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The Future of Deep Linking: from App to App

App Marketing

The Future of Deep Linking: from App to App

Recently, many have been talking about deep linking as the new revolution for app marketers. However, few people really understand this new term. AppTweak has decided to introduce this fresh tool - in a simple way - just for you…

Deep Linking

So, what is deep linking?

Deep linking resolves the problem of transition between app to app and web page to app. When a user clicks on a link of a mobile website, he is directed to a specific page in a mobile app. If a user is looking for a particular hotel on Google for instance, some of the search results will bring him directly on apps dealing with hotels (ratings, reviews, orders, location, …). This new way of navigating by switching from a web tab to a native app certainly opens up new horizons and opportunities for app developers.

If the app isn’t installed on the device, the user will be redirected to the download link of this app. In this case, certain deep linking platforms allows to choose between directing the user either to the download link of the app or its website.

First of all, deep linking allows you to engage your customers. Indeed, many apps are sleeping on devices. Deep links will reopen them and people will be likely to rediscover them.

According to a 2011 Localytics study, some 26% of consumers download an app and never use it again.

Nevertheless, this study is quite old and it doesn’t tell us why people stop using those apps. This is why some could doubt about the value of deep linking. In spite of that, deep linking provides marketers with a new way to promote their apps.

With a deep linking ad, people are sent directly on a certain page of their app. Or they are redirected to the download page of the app. You can therefore engage people who already downloaded your app and reach new potential users. This is actually the power that we see in deep linking. With traditional ads, you can only target new potential users. Now, you are able to reach new potential users and engage people who already own your apps.

This new technique is likely to evolve quickly. Google and a few start-ups already understood the importance of deep linking.

Google Expands App Indexing: New Opportunities for App Developers

During the Google I/O 2014 (June 25th), Google announced that it was going to expand its App Indexing API to all Android apps. This is actually fantastic news for app developers.

Until now, Google was only indexing selected apps. However, the number of apps participating to this App Indexing Program kept increasing. There also was a recent expansion to non-English content.

With the new Android L, Google results will now show app content matching searches. By allowing deep linking of app content from mobile web search results, Google might actually initiate new browsing behaviors. Indeed, if a user is looking for a bar such as Waterbar (see below), some search results could send him directly in the page of this bar in the app OpenTable, through which he can book his table.


It’s actually a win-win for everyone:

  • Google will assert its leading position in mobile content searches as it is already for web content. It also seeks to not lose traffic as its main revenues still come from Google Ads. The point is therefore to maintain its popularity and show that it is able to respond to every single search the best way possible. It also obviously pushing forward Android apps.
  • App developers will benefit from more exposure as deep linking boost in-app content discoverability and also (re)engage their users.
  • Finally, it will also improve users mobile experience and facilitate their content searches.

Plus, Google made it extremely easy for Android app owners to connect their app with their website if they own one. It will help mobile users finding app content. A set of new features has been developed to make this all extremely easy. Find more information here to add deep linking to your app.

This new feature will certainly reshape the way we apprehend online content. We’re already used to switch from our computer to our smartphone to our tablet back and forth for different purposes. Now, we’ll be able to switch from web content to app content in just a click.

Google has therefore made a very good step in apps promotion. It seems like apps discoverability became a main concern for both App Store leaders, as new features in iOS8 also showed Apple’s concern regarding the way we search and find apps.

Deep linking pioneers

**1. **URX is a new company that was launched with $3 million in funding which aims to enable advertising that sends a user from a mobile banner ad to precisely the right page within an app. So, this is the kind of new in-app ad that enables you to reach new users and to engage people who already own your app.

2.__ **provides a full service of deep linking but also launched a mobile ad-retargeting network. The idea is to allow retargeting on mobile. For instance, if someone found a great sofa on a furniture app, an ad for this exact sofa will be shown in other apps of this user. When he will click on one of those ads, he will be redirected to the app page to buy this specific sofa. Can you imagine how retargeting on mobile would be powerful?

3. Applinks is also a useful tool for deep linking. The company partnered with an important number of huge players such as Facebook, Pinterest, Spotify, Vimeo, Dailymotion,…

4. Facebook has already understood the importance of deep linking as it announced the implementation of mobile app ads.

Facebook Mobile App Ads

It is now possible to create Facebook ads with deep links. If someone clicks on your ad, he will either be directed to a specific page of your app or will be taken to your app’s App Store page to download your app. As we have explained, you can therefore engage people who already downloaded your app and reach new potential users. More details here.

5. Quixey allows you to search for apps by describing what you’re looking for. It’s like a search engine for apps.


Deep linking: moving towards a bright future?

This new tool allowing marketers to reach new users and engage people who already own the app will probably succeed and seduce many app marketers. Plus, it has been shown that mobile web surfing is declining while mobile app usage are increasing drastically. Deep linking therefore seems to be a smart response to this new trend.

As we have seen, many companies started to conquer this new field. also launched an innovative mobile ad-retargeting network, which will certainly open-up new perspectives. There is no doubt that this new marketing technique has a lot of potential.

Nevertheless, we still have to take into account the fact that there is actually no study proving its efficiency. Will people really reengage with their unused apps? Will they feel overwhelmed or manipulated? Only time will tell…

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What’s your opinion on deep linking? Do you think that it’s a promising marketing technique? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! Thanks.

By Sammy Laamari and Laurie Galazzo