Opening up deep link magic after the install
A version of this post originally appeared as an editorial on VentureBeat.
We recently talked a little bit about using deep links across the board in any user acquisition effort you’re doing - in how you can implement a backup plan, and conditionally execute the right links. This is part of adjust’s powerful tracker URLs, and we have some other stuff we’d like to explain.
Given that we can use a fallback to use the deep link when possible, and send people to the App Store otherwise, we now have a group of people enjoying the deep link magic, and one group that went over the App Store, who will hopefully download the app again. What happens to those guys? If we’re messaging based on this deep link magic, how can we make sure they don’t lose out after downloading the app again?
When we implement the fallback, this is a key part of the puzzle we’re solving before going to the App Store. In this case, we’ll want to defer the deep link by remembering it and executing it even if the user has to reinstall the app first. Once they open up the app again, we want to continue right where we left off, and send them directly where they want to go through the deep link.
To do this, you need a facility to pass data past the app stores, and trigger the deep link from within your app once we’ve recognised that the app’s been re-downloaded.
On Android, you can use an install referrer - this allows you to pass arbitrary data through the Google Play Store and then catch that in the app on the other side. This is an excellent opportunity to send the deep link and execute it with a request on the first open of the app.
This isn’t universally available, though, so on other platforms or app stores, the deep link needs to be remembered somewhere other than the device itself. You may want to place a server in the middle that can connect the initial deep link click to the reinstall, and send the deep link to the app as soon as it’s reinstalled. The easiest way to do this is to match device or user IDs from the click to the install, and have your app transmit these as soon as possible.
As we work on adjust, we’ve constructed some very sophisticated logic for matching users that click to users that install. Given that we at this point also capture information about what deep link you’d like to use, this can be transmitted back into the app upon the install, and the deep link can be triggered again. With adjust tracker URLs, we do this automatically, through our open source SDKs.
Once you’ve done that, you’ve conserved more of the deep link magic for later.