The term Deeplink refers to a URI (Uniform Resource Handler) that a smartphone OS handles by opening a specific native mobile app at a specific piece of content, a screen/feature in the app, or in some cases some specific executable code. Implementations differ between mobile platforms, but in all cases, it’s possible to map web URLs to content within the mobile app.
Deeplinks are a valuable way to drive re-engagement of existing users; by clicking on a deeplink, the user is returned back into the native app and is not required to navigate through other screens or menus in order to engage with the content or feature that was linked, much in the same way that desktop web users can be linked directly to any content within a domain rather than just the homepage.
Various solutions exist to solve the problem of not knowing whether someone clicking on a deep-link has the corresponding mobile app installed. Android apps register an intent to handle regular web URIs from a specific domain: if the app is installed, it will intercept relevant web links and map them to in-app content. iOS Universal Links (supported by iOS 9 onwards) deliver similar functionality, though earlier iOS versions do not support such mapping, necessitating a messier solution, or the use of deep-linking features from their attribution partner, or dedicated third party deep-linking services such as Yozio,Branch or Deeplink.me to handle deep-links more elegantly, as well as provide additional functionality such as redirecting users without the app installed to the appropriate app store to download it (thus driving acquisition and retention with one ‘smart’ link).