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Deeplinking for Mobile Apps

Imagine the Internet without links (= URLs), proper usage would be almost impossible.
For mobile apps, however, missing links are the rule rather than the exception. Most apps do not support deeplinking, and it is therefore impossible to depict even the most simple routing mechanisms. Not to mention the deficient user flow between mobile web and app.

Deeplinks: The URL in the App World

App deeplinks can be compared to URLs for websites. Just as a link in the World Wide Web, they ensure the user is directed to the right page – respectively screen – within the app. There is a variety of use cases where deeplinks dramatically enhance the user experience in any of those cases.

For example, an eCommerce app might want their user to view a certain product page. If the user is clicking on a regular link in the mobile web browser (e.g. through organic or paid search) he will be seamlessly redirected to the right page inside the app.

Even sophisticated refer-a-friend programs for apps with a registration process can be realized by using a complex deep linking logic. One option is to create a unique user-specific code which is dynamically populated into the deep link. This code is being recognized by the new user’s app, which also matches the code with the server, to credit the referring user with any incentive.

With the help of deferred deep links, it is even possible to apply those use cases to users who did not even have the app installed before, and therefore need to download it first via the app store. Once those users start the app for the first time they will be redirected to the right page via the pre-cached deeplink. This scenario might be useful for a customized onboarding flow which is only shown to users that came to the app by clicking on a specifically deferred deeplink.

The Future of Apps – Deeplinking becomes a Must Have

The importance of deeplinks for the user flow is also underlined by the fact that both Apple and Google are constantly working on features that require a correct deep linking setup. Of particular importance however are the following four subject areas:

App Indexing

App Indexing connects organic search results via deeplinks directly with in-app content. In order to be able to achieve this, all connections between Website URL and in-app pages have to be defined and then be stored in a so-called “routing table” on the corresponding website.

Android Instant Apps (App Streaming)

Android Instant Apps are Google’s next step to blur the lines between mobile web and app experiences for the user. When clicking on an organic search result of an android app which has been activated for instant apps, the user gets a preview of the app in the Play Store. The user is able to test the app and even use its core features before downloading it.

Universal Deeplinks

Apple, as well as Google are now forcing the switch of all sorts of deeplinking schemes to Universal Deeplinks. Those deeplinks are set up according to an HTTP scheme which enables the app to process the URLs of the website.

iOS Spotlight Search

Spotlight Search for iOS allows users to search apps directly via the integrated Spotlight search on their home screen. Only in-app pages with a deep link can be reached through Spotlight search results.

You can benefit from our experience in creating deeplinking concepts for a variety of apps. We are happy to advise you in finding the right deeplinking set up that fits your needs.