Mobile browser search has taken over the world from the last few years as compared to a desktop browser search as users prefer to look for information on their smartphones anytime and anywhere. Android apps can take advantage of this massive user base, with the help of deep linking of content page into mobile apps as it creates opportunities to reach out to new users or existing users from Google search if they are looking for specific content which is available in your mobile app.
According to recent mobile customer engagement statistics, in-app engagement is slated to become much more sophisticated in 2016 simply because: it’s cheaper, the app brand possesses more control over the message, and they have the ability to provide users a customized user experience who have already invested in their brand.
So, what are the ways to make your Android app searchable by Google?
There are different ways available in Android OS core APIs to make apps searchable by Google.
1. Enabling deep links for app content – This allows Google to crawl into your app content and makes your app available in Google search results. In order to embed deep linking into Android app, modify your Android app manifest file to listen to incoming data from your website URI through Google search and respond to it appropriately to take user to content page within your app. This process involves the following steps:
Add <ACTION_VIEW> intent in Manifest. Specify one or more <data> tags for URI scheme. One tag should include android: scheme attribute. You can specify multiple activities for same URI scheme and have different path prefixes mentioned for each activity which decides activity to open for different URI paths. Along with this, make activity Browsable specified intent filter can be opened from web browser and this is mandatory step for deep linking. Once all these intent filters are mentioned in app manifest, Android routes any Intent that matches specified URI.
Best practices for implementing deep linking – If you are embedding deep linking, the app should directly take user to respective content page without asking to perform any other action inside the app. This will help to have better user experience.
2. App indexing using Google indexing – Indexing your app through Google Play Store allows Google crawler to show your app content link in Google search. Simply add intent filters for URIs in the app manifest file, write the logic for handling intents for incoming data and associate your app to your website either using Google search console or Google play store. Once this association is done, Google starts indexing URLs to your app. It basically matches web URLs to intent patterns mentioned in your Android app manifest.
What types of app can use above techniques and examples?
This type of user engagement is better suited for content based app. You can simply embed deep linking into your app for particular content and then it become searchable by Google. If user opens search result of your app, it would take user to particular content within your app.
You can annotate your web pages alongside mobile app content. Consider the example of food recipe app which provides different recipes to the user. If user searches for some recipe from mobile and if your app has embedded deep linking, app link will appear in search results and one click can simply bring your user into your app.
Consider your app provides details of restaurants or any other local business. If a user searches for any restaurant or other local business and your app have embedded deep linking, it would appear in search results.
For entertainment apps that include shopping, recreation, travel and hotel reservations, deep linking is highly beneficial as it would send users to a specific product, offer or a promo page – which would have a great impact over conversion rates and ultimately higher sales. With Android app deep linking, the greatest benefit for mobile app marketers and app developers is to direct their users to the specific location within their apps simply through a dedicated link. Here are the other benefits:
Did you know that users who download your app are your most loyal customers? The very fact that they’ve downloaded the app on their devices means business! Thus, through deep linking when you guide your customers directly into your app, they would be further motivated to complete a specific task or make a purchase thus adding to your revenues!
Integrated Marketing Campaigns:
When you incorporate deep linking into your application, the main ways to drive customers to complete a specified action or make a purchase is by email campaigns to existing users. Also, through social media campaigns and share buttons on Facebook, deep links can immediately send users to dedicated content thus having a major impact on the profitability of mobile app revenues and ROI.
Improved User Experience:
Deep links have a great impact on user efficiency and reduces the chances of them getting distracted as it directly takes them to the app screen. Whether your user wishes to purchase a product, watch a video, listen to a track, read the latest news – deep links minimizes the time it would take for them to manually perform the tasks themselves which provides them a much better user experience.
Mobile app marketers and developers can place links throughout the content which would initiate users to click on products they would like to buy. If it’s an existing user, it’s a great way to re-engage with your customer and remind them to make the purchase again.
Deep links provides you with a better grip on analytics, as you can monitor the real-time app usage habits of your users, bounce rates, engagement and more thus revealing a more accurate conversion rate. Using in-app analytics, you can concentrate on the areas of your app which need to be improvised.
So does Deep linking only benefit users that already have their Android app installed?
Not at all! Deep linking benefits both pre-installed and novice users as well. If the user does not have the specific app installed on their device, he/she is directed to the Google Play Store and after opening the installed app, is taken to the deep linked screen or page which simply eliminates any further search for the requested content.
Whether it is to increase sales, or as a re-engagement and brand recall tool to draw users back to the app again, it possess a great potential to drive conversions and maximize ROI.
Pallavi Daga is Android Technical Lead at Mobisoft Infotech with 6+ years of experience in mobility development. She has hands on experience in providing mobility solutions to customers and proficient in business analysis. Her keen interest is research and development in various areas of emerging technologies including Internet of things and artificial intelligence.