Deep Linking: What is It and How to Create Deep Links?

Alex Danchenko

Any marketing specialist would agree that capturing users' attention and providing them with a smooth experience is of paramount importance. That's exactly what deep linking does — it guides your audience straight to the good stuff, eliminating unnecessary steps and ensuring they find what they're looking for in a snap. In this article, we'll reveal a deep linking definition and show you how to create these links to make your app marketing efforts soar.

What is Deep Linking?

What is a deep link? Deep linking is a clever technique that allows you to send people directly to specific content within a mobile app, bypassing the generic homepage. Imagine you want to share a particular product on your favorite shopping app with a friend. Instead of simply telling them about the app and hoping they navigate to the right place, you can use a deep link to “teleport” them directly to the exact product page. Deep linking works by embedding a special code in a URL, which triggers the app to open and takes the user to the specific content you want them to see. It's a nifty way to enhance user experience, increase customer engagement, and boost retention rate. 

Deep Links & Universal Links: What’s the Difference?

So different but widely mixed up: let’s talk about distinctions between deep and universal links.

What is a Deep Link

As we've mentioned, deep links are URLs embedded with unique codes that take users directly to specific content within a mobile app. They eliminate the hassle of navigating through the app's homepage, providing a shortcut to the desired destination.

What is a Universal Link

Universal links are a subtype of deep linking available to iOS devices, presenting a more advanced solution to connecting apps and websites. Android has a similar protocol called "App Link." When users click on a universal link, their device checks if the corresponding app is installed. If so, the content opens on the app. If not, the link smoothly redirects them to the web version.

In simpler terms, a deep link is a direct path to app content, while universal links bridge the gap between apps and websites, providing a personalized customer experience

Benefits of Deep Linking

Simpler Cross-Platform Navigation

Deep linking seamlessly directs users from websites, social media, or emails into your app, eliminating search and increasing convenience. It streamlines the user journey, ensuring they land directly on relevant content without any detours.

Enhanced App Engagement

Deep linking captivates users by guiding them to specific products, features, or promotions within your app. This retargeting approach piques their curiosity and keeps them immersed, fostering a stronger connection with your brand.

Improved Conversion Rates

By removing unnecessary steps, deep linking streamlines the user experience and increases the chances of higher app conversions. Users are guided straight to the desired action, be it a purchase, sign-up, or other key objectives, maximizing the potential for successful outcomes.

What is Deferred Deep Linking?

Deferred deep linking is an ingenious technique that bridges the gap between app installations and app engagement. When users encounter a deep link and proceed to install the app, deferred deep linking ensures that they are immediately directed to the intended content instead of the app's generic homepage. It preserves the context of the initial deep link, resulting in a frictionless user experience and heightened engagement. It's a masterstroke of marketing finesse that not only entices users to install your app but ensures they embark on their journey precisely where they left off.

How to Create Deep Links: A Step-by-Step Guide

Define the Deep Link Destination

First, identify your app's specific content or feature that you want to direct users to. It could be app landing pages, registration forms, or special promotions. Clarify the destination, ensuring it aligns with your app marketing objectives.

Generate the Deep Link URL

Now, it's time to generate the magical key that unlocks the deep link. Use a deep linking platform or library to create a unique URL that contains the necessary parameters and codes. Customize it to reflect the target content and add any additional tracking or analytics parameters.

Implement the Deep Link in Codebase

It's time to sprinkle the enchantment of deep linking into your app's codebase. Create a deep link URL within your app, ensuring it's correctly associated with the relevant screens or functionalities. This may involve modifying the app's routing logic or using deep-linking SDKs provided by your app development framework.

Test the Deep Link Functionality

No adventure is complete without a thorough test drive. Verify that your deep links are functioning correctly by testing them across different devices and platforms. Check if the deep links navigate users to the intended destinations within your app. Pay attention to any fallback mechanisms in case the app is not installed or the deep link fails.

How to Improve Your App Marketing Strategy with Deep Linking?

Personalized User Onboarding Experience

First impressions matter, and deep linking enables a tailor-made onboarding experience that captivates users from the start. Deep links can transport new users directly to relevant in-app content, guiding them through essential features and showcasing your app's unique value. Delivering a personalized onboarding experience establishes a solid foundation for long-term engagement.

Seamless App-to-Web Integration

Deep linking ensures seamless integration between your app and website, bridging the gap between mobile and web experiences. This integration provides a consistent brand presence across platforms, allowing users to transition effortlessly between the app and the web. The result is a frictionless journey that keeps users engaged, connected, and eager to explore further.

Contextual User Re-Engagement

Keeping users engaged with your app is crucial for sustained success, and deep linking offers a powerful solution for contextual re-engagement. With deep links, you can reduce customer churn and bring users back to specific app content, such as abandoned shopping carts, unfinished tasks, or personalized recommendations. As a result, relative content drives conversions and takes customer satisfaction up. 

Enhanced User Acquisition Campaigns

Acquiring new users is a top priority for app marketers, and deep-linking campaigns can do the job here. Leverage deep links in marketing channels like social media, email drip campaigns, and digital advertisements to direct users to specific app content, pre-fill forms, or provide exclusive offers. This targeted approach enhances mobile KPIs, attracts high-quality users, and optimizes the return on your acquisition efforts.

Brand Cases of Successful Deep Linking

The TikTok Engagement Effect

TikTok has taken the world by storm, captivating millions of users with its short-form videos and innovative deep-linking features. From its addictive algorithm-driven content discovery to its interactive challenges and duets, TikTok has created a vibrant and engaging platform that keeps users hooked for hours. TikTok's clever use of mobile deep linking has transformed it into a social media powerhouse, fueling users’ imagination through personalized recommendations, gamification, and easy social sharing.

Uber's Onboarding Success

Uber revolutionized the transportation industry with its on-demand ride-hailing service, and its onboarding success played a pivotal role in this rapid growth. Uber masterfully crafted an onboarding experience that seamlessly guided users from registration to their first ride. With the help of app deep linking, Uber transformed the tedious process of finding a ride into a one-click action on the phone.

Netflix's Personalization

When it comes to personalization, Netflix reigns supreme. This brand case delves into Netflix's unrivaled ability to provide tailored recommendations, catering to each user's unique preferences and tastes. Leveraging deep linking, Netflix curates a personalized streaming experience that keeps viewers engaged and coming back for more. With its deep linking, seamless cross-device integration, and the cultural phenomenon of binge-watching, Netflix has created a captivating and addictive streaming platform.

Amazon's Path to High Conversions

Amazon is a great deep linking example to observe, delivering detailed product recommendations based on user behavior and purchase history. Deep linking there simplifies the path to purchase with one-click ordering, frictionless checkout processes, and a vast product catalog. Amazon's strategic use of deep linking has propelled it to become the unrivaled leader in mobile commerce.


We’ve got you across the question, “What are deep links?” and hope this article was useful for you. Deep linking is a game-changer for app marketers. It creates personalized journeys that captivate users and drive high app conversions, which helps marketers deliver seamless onboarding, tailored recommendations, and cohesive user experiences that leave a lasting impact. Implement this game-changing technique today into your marketing strategy, and enjoy your KPIs growth.

To accompany the client at every lifecycle stage with proper messages based on their actions, you can't do without a CDP. The main benefits of Reteno, one of the popular platforms, are briefly described in the Braze vs Reteno comparison.

Alex Danchenko


May 1, 2023

Alex Danchenko


March 14, 2023

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