Facebook represents a huge source of potential users for your mobile commerce app.
Mobile advertising is currently the main driver of the increasing Facebook ad spending. To follow where their users are heading, Facebook has become synonymous with mobile. Growth of Facebook advertising revenue results from the company’s focus on mobile. Facebook claims that most of its ad revenue (84%) comes from mobile advertising. Its mobile app encourages users to visit regularly and frequently throughout the day. Not only do 87% of Facebook users visit the social network on mobile devices, they also spend an average of 21 minutes every day on its mobile app.
A large and vastly growing number of Facebook users are active and consistent in their daily visits. More than half of Facebook’s user base, over 500 million people, are using Facebook’s mobile site or mobile application. Such number makes them a promising audience for your mobile app marketing efforts. With over 1.8 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the single largest, unified source of new users available today.
As a result, marketers are using Facebook to reinvent their mobile app marketing and generate more business, increase traffic and build brand awareness. Whatever your niche is, facebook is too big to ignore. In order to stand out from the crowd, your mobile business will have to adopt a growth strategy that includes Facebook, and Facebook app links should be a critical part of that.
App links are proposed as a standard for routing traffic between mobile applications and driving significant new revenue for Facebook’s ad products. When the app developer community supports App Links, there will be a great change within mobile app marketing due to a cross-platform standard for linking between apps.
Facebook introduced app links
On April 30th, 2014 in San Francisco, at Facebook’s F8 global developer conference, the social media announced the launch of App Links, which is a new initiative aimed at making deep linking between native apps easier for developers. This proposal was released by Facebook in collaboration with several partners inculding Spotify, Pinterest and Tumblr.
Since then, hundreds of apps have adopted App Links. As announced on its blog post, more than 1 billion unique App Links have been enabled on mobile, plus that developers can now use App Links in mobile app ads.
What are app links?
“App Links is an open standard to deep link to content in your app”
As introduced by Facebook, app links is an open cross platform solution for deep linking to content in your mobile app. When someone using your app shares content to Facebook or another App Links-enabled app you can create a link that makes it possible to jump back into your app from that piece of content.
With App Links, you can drive people into your app directly from stories on Facebook, whether they’re published from your app, from a Page, or from people copying and pasting URLs. When the Facebook app comes across a link that supports App Links it will launch your app with the right information so users can see that content immediately. App Links gives you all the tools you need to expose deep links in your app and link to other apps.
How it works
App links offer new opportunities for mobile marketers by allowing them to map their web content to mobile content. The best part is how easy it is to integrate App Links into your mobile app. All you have to do is simply add a few tags to associated website content which enables others to link directly into your mobile app. For a mobile-only app without a corresponding website, Facebook offer App Links Hosting API. You can publish your tags to support app links content without having to set up a web server.
One important things to note is that the App Links standard only works for specific use cases. The destination app must support the App Links standard so that users can be sent to the destination app. When users click on links from Facebook for the destination sites that support App Links, they will be deep-linked to view the app content if the destination app is installed on their devices. In case the linked app is unavailable, they will be directed to the app store where the app can be installed or a web version of the same page if it’s available. This feature functions on large mobile platforms including Android, iOS and Windows phones.
Source: Facebook for developers
App linking features for mobile app marketing
App Links are open source, accessible to everyone, and its reference SDKs mean that they can be implemented without going through Facebook. Beyond this, App Links are cross-platform compatible. Extended to work across devices, app links support all major platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Facebook provides App Links Index API for apps to discover whether any web URL can be deep linked on mobile. Facebook app links can be utilized for mobile app marketing in several ways:
Facebook shared post
Facebook sharing can be the most powerful form of virality. A potential shared post has the ability to gain massive adoption of a new service or product. App linking makes shared posts much better by enhancing new users’ experiences. Any user with the app installed can be taken to the destination right after clicking on the shared link.
Facebook launched app invites feature to help mobile marketers grow their user base and allows users to share apps to their friends on Facebook. App invite shows up as a personalized and customizable notification to facilitate new users rather than posting publically. The invite contains deep link that directs users to app store where they can choose to download and install your app.
Facebook advertising is a powerful feature which allows for deep linking as well. Not only advertise your app, you can literally direct user to any content or a product within that app. Coupons and other things can be offered to users who have never heard of your app. Facebook ads are placed directly in user’s feed and naturally blend into its content to effectively engage your customers.
Importance of app to app linking standard
Linking is what makes the webs great. App linking gives mobile apps the technology that the web has already offered for several years. It builds a bridge between websites and mobile apps, which boosts mobile app marketing.
Cross platform solution for advertising campaign
There is an increasing demand for single standard that works across mobile platforms to solve development problem that mobile apps have faced over the years. Being aware of that, Facebook has proposed an open-source standard so apps can easily be linked to other apps.
In order to create one advertising campaign that works across desktop Web, mobile websites, and mobile apps, marketers only have to add App Links tag to the site. On desktop, Facebook directs user to the website. Meanwhile on mobile, Facebook app routes the user to the app page. This standard simplifies advertising on Facebook and lead to higher utilization of Facebook ad products. App linking helps advance Facebook’s ad business through cross-platform campaigns for websites and apps
Optimization of user experience
When App Store is completely saturated and the competition on gaining user’s attention is getting tough, improving user experience is critical to create competitive advantages for your app. Adopting app linking standard into apps can offer your users a more seamless shopping experience. App linking gives every page in the native app a unique link, so that the user can click on a link to access app page immediately. The improved user experience has a significant impact on overall health of the user base. App linking is a must have to optimize user experience.
Solving app discoverability and re-engagement problems
Discoverability in app stores can be a huge problem, and it’s hard to lead potential users to your apps. Studies show that app discovery mostly happens through social recommendation or digital marketing through main channels like facebook. Links posted on Facebook are able to raise awereness an increase app download. Showing users a download prompt for an app when they click on that link can help solve the problem of discoverability.
On the other hand, app installation is just the beginning of your customer life cycle. The challenge is how to get installed users return and remain active within their apps. According to Localytics, 66% of app users only open apps between one and 10 times. To improve this, you can use app links for your mobile app ads. It allows you to lead users to a specific location inside your app, which can be a sale, promotion or specific marketing content. The ability to engage more people on mobile by deep linking them into our app is very powerful.
So far, we have reviewed facebook app linking standard and its benefits for mobile app marketing.
Facebook has made a big move in terms of how mobile apps could route traffic to one another. App linking is an essential tool that has potential impact on the adoption of your mobile shopping app. By being able to link to apps from all web based applications in a straightforward and uniform way, it becomes easier to transform web users into app users. App users are more valuable to a mobile marketer due to the opportunities in terms of geolocation, push notifications, and other app specific functions. App linking standard makes your marketing investment worthy as it will pay dividends of quality users for many years to come.