Deep linking is something that most brands employ today, regardless of whether or not they call it deep linking. It is the practice of embedding links to pages deep within your website around the internet – in email signatures, article syndications, social publishing sites, forums, etc. With deep linking, instead of linking directly to your homepage, you want to highlight the pages that work best in that context. Here’s an example: if you’re posting a comment to a forum and want the thread’s followers to visit your site, deep link to a piece of content that’s relevant to the current conversation.
Sound familiar? It’s not a new technique, but it is one that has taken on a new meaning as more and more users are engaged and targeted through mobile.
When it comes to mobile, deep linking isn’t about SEO juice or discovery possibilities, but rather, is about ensuring that links viewed on a mobile device directs your user to right place – a screen within your app, not just launching your app.
Creating this capability is slight more complicated than simply prompting your app to launch, because it requires than you maintain a stable state, since a deep link may be fired at any time. That being said, it is an incredibly worthwhile best practice to follow, as it will make your mobile ad, push and in-app messaging campaigns that much more successful.
Chances are, your brand is using mobile ads to drive app downloads. With deep linking, a lot more is possible. Using deep linking, you can direct your user through a mobile ad to a corresponding screen within your app. This allows you to move beyond downloads and target current app users or people who have installed, but rarely used, your app, and drive them to important screens or conversion actions.
The benefit of this is two-fold: first, it allows you to run app marketing more broadly by utilizing the web and user web behavior to drive activity back to your app. Secondly, it gives you more creative license to work with – this way, you’re not just running in-app and push messaging campaigns (which you should be doing as a best practice, anyway), but also supplementing those with more flexible ad space.
Deep linking is also a great way to enhance the effectiveness of your app marketing campaigns. There are a lot of variables that go into a good push or in-app message (content, frequency, timing, and offer, to name the most common). However, you also want to make sure that the campaign is directing your user to the best, most contextually relevant screen possible. When your users are presented a clear way to complete a desired action or convert on an event, the likelihood that they will do so is higher.
From a push message, use deep linking to a guide the user to a specific screen relevant to that offer. For example: If you have a sports app that reports on game scores, you can employ push messaging to send users final scores when their favorite teams have finished a game. Your deep linking here shouldn’t direct the user to your app home screen; it should take him or her directly to the results screen.
With in-app messaging, you can use deep linking to guide the user to a new, perhaps previously undiscovered screen. If they’re interacting with your app, that’s the perfect opportunity to create an in-app messaging campaign that connects them with relevant and not previously realized app elements or content.
App downloads and usage doesn’t grow from a walled approach – deep linking from mobile banners and native ads requires that you target your app audience outside of the app experience. This is a frequently occurring situation: that your app users want a seamless, omni-channel experience, and will respond to fluidity between channels. So much so, that the web is becoming “appified.”
Delivering on this kind of deep linking will enable you to:
So, when it comes to deep linking and apps, think of the opportunities in creating stronger cross-channel marketing and the conversion potential in directing users to the exact right screen within your app.
Facebook deep linking image courtesy of Engadget
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