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Deep Linking

Deep Linking

Sergey Zubkov

Updated: July 27, 2023

5 min read


The process of utilizing a custom URL to direct users to a specific page within an app is known as mobile deep linking.

What is deep linking

Deep links are dedicated links that take you directly to an app instead of a website or a store. They can send you straight to a specific place within the app, instead of just opening it up. This technique helps guide users to explore deeper within the app, beyond the initial launch screen, ultimately improving user engagement and retention.

Deep links work by using a special deeplink URL scheme (iOS Universal Links) or an intent URL (on Android devices) that opens the app if you already have it installed. You can also use deep links to take you to specific events or pages within the app, which can tie into an advertising campaign.

The initial point of a deep link can be placed pretty anywhere, like Instagram, Snapchat, emails or text messages, search engines, and even QR codes. They’re an important tool for mobile app marketing, as they can help increase user engagement and drive sales.

Deep linking for mobile marketing

Using deep links in your app can significantly enhance the user experience by eliminating the need for log-ins and other obstacles. This, in turn, can result in higher conversion rates and revenues. Deep links allow for a seamless user journey, reducing churn and increasing the chances of an install or target action.

To promote a new release in your movie app, you might allocate a budget for advertising on a popular website. However, you want users to watch the movie trailer within the app for a better experience. Using a deep link, you can direct them straight to the correct page within your app, ensuring a smooth user experience. By doing so, you increase the likelihood of users watching the trailer, generating interest in the film, and ultimately leading to more ticket sales and revenue for the app.

Retargeting campaigns can also be effective in encouraging people to try new experiences, particularly when they receive incentives or offers.

Types of deep linking

A deep linking engine facilitates two types of journeys for marketers and product managers – one for app users and another for non-app users.

  • Standard Mobile Deep Linking, also called universal linking, forwards a user to a specific part of the app through a simple deep link. These links only work if the user has the app installed and hence are “deep linked” to the content seamlessly.
  • Deferred deep linking is used to direct the user to the appropriate app store where they can download, install, and launch the app, after which they will be taken to the relevant in-app content. Once the app is installed, the user is referred to the original location, and this can help app developers and companies acquire more customers.
  • Contextual Deep Linking is used to provide users with a personalized and targeted app experience right after they open the app, also known as onboarding. These links allow developers to create features that take users to a customized welcome screen after downloading or allow them to automatically upload a promo code. They also allow marketers to collect information on how advertising campaigns and marketing channels are performing. These links function similarly to basic and deferred deep links, but they not only transmit user data to an app through the install, enabling users to be correctly redirected to their intended location within the app, but also record information about the user, such as who they are, where they came from, who referred them, or which promotion code they want to apply to their order.

Deep linking to paywall

When using deep linking, you can send users directly to an app’s paywall without requiring them to navigate through the app. This makes it easier for users to access premium content or features and increases the likelihood of them making a purchase and generating revenue for the app.

App developers can use this tool to streamline the user experience and boost revenue. They can test different combinations of audiences, initial sources of deep links, and variations of paywalls. Adapty Paywall Builder can help create various paywall options, and the dashboard can track conversion rates to evaluate the effectiveness of the funnel.