Whether you’re searching the web for the most updated news items, or you’re looking to shop on your favorite websites, deep linking has become an integral part of the internet experience. It’s a tool that allows for true convenience and fast navigation, but many people simply aren’t aware of it. Deep linking is only just starting to provide that same convenience and simplicity to mobile applications, and as the technology spreads, it is opening new avenues for mobile marketing.
Deep linking—as it has been known for years—allows web developers to create direct links to particular actions or pages on a website. It also allows people navigating the site to seamlessly travel to other sites at the click of a link. It’s fast, easy, and a major feature of internet design, but for years, apps found on smartphones and tablets have lacked this essential element.
Most apps today do not have deep linking, which makes using apps much more cumbersome than usual. Apps without deep linking can link to other apps but cannot specify pages or products within that app. All they can do is send the user to the app’s landing page or, if the user doesn’t have the app, to the proper app store or signup page. Imagine if that were the case with web navigation today; links would only send you to a website’s homepage and nothing else, and from there you’d have to find what you were looking for. Luckily, deep linking for mobile apps is changing that model.
Mobile deep links are making navigating mobile apps much easier. The deep links can be links to sub-pages within an app. For example, if you’re on the Facebook app and see an ad for a coat you’d like to buy, clicking on the ad will take you directly to that product’s page where you can easily put it in your shopping cart. Before, the best an app could do would be to link you to the coat company’s app landing page where you’d have to search for the coat yourself. Deep linking skips all those unnecessary steps, providing a simpler, more streamlined experience.
Just from the example above, it’s easy to see how this could revolutionize the mobile marketing world. Deep linking gives marketers a better chance of reaching potential customers through a variety of different platforms. It also provides a way for marketers to make smarter, more effective advertising campaigns. Ads will be more relevant depending on the user, and brands will be more recognizable.
Deep linking can also give marketers a chance to re-engage customers on a more personal level with individualized rewards and sales notifications, while also connecting different companies through cross-app campaigns and new partnerships. Even apps that don’t make use of advertisements can work in tandem with more sales-oriented businesses to provide a new level of service and convenience. As blogger David Lee puts it, imagine the Mint financial app reminding you to buy groceries through another app. Marketers are only scratching the surface of what deep linking can accomplish.
Companies are already rallying around the idea behind deep linking and its potential to enhance the customer experience. Facebook recently announced it was embracing deep linking as a way to drive customer engagement and conversions. Several businesses have banded together to develop tools and standards that will allow for the easier development of deep linking across multiple companies. Businesses are also turning to flash array storage systems as a faster and more powerful way to handle the increasing amount of data being collected through mobile platforms for marketing and advertising purposes.
The idea behind deep linking for mobile apps is to make the customer’s time using the app as user-friendly as possible, while also encouraging a sense of brand loyalty. Mobile app deep linking is only in its beginning stages as companies find their own way to attract and keep consumers, but the possibilities have mobile marketers excited for what the future holds.