types of Deep Links
Deep links help mobile apps to behave similar to web sites. There are three central ways in which deep linking is worked out: traditional deeplinks, deferred deeplinks and contextual deeplinks.
In traditional deeplinking, the route is connected with app URI. This means that https://ABCsite.com/page is replaced with ABCapp://page. However, traditional deeplinking does not work if the app isn’t installed on the device. The phone generally searches for app content at the address provided by the URI scheme. In case the app isn’t installed, then the phone is unable to find the content and shows an error. In deferred deeplinks, there is an option for dealing with both the cases: where app is installed and where app isn’t installed. In case the app is installed, the link moves directly to the content (like in traditional deeplinking). If the app isn’t installed, then the link moves to the play/app store and prompts installation. The content which you previously accessed is remembered and once the app is installed, the memorized specific page opens up. Contextual deeplinking brings together the advantages of both traditional and deferred deeplinking. It not only stores the desired page-to-visit but information on the history of linking like where the link was found, how the link was originally shared, value of an offer for the user.
Effect of Deep Linking on Marketing
Deep Linking follows the practice of helping customers to increase conversion rates, in contrast to manipulating them through repetitive ads.
Prior to deep linking, apps had two ways of interacting with customers. Either a link led to the standard home screen where app can be downloaded and in case the app was already installed, the link opened the app home screen (not the specific content). This made crucial data inaccessible to customers.
Deep Linking allows marketers to target the customers and customize ad-links to desired information. Thus, every visitor is sent to a specific landing page, instead of the common home screen, increasing the chances of later engagement. For instance, suppose that I browsed through a Pet shopping store PAWS and Wish Listed a puppy pen. The app sends me a push-notification saying: “The Puppy Pen on your Wish List is on sale”! Earlier, if I clicked on the notification, it would take me to PAWS home screen. However, with deep linking, I am sent directly to the Wish Listed Puppy Pen creating a “me-specific” experience, increasing the chances of buying the product.
How can deeplinking benefit your campaign? Share your thoughts.
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