In a mobile context, deep linking means one app uses a URI to link to a certain location within a different app—rather than just opening the app and requiring users to navigate to the content they want or need. In other words, it leads a mouse straight to the cheese instead of dropping it into a maze. Speed and convenience are the obvious benefits to the user, but deep linking can also facilitate strong partnerships between brands.
Why Do So Few Apps Go Deep?
Internet users hope and even expect to be able to follow a hyperlink right to the content they need. However, while the app-development community likely recognizes their desires, three main factors prevent app developers from fully embracing deep linking:
- Deep-linking processes on iOS and Android are quite different. At present, there is no clear standard or easy way to extend the feature across both of these popular platforms. App creators must manually create separate deep links for each unique device operating system, which is a time-consuming and burdensome task.
- The topic of deep linking isn’t incredibly exciting or inspiring. Deep linking is a feature that is so simple and so seemingly obvious that it’s often overlooked by brands that are more likely to invest in complex email-marketing or social-media campaigns.
- Because deep linking is such a small feature, users may not realize its value, so there’s little demand to implement it. However, the absence of deep links adds to user frustration and fatigue because users must constantly search for specific content rather than an app’s leading them directly to it.
The Advantages of Deep Linking
Deep links improve user efficiency and reduce the likelihood of users’ deviating from their tasks. Whether users intend to buy a product, watch a video, or read an article, deep links minimize the time it takes them to follow through with their original task. Brands can avoid losing users’ interest by eliminating the need to search high and low for content and, instead, readily providing exactly what users need.
Deep linking is, therefore, an effective means of delivering content or products directly to consumers. It guarantees visibility and increases the odds that users will perform all of the necessary steps to complete a process.
Deep linking offers significant sales potential to app developers—especially ecommerce app creators. Supplying a direct path to a certain product that the user wants to purchase enables that user to complete the transaction with minimal hassle. For example, if a user finds a product using a mobile Web browser, but prefers to use the seller’s app for a more convenient checkout experience, deep linking ensures the app will open to that exact product’s page.