The trend toward increased app usage has only accelerated during the Covid-19 crisis. App Annie recently reported that consumers have increased their app spending reaching $32 Billion in Q1 2021 — the biggest quarter on record thus far. Apps in every sector from shopping to exercise to healthcare and entertainment are seeing increased downloads as consumers stay home during the pandemic.
Retailers and other companies need only glance at such trends to understand there is an urgency in shifting resources to increase app engagement to maintain and increase revenue in this environment. If you have a paid search campaign that is sending app users back to your mobile website that can translate into lost revenue and high app uninstall rates. Marketers and agencies can take control the consumer journey with paid search campaigns that include app deep linking.
App Deep Linking for Marketers and Agencies without SDKs
You don't need SDKs or technical resources to update your paid search campaigns to open your app for iOS and Android from the same link. Marketers can update existing paid search campaigns with app deep links that can open your brand's app if installed while giving you control over the fallback URL when it's not installed. This blog post takes you through the steps for turning a typical web search campaign into a powerful channel for app re-engagement and downloads.
1. Create deep links to your app for paid search campaigns
App deep linking platforms like URLgenius are designed for marketers and agencies and let you create and test deep links for your app at no charge. If you have a large complex search campaign you can start by updating just a few of the links for a few different keywords. If the app you're linking into is not on the deep linking platform yet just request to have it added. To create a deep link you simply paste the web URL from your search campaign into the home page. Note that you can customize the end of the URL to align it with the keyword or campaign. In this example, we'll create a deep link to the Ticketmaster app for the play Hamilton.
2. Append tracking parameters and set fallback URL
When you select 'Compose' you will be brought to the settings page for the deep link where you can copy it to place into your search campaign.
The settings page is also where you can change the fallback destination for the deep link by platform and device. Note that you can append tracking parameters before you compose the link or you can add or change tracking parameters any time here in the settings. Include tracking parameters for your search marketing platform in addition to your web and analytics platform.
3. Use your brand's domain for your app deep links
A best practice is to use your brand's domain for app deep linking. This is an optional feature that you should be able to setup in your app deep linking account. This will inspire customer trust while leveraging your domain’s quality score in your search ads. You just need to have your web team or hosting provider create a subdomain and a CName record that points to your deep linking provider.
4. Use the tracking template feature in Adwords
Cloud-based app deep linking platforms like URLgenius act as a redirect that contains logic that enables the your app deep links to open the app on iOS and Android depending on the device clicking the link. You can also control the fallback destination at the link level for when the app is not installed. Remember that URLgenius link is not your final destination which is still your default web URL. For that reason, make sure to enter your deep link into a tracking template in your Adwords setup.
The format of the link that goes into the tracking template has the final destination appended to your deep link. Continuing with our example for Ticketmaster the link would look something like this:
Instagram Pro Tip: How to Deep Link to Your Instagram Profile from Adwords
Here's another example for those of you that want to promote your Instagram profile from an Adwords campaign. The same concept applies where the URLgenius link to your Instagram profile is the redirect to be entered into the tracking template. This example uses the URLgenius Instagram profile.
Tracking Template URL:
That's the final step. This approach to app deep linking gives marketers and agencies more control over the consumer journey as they work to optimize revenue and paid search in ways that can immediately break down any marketing silos between your app and website while increasing campaign ROI. Start with a few key words and measure the difference in conversion. The first thing you will learn is what percentage of the people clicking on your paid search campaigns already have your brand's app installed. You might be surprised at what you find.