In the world of mobile apps, digital marketers face numerous challenges every now and then – one of the biggest challenges is to increase app engagement and achieving high user engagement over a longer period of time. To achieve this, the concept of deep linking has gained noticeable momentum in recent times.
Whether it’s about driving conversions, keeping your existing users engaged to your app via in-app activities, or re-engaging your old users via offers or discounts, deep linking has shown some positive results for organizations who have managed to use it in an effective manner. In this blog, we’ll discuss
Before we go any further, let us first thoroughly understand what deep linking is all about. In the simplest of definitions, a deep link is a URL that directs a user to a specific section within a mobile app, instead of just taking him to the app home screen.
Deep linking eradicates the need for navigating through an app, beginning right from the home screen in most cases. If you, as a digital marketer or a business owner, want to reach out to new or existing users regarding a specific campaign, promotional offer or anything that relates to your product, you would want your user to directly land on the section that talks about it. Instead of him having to go to your app home screen first, and then having to click a few times to search for the relevant information.
Deep linking enables app developers and digital marketers to devise relevant strategies and campaigns that are in line with the way their existing or new users interact with their app. Deep links let organizations personalize their campaigns in order to increase user engagement and get more conversions through specific conversion points within a mobile app.
Let us now have a look at the various types of deep linking.
This is the type of deep linking that directs your users to a specific section in your mobile app using the app URL. This is the more ‘traditional’ deep linking approach. The only drawback to this type of deep linking method is that it requires a user to have the mobile app installed. If the app is not installed, the user might ‘bounce off’ from their journey to your mobile app.
This type of deep linking also works when the user has the app installed in his device. However, if the app is not installed, it directs them to the relevant app store and prompts them to download the app. Once the app is downloaded, it takes them directly to the relevant app content or section. Here is an illustration about its working mechanism:
This is quite similar to the standard or deferred deep linking types, the only difference is that it saves user data and this allows developers and marketers to reach out to the user for any future promotional campaigns. Moreover, marketing teams can gauge the performance of their sales or marketing campaigns by making effective use of this user data.
The application of deep linking varies from one business model to another. For instance, if you have a gaming app, then you might want to create a lot of cross-app deep links to allow your users to send game invites to other users to join a specific game session. On the other hand, a dating app will be more focused on referral schemes since a lot of users like to talk about a dating app with their friends and family members.
Now that we are aware of the working mechanism of deep linking, let us now have a look at how to strategize your deep links through different methodologies and techniques that get you maximum user engagement.
Using deep linking, you can direct specific users to in-app stories where they can find relevant content in accordance with their needs and preferences. It is a user engagement platform that generates traffic via app stories boosts. For example, if you own a tech gadget related business, you might want to direct tech savvy users in your tech business app to in-app stories that talk about all the latest technology gadgets, their specs and features, pricing, etc. Have a look at how a major coffee-chain in Turkey onboarded their app users with stories.
It is a known fact that in recent years, a lot of people have started to rely on mobile apps. However, it does not mean that we have stopped using the websites entirely. Using website banners, interstitials and other forms of website advertisement, deep links can be created to generate traffic directly to a specific content in your mobile app.
Moreover, the web-to-app strategy will also advertise your mobile app, particularly among those people who might not know about you having a mobile app in the first place.
This is another smart way to strategize your deep links. If your existing or potential users are already receiving your marketing-related or re-engagement campaign related emails, it would be a good idea to deep link those emails and let them directly land on the app content that you desire.
Traditionally, deep links would only direct an individual to the organization’s website. However, thanks to mobile app deep linking, now you can get traffic directly to your mobile app.
Taking into consideration the mobile games example that we mentioned above, the app-to-app or cross-app deep linking method can come in quite handy if you want to retain context between your app and another app that is opened when the users clicks on a specific link.
The biggest advantage of this approach is that it allows things like personalized onboarding, exchange of data from your app to one of your partner apps, sending of active session invites like games or live video feeds, etc.
Statista estimated worldwide digital advertising expenditure to reach $US 517 billion by the end of 2023. This statistic should be enough for you to decipher the magnitude of digital advertising, mobile ads and effective use of deep links in these ads.
Placing relevant mobile ads on an ad platform and then directing users to specific app content can increase your user engagement and eventually, app revenues a lot more than you might have initially thought.
Considering the ongoing pandemic situation and worldwide lockdowns, people are spending a lot of time on various social media platforms. Deep linking on social media can help you achieve your user engagement or re-engagement targets if you can execute a successful deep linking campaign.
By successful, what we are trying to mention here is that applying deep linking on all social media platforms might not be a walk in the park. For example, Instagram makes it very difficult for deep linking to work as it does not allow hyperlinking anything except the user profile link. In this case, you can add deep-linked profile links to app install pages and drive traffic from there.
There are a lot of apps that focus on rewarding users for the referrals they make. If developers and marketers can implement relevant and specific deep links that reward users for their referrals, it can enhance user engagement as well as app downloads among new users.
For example, you can incentivize your user to invite another user to the app via a deep link that would give them rewards such as app credits or unlock features for free upon the success of the referral, i.e., a new sign-up.
A lot of users share apps or website content with their loved ones using messages platforms such as Whatsapp, SMS, Telegram, etc. It is imperative to understand the success this can bring to your business if you can execute an appropriate deep linking strategy for these messaging platforms.
For example, Tinder did a great job by introducing the ‘recommend to a friend’ feature. The user clicks on it and a link is sent. The referred user clicks on the deep link and installs the app. The personalized message appears that will say something like ‘John recommends Ashley – Sign up now for a chance to match with her’. Once the referred user signs up, the first thing he would see is the recommended user profile.
Now that we know what deep linking is and what strategies can make it successful, let us now have a brief look at some of its advantages:
Since the deep linking mechanism takes a lot of hassle away from the user in terms of not having to manually search for the relevant content, it can be a very effective tool to increase user engagement. Moreover, it can be mighty effective for bringing back inactive users who, for some reason, stopped using your app for quite some time.
According to TechCrunch, deep linking can double the retention rate and attract users to visit the app twice as frequently as those users who were not deep linked.
Taking into consideration the global mobile app competition and user dependence on mobile apps, it is imperative to realize the importance of means and ways to increase user engagement that would eventually drive business revenues.
Deep linking can significantly impact your app metrics if carried out the right way. Understanding the needs and preferences of your existing or new users and then reaching out to them in a precise manner via a deep link can earn their business within a few clicks.
Now that you have done all the hard work to get your app installed on a user’s mobile device, it is time to focus on post-install activity to engage or re-engage your users.