Improve User Retention with Deep Linking

Partner Post - Gummicube Big Data Analytics for Mobile & ASO

Posted: February 19, 2018

Who do you consider to be your target market? No matter what kind of app you have, your most valuable user will be the one that consistently returns to the app and uses its features. The top 10% of your loyal users will account for the majority of your app’s success.

However, downloads alone don’t necessarily mean success; user retention is important. The more users you have coming back, the better your app will do. But what keeps a user from dropping the app entirely?

Carefully tracking, monitoring and improving a user’s experience will always increase retention and build loyalty. It’s important to understand the user experience and make sure the app is functioning correctly, keeping those target users coming back and increasing the chance of success.

Users who consistently interact with your app are more likely to provide a higher return on investment by tapping on ads or buying in-app purchases, according to Localytics. However,  retaining a user long enough to reach that point is the challenge.

Your app will likely be among the dozens (or hundreds) of apps downloaded in a single device’s lifetime and could very well get lost in the mix of trendy games, shopping apps and face filters that are often opened once then forgotten.

This doesn’t mean that your app can’t stand out from the rest. Sometimes all a user needs is a quick reminder that it’s still there. Aside from push notifications, which a user can manually switch on or off, one thing a developer can implement is deep linking.

User Retention & Deep Linking

Deep linking is a strategy that consists of tagging different features, pages or content with keywords and phrases within the app’s code. This allows different parts of the app’s content to be discoverable in areas apart from the Google Play Store and the iOS App Store, such as the mobile web or on-device search.

For example, an entertainment app that specializes in streaming content like shows or movies can utilize deep linking to bring attention to those features. Keywords that might be valuable to such an app from a search perspective may include “watch tv”, “watch movies”, or even something more specific like “watch superhero movies”.

Using the term “watch tv” as an example, we can see that when a user is searching on their iOS device’s Spotlight Search, they may have apps populate like this:

The app that populates is deep linking to the term “watch tv” to either the app itself or content within the app.

This flow can help remind the user that the app is already downloaded, readily available and possibly has the content they’re looking to stream.

Since users who search from their phone have similar search patterns across apps, whether it’s the app stores or in the Chrome mobile app, this can also be seen in mobile web searches!

This mobile search for  “watch tv” will also receive direct links to the app listing or content within it:

Deep linking also helps with keyword ranking in the Google Play Store. Links clicked when found through the mobile search for certain keywords will send a positive signal to Google’s algorithm that the app is relevant for that term, increasing the chances of that app appearing higher on the list.


By utilizing deep linking strategies, you can increase user retention and build the type of brand loyalty you are looking for. While tagging individual features and content within an app with keywords may seem like a tedious undertaking, it could potentially have a huge impact on an app’s success. You’ll be able to remind your users that your app is already downloaded as they search on their phone and give them the opportunity to re-engage.