Mobile consumers today are becoming used to ads that redirect them to the App Store to install applications when tapped, but a new product from marketing analytics company Tapstream will now take things a step further. The company is today introducing something it calls "Deferred Deep Links," which will effectively create landing pages inside mobile apps, which advertisers can wait to redirect users to until after the app is installed. This is a change from how most deep linking schemes work today. For those unfamiliar with the term, deep linking refers to a way to interconnect parts of mobile applications so they work more like pages on the web. That is, it offers a way for app developers to "link" to a particular section within an app. It's something I've personally been interested in for years, while observing more of our "web surfing" activity transitioning over into what have been fairly isolated native applications. There are a number of ways deep linking can be implemented at present, but unlike on the worldwide web, there are no standards surrounding the practice. Currently, companies like URX, Quixey (AppURL), Cellogic (Deeplink.me), Appsfire, and recent Yahoo acquisition SPARQ, have been developing technologies and tools that have made deep linking possible. Typically, when a user taps on a deep link, they'll be directed to a particular page within an app if the app is already on their device, or sent over to the App Store or Google Play, if not. With what Tapstream is introducing, the destination that the deep link is referencing is not lost, in the latter case. Instead, those users who don't already have the app installed will see a brief message that lets them know they'll reach their destination as soon as the installation is complete. Tapstream is calling its solution "Deferred Deep Links," and it's now available for both iOS and Android, the company tells us. Explains co-founder and CEO Slaven Radic, Deferred Deep Links was created in response to what they realized was a lost opportunity for mobile user acquisition. The service can create landing pages inside apps that have the ability to navigate users to the correct product page, store location, venue, or anything else being advertised, he says, regardless of whether the app is installed when the user first clicks an ad. Other companies, including URX and Cellogic, have been working on something similar, we understand, and have both separately described the idea as rather "cool." However, deferred deep links don't always work that well on apps that require you to login before viewing content, which is the case with a good many apps on the market today. But Radic says Tapstream's system even works on apps requiring registrations. "Basically our back-end passes any navigation links to the app on launch and then the app can hold onto it while it does whatever on-boarding is required," he explains. Tapstream's service is now live and available with every customer account, including free accounts. It will work with any app that can already handle user intent or registered URLs, the company notes. In addition, customers are also able to use their account to measure real-time ad performance, including metrics on things like link utilization, user engagement per campaign, in-app purchases, shopping carts, and more. Note: article updated after publication to clarify Tapstream does work with apps requiring registration.
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