How works deep linking Android and iOS applications


There have been discussions about internal links in the app world recently. Although they have been present in app environments for a long time, it is important to grasp how they function in apps. If you want to know more, keep reading!

Despite being around for some time in the app world, internal links have been the subject of much discussion in recent months.

Deep linking is a technique for improving user experience and boosting conversions and revenues. You might have heard the term before, and you might have been looking for a quick, non-technical explanation of the basics.

What are deep linking?

A deep link takes you to a specific piece of content within the app (or website). When a user clicks on an ad or a link, they are taken directly to the content they want without having to go through the app’s home screen. This is known as deep linking. Any destination other than the app’s home screen that has specific content, such as product pages or checkout. What is the starting point for deep linking? In other words, where would you place a “deep link”—i.e. the URL—to begin the deep linking journey? Wherever your potential or existing users may be looking—Snap, Instagram, email, text message, chat inboxes, search engines, QR codes on billboards, or pizza boxes, for example—you should be there as well. Mobile users are nearly everywhere, and you should be as well. We like to compare mobile marketers to taxi drivers in order to help you understand deep linking, and I admit that this may seem like an odd comparison at first glance. The job of a taxi driver and a marketer is the same, getting people from point A to point B. While taxi drivers use a vehicle for their work, marketers do so with deep linking technology. Marketing professionals and product managers rely on deep linking to drive app growth, engagement, and retention. Digital destinations can be reached from just about anywhere using deep linking. Deep linking is actually how it works. Now the interesting question arises. How can marketers and product managers ensure that the same link they place within a campaign connects users to the right content, regardless of whether they have the app or not and irrespective of device (mobile or PC), operating system, browser, etc.?”, Deep linking is where the magic happens. Marketers can dictate the user experience by using a deep linking engine. An app’s user experience can be divided into different paths for iOS, Android, and deskop users, as well as destination choices. A deep linking engine allows marketers and product managers to provide two different types of journeys—one for app users and one for non-app users—at a very basic level: Deep linking engines are able to create customized journeys for different users on the fly, resulting in contextual and personalized customer experiences. These delightful journeys will result in a significant business impact, boosting retention, raising conversions, and improving LTV. Let me give you a more visually appealing example of deep linking on a website:

Are deep links supported in Android and iOS apps?

You’ll see the item from your browser, in the mobile version of the web, when you share this URL with someone -a family member, friend, acquaintance, etc. This occurs even if the user has downloaded the app to his device. When creating deep links from a website, they are not compatible with native mobile apps. The user must open his app and look for the product in it, a waterproof sports camera in this instance. It can be difficult to find items on Amazon’s massive site.

A deep link is a linteligent ink that takes you to a specific content within the app if you have installed or website.

How should we react to it?

Instead of going to the app’s homepage, deep links point directly to the app’s content. With this approach, if we want to share a product with the app, the link will open the product content, not the app’s homepage.


1. Basic Deep link

Deep links can be classified into three categories. A basic deep link is a link that points directly to a specific page on a website. When the recipient doesn’t have the app, a message appears to allow the link to be opened in it. Otherwise, the user won’t be able to access the content. You’ll need to download the app from Google Play or the App Store and reopen the link to access the content. Deep links are the most common because they take the longest time between apps.

2. Deferred Deep Links

A deep link is a hyperlink that takes the user directly to a specific page within a website or web application. A deferred deep link is a deep link that is not active until a specified event occurs. It links to the content in any way. If you already have the app, it will display the content from the link within the native app. For example, we saw at the beginning, the sports camera will be seen from the native app. If a user doesn’t have the app installed, the link will lead them to the app’s installation page in the app store. You can immediately access the shared content once the app is installed.

3. Contextual Deep Links

Creating deep links to specific themes within your content can help direct users to the content that is most relevant to them. A deferred deep link has the same functionalities as this type of link, but also other benefits. This link stores information about where the user wants to go, where he clicked, who shared the link, etc. Very relevant information is added to mobile app developers and users through contextual deep links. This information will allow developers to include custom content such as welcome or referral pages. Certainly, it will improve the user experience.

Mobile App Deep linking give users what they want, when they want it

Android and Apple supports deep linking.

Google App Links is Android’s version of iOS universal links.

In iOS, you can use deep links to link to specific content.

With the release of iOS 9.0, Apple introduced universal links. This solution sought to address the problem of deep link functionality in apps by utilising URI schemes.

When you open an iOS link, look for the app if you have it installed. If it’s not installed, the content will open through Safari. A universal link is a standard web link that links to both the web and the content of a web app.

Additionally, according to a Branch.io study, universal links can boost conversion by as much as 40%.

In fact, they operate in much the same way: They are regular web links that connect to a website and content within the app. It leads to a better user experience, but uptake has been sluggish because not all Android versions support it.

Facebook offers Deep Linking functionality.

In 2014, Facebook developed the App Links standard to address the issues with deep link URI schemes. There are two components to app links:

It is time to wrap up.
In spite of the fact that deep linking operates similarly on all platforms, each flavour has a technical foundation. However, mobile applications must implement deep linking as part of app design in terms of user experience and usability. However, in order to do this, you must have a developer who understands how deep linking works, since it frequently includes web and mobile optimisation.

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Deep linking for re-engagement and retention is important.

Abandonment rates (email marketing/e-commerce) are rising.

Users can easily decide not to complete their purchase after browsing, shopping, and filling their cart, after browsing, shopping, and filling their cart.

A proactive approach to re-engaging customers who leave their shopping cart full of items is to send them emails.

About 45% of cart abandonment emails are opened, and 21% are clicked. Even more important, contextually relevant emails may recover as much as 1% of potential lost revenue. (Sitecore)

A fashion retailer has set up an automated process that sends emails to customers who leave items in their shopping carts.

The user is taken to the checkout page using a deep linking solution, where the items that were left in the cart are already conveniently populated.

Users (friend referrals/game play) are how new users are acquired.

Whether it’s printed or digital, word-of-mouth remains a powerful method for creating product and brand awareness.

Consumers are four times more likely to purchase when referred by a friend, so it is no surprise that many firms encourage existing customers to invite their friends to join in the fun.

Word-of-mouth has two purposes in the fiercely competitive gaming sector: existing users become more loyal and keep playing, and new app users are referred and join as a result.

A head-to-head game was incentivized for users of a gaming app using a very simple and quick process in this use case.

The friend is magically brought to the app’s waiting area after downloading the game from the App Store and launching the app, by clicking on a WhatsApp link sent by the gamer. Let the games begin.

Average order value on social media and retail (Combined)

AOV is a measure of the average order amount over a specific period of time. This KPIs provides an opportunity for low-hanging fruit. If a shopper is about to make a purchase, why not provide them with suggestions for other products they might want?

Between now and 2024, the percentage of eCommerce revenue on mobile is expected to increase from 64% to 67%, indicating that mobile apps are the best way to increase AOV.

A fashion brand uses Instagram to advertise an “outfit of the day” story, which includes different products (see example below). When shoppers swipe up, they are redirected to an AppsFlyer social landing page (to prevent Instagram from breaking the link).

When shoppers tap on the “check it out now” CTA button, they are taken to a pre-populated check-out page in the app, including all the items that were featured in the story.

SMS banking: Process abandonment (Traditional banking /SMS)

75% of finance sector forms are dropped because customers find them too difficult to complete. Digital journeys are particularly susceptible to dropoff rates when it comes to insurance.

What if finserv companies could assist their customers by allowing them to take advantage of CX-superior apps?

Companies that are ahead of the curve are already doing this.

Using one or more of their owned media channels in combination with deep linking to remind customers of the form they left behind and bring them directly to the drop-off point, they can easily complete their desired action with minimal hassle involved.

A form-abandoning customer can be engaged using a deep linking product that dynamically creates a unique and personalized URL for each of them in the example provided.

An SMS messaging platform receives the link and schedules a reminder SMS containing a CTA to finish filling out the form. When the link is clicked, the app opens in the correct location so that clients can continue where they left off.

Build apps that continuously and intimately connect with customers—and you will accomplish two key objectives at once. You can rescue form submissions from customers who are highly engaged while simultaneously satisfying customers by helping them achieve their original goals.

Implementing deep linking is crucial.

It’s relatively simple to create deep links with SAAS products from deep linking providers. A handful of them provide SAAS products for creating deep links for mobile marketing campaigns.

Marketers and product managers use deep linking solutions to define the journeys they want their end-users to take once they click on the deep links they create:

It’s also possible for marketers and product managers to gain a better understanding of campaign performance by measuring installs, revenues, paying user share, and LTV, or by capturing the sources of users who have clicked on deep links.

Are developers involved in deep linking implementations? In most cases, developers are involved, since the app must open on the deep-linked page. A good deep linking solution provides adequate hand-offs between developers and marketers/product managers.

It is my final contention about implementing deep linking. You should choose a provider that offers much more than just that. Using another mobile marketing technology stack is usually less desirable than employing a sophisticated mobile marketing platform that includes deep linking capabilities as a core feature.

How to create a deep link

Let’s start at the beginning: how to generate a deep link. The normal process can be fraught with difficulties and unnecessary information exchanges between developers and marketers, since links must be implemented within the application in order to direct users to the desired destinations. Also, creating deep links manually can take a lot of time. It can also increase the likelihood of human error. Like any URL, deep links don’t work if they contain misspellings, and even the best engineers can make these kinds of mistakes from time to time. Using a solution to create deep links automatically allows you to save time and resources, which can be used to optimize your campaigns and your strategy. Ultimately, it’s best to have an easy-to-use tool that allows you to automate the link generation process to increase reliability and minimize human error. Learn more about Adjust’s deep link generator, a tool that provides marketers with a fully formed deep link URL, which works for both App Links (Android) and Universal Links (iOS). and greatly reduces the effort required to implement deep links on your own. Both scheme-based deep links (for Android and iOS) and universal links for iOS 9 and later are fully documented, and the basic ideas are quite similar: it’s about associating a URL (for scheme-based links, youapp://; for universal links, https://yourdomain.com/) with your app. When the user clicks on the URL, the system opens the application, if it is installed. However, not everything is perfect in the world. You’re probably wondering what happens if someone clicks on a deep link URL without having your app installed. Unfortunately, in these cases nothing happens, or the user receives an error message. While there is no direct method to check from the web if an app is present on a device or not, there are some options to “query” your app when it is present or send customers to the app store, to your website or to any other location when it is not. As we already mentioned, both schema-based mobile app deep links for Android and iOS, as well as universal links for iOS 9 and later, are fully documented. Let’s see some examples of how it works.

Implementation of deep links for Android

As an example of using deep links for Android, suppose your deep link URL is yourapp://path/ and your app’s package ID is com.yourapp.example.

Solución de JavaScript

An old and common technique to solve this problem is to use iframe to load the deep link URL, and have a delayed JavaScript code to redirect to the store:

When you do this, the browser tries to load yourapp://path/ first.

If your app is installed, it opens, and the following JavaScript does not run.
If your app is not installed, nothing happens when you load yourapp://path/. After 2 seconds, the JavaScript code redirects the user to the Play Store, where they can install the app.
However, there is a small problem with this code: after the app is opened and the user returns to their browser, the JavaScript code may redirect them back to the Play Store. Therefore, we can optimize the process by reviewing the time the user returns to their browser to determine if they need to be redirected to the store or not:

Solución de intent

Since the release of Chrome for Android version 25 or later, the above code has stopped working, as mentioned in the Chrome documentation. Fortunately, Google offers a better solution using the intent URL. When a user clicks the URL intent://path/#Intent;scheme=yourapp;package=com.yourapp.example;end, the following happens:

  • if the app is installed, Chrome opens the app.
  • if the app isn’t installed, Chrome opens the Play Store.

¿Cuál solución de deep links debo utilizar en King of App?

JavaScript solution
Similar to Android, there is also a JavaScript trick for iOS:

html <script>

window.location.replace(“yourapp://path/”); setTimeout(function () {

window.location.replace(“https://itunes.apple.com/app/id12345678”); }, 2000);


  • if the app is installed, the first relocation code opens the app and the next script is not executed.
  • if the app is not installed, the first relocation code does nothing and the idle timeout feature redirects the user to the App Store.


Solución de links universales

Starting with iOS 9, Apple introduced the universal link, which works similarly to Android’s intent, but requires more configuration. And, starting with iOS 9.2, the JavaScript fix stopped working because Apple introduced a modeless prompt window.

In order to enable universal links, you must have an SSL-certified domain (for example, https://yourdomain.com/) associated with your app and display a special JSON file at https://yourdomain.com/apple-app- site-association similar to the following:

This file tells your device which route works as the deep link for each app.

Then you need to add applinks:yourdomain.com to your com.apple.developer.associated-domains mapping inside XCode:

You can associate a domain with several applications or vice versa.

You must then adopt the UIApplicationDelegate methods for delivery (specifically, application:continueUserActivity:restorationHandler:) so that your application can receive a link and handle it appropriately.

Suppose you associate https://yourdomain.com/dress/ with your application by setting “paths”:[ “/dress/”] in the JSON file. When the user clicks the link https://yourdomain.com/dress/1 in Safari, the following happens:

  • if the app is installed, the app is opened, and https://yourdomain.com/dress/1 is sent to the UIApplicationDelegate. There you can use it to decide which view you want to open.
  • if the app is not installed, https://yourdomain.com/dress/1 opens with Safari, and you can continue to display the product on your website or redirect the user to the App Store.

Universal Links seems to be a perfect solution for iOS. Unfortunately, however, they also have their limitations.

  • Universal links only work with Safari and Chrome.
  • When another website redirects with a universal link, it only works if the click takes place within Safari or Chrome. For example, if in your email application there is a link https://anotherDomain.com/ that redirects to the universal link https://yourDomain.com/dress/1, this does not work as a deep link to your application. However, if the user clicks the link https://anotherDomain.com from Safari, this does work.
  • Universal links do not work if you paste the link directly into the address bar.
  • Universal links do not work if the redirect is triggered by a JavaScript code.
  • Universal links do not work when you open the link programmatically within your application (eg with openUrl).

First, in the builder, you have to go to services, and click in the marketplace. Select the deep linking service and add it.

download (1)

Once added you will see these options.

You will find the most common deeplinks already preconfigured in the service: WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Instagram, Linkedin and Snapchat.
Just open clicking to activate the option.

Otherwise you will have to configure the custom service by adding the custom deep link.

download (3)

How to configure a custom a deep link

There is no magic formula from this point, for this reason during the article we have been explaining step by step how this type of link works.

It is best to look for the documentation of each app / platform how to build the link. example: https://faq.whatsapp.com/425247423114725/?cms_platform=iphone

There will be cases where the deep link of ios and android are different, therefore we advise you to use an intelligent url shortener, such as the one you can find on our website in the resources section or also within our wordpress mobile suite, you have a intelligent one link creator.



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