Learn about the purpose of deep linking and what technologies are used to implement deep links.

For information about deep linking in Singular, see the Singular Links FAQ.

 

What causes deep linking to fail?

Though deep linking is an incredibly useful way to engage with your users. However, to properly use it for your marketing channels, you should be familiar with its usage and limitations.

Limitations of URI (App) Schemes

Using URI (app) schemes is generally not recommended, because if the app is not already installed on the user’s device, clicking a link will cause an error and drastically reduce user engagement.

On iOS, URI scheme deep linking may be the only way deep link the user in cases the preferred method, iOS Universal Links, may fail.  However, keep in mind that the end-user experience when using URI scheme deep linking are not ideal, and the user may see pop-ups depending on their default iOS browser:

Examples of the User Experience with URI scheme deep linking on iOS
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User confirmation before deep linking
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User pop-up "error" if app is not installed.  Upon clicking "OK", the user continues to the fallback destination

 

See the next section for common reasons for iOS Universal Link deep linking failing.

On Android, you can work around this by using Android intents to direct the user to the Google Play store instead of being shown an error message.

In addition, URI-scheme deep linking has security vulnerabilities: other apps can register the same URI scheme as your app and hijack your deep links.

Limitations of iOS Universal Links

  • Social Media Apps: Some social media apps intentionally break or limit deep links that try to take the user out of the social media app. These are often social media apps that open links in an internal web browser view.
  • Link Wrapping: Universal Links can’t work with link wrapping, where another URL redirects to the universal link. Link wrapping includes link shorteners such as bit.ly.
  • Pasting in Browser URL Field: Universal Links will not deep link if you enter the link into a mobile browser's URL field.
  • Triggering Links with Javascript: Scripts that trigger URL redirects will not deep link unless it is part of a user action.

Limitations of Android App Links

  • Social Media Apps: Some social media apps intentionally break or limit deep links that try to take the user out of the social media app. These are often social media apps that open links in an internal web browser view.
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