Branded Links (beta)

At a glance: Branded links include, well, your brand name. This article sets out their benefits, set-up instructions, current limitations, and troubleshooting tips.

Branded links. Why use them?

Branded links, as the name indicates, are links that include your brand.
Example: Your brand is Great App so you create this branded link, promotions.greatapp.com.

Branded Links have a number of benefits:

  • Deep link with your own brand.
    • A branded link performs like a OneLink; however, a branded link promotes brand awareness as it includes your brand name.
    • Currently, to use OneLink for re-attribution or re-engagement, the only option is to set a OneLink subdomain. 
  • Trusted links
    • Branded links are trusted by users and email validation systems:
      • Users are more likely to click a branded link they find in social media.
      • Email validation systems are more likely to consider emails with branded links as valid promotion emails.
  • Promote brand awareness
    • Branded links have a major benefit, your campaigns are marked by your brand and not a generic link.

Setting up branded links

Follow these steps to set up branded links.

1. Prerequisites

Branded links must be mapped to a OneLink domain. If you need to prepare a Onelink configuration, read this article, OneLink™ redirections setup guide.

2. Set a CNAME record

A CNAME is a DNS record that maps one subdomain to another. See this article on CNAME records.
Set a CNAME using one of the following:

  • IT person in your organization
  • Technical support provided by your host domain

In your host domain:

  • Set a CNAME that points from your branded link to ONELINK_SUBDOMAIN.customlinks.appsflyer.com.
  • OneLink subdomain is set when you create a OneLink configuration.

Example

Your OneLink subdomain is greatapp.

Map your branded link to this AppsFlyer server endpoint:

Branded link AppsFlyer server endpoint
promotion.greatapp.com greatapp.customlinks.appsflyer.com

To set a CNAME in popular domain hosting services, check out these links:

 Note

When testing branded links, allow a few moments for a CNAME to go into effect. Check the CNAME is set correctly.

3. Check the CNAME is set correctly

  1. Copy your branded link and go to whatsmydns.
  2. Paste the branded link into the www.example.com field.
  3. Choose CNAME from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click Search.

A correctly set CNAME will produce results similar to those found in the below image:

cname_customlinks.png

However, if a series of red Xs appear then the problem is one of the following:

  • CNAME needs more time to go into effect. Wait a few minutes and try again.
  • CNAME is not set properly. Consult:
    • IT person in your organization
    • Technical support provided by your host domain

4. Create branded links: Map your brand domain to OneLink.

add_branded_link.png

  1. In the AppsFlyer navigation menu, click Branded Links.
  2. On the Branded Links page, click Add branded link.
  3. Under Brand domain, enter your brand domain.
  4. Click Verify. AppsFlyer verifies if the domain exists and if an AppsFlyer CNAME is set for this domain.
    • Domain doesn't exist:
      • Is it registered?
      • If yes, check you enter the correct domain.
    • CNAME isn't found:
  5. Under OneLink subdomain, select the one you want to associate with the brand domain. 
    • Hover over a OneLink subdomain to see related OneLink configurations.
      • Popup indicates if a configuration supports universal and app links.
      • If these links are not supported, go to OneLink configuration and edit the template.
        related_onelink_config.png
  6. Click Add.

Deleting and editing branded links

This section outlines how to delete and edit (map) branded links.

Delete

To delete a mapped branded link, contact your CSM or send an email to hello@appsflyer.com.

Edit (map)

Editing means mapping a branded link to a different OneLink configuration.

 Warning

Any change to a branded link can affect active campaigns and existing deep-link functionalities.

To edit (map) a branded link:

  1. Go to Branded Links > choose a Brand domain row > click the action menu (3 dots) > select Edit.
  2. Select a OneLink template to associate with this branded link.
  3. Click Update.

 Note

When a branded link is edited (remapped) to a different OneLink configuration, then a new CNAME is needed.

Find the new CNAME at Branded Links > Add branded link > Use this URL to add a CNAME record to your domain and set the CNAME on the domain. 

App developers: Use branded links to set up deep-linking

 Note

SDK versions that support deep-linking using branded links:

  • Android 4.10.1 and above
  • iOS 4.10.1 and above

Scenario: Deep-linking is set using branded links.

Result: AppsFlyer SDK can't get conversion data for installs and deep-linking.

Solution: Add deep-linking support for branded links, then you will get conversion data and deep-link users into the app.

Process: Use the setOneLinkCustomDomain SDK API.

  • API queries a branded link to get the OneLink to which it is mapped.
  • Then, SDK queries the OneLink to get conversion data.
Android iOS

Before initializing the SDK, use this API in the Android global application class.

Example

public class AFApplication extends Application {

    @Override
    public void onCreate() {
    super.onCreate();

      AppsFlyerConversionListener conversionListener = new AppsFlyerConversionListener() {

        // implement AppsFlyerConversionListener callbacks 
        // see https://support.appsflyer.com/hc/en-us/articles/207032126#integration-32-initializing-the-sdk

      }
      
      // set branded link domain
      AppsFlyerLib.getInstance().setOneLinkCustomDomain("promotion.greatapp.com");
      AppsFlyerLib.getInstance().init(AF_DEV_KEY, conversionListener, this);
      AppsFlyerLib.getInstance().startTracking(this, AF_DEV_KEY);

    }
}

If there are several branded links, pass them to the API. This ensures that--no matter what branded link is used--you'll always be able to get conversion data and deep-link into the app.

Example

AppsFlyerLib.getInstance().setOneLinkCustomDomain("promotion.greatapp.com", 
                                                        "click.greatapp.com", 
                                                        "deals.greatapp.com");

Associate domains for iOS Universal Links

For iOS, you need to associate the branded link with your app. This is done using Xcode.
See Supporting Associated Domains in Your App for instructions.

Associate domains for Android App Links

For Android, you need to specify the brand domain in the AndroidManifest.xml of your app. You need to specify it in the intent-filter of any activity that you want to deep-link into. For example, if your brand domain is click.greatapp.com, and you have a OneLink template with ID of ab12 that is connected with this brand domain:

<activity android:name="com.king.candycrushsaga.DeepLink">
    <intent-filter>
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
    </intent-filter>
    <intent-filter  android:autoVerify="true">
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.VIEW" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT" />
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.BROWSABLE" />
        <data android:scheme="https"
            android:host="click.greatapp.com"
            android:pathPrefix="/ab12" />
    </intent-filter>
</activity>

Using and testing branded links

This section describes how to create and test branded links.

Prerequisites

Use and test

  1. Create a custom attribution link from the OneLink configuration that is mapped to the branded link.
  2. Copy the custom attribution link to a text editor. The link is made up of the following:
    • OneLink subdomain
    • OneLink ID
    • Custom link
  3. Replace the OneLink subdomain with the branded link subdomain.
    Example: 
    Custom attribution link Branded link
     greatapp.onelink.me/A1bc/dc1234ef promotion.greatapp.com/A1bc/dc1234ef
  4. Use the branded link to test installs and deep-linking.

Troubleshooting branded links

Below are common issues and related solutions.

Branded link isn't mapped to a OneLink configuration

  • Invalid domain name: When you map a branded link to a OneLink template, AppsFlyer tries to verify that the branded link has a valid domain name. Valid format: promotion.greatapp.com.
  • Branded link is already mapped: A branded domain can only be mapped once.

Branded link isn't deep-linking into an app

  • Verify CNAME: Check CNAME set up points from your branded link to the AppsFlyer server.
  • Verify deep-link setting for OneLink configuration: Check the instructions to set up deep-linking with OneLink deep-linking.
  • Change made to OneLink mapping: If a branded link is edited/mapped to a different OneLink, check there are deep-links and/or that the newly-mapped OneLink has new deep-link settings.

No installs measured from branded links

  • Check OneLink configuration settings: Check the OneLink template--which is mapped to the branded link--is associated with the correct apps.
  • Change to OneLink subdomain: Attribution can be affected if you map a branded link to a OneLink template and the OneLink subdomain changes.
  • Check the API: Ensure the setOneLinkCustomDomain API is implemented in the app. For more information, go to the section Go to the section For more information, see Using branded links to set up deep-linking.

No re-engagement recorded from branded links

Branded links SSL/HTTP

Let's Encrypt provides SSL certificates. AppsFlyer manages, renews, and assigns SSL certificates to branded links.

Limitations on adding branded links

Let's Encrypt allows 50 new certificates per week, per domain. Though you can create up to 50 branded links per week, we recommend only creating a few in a given week.

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