Mobile deep linking

When you click on a link from one domain to another on the web, you expect the link to take you to the specific page within the domain that you just requested. For example, if you’re browsing a social network and you click on a specific news article, you’re taken directly to that article’s page rather than the homepage of the website.

Unfortunately this seamless experience that exists for web browsing is currently very rare for mobile apps. When you click on a link to a mobile app from your web browser, another mobile app, a text message, or another source, the link takes you to the download page of the app if you don’t already have it installed on your smartphone, or to the app’s homepage if you do. The specific page that you should be taken to within the app is lost in translation.

Wouldn’t it be better if the app could recognize what source you were coming from and take you to the right page within the app? If you were browsing a website and decided to continue your experience in an app, this would mean keeping track of where you left off on the website and starting your app experience on the same page. If you were referred to an app by a friend, this would mean personalizing your app experience by, for example, assigning you credit based on the source of your referral.

This is a practice called mobile deep linking and Branch Metrics, where we invested in their latest $15M round led by NEA, is doing exactly this. The company which launched in September 2014 already has over 500 developers at companies like Microsoft, Instacart, and HotelTonight using its service. Together these developers have created over 20M mobile deep links.

I believe that transitions to and from mobile apps will be as seamless as browsing the web in the near future, and that Branch Metrics is uniquely positioned to make this happen.