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August 18, 2020

How Deep Linking Can Help Your App Grow

Every software wants to engage users, and the number of ways to do it is truly enormous. One of the best tools for increasing user engagement is deep linking. Check out our article to find out how deep linking can help your app.

Mobile apps for most businesses are now just as important as websites were ten years ago. The number of mobile device users is only growing, as is mobile app activity.

There are many ways to make your app engage users more effectively, integrate better with other communication channels, and ultimately generate more revenue. Deep links are one of them.

What is deep linking?

So, how does a deep link differ from a regular one? A regular link that leads to the mobile app will send you to the main page of it if you have the app installed. If you don't have the app, it will send you to the App Store or Google Play. We’re sure you've seen and used such links before.

The deep linking method is an important element of any mobile marketing campaign. It allows you to simplify the path to content for a new audience and improve the user experience for existing users. You remove all the barriers that the client must pass to achieve the final goal.

At the same time, deep links are also a powerful analysis tool. You can use them to gather valuable information about your most effective advertising channels, promotions, newsletters, and notifications, as well as the categories of users who most often click on links. That will help you target your audience correctly and make your marketing campaign even more effective.

An additional advantage is that deep links leading to specific screens in your app can be indexed by Google and displayed in search results. Just make sure that the links in the app and on the site match so that users who view the Google search results from the mobile device where your app is installed will be able to go directly to it. This, in turn, helps you increase your indexing rating in search results.

There are several types of deep linking:

  • Default deep linking

Default deep linking serves to provide personalized content to existing users who have already installed the mobile app.

  • Deferred deep linking

This kind of deep linking provides personalized content to new or former users immediately after installing the mobile app.

If your company's business area is offline — for example, you have retail outlets or attend trade fairs — deep links can also be useful. Deep links can be embedded in QR codes or Bluetooth beacons. You can direct customers who visited the store’s screen of the desired promotion to create another channel for attracting users to the app.

How does it work?

The principle of deep linking is as follows: The user initiates a click on the URL, causing the resource located at this URL to determine the user’s operating system and make the transition to the application according to a pre-defined pathway.

If you look at it in more detail, after clicking on the link, the application does not immediately open the specific section that the link should lead to, but instead goes all the way from the main window to this tab unnoticed by the user. Thus, the user gets the impression that they were immediately redirected to the desired tab, which is the main purpose of deep links.

If you set up deep linking using services such as AppsFlyer, you will encounter a concept like OneLink.

OneLink acts as a link between advertising and the mobile app. This link may launch an application and pass the developer the data necessary to personalize the interaction with the user. To use these features, you only need to provide the necessary parameters and infrastructure in the mobile app to support deep links.

Most often, deep links and OneLink are used to re-engage existing and former users, i.e. for retargeting.

Why deep linking is cool

The advantages of using deep links include the following:

  • Deep linking is the easiest way to guide the user from notifications directly to the desired app screen. In integration with Google Analytics Mobile App Metrics services, it's also used for setting up full-fledged notification campaigns and evaluating their effectiveness. All promotions, sales, and newsletters become much more effective.
  • You can create cross-channel campaigns by embedding deep links in other apps, emails, banners on websites, or text messages.
  • Deep links can be indexed by Google and appear in search results. This means that you can access the app directly from the search engine.
  • You can collect statistics and track the performance of various channels and analyze customer behavior inside the app after a click.

Speaking about analytics, deep links are useful because they collect and transmit data about:

  • views, clicks, and installations
  • channels that generate the most downloads and revenue
  • users who are more likely to click on links

Tools for deep linking

There are different solutions for creating deep links. These services include Adjust, Yozio, Deeplink, open source solutions, Branch, and AppsFlyer, which was already mentioned earlier. In our case, we were interested in the last two of this list.

Branch is one of the most advanced services for working with deep links. We studied it as a leader in its segment.

AppsFlyer is a system that was used to work with marketing campaigns and collect statistics in the app long before the idea of implementing deep links.

Branch is probably the most feature-rich service for implementing deep links, which can do almost everything.

What we liked:

  • the richness of features
  • quality and convenience
  • the high number of examples, detailed user cases, and a blog with useful articles

AppsFlyer is a service that is primarily aimed at marketing campaigns and attracting users to the app. It was used to set up ad campaigns in the app, so we considered it as a logical platform for implementing deep links. AppsFlyer offers its own deep link solution called OneLink.

In AppsFlyer, we liked everything related to marketing campaigns in one way or another.

As a result, our team chose to focus on AppsFlyer.

Our experience with AppsFlyer

Our team also uses deep linking, and for more convenient use, we decided to use both AppsFlyer and Branch. After working with and comparing the use of these two services, we decided to choose the first one.

The most notable example of our team working with AppsFlyer was the experience with CashChat, where it's used for referral links. Thanks to deep links, every CashChat user can go to a specific screen and declare that they want to share this app. To do this, a link is generated that contains a large number of parameters, including those that are responsible for opening the app and leading the user to the desired screen. After a referral link is shared with the user, the user clicks on it.

If a person is already using the app, they will simply be directed to the appropriate page. If a person has downloaded the app but is not logged in, they will be asked to log in and then redirected to the required page. In the same case, if the person has not yet registered in the app, they will be asked to download the app and create a new account. When creating a new account, the user will receive a certain amount of in-game currency, and our developers will get their bonuses from new accounts in the app.

Additionally, AppsFlyer helps us track the number of clicks on referral links and evaluate the number of created links in general. This is a very effective tool for our analytics.


When you go to a website or app, it's sometimes difficult to find the right information or section quickly. This is why it's very important to look at the work of your product through the eyes of the consumer: Surely you would like to get the necessary information in one click.

If so, you should start implementing deep links in your user engagement campaigns now. Do not advertise in your posts and banners what users can hardly find in the menus of your apps.

The fewer steps an existing user needs to complete to get to the desired app page, the higher the chance of a conversion.

May deep linking serve you well!

Deep linking
Mobile development

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