Deep linking with iOS universal links on ESPs poses a major challenge.
This article discusses this issue and presents the solution that AppsFlyer offers. The information in this article is relevant for both developers and marketers who work with ESPs such as SendGrid or Salesforce.
Overview of The Problem with Universal Links and ESPs
The problem outlined in this section affects iOS 9 and above.
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 launch specific 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 engagement. However, this practice could break the OneLink flow if not handled properly. The app doesn't lunch and it results in 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 engagement (click) 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 and 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.