How to Drive Mobile App Installs from the Desktop Web

There was Marvel vs. D.C., B.I.G. vs. Tupac, Twizzlers vs. Red Vines, and now… there’s native apps vs. mobile web. Of course, statistics vary across different industries, development stages, and more, but it’s safe to say apps are inherently optimal due to user-friendly interfaces that work offline and higher user engagement, conversion, and average order value rates.

Therefore, it makes sense to develop and execute a fortified plan to drive users from your desktop website into your mobile app. However, users are navigating across multiple devices, browsers, platforms, and channels every hour of everyday—so how do you reliably drive mobile app installs from the desktop web?


How to Actually Drive Mobile App Installs from the Desktop Web

In 2018, the importance of a seamless cross-channel, cross-platform user experience cannot be understated. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the choices between prioritizing each channel, platform, or device your user could utilize to interact with your app, you have an opportunity to use each touchpoint to route users into your most valuable platform, the native app. Here at Branch, we’re working with the top brands in the world to unify cross-platform experiences and measurement with our groundbreaking Attribution Engine and best-in-class deep linking infrastructure. Plus, by leveraging Branch, you’ll have peace of mind that your links will work in every single scenario, no matter the channel, no matter the platform, and no matter the device.

Our Journeys web-to-app offering has revolutionized the process of converting mobile web traffic into high value app users for some of today’s top mobile brands, but you also have a valuable opportunity to easily leverage your desktop site to get quality app downloads. While mobile may be dominating desktop, the platform is still getting a significant amount of traffic, and must still be factored into any marketer’s 2018 plan for mobile growth.

When checking out a brand, I typically find a call to action to download their mobile app somewhere within their desktop site (also known as the default buttons provided by the associated store). However, the experience is usually the same… click “download,” route to the web page associated with the Play or App store, and hit a roadblock. This method clearly hinders install attribution—and, let’s face it, very few people download mobile apps from the desktop version of the store. Even if they were to do so, the overall experience would leave much to be desired, to say the least. 

Rather than incorporating the standard store download links on your desktop site, consider embedding Branch’s Text Me the App Feature to drive downloads with a seamless, straightforward experience you can measure, just like Chewy has!

Branch not only provides rich insight into all downloads that originate from desktop (including link clicks, texts sent, and install and re-open data broken down by Operating System), but also, true to form, fosters supreme user experiences for these flows. If you want to really make an impact, deep link users to specific content following their app install. For instance, check out an example from Tastemade below. Thanks to our web SDK, we add all measuring information and enable any parameters to be passed from your website.

Let’s take a step back for any readers who do not have a fully functioning desktop website. We’re frequently asked, “What happens if a user clicks one of my Branch links on desktop?” It’s important to remember Branch links work everywhere, and flexibility to designate fallbacks and redirects are a big testament as to why. Rather than building out a website, you can give a clear acquisition call to action with a TMTA landing page. In fact, all of our links redirect to a default TMTA page when clicked on desktop unless a specific web URL is distinguished within the Branch dashboard, but you can create a fully branded landing page to eliminate drop off and encourage retention with personalization at the forefront.

Click here to learn more about set up and usage policies, adding Text Me The App logic to any current fields designed for users to input their phone number, and customizing messages!

What now? Get to building. In our internal study, 42% of clicks from this channel resulted in app installs. Your mission: prove it can do even better!