Not Deep Linking? Here’s Why That’s Hurting Your In-App Experience

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Your mobile app users are your highest valued customers. But if their experience getting to your app isn’t seamless, deep linking might be the answer.

Consider your customer Sean. He is shopping for jeans on his smartphone. He remembers receiving an email about a big sale at his favorite store. Sean searches his inbox, finds the offer, and clicks. He expects to land on the retailer’s mobile web page.

But with deep linking, you can send him directly to your app instead. Sean immediately arrives at the denim sale landing page. It’s a seamless transition that lays the groundwork for a better customer experience.

This is a common example of deep linking. In Sean’s case, he was taken directly to the relevant page in the mobile app, without having to navigate or search. And if he hadn’t already downloaded the app, he could have been given the option to do so. Once installed, the app would automatically take him to the denim sale, which is called deferred deep linking.

The app advantage — for the customer and the brand

When a consumer is willing to download your brand’s app, they’re indicating an interest in a relationship with you.

Omnichannel customers represent multiple ongoing opportunities to engage and convert. So it makes sense to find customers online that are interested in easily crossing over to your mobile app.

Additionally, the basic nature of apps — that they’re omnipresent for your customers — creates more opportunities for real-time engagement and conversion. Apps also provide a level of contextual insights no other platform can.

“Brands can reach out in new ways that only mobile allows them to do,” says Roger Woods, director of mobile product and strategy at Adobe. “This includes mobile messaging, combined with location and proximity data, to capture and optimize user intent to engage with your brand at its highest point.”

Improving the in-app experience

Unfortunately, today’s in-app experience can be disjointed as customers move from email to mobile web to a mobile app. This lack of cohesion disappoints customers who expect a seamless interaction with your brand. The in-app experience is frustrating for brands, too, because there is no holistic way for a company to measure movement and gather data that can be used to better target customers with relevant messaging.

Think of the customer who receives an email from an airline saying it’s time to check in for a flight. The email is intended to direct the customer to the airline’s mobile web or app, but the process doesn’t usually happen seamlessly, says Cody Crnkovich, head of platform partners and strategy for Adobe Experience Cloud. Instead, the customer is more likely to be directed to the generic airline app page where they must enter their authentication information or confirmation number again.

“Just getting there creates a negative and friction-filled experience,” Cody says. It’s no surprise customers aren’t willing to keep trying to transition between the web and an app.

Going from an app to the mobile web also presents challenges, Cody says. If a customer is on an app and reaches the extent of the app’s functionality, they’ll be directed to go to the more developed mobile web. But the customer will not want to enter information again.

“Keeping that seamless flow across channels — that’s deep linking,” Roger says. Apps can build customer relationships when marketers use them well by determining the optimal time to promote the app, moving people to that channel, and by providing personalized content based on customer profiles and past behavior on other channels.

“It’s definitely a required tool for every marketer who’s trying to drive cross-channel experiences with the app as part of that user journey,” Roger says.

Adobe partner ecosystem enhances deep-linking capabilities

Adobe has developed an ecosystem of technology partners with solutions that work with the Adobe Experience Platform to extend its capabilities — including deep-linking capabilities — for the unique needs of different companies. These partners offer functionality that empower companies to improve the user experience.

“Ultimately, building a better customer experience on mobile boils down to putting your data to work, “ says Vincent Low, head of Marketing Cloud Partnerships at AppsFlyer, an Adobe Exchange Premier Partner for mobile attribution and deep linking. “To direct your users to the right destination in an app, you need to relay information from their marketing interactions about what content they are interested in, what campaigns they engaged with, whether they should receive a promotional offer, and more. That is a core functionality of mobile deep-linking technology — but the use cases we see go far beyond that.”

By providing a holistic view of mobile attribution across paid and organic channels, AppsFlyer enhances marketers’ understanding of app engagements in the context of their overall digital strategy.

“Marketers benefit from a true multitouch view of their customer journeys, which can be used to build a more cohesive experience across digital properties and assess a user’s true lifetime value.” Vincent says.

AppsFlyer integrates seamlessly with Adobe Analytics, Adobe Audience Manager, and Adobe Advertising Cloud, using deep linking to extend the insights these products provide.

Branch, another Adobe Exchange Premier Partner, integrates with Advertising Cloud, Analytics Cloud, Launch, Adobe Campaign and Adobe Target. Its solution optimizes consumer engagement for mobile on the front end and back end, says Eric Stein, Branch’s executive vice president and general manager.

This drives more value for Branch and Adobe’s mutual customers, some of whom are using deep linking to ensure their email campaigns work optimally on mobile devices. Thanks to Branch’s deep links, when a customer receives an email and reads it on a mobile device, they’re taken directly to the mobile app or App Store where they can download the app, and land on a page consistent with the email content they initially clicked on.

“These types of user experiences, whether it’s direct deep linking or deferred deep linking, are all things that Branch takes care of and helps to improve the performance of email campaigns,” Eric says.

For AppsFlyer, Branch, and other companies, partnerships within the Adobe ecosystem are a win-win.

“Adobe Experience Cloud offers great solutions to engage with consumers and deliver experiences to those consumers,” Eric says. “And integrations from third-party software vendors are offering ways to enhance those experiences.”

“Leading brands use Adobe Experience Cloud to build, analyze, and optimize user journeys across their digital properties,” says AppsFlyer’s Vincent. “This allows for natural synergies between Adobe’s core offering and seamlessly integrated partner solutions that enhance the customer experience specifically in the highly fragmented mobile realm.”

An app is a representation of your brand, and it engages your most loyal customers. Make the most of this relationship by adding capabilities from our technology partners to your Adobe solutions. They can ensure your customers have a frictionless experience as they move from one of your marketing channels to the next.

Read more stories in our technology partner series or go to to learn about Adobe Exchange and our Partner Program.__