Branch Data Shows NativeLink™ is Solving Deferred Deep Linking for Private Relay Users on iOS

Imagine a customer on your e-commerce website is in the process of making a purchase and they get prompted to install your app. However, after the app is installed, instead of being deep linked to their cart to complete the purchase, they just land on the home screen. For many iCloud+ users who have Private Relay enabled, this is a likely scenario — even if you correctly and successfully set up deferred deep linking in the past.

Apple’s release of Private Relay on beta for iCloud+ users sent a shiver through the mobile linking and attribution world. As we’ve detailed previously, by removing the ability to view a user’s true IP, Private Relay threatens the success of deferred deep linking — the ability to ensure a user is passed through the install experience into the relevant in-app content. 

Private Relay does not impact every user, but it does mask the IP address of iCloud+ customers using Safari. Without an IP address, deferred deep linking will not work as expected for those users. They will experience broken links, and you will experience a loss of attribution data for your owned and organic channels.

graphic showing which iOS users will and will not be impacted by Private Relay

Branch has solved this with an innovative solution for iOS users: NativeLink™. Our NativeLink solution ensures the Private Relay deferred deep linking experience is always accurate and attributable for the relevant iOS users. And the best part is that our data has shown brands that have implemented NativeLink have seen no measurable dropoff in install rates versus the typical deep linking flow. But more on that later.

Why is NativeLink so important?

NativeLink removes the dependency on IP addresses for deferred deep linking. Instead, it utilizes the native iOS clipboard copy and paste on-device functionality to power the deferred deep linking flow. With NativeLink, a customer who clicks a call-to-action (CTA) leading into an app will be shown the NativeLink interstitial to complete their journey. Once they click through NativeLink, they will be taken to the app store to download the app and then be redirected to the relevant in-app content.

No longer are you risking users landing on your app’s home page simply because Private Relay has interrupted the deferred deep linking experience for iOS users. 

Image showing how native link powers deferred deep linking using on-device technology without compromising privacy

Spoiler alert: Our data shows user acceptance of the NativeLink experience

While NativeLink is an innovative solution to ensure deferred deep linking for iOS users with Private Relay enabled, it does add a new step to the experience. We thought it was important to ask how this plays out in the real world. Does having a new opt-in screen in the install flow affect the click-to-install (CTI) rate?

The short answer to that question is NO! 

Based on our data study of customer apps that had NativeLink enabled, we found that there was no statistically meaningful difference in CTI rates between brands implementing the NativeLink experience (11% CTI) vs. the non-NativeLink experience (12% CTI) with a margin of error of +/- 1.0%.

Image showing the difference between NativeLink and Non-NativeLink experience.


We do want to point out that the CTI numbers we are sharing represent an aggregate sample, and results can vary by vertical, campaign type, or a number of other factors. The goal in sharing this data is to highlight that the vast majority of our customers should not see any meaningful difference when implementing NativeLink!

You can now be confident in implementing NativeLink, which offers benefits like:

  • Providing a reliable deferred deep linking experience for iOS 15 Private Relay users (or any iOS users). 
  • Giving users control with a privacy-first, opt-in solution they will appreciate.
  • Guaranteeing attribution by leveraging an on-device solution.

Ready to try NativeLink?

If you want to continue to engage users who have chosen to enable Private Relay on iOS to maintain the best possible user experience through install, NativeLink is the only proven and privacy-centric option to maintain your CTI conversions. NativeLink is available at no additional cost for Branch customers. 

Check out our NativeLink guide, or head to the Branch dashboard to enable NativeLink!

Branch provides the industry’s leading mobile linking and measurement platforms, offering solutions that unify user experience and attribution across devices and channels. Branch has been selected by over 100,000 apps since 2014 including Adobe, BuzzFeed, Yelp, and many more, improving experiences for more than 3 billion monthly users across the globe. Learn more about Branch or contact sales today.

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