The Lowest Hanging Fruit for Mobile Marketers

Mobile linking may be the biggest problem you didn’t know you had.

You’ve seen it; you’ve experienced it first hand. You have your favorite shopping app installed and you’re no stranger to it. The app has your credit card memorized and your favorite item always saved and stocked. Buying new products is a single tap away. It’s fantastic, right? But then picture this: the company sends you a personalized email giving you the discounts for the day and you see an item that you love. When you click the link from your phone, Safari opens up where you’re bombarded with a full-page interstitial asking you to get the app. Clicking that button takes you to the app store. Alright — but you already have the app. Ugh. “Maybe later,” you say, while putting your phone away. But then, of course, life happens and you forget all about that super cool item you almost purchased.

This same experience happens tens of millions of times every day around the world. Mobile users are constantly encountering frustrating, broken user experiences while trying to link to an app. Resolving this problem alone might single handedly bring the global economy out of the doldrums.

It often feels that, as marketers and consumers, we live parallel lives. As marketers, we forget the everyday habits and experiences we have as individual consumers, telling ourselves: “I’m an early adopter,” or even, “I don’t represent the target audience.” On the other hand, the consumer side of us watches dubiously as the marketer continues to spend money in channels and programs that we know don’t work the way they used to and wonder why the ROI continues to plummet. Nowhere is this more true than in mobile marketing.

Why Mobile Marketing will Continue to Grow

The opportunities in mobile are well known. Consumers spend around four hours a day on their mobile devices,and 90% of that time is spent in apps. Location-based services offer the chance to engage consumers at the most opportune moment. Marketers are always looking for ways to drive users into their app, where they are proven to convert better. In-app consumers spend more and make purchases more frequently than any online segment of users. It’s been shown that in-app users convert to purchase at three times the rate of users on mobile web.

However, with the current mobile marketing infrastructure, every message we as marketers send is slamming the door in the face of these valuable app users. The mobile landscape is rife with app stores, various operating systems, and platforms that make creating a personalized, context-consistent experience for consumers daunting. If that weren’t enough, the systems by which mobile marketers gain visibility into the impact of their marketing campaigns were created for a desktop world and simply do not work for mobile (more on that in a later post).

What We’re Doing to Fix This

At Branch, we set out to create better mobile experiences by allowing users to discover and connect with relevant in-app content. That content can be shared, organic, or paid-for messages delivered across a variety of channels, devices, and operating systems. Across the tens of billions of monthly events we deliver to hundreds of millions of consumers, we see the following breakdown of major operating systems:


March ‘16 iOS 9+ iOS < 9 Android 6+ Android < 6 Other
Percent of users 36% 10% 7% 43% 4%


Of course, the operating system is just the beginning of the story. Users on these different devices have tons of different apps. They read their email in different clients and act — just as we all do — as individual consumers. When a link breaks, a page takes too long to load, or we land on a page whose context is not relevant to the link we clicked, we hit the back button or the Home button. For marketers and developers alike, that is a lost opportunity.

When marketers send links in campaigns to consumers across the following channels, the result is often a suboptimal user experience and wasted marketing dollars because users haven’t been linked to the app on mobile. Consider these major channels and the difference in user experience between linking to directly to the app and opening the mobile website. Don’t forget the stats we mentioned earlier comparing apps to mobile web experiences!


Primary Consumer Touch Points

Usage Category Links Gmail Apple Mail SEM Facebook Twitter
36% iOS 9+ Your links Opens site Opens site Opens site Opens site Opens site
Branch links Opens app Opens app Opens app Opens app Opens app
10% iOS < 9 Your links Opens site Opens site Opens site Opens site Opens site
Branch links Opens app Opens app Opens app Opens app Opens app
7% Android 6+ Your links Opens site Opens site Opens site Opens site
Branch links Opens app Opens app Opens app Opens app
43% Android < 6 Your links Opens site Opens site Opens site Opens site
Branch links Opens app Opens app Opens app Opens app


As you can see, there are a lot of edge cases to handle, and this is just a subset of total number of cases out there. However, in every case, normal links route users to a sub-optimal experience. If you’ve ever tried to build a deep linking solution for any one of these channels, you’ll understand just how difficult this problem is to solve. Branch has an entire team dedicated just to ensuring that the links route the user to the most optimal experience in every browser, on every operating system, and on every device. By not covering all the edge cases, you’re leaving substantial and valuable revenue on the table.

Ultimately, marketers must keep the consumer experience in mind when spending their dollars. Ensuring that the links used to deliver those experiences are deep links is a critical consideration in the mobile landscape. Luckily, we’re here to help.

Get started today at, or check out some of the following articles to help you learn more: