Email service provider challenges with iOS Universal links

At a glance: Advertisers face challenges attempting to deep link iOS users in ESP (Email Service Provider) campaigns. Use AppsFlyer solution to overcome these challenges.

Overview of the problem with Universal links and ESPs


Implementing deep linking using Universal links

Developers need to associate their apps with specific domains to perform deep linking with Universal Links. This is a security measure in iOS (9 and above) that ensures that only specific domains can launch associated apps.

Developers that use AppsFlyer's OneLink solution associate OneLink domain with their app. When a user clicks on OneLink, it launches the app that is associated with it. The developer then gathers information from AppsFlyer SDK for deep linking and customizing user experience.

Issues with links in emails from ESPs

ESPs wrap links in emails with their own links. They do so in order to measure and report engagements. However, this practice could break the OneLink flow if not handled properly. The app doesn't launch and it results in a broken user experience.

Some ESPs support iOS Universal Links while wrapping the links with their own measurement links. Apps launch when users click on links in the emails. However, the OneLink flow still breaks which results in the following:

  • No measurement of engagements (clicks) on AppsFlyer’s end
  • App Launch is not attributed to a click
  • AppsFlyer’s SDK doesn't pass attribution data to the App developer

The solution by AppsFlyer


AppsFlyer joins forces with prominent ESPs in order to solve the problem with broken deep linking. The solution combines several technologies:

  • ESP Link Branding
  • Apple App Site Association
  • AppsFlyer SDK

The combination of these technologies allows the SDK to resolve the underlying OneLink, even though it is wrapped in other links. As the SDK resolves the underlying OneLink, it is able to provide the developer with the necessary information for deep linking and customizing user experience.

ESPs supporting the solution

The following ESPs fully support AppsFlyer's solution for deep linking with Universal Link in emails:

Android app links

Android developers might experience a similar problem with App Links. However, deep linking using URI scheme is still widely supported on Android. What this means is that developers can still use URI scheme to deep link from emails that are sent by ESPs.


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