Deferred Deep Linking

Your friend sends you a link; click on it, and bam! It opens up the app. Thanks to Deep linking. However, what if the app is not installed on your device? Lost?! No. Here comes deferred deep linking into the picture.

past tense: deferred; past participle: deferred
Defer (
duh·fur): to leave something until a later time

What makes it so special?

Deferred deep links are just like deep links, except they hold on to the data and wait for you to download the app to your device. These links have a fallback attached to handle multiple use cases like what to do when the app is installed or when the app is not installed. The fallbacks are configured first to detect the Operating system of the device you’re using and redirect you to the App Store in iOS or PlayStore in case of Android while holding all the metadata attached in the link. Once you download the app, it works the same way as if you had the app installed.

But there’s more… these links also provide you with a lot of insights as they have the option to configure the UTM(Urchin Tracking Module) codes.

Deferred Deeplinks Mechanism:

  1. URI Schemes: URI schemes are the traditional deep linking method where we provide a path to a specific page within the app.
  2. Apple Universal Links: Apple created its standard to support deep linking while discontinuing the use of the URI Scheme.
  3. Android App Links: Though Android still supports the URI Schemes, to respond to Apple’s Universal Links, they came up with App Links.

Note: From a functionality standpoint, both Apple’s Universal Links and Android’s App Links work the same way. They will open up your app if installed or can direct a user to the stores or even can take you to a linked fallback website, in case you are using a device which doesn’t have an Application Store.

Few of the basic things you will need, in order to get started with Deferred Deeplinking:

  1. Default Fallback Web URL
  2. App URI Scheme (Android Only)
  3. Package Name (Android Only)
  4. App Store ID (iOS Only)
  5. Bundle Identifiers (iOS Only)

Use Cases:

Let’s look at the two most used areas of deferred deep links.

  1. Referrals: Nowadays, apps have started referral points giveaway for referring your friends. It helps them quickly promote the use of the platforms.
  2. Coupons: You share a unique link provided to you that is linked to your account. When another user clicks on your link to download or signup to the app, in the background, the app detects the referral code/details.
  3. Ad engagements: Most companies run social media campaigns to increase the reach of the app and grow the user base. They create digital flyers, which they use in their advertisements.
  4. Web-to-App Banner: Banner ads are the most popular where the user gets an attractive graphical representation of the features of the app. When a user clicks on the banner, it redirects. Everything else, starting from taking the user to their respective mobile application store until signup, gets handled by the deferred deep links.

Providers:

Irrespective of the numerous pros we talked about, there are certain cons as well. Creating a full-fledged system from the scratch is a big task or it would be like re-inventing the wheel. There are a lot of companies providing not only the deferred deep link capabilities but a lot of other features and configurations. These will enable us to implement, integrate, track and monitor easily. A few of the products I have used so far and found good in terms of features are:

  1. BranchIO
  2. AppsFlyer

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Rajesh Mishra

Rajesh Mishra

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A coder by profession, sharing life experiences with the Words. Learning more about Productivity, Habits, Decision Making and ambitious towards self freedom.