Deep-Links : One of the Strategies in Growth-Hacking at Housejoy

Customer-acquisition, customer-experience and their retention has become one of the hottest topics in mobile world over the past few years as many startups have already done significant amount of work using deep-linking ,app-indexing, deferred deep-linking and many others.

We use deep-linking as a powerful acquisition and retention channel for our customers and also empowering customer-experience.

The Issue and Why does it happen?

We’ve all come across this issue where you have an app installed and you are logged in. You receive an email and you click on a link. It opens your browser on the mobile website that requires you to log in, hence leaving a bad user experience.

Wouldn’t it be great if the respective installed app opened instead? This is possible with the help of deep-linking.

The issue: example with HouseJoy email opening mobile website and asking for login while app is installed!

In the beginning, mobile apps were meant to consume basic data, but not thought primarily to be accessing web contents. Hence the web standards HTML links/HTTP URL don’t work in the apps universe.

However, the tech mechanism to open an app to a dedicated section or content (called URL Scheme) was there from the very beginning, but it’s never been compatible with web standards (HTTP links).

In this article we will discuss what deep-linking is, how it works and how it helped us to simplify and enhance user experience for our Housejoy Consumer App.

Deep Linking at a glance

Deep linking provides a way to navigate to a specific screen on our application, where links can be any web link or custom-link. This is helpful when we want to promote any new or existing features of our application. We want our users to land directly on the targeted screen after launching app rather than coming on home-page.

In Housejoy, we are use deep-linking to promote a new service and seasonal offers. For example, a mock deep-link to a product page might look like this:

app://deeplink.example.com/product/541

Please note that normal deep-link works only when app is installed in user’s device.

How it works

Deep linking — routing the proper solution

Growth-Hacking and Viral-Loop

As mentioned earlier, deep-linking allows user to click on link and open the app directly. If the app is content based, you can transform this in a powerful organic acquisition and retention channel.

Viral mechanics are based on social networks which rely on 2 behaviors of users: production and consumption. A set of users share content on social media, let’s say they share a product of HouseJoy. The other set of users will then consume these shared contents, resulting in more usage of the app (retention). If these users don’t know about the app, it’s a great way to have it discovered and installed (acquisition), particularly since the in-app-content has been shared by a trusted friend.

Deferred Deep-Linking (Dynamic Links)

Since normal deep-linking works only when app is installed but what if we can provide user with the same experience even when it is not installed. Deferred deep-linking first redirects user to play store and after the app is downloaded and installed, it will redirect user to targeted deep linked page. Deferred deep-linking plays a vital role in improving first time user experience. For example if user finds any service offers on social media and tries to install app by clicking on promotional-link, then post installation we are taking user directly to service page. This helps us to increase app engagement with the first time users.

Examples of mobile deferred deep-linking done the right way

App Indexing

App Indexing helps get the app content indexed for Google Search Engine. If the user is searching for content in a mobile browser, search result will provide links which is relevant to app along with its website’s page-link. Users can then click on link to open the app directly from search results, which helps them to view the app content instead of a webpage.

App Indexing re-engages the users by helping them find right content. Also it offers auto-completions to quickly search what they need. If users don’t have the app installed, the search results shows an install-card for the app.

How to implement Deep linking in your App

Let’s take an example of same above provided link to implement deep linking. You need to have a routing activity which will handle all deep linking URIs and route it to respective screens. First you need to declare activity component in Manifest:

<activity android:name=”com.android.DeeplinkRouterActivity”>

<intent-filter >

<action android:name=”android.intent.action.VIEW” />

<category android:name=”android.intent.category.DEFAULT”/>

<category android:name=”android.intent.category.BROWSABLE” />

<data android:scheme=”app” android:host=”deeplink.example.com” android:pathPrefix=”/product” />

</intent-filter>

</activity>

Now DeeplinkRouterActivity will handle all links which starts from

app://deeplink.example.com/product.

As soon as user clicks on link, DeeplinkRouterActivity will be launched. After this we need to parse data to launch respective screens.

if(getIntent() != null && getIntent().getData()!= null){

Uri deepLinkingUri = Uri.parse(getIntent().getData().toString());

if (deepLinkingUri != null) {

String urlPath = deepLinkingUri.getPath();

if (!TextUtils.isEmpty(urlPath)) {

String id = deepLinkingUri.getLastPathSegment();

// TODO : Launch Product detail screen

}

}

}

How to test Deep link

There are various ways you can test deep link in your app:

  1. Through ADB command

adb shell am start -W -a android.intent.action.VIEW -d “app://deeplink.example.com/product/542”

2. Through a Push notification

3. By sending link through SMS or Email templates (Custom URI can’t be tested by this way. Only Web URLs will work here)

Concluding Note:

At Housejoy, we use combination of Deep Linking, Deferred linking and App Indexing which helped us solve the below problems:

  1. Re-engagement of users by showing exactly what they want.
  2. Simplified user on-boarding process.
  3. Helping marketing team to drive user engagement program through communication channels like analytics, SMS or emails.
  4. Increased app conversion rate

You can download Housejoy App from Play store or App store . We would love to hear your experience/suggestions.

Book a Housejoy Service

Rating: 5.0/5. From 2 votes.
Please wait...
Follow Me:
  1. Thank you so much for sharing this article, I have heard really great things about these house cleaning tips! I can’t wait to try all of them till I find the one that is perfect for me!

    Rating: 2.0/5. From 3 votes.
    Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *