Apps have been around for some time now and what we're seeing is that the App Stores are being flooded with billions of apps, which are all trying to compete for that front row seat. Statistics indicate that the top 10 apps in the Google Play Store all belong to big public companies. This makes it really difficult (maybe even impossible) for independent companies to rise to the top with their app. This begs the question if it really is a wise thing for a company, small or large, to invest time and money in the creation / maintenance of a mobile app. Deep linking might just be THE answer to this problem...
The lines are blurring
During a session at SXSW 2016, "Mobile Deep Linking: Let's Talk About Apps, Baby", Danny Bernstein (Dir. of Product Partnerships at Google) spoke about how websites and mobile apps are gradually shifting towards each other and how the lines between them are starting to blur. App Streaming is one of Google's new experiments that shows this change quite well. It allows a user to stream an app directly inside the browser from Google Search without the need for installing it. This allows for a very seamless user experience.
Another Google product that makes great use of deep linking is Google Smart Lock. This product creates a secure way to share and use your passwords across platforms. Not only that but it provides the user with the benefit of only having to login once. Afterwards, the user can use the same app on another connected device or medium while still using the same logged-in session.
Not only Google is participating in the use of deep linking. An app called Vurb also does something very useful with the technology. Vurb is a mobile app that grants users the tools they need in order to easily complete different scenario's, without having to leave the app. For instance, when a user wants to make a reservation for a restaurant, the app makes use of deep linking into other popular apps. This way it can utilise their services to make the experience of searching for a restaurant and booking a table a "single app" experience.
What problems does deep linking solve?
- In the broader scope - it makes the sharing of information between apps much more transparent.
- For the user - it's a seamless user experience of opening apps based on the user flow context.
- For companies - it's a way to funnel their user base towards using their apps to create more loyalty, and in the long run, better monetising users. It also allows for better tracking of the user's movement between apps and their actions within those apps. This can give great insights in UX and the efficiency of the user flow.
Will it bring balance to the force?
So the question remains, will deep linking bring a positive change to the ecosystem of the App Stores? From what it looks like now, it will bring more diversity to apps with the ability to better cater content to the users needs. This will therefore make content much more important than it currently is and might trigger a significant change in the way App Stores index and rank the content of apps, allowing everyone to have a better shot at planting their flag on top of the mountain.
If you're interested in what deep linking can do for you, than feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to answer any questions that you might have and come up with a plan to improve the quality of your app or your position in the App Store.