Deep Linking Explained: How It Works & Its Benefits

Deep links lead to pages other than the home page of a Web site. In a site’s hierarchical structure of pages, “deep” refers to the depth of a page. In this hierarchy, any page below the home page (the top page) is considered deep. Ticketmaster Corporation has used the term prominently in its lawsuit against Microsoft. An informational page within the Ticketmaster site was linked from a Sidewalk-owned Microsoft site, rather than the main Ticketmaster site. Microsoft was sued by Ticketmaster for linking without permission, claiming that they were thus denied. Microsoft was displaying their advertising within their content.

According to Keith Dawson’s TBTF Newsletter, deep links take Web surfers directly to the information they need. In spite of the lack of measurement, it appears that there are many deep links between Web sites. Whenever a Web site requests inclusion in a major search engine or directory site like Yahoo, all pages are assumed to be indexed unless explicitly excluded. Links to any of the pages on most sites are welcome, undoubtedly.

What is the importance of deep links?

In addition to reducing churn, deep links increase the likelihood of an install, as they make the user journey seamless. Users are moved onto your app in a single click, allowing you to create sophisticated campaigns.

Incentivization is also easier with deep links. By sending a potential prize or offer via a retargeting campaign, it is easy to persuade people to try a new experience. As an example, consider promoting a new album on a popular website with a music app. Users should be able to listen to the sample in-app, not just on the website (which only shows the cover). For a seamless user experience, you need a deep link that sends them straight to the right page in your app.

The conversion rate and retention rate of your app can be significantly increased by deep linking in-app. A deep linking campaign can be tracked, providing additional information about the performance of your campaign. You can read more about deep linking in campaigns here if you’d like to learn more.

Linking between websites, linking between apps, linking between apps, and linking between apps are the four basic kinds of deep linking. Solving increasingly complex problems requires increasingly complex solutions.

Creating links between websites

The most common type of deep linking is linking within another website. Also, it’s the easiest and often used in content creation. Linked sites are like the Kohl’s Santa in “Miracle on 34th Street,” suggesting that holiday shoppers purchase some items from other stores. As a result, shoppers get what they want, but Kohl’s builds trust, which is beneficial to the store.

It is important for websites to keep readers on their pages, but they also want to provide readers with the best possible information. Links to other websites are sometimes necessary. By providing deep links, websites are able to deliver useful information to readers, helping them rank higher on search engines.

Linking web pages to apps

A web-to-app link is usually used where content can be best discovered on the web, but can only be done (or should be done) within an app. The discovery and download of apps themselves are immediate examples. You discover an interesting app while browsing the web. Clicking the link does not take you to information about the app in your web browser. You will be taken directly to the app’s page on your smart device’s app store after closing your browser. Deep linking results in that.

It is a little more complicated to do this kind of deep linking. To do this, you need to create a web address for the location within the app, which requires a little coding expertise. The app will appear differently based on which operating system it is optimized for. A Microsoft Windows app is deep linked in the example below.

Links between apps and websites

This isn’t a very interesting one. Most apps are already connected to the internet, so it works similarly to linking between web pages. One example would be clicking a link in your calendar app to open a Zoom call in your browser. You can also share an achievement on Twitter by clicking a button in the Duolingo app.

The second case requires more Duolingo backend work. The default post requires artwork and text, so they had to create those as well. The research for this article did not include tearing apart Duo’s deep link coding, but this art and text may have been moved through your device’s clipboard automatically. 

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