App deep linking has been getting a lot of press coverage this year. As consumers spend more time on mobile devices and within their favorite apps, publishers, brands and agencies are scrambling to find ways to drive engagement and mobile app deep linking is often cited as one solution.
Deep linking will check for the presence of a mobile app and then route the customer to a particular page within the app if present on the device. Landing pages could include product pages deep within the app; the app store to prompt the user to install the app before proceeding to the page; or an equivalent mobile web page if the app isn’t found.
Beyond the retailer’s own brand app, marketers may want to send their mobile users from different campaigns to the company’s Instagram or Pinterest account to view seasonal content or to the company’s Facebook “About” page to view store information or hours of operation.
Ideally, a savvy marketer has control over these app deep linking rules and optimizes different campaigns and landing pages based the marketing channel, campaign objectives and consumer insights.
By now, one may think that opening a brand app or social app automatically and routing customers to the right place within the app is a simple thing to do from any marketing channel (display, search, email or affiliate). The adoption rates for app deep linking among the IR Mobile 500 tell a very different story.
In a recent analysis by Pure Oxygen Labs, only 66 or 28% of the IR Mobile 500 had taken steps to support app deep linking on iOS via Apple Smart Banners. Perhaps even more surprising is that only 3 retailers had taken steps to support deep linking on Android via app indexation.
The vast majority of retailers are simply sending all mobile traffic – including loyal app users – to a mobile website where they need to login at which point abandon rates are often high. Even links to social content where despite having the mobile app for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest installed on the device, the user is sent to the social platform’s mobile website to login and navigate.
Online retailers that recognize the value of app deep linking such as REI and ETSY are already seeing the benefits including increased brand engagement, mobile sales and consumer behavior insights. In Etsy’s case even its higher stock price is attributed in part to its app deep linking capabilities.
So with all the talk about omnichannel marketing and integrated customer experiences across channels and devices, why aren’t more retailers adopting app deep linking capabilities more quickly? The short answer: complexity and resources.
Deep linking presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers in their effort to create context sensitive, cross-device experiences for consumers across marketing channels including display, search, social, email and affiliate. Long term, however, the implementation of deep linking capabilities via platform specific SDKs and APIs creates unnecessary work for technical teams while relinquishing control of the customer experience to other companies with different timelines and objectives.
Agencies, publishers, brands, retailers need simpler ways to implement deep linking on mobile apps for both iOS and Android. The ideal deep linking approach should take advantage of – yet rise above – the complex myriad of platform specific SDKs and APIs while offering control to marketing departments so that deep linking becomes an important tool for testing campaigns, understanding consumer behavior and driving engagement.
URLgenius offers a unified, easy-to-use platform for deep linking on iOS and Android without the need for complex technical integration.
Contact us today, we can typically get test links setup within minutes.
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