Deep linking is the ability for marketers and developers to bring users to a specific location within their app. For publishers, this might mean directing readers to a certain article. For retailers, it might mean driving customers to the right item to add to their cart.
Want to use deep links in your marketing efforts to drive app re-engagement? Let’s take a look at how you can address two initial hurdles — convincing your boss, and getting the right details from developers — to get things started.
Hurdle #1: Convince Your CMO
Mobile customers should be every company’s number one priority, yet CMOs don’t always give deep linking the attention it deserves.
Apps > Mobile Web
Apps deserve the lion’s share of marketers’ attention – Flurry reports that the average person spends 86 percent of time in-app versus 14 percent in the mobile browser. I’m not saying responsive design overhauls of your websites were a total waste, but if you want your customers to engage with your content, getting them to the right place inside your app via deep linking is 6x more important than driving them to the same content on your website.
Higher Brand Loyalty via Improved Customer Experience
As more customers engage with your apps, improving their experience will only increase brand loyalty. Reducing the need for customers to poke around for content is really a no-brainer. I recently spoke with a marketer who was looking to reduce the clicks needed to get to in-app content from six to two. By removing that friction, he expected to increase engagement 10x. His plan? Deploy deep linking.
Higher Lifetime Value Users (LTVs)
Customers who are engaged with an app have higher LTVs – there’s a tidal wave of evidence that suggests apps are where most customers spend time (versus mobile sites). And customer spending always follows customer eyeballs. But there’s also evidence that customers spend more money in apps. According to Internet Retailer: “The 2015 Mobile 500 estimates 70 percent of the web-only flash-sale merchant’s total 2014 mobile sales will stem from apps.” Users feel more comfortable making purchases within apps than buying from the mobile web.
Hurdle #2: Uncover the Right Details
A big challenge will simply be finding the deep links to use in marketing. It’s not like you can open a browser and CTRL+C a deep link. Or, your app may not have any deep links at all. URX, one of the new authorities on deep linking, found that only 28 percent of the top 200 apps even have deep links. For these reasons, ask your developers the following questions to cut right to the chase.
“What custom Scheme, Host, and Path in our iOS app should I use for my campaign?” If you’re looking to drive app users to your iOS app, this question is a must. The Scheme is the first part of the deep link that tells the phone which app to open. In the example at right, the Scheme is “Sportscenter,” and a marketer creating this deep link would be driving the ESPN audience to its app.
“What is the Intent Filter?” Directing users to an Android app requires different language because it’s a different platform. You’ll have to ask about the “Intent Filter,” the Google/Android way of communicating across mobile devices.
“What is the URI is for this screen?” URI stands for Uniform Resource Identifier. The URI is the location within the app or the screen that you want to link to. In a typical web address, the URI is the path the link would follow to get to the right content. With the URI, you can directly link to the right page within your app from any campaign you run, provided your customer already has your app installed.
In a world where apps are now used 6x more than the mobile versions of websites, marketers must address how to direct customers to the right content in their apps – be it a funny video or a pair of silk pajamas for purchase. And if you want that content to be shared again and again, you put effort to get your customers to those right places via deep links.
Now that you’ve convinced your management to get on board and you’re armed with the right verbal currency, go find your deep links and start driving app engagement.
Matt Thomson is Chief Product Officer at Bitly.