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Facebook Follows Search, Steps Up Deep-Linking Options

Facebook this week extended its deep-linking capabilities for App Links in mobile app install ads, following steps taken by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others. The hoopla is about a piece of code that helps advertisers send individuals directly from one page or piece of information to another. The code used to deep link the content also provides a tracking attribution tool. Inanimate objects will also see a form of deep linking. The coding has become one of the most important mobile tools for search experts in the evolution of marketing. 

John Ketchpaw, software engineer at Facebook, explains how the feature works in a blog post. "When a person taps on a mobile app install ad on Facebook, the developer can choose to send them to a specific place in their app after it's downloaded, such as a product page rather than the homepage," he wrote. "This will make mobile app ads more effective for achieving a developer's goals beyond the install, and provide people with better experiences by taking them to the content that attracted their attention in the ad."

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It all comes down to brand dollars. Bitly announced a deep linking service earlier this year with an aim to help marketers drive individuals to mobile app pages. Google and Microsoft separately are working to build up deep link infrastructures. Google now has more than 30 billion links within apps indexed. Google encourages Android developers to build deep links into the app because one in four app users discover an app through search.

Deep linking also will link inanimate objects with IP addresses to consumers, making search engine optimization a coveted skill as the world becomes more connected. David Ingerman, co-founder at PlaceCodes, points to Amazon's test with Brother printers, Brita water filters, and Whirlpool clothing washers and dryers. Earlier this year, Amazon began testing linked connection that lets consumers place an Amazon Dash Button in their office or washroom to reorder product with a click of the button. Not quite the same as deep linking in apps, but it's a similar piece of code that provides a direct connection from one location to another to reorder a product.

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