10 Deep Linking Strategies for Driving Traffic to Your Mobile App

This post was written in partnership with Branch.io, a platform that powers deep linking, attribution, and analytics for thousands of mobile apps.


Deep linking: on the web it’s all about going to a piece of content.

If you got to this post, chances are it was through a deep link – somewhere on social media, in a marketing community, or via a share – that you came upon the link to this post:

https://blog.ladder.io/deep-linking/

On web, it’s simple.

But for mobile apps? That’s where deep linking gets fancy.

When it comes to deep linking to mobile apps, there are some really awesome strategies that can help you drive traffic to your app.

From the ability to retain and defer a deep link despite a user not having your app installed, to linking in your social media profile to specific app content, you can use deep links to both drive app installs and increase engagement from your users.

Below you’ll find some of our favorite deep linking strategies for growing app traffic and installs.

Along with each tactic, you’ll get:

  • A full tactic description.
  • An illustration depicting the tactic in action.
  • A “Learn More” link to dive deeper into the intricacies of each tactic.
  • A gauge of how difficult a tactic is and how much time it requires.
  • An option to test the tactic yourself in the Ladder Planner.

Here are 10 ways deep linking can help you grow your mobile app:

Deep Linking Data Retention

One of the most important parts of deep linking is retention of data across multiple steps of any given user journey. So you can have someone discover your content on social media and click on a deep link that would lead them straight to the app if they already have it installed.

But what if they don’t have it installed? Problematic, right?

Not at all. Here’s how deep linking fixes that problem:


Deferred Deep Linking

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

You can set up a deep link that carries context all the way through the app store download. This lets you create full user journeys that are contextualized for the user in question.

Deferred Deep Linking

So for example, if a user clicks on a web banner and it takes them to the app store, you can still send them to the same content they were viewing on the mobile web after the app downloads.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

2hrs

LEARN MORE


Web To App Deep Linking

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

You can use banners, interstitials, and links to send mobile web traffic directly to your mobile app. Try setting up links in your mobile site that deep link to the specific pages and products people want in your app.

Web To App Deep Linking

You can also create a full user journey from end to end that involves an app install. The biggest advantage here is that on mobile apps, users tend to convert and spend at a higher rate.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

1hr

LEARN MORE


Email To App Deep Linking

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

Most email links send users to the mobile web version for a website. Deep linked emails, on the other hand, link directly to content inside of a mobile app, if that mobile app is installed on a user’s device.

Email To App Deep Linking

This provides a superior end user experience, as mobile apps are typically faster and better-optimized than mobile websites. It also gives users the full featureset of a dedicated mobile app over the limited features of a responsive mobile site.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

1hr

LEARN MORE @ BRANCH.IO


Cross-App Deep Linking

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

You can create deep links that transmit data from one app to another. This can be really useful for retaining context between your app and another app that a user opens via a link.

Cross-App Deep Linking

This lets you create things like personalized onboarding, feeding data from your app to a partner app, or customized shopping carts, letting users add items to a shopping cart in another app based on the items they’re searching for in your app.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

2hrs

LEARN MORE @ BRANCH.IO


Deep Linking and Ads

You can use deep links in your mobile advertising campaigns to lead people straight to the products, categories, or content you’re trying to serve.


Deep Linked Advertising

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

Take users to the exact app content that is featured in an ad. Use deep links with your ads to make the user’s journey from seeing your ad to clicking on it and arriving at a product page destination seamless.

Deep Linked Advertising

You can use this tactic with any ad platform, from search to social. The ad’s landing page is as important as its copy, so getting users to the right page will help increase conversions.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

2hrs

LEARN MORE @ BRANCH.IO


Deep Linking For Social Media


Deep linking can be used to enhance your social media efforts, allowing you to take visitors directly to your mobile app when they click a social link.

For example, if you have a mobile app that works better than the mobile web version of your app, generate a deep link that leads users straight to the content they clicked on in your app.

This is a great way to take advantage of the speed and added value of your app while driving more traffic to it.


Deep Linking From Social

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

Deep linking off of social sites can be difficult – Instagram, for example, makes it near impossible to do so because they don’t hyperlink anything but the profile link.

Deep Linking From Social

Luckily there are ways to successful take your users straight from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to your app. Adding deep linked profile links to app install pages, for example, or ones that lead to a product page in-app, is a great way to take advantage of social.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

1hr

LEARN MORE @ BRANCH.IO


Deep Linked Content Sharing

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

Share app content via SMS or email with links that take users directly to a desired piece of content. When you allow users to share links to your site in mobile, generating deep links straight to the app is a great way to increase user engagement.

Deep Linked Content Sharing

You can also pass data through the install process for new users to get to the right page from a share.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

1hr

LEARN MORE @ BRANCH.IO


Deep Linked Referrals

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

When creating a social referral system for your users, make sure the links you send for referral promotions are deep linked with an app install journey.

Deep Linked Referrals

You can seamlessly get app installs and reward both referrers and new users for referral activity. Use deep linking tools like Branch.io to set up referral links straight into your app.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

1hr

LEARN MORE @ BRANCH.IO


Search Engines and Deep Linking

Deep linking now works well with Google due to Google’s new App Indexing project. You can now have your entire app indexed by Google, allowing you to set up deep links in Google Search and even AdWords.


App Indexing For Deep Links

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

You can index your app so that you can deep link to any page in the app straight from a Google search. Google’s App Indexing project lets you set up app indexing with development resources.

App Indexing For Deep Links

On the other hand, you can also use services like Branch.io to have that implemented for you. Then you can get people straight to your app from an AdWords ad or Google Search.

Difficulty:

Advanced

Time Required:

4hrs (Dev & Marketing)

LEARN MORE @ BRANCH.IO


Deep Linking and Onboarding

Deep linking allows you to create an intelligent user journey from discovery through app install and onto onboarding. Data is retained through the installation process, giving you precious information that you can use to customize the onboarding flow for your users.

Here’s how:


Custom Onboarding Through Deep Links

This tactic doesn’t require media budget

Use deep links to customize the onboarding experience. Your deep links can collect data from the unique source that led a user to install your app.

Custom Onboarding Through Deep Links

For example, if a friend referred a new user, the user should be able to see that in a personalized onboarding flow. One way you can create personalization is by including an image of the friend that referred your new user to your app through Facebook.

Difficulty:

Intermediate

Time Required:

2hrs

LEARN MORE @ BRANCH.IO


Those were some of our favorite approaches to using deep links for mobile app traffic and app installs.

Interested in testing these tactics for your business? Contact us!


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