What is Deep Linking?
Deep linking refers to the practice of creating hyperlinks that direct users to specific content or pages within a mobile application, rather than just the application’s home screen. It allows developers to link to a specific screen or feature within their app, providing a seamless and personalized user experience.
Deep links contain a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) that specifies both the destination within the app and relevant parameters. These links can be shared through various channels like emails, text messages, websites, or other apps. When a user taps on a deep link, it launches the app and navigates the user directly to the desired content or screen within the app.
Benefits and Usage Methods for App Developers
1. Seamless User Experience: Deep linking allows developers to guide users to specific content or features within the app, bypassing the need to start from the app’s home screen. This enhances user engagement and streamlines the user experience.
2. Personalization and Context-awareness: Deep links can be customized to carry parameters that provide contextual information. Developers can use this information to personalize the user experience, presenting relevant content based on the link source or user preferences.
3. User Acquisition and Retention: Deep linking is a powerful tool for user acquisition. Developers can direct users to specific content within the app, enticing them to install the app or complete desired actions. Deep linking can also be utilized for re-engagement, bringing back users who have already installed the app.
4. Campaign Tracking and Attribution: Deep links can be associated with specific marketing campaigns, enabling developers to track the effectiveness and attribution of their campaigns. This allows for data-driven decision making and optimization of marketing efforts.
a. URI Scheme: The most basic method of implementing deep linking is using a custom URI scheme specific to the app. For instance, the deep link may be in the format “myapp://specificscreen”. Developers can register their URI scheme in the app’s manifest file to handle deep links.
b. Universal Links: Introduced by Apple, Universal Links use standard HTTP/HTTPS URLs to deep link to app content. When a user taps on a Universal Link, iOS checks if the corresponding app is installed and, if so, opens the app directly to the linked content. If the app is not installed, the link is opened in a web browser.
c. App Links: App Links are the Android equivalent of Universal Links. They allow deep linking to app content using standard HTTP/HTTPS URLs. When a user taps on an App Link, Android checks if the app is installed and opens it directly to the linked content. If the app is not installed, the link opens a web fallback specified by the app developer.
Overall, deep linking is a valuable technique for app developers to enhance user experience, drive user engagement, and track marketing efforts. By leveraging deep linking, developers can provide a seamless and personalized experience for app users, increasing app installs and user retention.