3 Ways App Deeplinks Will Redefine Your Results
Deeplinks matter. October 2014 data from comScore shows that 88 percent of mobile consumer time is spent inside mobile apps vs. 12 percent of time spent browsing the mobile Web (opens as a PDF). Statistics like these should give brand marketers pause—not because the "death of the mobile Web" is at hand, as some suggest. But rather, if digital campaigns do not adapt to this reality by targeting mobile app users with app content, campaign response rates are certain to fall short of their potential.
Here is a familiar example from a consumer experience point of view: You receive an email campaign promoting a brand's Facebook page. You view the email on your smartphone and have the Facebook app installed, so you click the link. Only, it does not open the Facebook app; it opens your mobile browser instead—which doesn't know the app is installed on your device. So you're prompted to log in to Facebook's mobile Web page. You decide that following this particular brand is no longer that important to you. You abandon, and the campaign's success rate plummets to zero.
App deeplinking technologies are designed to solve this most fundamental problem of the mobile era. Typically, these technologies use a combination of sensors and advanced routers to quickly detect app users and open the app to the corresponding "landing page," while ensuring other devices—including those that don't have the app— land on the equivalent mobile (or desktop) Web page.
Here are three ways brand marketers can use app deeplinking to overcome this barrier by targeting mobile app users and achieving higher mobile response rates:
1. Deeplink Social App Users Directly Into Social App Pages
Research into social media app behavior shows that mobile users who click social media links from their devices tend to have that app installed about 70 percent of the time. If your campaign goal is to create social engagement or generate new followers, your audience will most likely try to engage on a mobile device first. So go ahead and link them directly into app pages for maximum success.
One hospitality brand found that optimizing this social app-user experience contributed to roughly 50 percent of the incremental Facebook followers it gained from a direct campaign. Similar gains resulted from this strategy on Twitter and Instagram.
Take advantage of free deeplink platforms that let you create deeplinked URLs for your social media pages. Link these deeplinked "smart" URLs to the social media icons found on your mobile site or email campaigns and watch what happens. You'll be amazed at the response from social app users.
2. Deeplink Email Subscribers Directly Into App Pages
These days, most emails are read on mobile devices. If your company offers an iOS or Android app, email campaigns provide a perfect way to target and re-engage app users. Adding deeplink support to your email campaign lets app users connect directly to deep pages in your mobile app. One brand that offers its products through multiple channels found this technique of deeplinking email subscribers into its m-commerce app contributed 20 percent more revenue per email campaign.
A bonus is email subscribers who don't yet have your app installed can receive a targeted promotion to download your app to drive future engagement and response rates via email.
3. Deeplink Mobile Searchers Directly Into App Pages
If your brand has iOS or Android apps, take advantage of new mobile SEO and SEM opportunities from Google and Bing to connect mobile searchers into your app content. On the organic side, both search engines now enable app pages with deeplink support to be crawled and indexed for discovery by mobile searchers. On the SEM or paid search side, there are new options to serve search ads specifically to app-users.
During the 2014 holiday shopping season, we found that about 35 percent of consumers conducting a brand search on their mobile devices had that brand's app on their smartphone, with some brand queries hitting app penetration rates as high as 57 percent (and even higher on tablets). If your app has even a slight conversion edge over your mobile site, there is clear opportunity to boost search campaign response rates by targeting app users and deeplinking them into app pages.
Perhaps most surprisingly, search, social and email marketing are really just the start. The same opportunities and benefits of targeting app users extends across all digital media, even into offline media, including print (PURLs, QR codes), radio, TV and more. The key insight is that smartphone and tablet app usage will continue to dominate the consumer landscape. If that's true, it will impact 100 percent of your marketing results —online and offline—for the foreseeable future. The challenge and opportunity now is to start adapting your campaigns around app users for maximum engagement and response.
Clearly, deeplinking is the technological key to future-proofing your marketing for a world filled with app users.