Why App Deep Linking is What Marketing Needs

Mobile marketing isn’t about banner ads anymore. Whether it’s the fact that 41% of young customers use Adblock technology, or that only 52% of customers allow Push Messages, people are resisting the traditional billboard-style ads that were once a mainstay of conversion and ROI. The issue is more than ads simply being ignored–providers are used to single digit click rates–it’s that customers are actively eliminating ads from their entire experience. This generation is growing tired of the hard sell.

Deep Linking allows marketers to innovate the way that customers interact with their products. Companies will have an easier time reaching millennials who want the personal touch and are tired of popups that interrupt the day. Ultimately we’re now more capable of designing campaigns that help users. Imagine a new type of push message that assists the user’s journey, providing utility over current simplistic “Come back!” calls to action. The potential for product sales is immense.

Wait, what is Deep Linking?

Deep Linking is a technology that interconnects mobile apps similar to how the Internet operates with clickable links. When the user presses a call-to-action (ex. push notification, email link), Deep Linking is the technology that takes users to a specific area within the app itself instead of simply loading the app. In web terms, this technology is the difference between taking you to Target.com and Target.com/shoes with the push of a button.

That said, the technological structure of mobile apps is not the same as that of websites. Mobile apps currently do not have the ability to navigate effortlessly from one app to another by means of hyperlinks. Yet apps can now be opened to specific pages–Deep Linking greatly reduces the friction of bringing users to certain landing pages in your app.

Technical requirements:

  • In setting up deeplinks in a mobile app, a custom URL scheme has to be created and have it registered with the operating system.
  • Routes to destinations or activities in the app will be mapped, the same way URLs are mapped to Web pages.
  • Expert developers can set up Android deep-linking or iOS deep-linking app rather quickly. Android developer documentation specifies how intent filters are added to map routes, while on iOS, the open URL method of the AppDelegate of the app is initiated when a user deeplinks into the app.

When the mobile app is set to take deeplinks, its structure must be presented publicly to allow third parties drive traffic to the app.

  • The last procedure is to send out links directing users to the app should they already have it, or to a mobile website if they do not. Once this is done, marketers can dispatch a link in their outbound marketing whether to social media networks, paid advertising or emails.

How does it impact my marketing?

Marketing professionals often speak about providing utility to their customers instead of simply selling. Thought-leaders like Jay Baer write bestselling books about how smart marketing means being helpful and not merely an amplifier. Simply put, Deep linking grants marketers more tools to increase conversion by following the philosophy of help.

Before Deep Linking, marketers effectively only had two alternatives for apps:

  • A link leads users to a standard landing page where they can download and install an app
  • Should users have the app installed, a link opens the app but only to a home screen

Those options did not enable marketers to link up users to screens besides the home screen, which limits their ability to connect users to significant content. Since the aim for marketers is to move customers through conversion channels, keep them engaged, and convince them to convert, Deep Linking is the perfect tool to implement. It efficiently eases some of the trouble when bringing users to specific conversion spaces in the app.

Using the earlier Target.com example: Picture someone hoping to buy shoes using Target’s app. They see a nice pair, but Wish List it because they aren’t sure on the price. Using Deep Linking, Target can send that customer a Push Notification with the message “Those shoes on your Wish List are on sale!” with a link directly to that product’s page. The experience feels meant for the consumer. Before Deep Linking, that push notification would simply bring them to the app and have them look up the shoes again themselves.

Why is that small difference so important? Forbes found that customer experience is closely linked conversions, and 64% of companies rate customer experience as the best tactic for improving customer lifetime value.

Where do I begin?

Every section of your app is now a potential area you could Deep Link. To take advantage of that, you should start designing campaign pages that convey your product’s value. Take a look at each screen in your app–would a user understand what your product does from there?

You should also determine the URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) of each page in your app. If you’re in marketing, that’s a conversation you should have with your developer. Begin crafting a holistic experience for each URI/page you find.


Old marketing and advertising methods don’t translate directly to this mobile generation of consumers. Yet new tools emerge each day that help products connect with this generation. Here’s the jist for those that skim:

  • Mobile customers (millenials mostly) are actively resisting traditional banner ad marketing methods.
  • Deep Linking allows for the type of utility & help-based marketing campaigns that audiences desire.
  • Deep Linking is based on the same http:// structure as websites, which means customers go directly to specific landing pages rather than simply opening the app.
  • Advertising this way far more powerful, customized, and profitable.

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