Introduction to the Deep Link Benchmark Report
This post aims to guide you through the maze of deep linking, addressing those niggling doubts about their reliability and functionality and providing actionable insights on how to ensure they're working as they should.
If you're a mobile marketer or product leader, deep linking probably has a fixed spot on your radar. It's that seemingly simple concept that can make or break your user experience, campaigns, and overall app performance. But as you might have noticed, the reality is far from straightforward. This post aims to guide you through the maze of deep linking, addressing those niggling doubts about their reliability and functionality and providing actionable insights on how to ensure they're working as they should.
For additional reading, our comprehensive deep link benchmark report (co-authored with Branch.io) presents an in-depth analysis of the current state of deep linking. It paints a vivid picture of its effectiveness across different apps, platforms, and channels. The complete report can be accessed here.
Deep Linking: A Brief Overview
Deep linking is the process of directing users straight to a specific location within a mobile app rather than just opening the app. These can be linked from a variety of sources, such as emails, SMS, or social media platforms. The magic of deep linking lies in its ability to provide a seamless user experience, catapulting users directly to relevant content, and bypassing the need for them to navigate through the app to find what they're looking for.
But with great potential comes great complexity. And herein lies the challenge for mobile marketers.
The Technical Maze of Deep Linking
From a technical perspective, implementing deep links can be fraught with difficulties. You've got to contend with different operating systems (iOS and Android), app states (is the app already installed or not?), and myriad channels (email, SMS, social media, etc.). Not to mention dealing with the individual technical requirements of each app in your portfolio.
Each of these elements brings its own unique set of challenges that can impact the successful implementation of deep links. For instance, an app's technical architecture can influence how deep links function, as can the platform on which the app is running. Likewise, deep links behave differently depending on whether the app is already installed on a user's device.
With all these moving parts, it's not hard to see why ensuring the flawless operation of deep links can feel like navigating a technical maze.
Deep Linking: A Complex Landscape
To bring these technical challenges to life, let's consider a few real-world examples based on insights from our comprehensive deep linking benchmark report.
Let's say you're a mobile marketer for a leading e-commerce app. You've designed a compelling email campaign, complete with a deep link that leads directly to a new product line. If the deep link is correctly implemented, your users will be taken straight to the product page when they click the link. But if there's an issue, they might end up on the app's homepage or, worse still, the app store, leaving them confused and potentially losing their interest.
Another example might be if you're in charge of a streaming service app. You've got a hot new show, and you're promoting it across social media platforms with a deep link leading straight to the show's landing page in your app. But deep linking from social media platforms can be trickier than from emails due to the differing protocols each platform uses. If the deep link doesn't work correctly, your users might end up at a generic screen or face a frustrating "content not found" message.
Addressing Deep Link Concerns
In the light of these potential pitfalls, it's understandable that you may feel uneasy about deep link functionality. How can you be sure your deep links are working as intended?
The answer lies in comprehensive, real-world testing. By conducting rigorous deep link tests, you can identify potential issues and implement necessary fixes before rolling out your campaign. But conducting such tests manually across a range of devices, operating systems, and channels is time-consuming and challenging.
This is where the value of a tool like Mobot's mobile app testing solution comes in. By replicating real-world user behavior and interacting with live apps, it provides reliable, accurate data on deep link functionality across various scenarios. It also uses a proprietary scoring system that takes into account the myriad factors that can affect deep link performance.
Unveiling the Report's Findings
The deep linking benchmark report, based on the testing of over 2,000 deep links, provides critical insights into deep link performance.
Some key findings include:
The performance of deep links can vary significantly across industries. For instance, the e-commerce sector showed stronger deep link performance than sectors like travel or entertainment, likely due to the direct revenue impact of successful deep links in e-commerce.
Deep link functionality can vary depending on the app install state. For example, in scenarios where the app was not already installed, deep links often led users to the app store rather than to a webview with a call-to-action to download the app.
The performance of deep links also varied across different channels, with deep links from emails tending to be more reliable than those from social media platforms.
These findings highlight the importance of conducting comprehensive testing and continuously validating deep link functionality.
To sum it up, deep linking is a potent tool in a mobile marketer's arsenal, but it's one that comes with its fair share of challenges. But don't let the technical complexities deter you. By approaching deep linking with a solid understanding of its intricacies, backed by rigorous testing and continuous validation, you can ensure that your deep links serve as powerful gateways to user engagement and campaign success.