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Q & A: an introduction to mobile deep linking

by Jimmy Schmidt on Oct 6, 2016

This is a Q & A with Todd Patton, Content Marketing Manager at Branch, a mobile deep linking solution.

Q: What is a mobile deep link?

People click on deep links on the web every single day. A deep link is simply a link that routes to a page other than the home page. For instance, www.branch.io wouldn’t qualify as a deep link, but https://branch.io/what-is-deep-linking/ is a deep link. The problem on mobile, is that there are millions and millions of apps but much of the content inside isn’t accessible. That’s where deep linking comes into play, links that allow you to route users inside mobile apps, to specific pieces of content. The ability to deep link to a piece of content inside mobile apps can improve so many facets of marketing, like improved engagement and increased conversion rates.
Q: Advertising will always be a major part of every marketing department at eCommerce companies. How are businesses adjusting to this in a mobile-centric world?

todd_patton-1

Todd Patton

It’s estimated that by 2020, 75 percent of all video consumption will take place on a mobile device. So, it’s more important than ever for companies to think about their advertising strategy and how they’ll reach their audience. Toolslike AppLovin are a great resource for any eCommerce marketer looking to scale their outreach with the strongest data possible. Their ability to placevideo ads, content, and your brand in front of the absolute right audience — at the right time — is exactly how the future of mobile will be defined. And deep linked ads are key for the optimal experience that many mobile users seek, and often times, expect.

Q: How are deep links used to engage mobile users?

Many eCommerce experiences that users have on mobile devices are broken because the links simply don’t work. When businesses and apps are able to link their users to a specific piece of content, it allows them to tailor their engagement to the appropriate segment. GOAT, a premium shoe marketplace, is a prime example of using deep links to drive users from Twitter to a desired pair of shoes inside the app.  Through the use of Deepviews and routing, they were able to seamlessly accomplish this superior user experience. Other ways to engage users include deep linked emails and web to app solutions, which all ultimately equate to more revenue and a seamless user experience.

Q: What is the difference between a deep link and a deferred deep link on mobile?

As mentioned earlier, a deep link can route users to a specific piece of content inside of a mobile app. But a deferred deep link can carry that context through the various app stores and still route the users to a specific place inside of a mobile app. Something that is key for eCommerce conversions. For example, Jet.com uses a banner on their website that encourages their customers to download their mobile app. Let’s say a user is browsing ‘pet supplies’ on Jet’s website and decides the user experience would be much better if they had the mobile app. So, the user clicks the banner and is routed to the app store, where after they download the Jet.com app, they’d click ‘open.’ After clicking open, the deep link would keep its context and route the customer to the same dog food they were browsing on the mobile web. It’s the best user experience for the customer and more likely to lead to a conversion. Instead of having to search for the ‘pet supplies’ again once the app is downloaded, the user is seamlessly routed to same product.

Q: Mobile has been rapidly building into one of the largest channels for eCommerce marketers around the world. What’s the next step for businesses on the mobile frontier?

The first iPhone was released in 2007, and since then, mobile devices started to quickly take over the majority of user media time. Fast forward 9 years to 2016, and nearly 70 percent of emails are opened on mobile and over half of all Google searches take place in the palm of consumers hands. So, really, if you think about it, the next step is making the millions of apps and their content discoverable. Think of the millions of product pages that exist inside of the various eCommerce apps. That’s where deep linking comes in, by allowing businesses to drive their users to the content they’ve created. And while the numbers steadily continue to climb for mobile adoption, there is a bigger need. In many places around the world, and even in the United States, mobile devices are the only form of internet that many people have access to, so it’s imperative for businesses to think about how they are reaching these users.

Jimmy Schmidt is Director of Product at AppLovin.

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