Dane Holewinski, co-founder and COO of Yozio, a company that helps developers with organic mobile app growth, told Mobile World Live that increasing support for app deep linking will connect “paid acquisition users to the exact item that sparked their interest to download the app, removing a great deal of friction that would otherwise exist in directing users to the right place”.
“Reducing friction for users who were acquired by ads makes sense, even though they are generally less valuable over their lifetime compared to users acquired via organic channels such as mobile web, email, social media where the intent to download exists even in the absence of ads,” he explained.
Deep linking is important because “as more users recognise the radically improved experience that deep linking provides, they will come to expect all mobile links, including organic links, to direct them to the right place,” he further elaborated.
Facebook announced last month that it is extending its deep linking capabilities to include mobile app install ads. At WWDC, Apple too said its Spotlight Search will offer in-app deep linked content.
Yozio believes mobile deep linking is “about to explode” and its customers, such as Etsy, Pinterest, Airbnb, are prioritising it.
It found that when customers add post-install deep linking, they often double their activation and engagement rates, which leads to greater sales and transactions.
So what exactly is deep linking?
“Hyperlinks simply don’t work in an app-centric mobile world,” says Holewinski, which is where deep linking comes in.
App stores and social media platforms “break mobile links” by removing their ability to send users to a specific destination within an app, leading to slower growth, lower retention, and poor conversion rates.
Utilising mobile deep links and deferred deep links solves this problem by allowing businesses to link directly to a destination within an app, like a product page the same as on the web (click image below to enlarge).
His company uses “Yozio Superlinks” to help developers create a seamless experience by connecting users directly to specific content within the app instead of a generic home screen.
The superlink works by detecting if the app is installed and, if it is not installed, the user is taken to the correct app store and prompted to install the app. Once inside the app, the user is brought to the correct destination that sparked interest.
If the app is installed, the superlink will direct the user to the correct destination within the app.
According to Holewinski, Yozio customers have seen that deep linking and deferred deep linking increases app activation and post-install conversion rates by 15 to 30 per cent.
What’s more, they allow developers to seamlessly activate, engage and re-engage existing app users using organic channels such as email, search engine optimised landing pages and social media.
It also allows them to increase the activation rate of new app users by introducing intent and context into the onboarding experience as well as increasing post install conversion and overall retention.
“App publishers that don’t apply post-install deep linking to their organic acquisition channels risk losing users who are accustomed to this experience,” he commented.
How have Yozio’s customers used deep linking?
One example of deferred deep linking implemented by Airbnb was a referral use case.
Airbnb customers can refer friends to the service and when the new user receives an invite and downloads the app, they are greeted with an in app screen with the friend who referred them, rather than a generic home page.
“Even better, the referring benefit is applied to the new user’s account inside the app. With a regular link, the app store sucks up that referrer information and doesn’t pass it back to the app upon first open,” explained Holewinski.
From a user’s point of view, deep linking offers a personalised experience that reduces the number of steps or taps to get to the intended destination.
Users have little time and short attention spans so deferred deep linking makes for “a delightful experience”.
Deep linking is a good start, says Holewinski, “but to understand the drivers in growth for their business model, app and users, developers must constantly experiment, understand the data and work with it to grow”.