A deep link is a link that takes you directly to a screen in the mobile app by clicking a web URL. You have to specify a custom URL scheme (iOS Universal Links) or an intent URL (for Android) that opens your app if it’s already installed. Deep links create a seamless user journey that saves users’ time and energy and increases the user experience and thereby results in more installs. Deep links can be used to run campaigns, referrals, etc., that can provide one with growth statistics and analytics on the effectiveness of the campaigns.
For those looking for the best way to implement deep linking for mobile apps, Firebase offers its Firebase Dynamic Links. Firebase Dynamic Links are deep links that can produce better results by working the exact way that you want them to. Keep reading this blog post to know how to set up Firebase Dynamic Links and leverage them to implement deep linking
How to Leverage Firebase Dynamic Links to Create Deep Links
Dynamic Links are special URLs that enable one to send the users to any location within your iOS or Android app irrespective of whether or not your app is installed. If a user opens the same URL in a desktop browser, they will be taken to the corresponding content on your website. Dynamic Links are free forever, for any scale.
The best part about dynamic links is that they can survive the installation step and in a way that the user never loses the context. When a user opens the Dynamic Links, if the app is not installed on the device, the user is asked to install the app by being redirected to the App Store/ Play store and once the app is installed, the respective page or content will be opened. You can fetch the link that was passed to your app and get the deep link associated with it. Using this deep link, you can send the users to the desired screen or content.
How to Create Dynamic Links
Dynamic Links can be created in four different ways. Let us take a look at these methods.
- Using the Firebase console
- Go to Firebase and click on Dynamic Links on the side menu after logging in.
- Open Firebase Console. Open up the project.
- Click on the new Dynamic Links button. You can create a Dynamic Link and define its behavior for both iOS and Android. You can enable campaign tracking and some other analytics options here.
- Using the iOS or Android Builder API.
- Using the Builder API, you can create Dynamic Links programmatically from the iOS or Android app.
- You can use Dynamic Links Analytics API to track the performance of the Dynamic Links created with the Builder API.
- Using the REST API
- Using the REST API, you create links on platforms that don’t have a Builder API. One can track the performance of campaigns created in the console by using the Analytics REST API.
- A Dynamic Link can also be created by manually constructing a URL. You cannot track click data for the manually created Dynamic Links.
How to Set Up Dynamic Links on Android
Given below is a 5-step guide to setting up Dynamic Links on Android.
1. Set Up Firebase
- Create a project in the Firebase Console and enable Dynamic Links for the project in the Firebase Console.
- Open Firebase Console.
- Select the project.
- Select Dynamic Links under the Grow section.
- Click on the New Dynamic Link button.
Take a look at the image below for a better understanding.
2. Set Up Dynamic Links SDK
- Include the Dynamic Links SDK in your app by adding the dependencies in your project’s Gradle file.
3. Create Dynamic Links
- Create Dynamic Links right from the Firebase Console or programmatically by using the APIs.
4. Handle Dynamic Links in Your App
- When the app is launched, check if a Dynamic Link was passed to it using the Firebase Dynamic Links SDK listener. If yes, then get the deep link from the Dynamic Link data and handle the deep link as desired.
5. View Analytics Data
- You can track the performance of your Dynamic Links from the Analytics dashboard in the Firebase Console.
As we mentioned earlier, Dynamic Links enable a seamless transition of users from the mobile website to the equivalent content within your app. In addition to converting mobile web users to native app users, it also drives more installs with promotional campaigns. These are just a few of the several benefits of Dynamic Links. Some of the best apps in the world, like Shazam, have already put Dynamic Links into use. So, if you haven’t already, get started with Firebase Dynamic Links today and reap the benefits.
Senior Software Engineer, RapidValue