About deep links

What are deep links?

Deep links send mobile device users directly to relevant pages in your app rather than your website. Users click on ads and go directly to your app pages. You can use deep links in many different Google Ads products, including App campaigns for engagement, App dynamic remarketing and Search, Shopping and Display campaigns.

An infographic on how deep linking works

Benefits of using App Links for Android or Universal Links for iOS

  • Greater security: App Links and Universal Links give you peace of mind that no other app can use your links. Other companies can’t claim your link, so they can’t send traffic to their own app (as can be done with custom schemes).
  • Seamless user experience: App Links and Universal Links use the same URL as your web links, so if your app can’t open, instead of seeing an error page, users will be taken to the mobile site landing page.

Why are deep links important?

Deep links are important for mobile app advertising because they allow you to direct customers and potential customers to relevant pages within your app, rather than browser or mobile-web pages. The more seamless integration for your app users improves user experience, increases conversions and improves customer loyalty.

Developer support required for deep linking

Deep links aren't automatically set up when you create your app, and they work differently on iOS and Android. Your app development team needs to make changes in the app, and if you implement App Links (Android) or Universal Links (iOS), add a Digital Asset Link JSON file to your website so users can be diverted to the app when they have installed it. If you implement App Links or Universal Links, this will not change the web URLs. However, this will allow web campaigns like Search, Shopping and Display campaigns to take users directly to apps (if installed).

Google Ads support team help

If you’re having trouble implementing deep links, the Google Ads support team can help. If you have an account manager, reach out to your account manager to connect with the support team. If not, click on the “Contact us” tile at the bottom of this page and proceed through a series of prompts to find the right path to contact a support agent by phone, email or chat.

Which types of deep links are supported?

There are three types of deep links that Google Ads can support for App campaigns for engagement, app dynamic remarketing and Search, Shopping and Display campaigns.

Note: Google Ads does not support redirects or third-party deep linking solutions, which use redirects. This is because redirects first send users to an intermediate domain rather than the app landing page. To optimise the user experience, we only support deep links that send users directly to the app.
  Description How it works Which Google Ads products are they compatible with?
App Links (Android)

These links use your existing HTTP destination
URLs, such as www.example.com or www.example.com/product_1234, and take users who have your Android app installed to the in-app content you specify.

Visit our developer website to learn more about App Links for Android apps.
  • Search
  • Display
  • Shopping
    App engagement campaigns
  • App dynamic remarketing campaigns
Universal Links (iOS) These links use your existing HTTP
destination URLs, such as www.example.com
or www.example.com/product_1234,
and take users who have your iOS app
installed to the in-app content that you specify.
Visit the developer website to learn more about Universal Links for iOS apps.
  • Search
  • Display
  • Shopping
    App engagement campaigns
  • App dynamic remarketing campaigns
Custom schemes Create Custom URIs to link to any in-app content you choose.

Note: If the user doesn’t have your app installed, custom schemes will lead to an error page.
Visit the developer website to learn more about Custom schemes.
  • App engagement campaigns
  • App dynamic remarketing campaigns

 

For Android Apps – App Links

These are the industry standards for Android. They use your existing HTTP destination and take customers who have your Android app installed to the in-app content you specify. Users who don’t have your app installed simply go to your website instead of the app, as App Links look like standard web URLs (such as http://www.example.com) but are configured so that the device OS can decide whether to open your app or a web browser. They provide a seamless user experience and are more secure, since no other apps can open your links.

For iOS Apps – Universal Links

These are the industry standards for iOS. They use your existing HTTP destination and take customers who have your iOS app installed to the in-app content you specify. Users who don’t have your app installed simply go to your website instead of the app, as Universal Links look like standard web URLs (such as http://www.example.com) but are configured so that the device OS can decide whether to open your app or a web browser. They provide a seamless user experience and are more secure, since no other apps can open your links.

For Android or iOS – Custom schemes

These are custom URIs you can create to link to any of your in-app content. These are easiest to set up and might be a good solution if your website and apps don’t have a 1:1 match. They demand less engineering support but are less secure. Without authorisation required, custom schemes can be claimed by anyone and may be used to direct traffic to apps other than yours. Someone who clicks on the ad link who doesn’t have your app installed will get an error page.
These are compatible with App campaigns for engagement only. These are not supported for Search, Shopping or Display campaigns.
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