Although the number of users browsing the Internet via mobile devices keeps going up, it’s been hard for agencies and brands to figure out how to benefit from it. In the past, mobile marketing didn’t pay off as well as it should have. That’s because when a user clicked on a mobile ad, it didn’t necessarily take them where they wanted to go. For example, an ad might take them to the developer’s home page instead of his or her sales page. Social media ads were even worse–they almost always directed the user to the social media site’s home page instead of to the ad being advertised. When this happens people try to drop off. Marketers tend to forget that the user isn’t as intent on swimming through their funnel as they wish.
Deep-linking is an attempt to solve this problem. Basically, a deep link is a direct link to a landing page within an application. For example, a link in your application to your business’ fan page on Facebook is a deep link; a link that goes to Facebook’s home page is not. By utilizing deep linking, mobile advertisers can ensure prospects go to a targeted landing page so that they are more likely to sign up for a newsletter or buy a product. Also, sometimes an ad can take the user to a squeeze page that will (hopefully) result in an immediate transaction.
Deep Linking Is Behind the Scenes
Deep linking is a technological solution to a technological problem. In all likelihood, mobile users won’t realize anything is different once an app starts using deep linking. The mobile application still looks and functions in the same way it did before the application started using deep linking; thus, users are not inconvenienced in any way. The only difference will be that when they click on a link within the application, they will go to the advertised link rather than to a home page that may not be of interest to them.
How Deep Linking Works
Deep linking must be installed by the app developer. The developer installs a custom url scheme that points the mobile browser towards a specific link when a particular action is taken. In the case of advertising, the custom url points the mobile browser towards the correct landing page. It’s a bit more of an issue when trying to link to an app however. Which is the case of mobile deep-linking. Mobile deep-linking requires using a uniform resource identifier and links to a direct location of an app. Companies like URX
are addressing this. Google search has also recently started introducing deep-linking app results.
Why Deep Linking Is Important
The main reason deep linking has got a lot of attention recently is that it allows advertisers to direct customers to their pages via targeted ads. However, there are other uses for deep linking. Applications can integrate more easily using deep linking, making them much more powerful. For example, Has Offers points out
that Mint could direct users to InstaCart to purchase groceries if the budgeting app determines the user hasn’t gone grocery shopping recently.