What is deep linking?

Deep linking is the practice of linking to a specific piece of content, located either in-app or on a website.

Website-to-website is the most common form of deep linking, where traffic is sent to a specific page on another website. In the context of mobile apps, deep links are used to send traffic from channels like mobile, web, social media, email, or others to a specific page within an app.

What is an example of an in-app deep link?

A travel company sends out an email campaign promoting their latest deals on weekend getaways. When a reader clicks the link to learn more, the travel company’s app launches and takes them to the specific page within the app that contains all of the information they need. If they haven’t got the app downloaded, the deep link takes them to the App Store or Google Play store instead.

In addition to sending users to specific app pages, deep links can also be used to initiate certain actions within an app once a link is clicked.

For example, an online store could use deep links for its customer support, allowing users to click a link that opens a messaging platform like WhatsApp for Business with pre-filled text. This text can contain keywords which then either trigger a chatbot, or help the online store categorize the inquiry and reduce their Time to Resolution (TTR).

What are the three main types of deep links?

The three types of deep linking are:

  1. Basic Deep Linking

    : Sends users to specific content. There’s no fallback, so if the required app isn’t installed, users are met with an error page.
  2. Deferred Deep Linking

    : Directs users from an external source into a specific page within an app. If that app isn’t installed, a deferred deep link will take the user to the relevant App Store or Google Play page.
  3. Contextual Deep Linking

    : Takes deferred deep links one step further to deliver the ultimate experience for both businesses and customers. In addition to the features of deferred links, contextual deep links can be used to apply coupon codes, take users to customized landing pages, and feed data to marketing platforms about campaign performance.

Benefits of using deep links

Some of the key benefits of web- and app-based deep linking include:

  • Greater visibility in search engine results, leading to increased traffic and more conversions.
  • Improved customer onboarding rates with easy app downloads and sign-ups.
  • A frictionless, seamless user experience that allows for quick and easy transition between traditional marketing channels and mobile apps.
  • Increased engagement and loyalty through personalized, relevant in-app content.
  • Reduced churn by providing an easy route back to app content after a customer leaves.
  • Greater conversions due to direct access to purchase products or services.
  • Improved brand loyalty by creating a better overall user experience.

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