May 29, 2020
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Managing Deep Links with URLgenius

Mike Hartington

Director of Developer Relation...

The following is a guest post from our friends over at URLgenius, a cloud-based service for helping apps manage deep links to other apps. The post covers why you might want to consider URLgenius for your app, providing a great real-world example for how they’ve helped From Seed to Spoon provide a great user experience.

When it comes to app deep linking, we tend to think first of the technologies that we as developers are tasked with evaluating and implementing – things like Apple universal links, Firebase, standalone SDKs, etc. But what about cases where we need to link into 3rd party apps that you have no control over? For example, linking into social apps like Facebook or Instagram, or into e-commerce apps like Amazon. From Seed to Spoon, an app built with Ionic, was in a similar situation and used URLgenius to solve their problems. Let’s dive into the situation.

The Challenge and the Solution

Dale, his wife Carrie, and their family turned their backyard into a food farm in 2015 and were so successful they decided to create a mobile app that teaches other families to do the same. They had already launched their Ionic app, and on one of the screens they were linking to Amazon, encouraging people to shop and support their efforts through affiliate commissions. The challenge was that the link in the From Seed to Spoon app could not open the Amazon app. Instead, the visitor was sent to the Amazon mobile website to login. The result was lost engagement and ultimately, lost affiliate revenue.

Dale knew that the ideal experience would be to deep link shoppers directly into the Amazon app. He was able to see that the Amazon iOS and Android apps had product-level URL scheme meta data required to open the Amazon app from a browser. The catch was that those Amazon app URL schemes could not be used like a regular web link, unless they could account for cases where the visitor doesn’t have the Amazon app installed. That’s where URLgenius came in.

Dale discovered that by entering regular Amazon web URLs into URLgenius, the app addresses for iOS and Android app were generated automatically, including all the affiliate parameters. In addition, URLgenius was able to embed these addresses into links that opened the iOS and Android Amazon app for shoppers who had it installed. And for shoppers who didn’t have the Amazon app, or were using a desktop device, the links would gracefully fall back to the Amazon web URL in their browser.

Other Use-Cases and Solutions

As a cloud-based platform, one of the most interesting things about URLgenius is that it doesn’t require an SDK. You can request support for any app, including your Ionic app. The platform supports linking into billions of app screens across thousands of apps. This opens limitless cross-linking opportunities between your app and other apps – and can help drive organic discovery and engagement within your app.

Here are some uses-cases to get you thinking:

  • Link into social pages in Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube apps to grow followers
  • Link into Messenger, Telegram, WhatsApp and SMS to enable customer chat
  • Link into app-only AR experiences using Snapchat Lenses and Instagram Filters
  • Link into product pages in Amazon, Walmart, and commerce apps to drive sales
  • Link users into your Ionic app from marketing channels, QR codes, and social apps

This list could get long very quickly but you get the idea. Check out the URLgenius blog for deep link case studies. You can setup links and test them immediately at no charge, and you can brand your links using your domain.

Mike Hartington

Director of Developer Relation...