Impacting the Mobile Customer Experience with Deep Links
Deep link customers directly to your app to improve their experience and your bottom line.
We’ve estimated that over $25B has been invested globally from developing mobile apps to marketing those apps. Yes, that’s a “B”. The result… over 2 million apps available in Google Play and Apple app stores, over 35 billion apps downloaded to date, and hundreds of mobile ad networks anxious to take your marketing budgets to drive more downloads for you.
But, at some point, the money needs to start flowing back to the app developers …they need a return on that enormous investment. That return on investment comes from app usage, in-app purchases, and mobile commerce via those same apps. But to make this happen, you need to drive engagement. Here are several ideas to help drive engagement for your app.
1. Make a compelling app but constantly optimize and iterate.
It goes without saying that the app needs to be good. It needs to provide either entertainment, utility, or make a consumer’s life easier. Our partners here at Apptentive have a bunch of great tools for gauging how well your app is doing through their in-app messaging, ratings prompts, and surveys. By gathering real time feedback from your customers while they are using the app, you get actionable information on what need to be fixed, what features to prioritize next, and how to improve the overall app experience.
2. Make your app directly launch from marketing
Today, most mobile marketing delivers the customer to your mobile website. That’s because all smartphones and tablets have a browser. It’s also because most apps are not configured for launch beyond tapping their icon on the home screen. However, by implementing an invocation URI, a mobile app can be launched from another application. An invocation URI is an address for an app. Just like a URL is an address for a website, a URI is the same for an app on a device. Here are a couple examples:
- twitter:// is the iOS URI for twitter
- Youtube:// is the iOS URI for YouTube
You may already have a URI that can launch your app. We’ve analyzed over thousands of apps and our database shows that 34.4% of the average app in iTunes has a URI enabled. If you don’t have an invocation URI, don’t fear. It’s a relatively easy process for your developers to create one for your mobile app. We wrote the following document to provide your developers with instructions: http://sparq.it/uri
3. Enable deep linking into the app
Launching the app is just a start to delivering the ideal user experience. Just like twitter:// launches the iOS twitter app, twitter://user?screen_name=apptentive will launch the Apptentive page within the twitter app. By leveraging this deep link URI, Twitter makes it much easier for a user to follow someone.
Apply this to your own app. If you’d like to deliver someone to a product page within your app or perhaps take him/her to an Apptentive survey or ratings page, you can do so by implementing deep-link URIs for those locations.
4. Use intelligent links in your marketing
Once you’ve enabled an invocation and deep link URI scheme, you now need to promote your app through your current marketing channels. Email, social, and mobile ads can now point to the app instead of the mobile site. But, in order to do so, you need an intelligent linking solution that can first detect if the app exists.
SPARQ has a very easy to use platform for intelligent link creation. If the customer is on mobile and has your app, deep link them in to the location they are looking for. If they don’t have your app, you can decide to send them to the app store for download or to your mobile site. Regardless, the right experience is delivered based on the customer’s context.
Continually improving your mobile app and making it accessible from marketing should be a focus for any company where mobile is a key part of their growth strategy. Start deep linking to impact your bottom line and take your customers to the place you’ve spent so much time perfecting – your mobile app.
About the author: Jim Watson is the COO of SPARQ, a Seattle based mobile technology company focused on creating better mobile experiences for brands and consumers. If you need help with setting up a URI scheme for your mobile app or want to talk about how to take advantage of deep linking to your app, please contact him via Twitter or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.