About deep linking

Deep links are a type of URI that takes people to specific online content, such as a page on your website or in an app. For ads that send the user to a specific page in your app, you will need to apply deep linking.

Types of deep links

Note: Deep links are not automatically set up when you create your app. The following types of deep links are supported by Google Ads:

  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 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 Custom URIs you can create 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

 

App Links on Android and Universal Links on iOS are distinct from Custom schemes in the following ways:

  1. Because no other app can use your links, App Links and Universal Links can provide greater security than Custom schemes.
  2. App Links and Universal Links use a single HTTP URL for the same content on your website and in your app. Users who don’t have the app installed simply go to your website instead of the app—no 404s, no errors.
  3. Your HTTP links automatically take app users into the app from organic links on Google Search and other links across the web.

Find out if you have deep linking enabled

Android

Have your Android developer follow these steps in this article to test whether a particular URL is enabled for App Links. If green checkbox shows, then App Links are enabled.

Test your App Links

You can compare how your campaign will perform with App Links by running a pre/post test of a chosen path (a webpage or subdomain on your website). We suggest using a campaign with at least 100 conversions daily in order to run the test.

Work with your web developer or Android developer to determine which site path you’d like to test, and set up Android intent filters for the content in the test path. Run a search ads campaign that promotes only the test path for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, turn on App Links in your test path and continue the campaign for 2 more weeks. Once the test period is over, you can compare the performance of the campaign during the 2-week period without App Links to the period with App Links. Learn about setting up custom deep links for Android apps 

iOS

Enter a URL to test in Apple's App Search API Validation Tool, and check the "Link to Application" section. If the status says "Passed," Universal Links are enabled.

Reporting

To track app conversions, you need to enable Google Analytics for Firebase. Using Google Analytics for Firebase you can log events in your apps on Android and iOS, and also import Firebase conversions into Google ads. Using Google Analytics for Firebase helps you attribute and report on conversions segmented by ad destinations, including your website, app, and deep links. Learn more about using Firebase and Google Ads together 

Related links

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