Have you ever seen an ad on your phone for cheap flights to New York, and when you clicked on the ad it actually took you straight to the flight options within an airline or travel app on your phone? You were transferred from your phone’s internet browser to a specific page within an installed app with one click!

How did the advertiser behind the travel ad make this happen? This magic of transferring users from online ads to an in-app experience is what the industry refers to as deep linking.

So, what is deep linking exactly? Deep linking is when a link directs a user past the home page of a website or app to content inside of it (e.g. linking directly to a product instead of the home page). So when you see that specific ad for a 2018 Ford F-150 and click it, you are immediately redirected to the F-150 page within Ford’s site rather than having to search for the F-150 on Ford’s homepage.

For users who have already downloaded the advertiser’s app, the ad will send them directly to the in-app location specified by the advertisers (e.g. store page, registration page, video, etc.). For the users who do not have the app installed, the user is redirected to the app/play store to download the app and then proceed to the desired in-app location.

Deep linking to an app experience is possible through various access points. Advertisers can link directly into apps across SMS messages, mobile web pages, emails, push notifications, and within their own apps via in-app messages or ads. It is becoming more common to see targeted ads across mediums utilizing deep linking capabilities.

So, why does this matter? Deep linking has been shown to improve mobile conversions, retention, and engagement. When comparing deep linking to the standard app/play store redirect, we have seen over 100% improvement in conversion rate, engagement, and ARPU (average revenue per user). Deep linking is a great way to lower user friction, especially when looking at re-engagement campaigns. Given the performances we have seen, my only question to advertisers is, why are you not utilizing deep linking?

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Derek Feuerman
Derek, who joined 3Q in November 2017, first broke into digital marketing in 2013 by writing content for a variety of musicians’ social media accounts. From there he has worked with clients such as Uber, Amazon, King, Lyft, and Draft Kings, helping them with brand awareness and user acquisition both online and mobile. Derek received his BA from San Diego State University in Media Studies. When not working, Derek enjoys playing beach volleyball, golfing, and traveling.