Facebook hopes to ease some pain for developers, marketers and consumers alike with its new deep linking tool for app install ads. The result should be a more effective way for marketers to sell goods and services through their apps thanks to new control over where consumers land after the install is complete.
Let's think about Web ads for a second. When you click on an ad in your browser for something you want, you're generally taken directly to that product's Web page. This is true on the desktop, on the mobile Web and often in Web-based apps. Not all marketers support purchases via Web-based apps. Many would prefer users to install the full application in order to buy stuff.
Under the current set of constraints in Facebook, however, a consumer who clicks an advertisement on his phone to install an app generally winds up on a landing page or the home page of the app.
For example, if a consumer was looking at an ad for a specific pair of shoes on Zappos.com and clicked on the ad to install the app to order the shoes, she'd be taken to the home screen of Zappos' app rather than the shoes she was looking at. From this point, the consumer would have to search for the shoes anew. As many marketers know, this can lead to abandonment of the purchase.
Facebook's deep linking tool will change this completely. Moving forward, when consumers click ads to install apps, they'll be taken to whatever page the marketer wants, including the product page. Facebook says this should help "increase conversion rates to the point that app install ads and direct marketing can be one and the same."
There are several ways developers can take advantage of this tool. The first is through Facebook's existing cross-platform standard calls App Links. Facebook already supports App Links for mobile app re-engagement ads, but now developers can use them for mobile app install ads, too.
Developers using Facebook's SDK can enable App Links with deep linking on their mobile app install ads with a few clicks. Facebook says a new field in the ad-creation tools allows developers to assign the exact location in their apps where consumers will land when they click on app install ads.
At the end of the day, deep linking will make it less painful for consumers to shop from their mobile devices. Less pain for consumers often equals more gain for marketers and developers.