Boost App Engagement by 50% with Deep Linking: The Marketer‘s Guide

Is your app struggling to retain users? You‘re not alone. The average 30-day retention rate for mobile apps is a meager 20%. With over 5 million apps vying for attention, standing out takes advanced tactics. That‘s where deep linking comes in.

This comprehensive guide will teach you how to leverage deep linking to boost app stickiness by 50-100%. You‘ll learn:

  • What deep linking is
  • Types of deep links for every use case
  • Real examples that have driven up to 800% higher conversions
  • Step-by-step implementation best practices
  • Creative ways to integrate deep links across channels

So if you want more downloads, lower churn, higher retention, and bigger spends from your existing app users, then deep linking is vital. Let‘s dive in!

Why Deep Linking Matters in 2023‘s Mobile Landscape

First, let‘s level-set on why deep linking can completely change the game for your app…

Consumer time spent in apps continues to soar year after year. 2023 will be no different, with apps dominating entertainment, shopping, finances, and communication.

But for app publishers, simply getting installs is not enough. The real challenge is driving loyalty amongst newly acquired users.

Consider these trends:

  • 26% of all downloaded apps are only opened once
  • Probability of an engaged user recommending your app is 65 times higher
  • News/entertainment apps hold onto under 30% of new installs after 90 days
  • Average in-app purchase revenue per engaged user is $15+

Based on the data, if your app lacks engagement drivers, you leave massive revenue on the table from what should be your highest value users.

This is where deep linking offers a game-changing advantage.

Instead of traditional ads focused on new downloads, deep links drive real, measurable value from existing user bases.

Curious what kind of results you can expect? Here‘s what leading apps have achieved with deep linking and re-engagement campaigns:

  • 100%+ lift in open rate from emails
  • 2X more daily/monthly active users
  • 5X higher retention at 30 days
  • 800% more in-app subscriptions

Still not convinced that deep linking deserves your attention? Keep reading!

What Exactly is Deep Linking?

Deep links allow you to guide users to specific content and flows within your app experience via a direct URL link.

Rather than generic home page links, deep links enable you to create pointers to niche pages deeper in your app ecosystem.

For example:

Standard Home Page Link:

Deep Link Example:

So instead of a generic landing page, users instantly access what you want them to see.

The benefits of this targeted approach include:

  • Higher engagement with desired app content
  • Faster conversions through tailored user journeys
  • Greater context for usage across channels
  • Premium experiences for high-affinity users

Now let‘s explore some popular deep linking use cases…

Categories of Deep Links with Examples

Broadly, there are two major categories of deep links:

1. New User Acquisition

These deep links aim to convert app downloads into long-term engagement and loyalty.

Use cases:

  • Deferred Account Creation Links

    • Encourage sign-up post install
  • Segment / Cohort Access Links

    • Give sneak peeks at premium experiences
  • Onboarding / Tutorial Links

    • Get new users active fast

2. Existing User Retention

The key goal here is earning more value from your current customer base.

Common examples:

  • Limited Time Offers

    • Drive conversions withsales / exclusives
  • Winback Offers

    • Bring back churned users
  • Cart Abandonment Reminders

    • Complete more purchases
  • App Updates / New Feature Previews

    • Show off new innovations
  • Exclusive Content Links

    • Reward super fans

Now let‘s look at some highly effective real-world deep linking campaigns…

Case Studies: Deep Links Driving Up to 800% Higher Conversions

Here are two examples of apps leveraging deep links to move core metrics:

1. Global Video Streaming Platform

Campaign: Special offer email series to lapsed subscribers.

Deep Linking Tactic: Each email included a direct link to opt-in for a 50% off discount for returning users only.


  • 100%+ increase in email open rates
  • 800% rise in conversions vs. baseline
  • 90% subscriber winback rate

Takeaway: Deep links make it effortless for users to pick up where they left off.

2. Premium Fashion Retailer

Campaign: SMS abandoned cart recovery stream.

Deep Linking Strategy: Automated SMS cart links if no purchase within 12 hours of item being added.


  • 57% contacted users returned and completed purchases
  • Average order value increased by 75%+ vs. site average
  • 14-day retention 2X higher for recovered shoppers

Takeaway: Deep links create seamless user experiences between apps and messaging.

As you can see, strategically placed deep links radically changed conversion and retention trajectories through targeted re-engagement.

Now let‘s walk through how to implement deep linking…

Deep Linking Implementation Guide and Best Practices

Want to hit the ground running with deep linking? Here is a step-by-step blueprint:

Choose Deep Link Platform

Start by selecting a dedicated deep linking platform. The top options include:

These solutions provide everything you need including SDKs and dashboards to manage links.

Instrument SDKs

Install the platforms mobile SDK per documentation. This enables robust in-app routing and tracking.

Set Up Link Routing

Configure universal links and URI schemes. Map routes from links to in-app locations and assets.

Generate Links

Use the dashboard to instantly create and customize mobile deep links.

Share Links Across Channels

Plug deep links everywhere – emails, social posts, SMS, ads, websites, QR codes, etc.

Analyze Performance

Review analytics to see popular links, conversions, click-through-rates, and more. Refine based on data.

Re-Engage Users

Build lifecycle campaigns to re-engage users through deep links at key moments – like post-install, pre-churn, post-purchase, feature releases, etc.

Pro Tip: Don‘t keep your LINK strategy a secret! Promote the exclusivity of offer access via referring deep links on social media or even TV/radio spots.

Advanced Tactics to Boost Link Conversion Rates

Want to level up results? Layer these best practices:

  • Personalize link previews to show the user‘s data in snapshot like account dashboard, cart contents, etc.

  • Frame urgency with expiration dates for access or limited quantity offers.

  • Highlight social proof if others are participating and benefiting.

  • Follow up multiple times across channels if initial deep links go unopened.

  • Make the first tap gratifying by revealing exclusive content, promotions, etc.

Using creative strategies, you can drive open rates from 20-90%+ consistently.

Maximizing Accessibility

Now a quick but important note – any marketing tactic should consider inclusiveness upfront.

With deep links, take a mobile-first approach and design simple, intuitive flows around key tasks.

Additionally, optimize links across modalities like audio deep links for visually impaired users. Testing assists mode interactions ensures accessibility by the widest audience regardless of abilities.

The Future of Deep Linking

While apps currently dominate deep linking use cases, two emerging areas will unlock more possibilities:

1. VR Deep Linking

As virtual worlds like Metaverse gain traction, expect specialized VR links to teleport users to precise spots for social gatherings, concerts, and more.

2. Connected Device Deep Linking

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows deep links to bridge smart home gadgets, appliances, robots and entertainment systems into contextual app experiences.

Over the next 5-10 years, deep links will evolve to be the glue connecting our myriad connected devices and activities.

Start Deep Linking for Higher Conversions

There you have it – a comprehensive deep dive into deep links.

To quickly recap:

💡 Deep links guide users to precise in-app destinations

📈 Increase engagement, retention, and revenue

🔗 Work across all digital channels

📲 Streamline experiences across devices

👥 Re-engage existing users with tailored offers

📊 Optimizable with built-in analytics

💰 Deliver up to 800% higher conversions

Ready to get started? Deploy your first campaign using the step-by-step framework above. Even a basic implementation can spark dramatic app stickiness gains.

Then expand your deep linking playbook more conversions across every stage of the user journey – from acquisition to churn prevention.

So what types of mobile experiences will you direct users to with your app‘s deep links?