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Deep Linking and Mobile Games

Are you considering adding deep links to your mobile game? You may want to read this first.

One of the newest marketing schemes for mobile games is called deep linking. These are links that take a mobile device user out of mobile web browsing and to a specific place in an app. While it might have some practical use for publishers or retailers, as discussed in Matt Thomson’s Venturebeat article, it is not a good option for the mobile gaming community. Here are four reasons the mobile game world should avoid deep linking:

1.Lack of market. Being able to direct a user to your mobile game from the browser seems like a great idea, but the average user has less than twenty-five total apps on his smartphone or tablet. This is great if your game has the cache to be amongst this small list, but this doesn’t reflect reality for the majority of developers. This advancement is being touted as the future of re-engagement, while in reality, support for this theory makes assumptions about user willingness to download and engage in apps. it will only really have application for users that download and regularly use more apps than the average consumer. The majority of consumers have only a few apps stored and even fewer that they use on a daily basis.

2.Lack of context for mobile games. Two types of apps that Thomson mentions specifically are publishers and retailers. While a publisher might like to be able to send a user directly to the app in order to access an article or a retailer might love to send a customer back into the app to make a purchase, there are likely few applications for deep linking in the world of mobile gaming, especially if someone is just looking for information about the mobile game. They do not want to click on a link that will force them to download the game before they can get information about it. This will be the reality, because of how few apps the typical user has on his mobile device.

3.How will deep links improve user experience? One of the benefits Thomson mentions is what he calls “Higher Lifetime Value Users.” Due to the nature of mobile games, developers cannot easily redirect people to play. The game itself should be attractive enough that entices users to continue playing. While deep linking might find a foothold in encouraging users to download the game in the first place, it likely lacks the ability to get users to return again and again, which is what marketers want to be able to use deep linking for. For most apps, but especially for mobile games, it is unlikely to improve the user experience and may even ruin it for many users.

4.Very few practical applications. In its current form, deep linking has painfully few practical applications. Retailers and publisher might make great use of this capability, but neither of those types of apps are among the most popular or the most commonly downloaded. The idea is solid, but because most users have only a handful of apps and most of those are not the kinds of apps that can benefit from this kind of marketing, deep linking should not be touted as the future of mobile game marketing.

It’s important to find ways to get your audience to re-engage with your mobile game. Unfortunately, deep linking lacks proper context to be applicable in the mobile gaming world.

Jovan Johnson is a California licensed attorney who focuses on SEO, mobile games, and apps. He is passionate about mentoring students and steering dollars to scholarships, and speaks regularly about career opportunities. He is a principal at Johnson MooFurzyPaymaster.Co, and 320 Instrumentals.

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