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Deep linking is when a link sends users directly to a specific point in the app experience, rather than an external website or app homepage.
Deep linking works by mapping out every screen of the app in a similar manner to a website. This means that every individual webpage has its subsequent screen in the app, so customers can transition easily from web browsing into the app.
For example, if a user searches for a product on a mobile search engine and already has the app installed on their phone, clicking a deep link will take them directly to that specific product in the app. Deep linking helps to maintain user attention and improve conversion rates by removing a step from the transaction process.
Deep links are not restricted to mobile websites alone; they can also be used in push notifications and email marketing. This adds value to the notification by providing the user with relevant content and increases conversion rates.
The value of deep links comes down to their impact on user experience. Deep linking makes the customer journey feel seamless by allowing users to move from website to app, or between two separate apps, in one click. This expedited process reduces the churn rate, and increases conversions as users can be directed to the exact page they need to be on to convert.
Deep links are great for a variety of apps. Retail apps can deep link users to their shopping carts, to purchase items they abandoned. Travel apps can deep link users to promotional pages, such as a flight sale. News apps can deep link users to trending content or a breaking story.
Marketers can also use deep links to advertise new content or app updates. Rather than forcing users to navigate the new changes alone, marketers can send a push notification with a deep link directly to the feature and pair that with a short string of in-app messages that explain how it works.
While a standard deep link will take users directly to the desired content as long as they have the app downloaded, a deferred deep link will take users to an alternative destination if they don’t have the app installed on their device. In this case, the destination in question is usually the app store where the app can then be downloaded. Once the app is installed, the user will then be referred to wherever they were navigating to initially. In other words, deferred links delay the deep linking process until after the app is downloaded.
Studies have shown that deep links can improve user retention by up to 2x in the first 30 days, so it is certainly worth pursuing. However, marketers can use deep links to reach users at every stage of their journey. They can: