Smartphones are the ultimate instrument of distraction. I’m definitely not the only one who picks up their phone with intent, only to be found brainlessly scrolling a matter of seconds later, with no purpose and no idea what distracted me along the way. This is just part of the great smartphone journey that millions of us take on a daily basis, the direction of which means very little to us as individuals, but is of vast importance to businesses.

All well and good, but for apps who send push notification campaigns with the intention of getting a user to do a certain action, any distraction is simply disastrous. It is therefore vital to reduce, by as much as possible, the chance of a user losing their way from a push notification to whatever the end goal is. Thankfully one small thing can make a big difference: deep links.

I like to think of deep links acting as the helping hand that guide us to exactly the right place where we can do the right thing (and where hopefully we won’t forget to do it once it takes us there). More precisely a deep link can take a user from a push notification or an in-app message to a specific page within an app, and not merely the app homepage. This matters from a user’s point of view - I mean, just think how frustrating it is, as a user, if you click on a push notification expecting to be taken to the relevant part of the app, only to be faced with (gasp!) a homepage.

Deep links should be used, and should be regarded as, one more vital cog in the machine which creates a seamless customer journey.

It matters from a business point of view as well. We’ve written numerous times about why you should be wary of vanity metrics like number of clicks, and instead focus on what you want users to do when they click. This is essentially what deep links do -  ‘joining up’ the journey for the customer, ensuring that they don’t lose the thread and close your app without doing what you want them to do. It’s therefore vital to think clearly about where exactly in your app you send people when they interact with push notifications or in-app messages, as it is simply no longer acceptable to direct them to the homepage if there is a more relevant alternative.

Let’s take a look at some examples across different industries to show you how simple, but effective deep linking can be:

  • Media: A good example for a media company isa push notification letting viewers know that there's a new episode of their favourite TV show available to watch. Adding a deep link to the notification will direct viewers, once they’ve clicked, right to the location where that episode is located, where they can immediately start to watch. At Swrve our OTT capabilities even enable media businesses to do this on the TV itself through in-app messages.
  • Telco: A customer receives a push notification informing them that their pay-as-you-go credit has expired. Clicking on the notification deep links them directly to the top-up page of the app where they can purchase more credit. It’s quick and easy, and allows your customers to continue with the rest of their day with minimal friction.
  • Travel: Sending a push notification to passengers who have yet to check in for an approaching flight, is a useful and welcome service message. It makes perfect sense to deep link them directly to the check-in page - in fact there’s really no excuse not to, and it can alleviate a little bit of the dreaded travel stress.
  • Retail: Letting people know about a particular discount or special offer through a push notification can be a great way to engage potential customers. Deep linking to that offer, or the item in question, is a great way to increase conversions - which let’s face it, is the aim of the game. One of our customers generated twice the revenue from a campaign with deep links, compared to the exact same campaign without.

So there we have it! Sure, these are small things, but they all add up to make a difference to your users and your business. Deep links should be used, and should be regarded as, one more vital cog in the machine which creates a seamless customer journey, every step of which needs to be optimized to give your app the best chance of succeeding.