Mobile App Terminology

Deferred deep linking

What is deferred deep linking?

Deferred deep linking is essentially deep linking with a memory. A deferred deep link works as a deep link,meaning it links to a specific page or screen in your app — potentially deep inside your app, hence the name –even if someone hasn’t yet installed your app. If they don’t have your app yet, the user will first be taken first to the App Store or Google Play where they can install your app. Only, then, after installation, will the user be redirected to a pre-specified location in your app.


In other words, deferred deep linking is basically just deep linking, deferred until after someone actually downloads the app. This is a must if you are running ads with deeplinks that are also targeting users who haven’t yet installed the app.

Deferred deep links rely on mobile attribution, which connects a user to the last click before the app install and provides the deeplink that was attached to the click.

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What are the uses of deferred deep linking?

As mentioned, one of the primary use cases of deferred deep linking is targeting users who haven’t yet downloaded the app with ads and still delivering a high-quality user experience after installation.

Neil Patel provides an example of deferred deep linking for the food delivery app Skip The Dishes. In this example, users are targeted with specific local restaurant options regardless if they have downloaded the app or not. After directing new users to the App Store or Google Play, they are then taken back to the exact restaurant and ordering step they were previously in, except now they are inside the mobile app.

As this example demonstrates, deferred deep linking has the advantage of increasing app installs by showing ads to users with geographically targeted options. What’s more, deferred deep links can also increase in-app purchases by creating a seamless user experience after installation. As the Business of Apps writes: 

Deferred deep links enable you to create the perfect conversion paths to acquire new users and re-engage existing users of your app. Using external digital channels your marketing campaigns can reach more potential users and guide them safely to content and promotions within your app.

Deferred deep links can also be used in any digital marketing channel that includes link capability, for example SMS, email, social media, and so on.

How Singular uses deferred deep linking?

Singular’s Links technology was developed in order to make the process of using deferred deep links on both iOS and Android as simple as possible for mobile marketers. This means that when you create a tracking link in Singular, it is automatically capable of integrating with deep linking technology, including Apple Universal Links, Android app links, and Android intent technology.

In our FAQ article on deep linking, we highlight the distinction that unlike deep linking, deferred deep links typically require the use of an attribution tracker. In particular, an attribution tracker collects data about users’ pre-install touchpoints, for example what the user has previously viewed and clicked. The measurement SDK can then access this pre-install context and determine what deep link the user originally clicked. The app uses this information to serve the appropriate page or experience after installation and users get exactly what they wanted and expected.

Below is the step-by-step process for creating deferred deep links in Singular:

  1. Plan all the deep links and deferred deep links you want to incorporate into your ad campaign. For marketers, this may include choosing which in-app content you want to use for promotions, advertising, and other marketing campaigns.
  2. Create a link sub-domain that includes the parameters of the deferred deep link, for example https://[SUB-DOMAIN][PARAMETERS]
  3. Inform developers on your team about the deep link destinations that you plan on integrating with Singular’s SDK. This is done so the developers can add the necessary code to identify if the app was opened through a deferred deep link or a regular mobile link. The developers will then provide you with the deep link scheme and a list of deep link destination URLs to be added to Singular’s Apps page
  4. You can then enter the link scheme information into the Apps page under Settings > Apps
  5. Since you are setting up deferred deep links, you’ll need to add link destinations in the Apps page. If you are simply setting up regular deeplinks, this step can be skipped.
  6. You can then create a deferred deep link under Attribution > Manage Links and click Create Link.
  7. Finally, deferred deep links should be tested by copying the tracking link URL and sending it to a device that hasn’t installed the app yet. You can learn more about testing deferred deep links here.

In summary, deferred deep links allow mobile marketers to expand their audience reach with targeted ads while still providing a seamless user experience. With Singular’s Link technology, deferred deep links can easily be created with our SDK for both iOS and Android devices.

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