Android App Links are http URLs that send users to a specific in-app location or relevant webpage. App Links improve the user experience by eliminating the time users otherwise waste on navigating to specific content. They also make it easier for users to share content.
Developers can use Android App Links to ensure the user is taken directly to their desired in-app location. In cases where the app is not installed, users can go directly to content on your website by leveraging HTTP URLs and an associated domain.
Before creating Android App Links for your app, it’s important to define how they differ from deep links. Deep links are URLs that send users to in-app content. With Adjust, deep links can also defer to the app store if the app is not yet installed, then send the user to the right location after install. They can be set up on Android using intent filters and extracting data from incoming intents – driving users to the correct in-app location. To learn more, take a look at our deep linking ebook and our official documentation.
A significant difference between deep links and Android App Links is that with the former, the user may be redirected to the app (when app is installed) or to the Play Store (when app is not installed). This differs from Android App Links: on Android 6.0 (API level 23) and higher, apps can be designated as the default handler of Android App Links. If this isn’t preferable for the user, they can change the default handler in their device’s system settings.
Android App Links can drive traffic to your app and highlight your most popular in-app content. Just like deep linking, one advantage of using Android App Links is the improved user experience. By utilizing a single HTTP URL for content in-app and on your website, developers can save users the time and energy it would otherwise take to find specific content. Regardless of whether they have the app installed or not, the user has easy access to your product.
In terms of security, Android App Links use HTTP URLs that link to a developer’s website domain, meaning only that developer can make use of those links. They also require developers to verify their ownership of a domain.
Developers might also want to make their app available as an Instant App, where users can run Android apps without having them installed. To learn more about this, take a look at our definition of Instant Apps.