At Branch, our most important core value is being “partners first.” By partners, we mean our customers, community, or anyone who interacts with Branch. From the beginning, we’ve referred to this group as “partners,” because we believe that the challenge of improving the mobile landscape through better linking cannot be accomplished by any one company.
Reflecting on 2016, what gives me the most pride, is not only our accomplishments — it’s the community we built, the billions of mobile experiences we fixed — and the success of all of our partners. Below is just a small subset of the great apps that used Branch to add to their success in 2016.
An app that I use on a regular basis is Instacart. They’ve saved our Mobile Growth Meetups with last-minute drink deliveries, delivered our office snacks, and helped me get fresh groceries when I stay late at work.
Instacart drives a lot of their app engagement from marketing emails. Before working with Branch, Instacart’s marketing emails always routed users to the mobile web. Even though 70% of all emails are opened on a mobile device, where the user is likely to have the app installed, there was no easy solution to route users directly to the app. With the introduction of Universal Email in 2016, we helped Instacart fix this broken experience by opening the app directly from an email link. This simple change helped boost their click to purchase rate from an email from 1% to 6%.
Another app that I love to use at our meetups, conferences, and throughout the office is Periscope. They were part of our StartX batch and we’ve been impressed to see them continue to grow through the Twitter acquisition, and into a video streaming powerhouse. Our friends at Twitter use Branch links to deep link from Twitter straight into a Periscope stream. For example, check out this link to a live review of the Branch office by AWS:
— AWS startups (@AWSstartups) December 13, 2016
Additionally, when a user clicks on a Periscope link on the desktop, they can text themselves a link to that content. The Branch link sent to the user deep links them to the video if they have the app, or takes them to the App Store and deferred deep links them to the same content if they don’t.
I’ve also become addicted to a few of our eCommerce partners in 2016. Jet has become a must-have for buying my daily essentials. As I continue to learn more about the company, I’m constantly impressed by their innovation both on and offline. When it comes to mobile, they were one of the first partners to use our custom Journeys Smart Banner and interstitial, increasing their daily downloads by 3x and their app engagement by 7x. With their massive success, we weren’t surprised when we heard Walmart bought them for over 3B.
When it comes to retail, I love using apps to discover items that are a bit off the beaten path. GOAT, a sports abbreviation for the Greatest Of All Time, is an app for buying and selling rare and unique sneakers. This year, they’ve raised $5M in funding and have seen tremendous press adoption around the globe. GOAT uses Branch to grow their user base by taking advantage of social media to post app content.
This was also a great year for one of our earliest partners, Pinterest, who helped us get the Mobile Growth Community off the ground.
We are incredibly excited for their latest release, Pinterest Showcases, which helps brands control and shape their stories. Branch web banners take Pinterest users who land on the web version of Showcases and deep link into the app, where they get a superior experience.
In 2016, Airbnb replaced my use of hotels and provided amazing experiences in places like Vancouver, Lisbon, Portland, and LA. It was also the year they launched their new Trips feature. Airbnb uses Branch to deep link to app content from the web, but also for a very cool sharing and personalized invite feature.
One of my favorite examples is Houseparty. I was a big Meerkat fan. I loved the brand and what they were trying to accomplish and loved seeing them use Branch. As the market conditions shifted, it was incredibly impressive to see how the team reinvented themselves and built an incredibly addicting app the entire Branch marketing team uses. They’ve been using Branch since their inception and recently raised over 50M in funding to keep fueling their growth in 2017.
Houseparty implemented Branch for their invite and onboarding flow. When a new user is invited to a group chat, Houseparty sends a Branch link that detects if the user has the app installed or not. If they do, the app opens straight to the chat. If they don’t, the user is taken through install and onboarding. Once they join, they are routed directly into the chat they were invited to.
As 2016 comes to an end, I am most grateful for having worked with an incredible team. A team that helped us advise and improve the mobile experiences of so many top brands around the world. I am proud to call Branch my home, and can’t wait to keep improving the mobile ecosystem in 2017.