Every Thing You Must Know About Deep Links in Android as an App Developer
If your application has a flow, you can provide an easy way for users to get to a certain part of it without having to click back and forth.
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The concept of deep links is to help users to move between web pages and applications. Simply put, these URLs direct users toward specific content within an application.
Deep links improve the user experience by making it easier for visitors to reach specific pages. The result is a noticeable increase in user loyalty and engagement.
It can be difficult to keep your deep links functioning properly. Soon, you will read more about how Android deep links work, their different types, and how you can create them.
What Are Android Deep Links and How Are They Useful?
An important feature of deep linking is that it allows various apps to collect data inside their apps via a URL link.
Let’s use a simple example to understand this concept better. If you search for “Dog breeds” on Google, #dogbreeds of Pinterest pops up in the search results.
After clicking the Search Result link, the Pinterest app ( which the user already has installed) will display the results. Here, Deep Linking comes into play, redirecting the user to Pinterest from the search results.
Sadly, this feature only works with Android 6.0 (API level 23) and higher.
Following the click of a link or programmatic request that invokes a web URI intent, the Android system sequentially executes the following until the request succeeds:
- Open it if a preferred app is defined for handling the URI.
- Open it if the URI can be handled by only one app.
- Provide a dialog where the user can choose an app.
Here, the user can access the #dogbreeds on Pinterest seamlessly, rather than visiting the website. This is done so the user can access the app features seamlessly, creating a better user experience.
Additionally, App Links and Universal Links ensure that another app cannot use your links. Your link can't be claimed by other organizations, making it impossible for them to send traffic to their apps. Providing seamless integration for your app users will improve their experience, increase conversions, and boost user retention.
Types of Deep Links
Marketers can enhance mobile app engagement through deep linking technology, a method that has gained a great deal of attention in recent years.
There are three types of Android deep links: traditional, deferred, and contextual.
It is a simple deep link that takes the user to a specific section of the app. The term universal linking is also appropriate. Customers must already have your app installed to use these links.
Users who click on a basic deep link without an app installed will be directed to the app store or an app download page. Upon downloading the app, this type of deep link will take them to an onboarding or welcome screen instead of the desired section.
Users can access content through deferred deep links even if the app is not installed.
The deferred links send users to a specific screen or location within an app after installing it on their first run. Those who use deferred deep links will be able to attract more customers to their apps and businesses.
The functionality of contextual deep links is similar to that of deferred deep links but with many additional features. Not only do contextual deep links transmit user data to an app during installation, thereby ensuring users are correctly redirected inside an app, but they also store user information like:
- Their identity
- Referral source
- Referring party
- The promotion code they would like to apply to their order.
How To Create A Deep Link
We should think about adding an intent filter to our manifest file when we discuss how to take users directly to relevant content in apps. There are two types of deep links in the Navigation component: explicit and implicit.
With an explicit deep link, users are taken to a specific location within your app using a PendingIntent. An explicit deep link opens your app, clearing the backlog of tasks and replacing it with the deep link's destination.
An implicit deep link points to a specific destination within an application. By invoking this deep link — such as by clicking a link — Android can then open the corresponding app.
Ensure the BROWSABLE category is included so you can access it via a browser. You should also define one or more data tags, as there is a URI format associated with each of these tags.
Deep Links Testing: Finding Issues
There are many apps with partial or broken deep links.
Testing deep links is critical to improving a product's overall performance and security. We recommend you use the Android Debug Bridge with the activity manager (am) tool to verify that deep linking resolves the original intent filter URI.
We strongly recommend using the default launch mode of standard for Navigation. As long as Navigation is launched in standard mode, it automatically processes deep links using handleDeepLink(), regardless of whether they are explicit or implicit.
Also, did you know that the new deep links page on Play Console gives you a quick overview of potential problems affecting your app's deep links and how to fix them?
Monitoring in the Play Console
It can be difficult for developers to respond to simple queries like “ does this URL have a deep link?” or “ What is wrong with this deep link?”.
With a new, dedicated Play Console page, Android makes it easier for you to maintain your deep links. The deep links page collects all your app's deep links information and tools in one convenient location, allowing you to analyze your current setup quickly and troubleshoot problems with ease.
An Android deep link is a URL link that generates a specific activity or screen when someone clicks on it. With deep links, you can boost engagement with your app content and the overall consumer experience by allowing traffic from external sources.
An application's deep links play a crucial role in driving user traffic from URLs, so it is essential to test them thoroughly for any problems.
Leveraging android app development services helps you to build powerful marketing links that work across all platforms and channels for a smooth user experience. Not only that, but our developers will also work with powerful tools for debugging your links.
Published at DZone with permission of Kiran Beladiya. See the original article here.
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