It is no secret that getting downloads for a new app is hard. Retaining users who have downloaded your app is even harder. On April 30th, Facebook host its F8 conference and will show mobile developers how deep-linking can re-engage millions of inactive app users.
What is mobile app deep-linking?
Mobile app deep-linking is a way to link users directly to an iOS and Android app that is already installed on their phone. For example: twitter://timeline opens up the twitter app and takes you to your timeline. Try typing the following into your mobile safari browser:
The twitter app should open with the following tweet composed: “hello world”
Why is deep linking important?
How many of you have opened up Temple Run recently? I haven’t in 6 months, even though I see new high scores on Facebook and Twitter. I click those links and just see an image of the high score screen. Those links should take me to the Temple Run I already have installed and prompt me to beat my friend’s high score. This isn’t new - it’s been possible since 2011. It just has not gotten serious developer attention. Facebook hopes to change that during F8.
What are some good apps using deep linking?
Twitter’s email notifications lead me directly to the app.
Timehop’s daily email takes me to the specific content for that day.
Developers should care, but why does Facebook care? It’s the $$$
Facebook made 53% of its revenue from mobile last year with app-install ads driving that growth. Those ads have been and will be a powerful way to get customers to download new apps.
But, how does Facebook make money from mobile app advertisers (e.g. Hotel Tonight) after they have spent $1-$5 per install? Facebook enables an app like Hotel Tonight to create “Book Now” ads that show up in the mobile newsfeed for a local hotel. This ad takes the user to Hotel Tonight’s app with that hotel’s pictures, reviews, prices and book now button.
While deep-linking is not new, the goal of F8 is to get the larger developer community on board with app deep-linking. When developers start to build more apps that publish rich open graph stories with deep-links, referral traffic from Facebook will rise and marketers will start investing more money in Facebook ads.