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If you’ve ever been on Wikipedia, you’ve experienced the concept of deep linking. Going from one specific article to another specific article on Wikipedia to a specific video on YouTube follows a specific path without requiring the user to be introduced to a new website’s homepage or any other page when they jump onto that website in order to consume a specific piece of content. This concept never existed in mobile apps.
If you were browsing Facebook and saw an ad for shoes on Souq.com, you’d click it and be taken to the Souq website instead of the app even though you have it installed. Deep linking in mobile applications is allowing app builders to let users jump from one app to another seamlessly.
What is deep linking?
Deep linking is a sought-after feature in mobile applications that allows users to launch a native application via a link and direct them to a specific part of the app instead of its home page. A URI is used to establish this connectivity. This acts exactly like a hyperlink. URI contains all the information needed to launch a specific action in an application.
Deep linking allows every page/product of your app to have a link. This link can be used to share with friends or embed in other apps.
Kinds of deep linking
Deep linking comes in three variations:
Standard deep linking
With standard deep linking, a user can be directed to an app using the URI, but only if the user has the application installed on their phone. If the user’s phone doesn’t have the app installed, an error will occur.
Deferred deep linking
It’s the same as Standard with the only difference being that if a user doesn’t have the app installed, they are redirected to the respective app store where they can easily download the app.
Contextual deep linking
Contextual deep linking allows users to jump from one app to another app without it even being installed on their phones. The most complex option of the lot and definitely the most user-friendly. The URI will have just enough information to create a temporary app and drive the user to the page that has been shared. Needing to download an app can be a deterrent for many users. This gets rid of it completely.
Why you should integrate deep linking in your app
- Deep linking allows apps to receive more traffic than they otherwise would. Deep linking has doubled the traffic on average for apps that use it.
- It also has the potential of significantly increasing app downloads by users that are interested enough in the content that’s being shared
- It provides a good promotion tactic for your mobile app by appearing as a link in search engines. This improves the discoverability of the app and more users will start using it.
Deep linking is yet to become inherent but the advantages are undeniable and are gaining good traction. Be thoughtful in your app’s planning and implementation of the architecture and logic. If the link does not direct to an appropriate page or if a log-in is needed before viewing the content, it may annoy the user possibly not bringing them back unless the reward is big enough.
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