Tapstream

Fixing Deeplinks

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Tapstream is pleased to announce Unified Deeplinking, the first holistic deeplinking solution capable of scaling both regular deeplink and deferred deeplinking schemes. Unified deeplinking closes the gap between the mobile web and mobile app ecosystems.

tl;dr

Deeplinking is complex. To do it right, a solution needs to work a) across all major platforms b) pre and post app install, and c) be able to scale elegantly to handle complex URL schemes (in the case of ecommerce and content heavy apps). Nobody has built a holistic solution that could address all three requirements, until now.

Background

The promise of early deeplinking technology was to make navigating mobile apps more like navigating the web. Deeplinks were a step in the right direction and early tools emerged to help a myriad of apps scale complex deeplinking schemes that enabled users to move seamlessly from mobile web into specific in-app destinations.

Surprisingly, the rate of widespread deeplink adoption has been underwhelming and it’s likely due to a fatal flaw with traditional deeplinks. They don’t work if the app isn’t installed on a users device. With so few ubiquitous apps on the market, many developers felt the benefit of deeplinks not worth the trouble and cost.

In 2014, Tapstream was the first platform to announce deferred deeplinks; the ability to pass intent from a link click pre-install to an app immediately post install. This opened up vast opportunities for developers to personalize and customize the experience for a brand new user, create in-app landing pages, pre-fill registration forms, populate shopping carts, etc. In effect, deferred deeplinking was the missing piece that deeplinks needed to finally bring the app experience as close to the web as it’s ever been. 

As deferred deeplinks emerged, a new problem took shape. App makers were implementing disparate solutions from multiple providers. Deeplink tools had to redirect through deferred deeplinks, which required fingerprinting algorithms to work properly and it got pretty messy and needlessly complex. Nevertheless, marketers needed both sides of the coin – regular deeplinks that not only could easily scale millions of content pages, but also provide the engagement bump seen by thoughtful use of deferred deeplinks.

Today, Tapstream fixes deeplinking once and for all. We’ve unified deeplinking and deferred deeplinking technology into one solution that can elegantly scale to address the most complex linking schemes. 

How We Fixed Deeplinks

We’ve added destination macros that allow any Tapstream customer to create links with dynamic redirects set at click time. No more translation rules for deeplinks, and messy JS code that breaks on Android.

Simply setup a Tapstream (taps.io) link with a dynamic macro destination as follows:

{{url:“myapp://store”}}/{{category:“apparel”}}/{{deparment:“womens”}}/{{product_id:“12345”}}

A click on a Tapstream link with the above default destination will deeplink to:

myapp://store/apparel/womens/12345

However, at clicktime, you can customize this destination using query string params: 

?url=myapp://store/&category=shoes/&department=mens/&product_id=56789

A click on the same Tapstream link will now redirect to:

myapp://store/shoes/mens/56789

Dynamic redirect macros are an important component required for complex deeplink schemes and now, married with our deferred deeplinking technology, Tapstream is the first holistic solution for all deeplinking needs.