URX's Milinovich Discusses Viability Of Deep Links, Mobile Engagement

As people spend more time on mobile devices, that means more time is being devoted to apps. About 80% of time spent in mobile now is with apps, and time spent on mobile devices overall outpaces that on the desktop, according to comScore.

The problem is that linking to content within apps isn’t as easy on the Web. Enter deep linking technology, which enables linking within apps similar to links that take Web users to certain pages on a site.

Mobile Marketing Daily recently caught up with John Milinovich, founder and CEO of URX, a start-up that focuses on retargeting in mobile apps using deep links. He discussed the topic and how it relates to marketing and big Internet players, like Google and Yahoo.

MMD: What exactly is deep linking?

JM: Deep linking makes apps work the same way the Web does. With deep links, you can link into the middle of mobile apps to specific content within them. For example, you can click on a link in an email from Livingsocial on your mobile device that would open the Livingsocial app to a page for a specific deal.

MMD: How can it benefit brands or publishers?

JM: Deep linking makes it much easier for brands to engage their mobile app users by running both paid and organic marketing campaigns that link them to relevant content in their apps. This leads to higher user lifetime value, ad conversion rates and ad click-through rates.

MMD: Facebook, Twitter and Google are all using deep-linking technology. When do you think it will be ubiquitous, and what, if any, technical or business issues are holding it back?

JM: Right now, only around 10% to 25% of apps have enabled deep linking. The main reason for this has been that apps haven't had to focus on re-engagement, and the big three enabling deep linking from within their native experiences has been a good step in spreading marketers' awareness. With more use cases, including URX, the value of deep linking becomes clear, and more developers will adopt the technology.

MMD: How do you see Google adapting its AdWords business to deep linking in apps?

JM: I would imagine that a deep link-enabled AdWords would look and feel the same as AdWords does today, with the ads that would link into an app already installed on a device, not just the mobile Web or app install page.

MMD: What about Yahoo, which is making a big mobile push under Marissa Mayer?

JM: Yahoo has enabled cost-per-install ads from their native app ads and has started to create links between their own apps, for example, from the Yahoo main app to the Yahoo weather or Mail apps. They also recently acquired [deep link technology startup] Sparq, so one can speculate they are starting to think through this space as well.

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