What does Applinks mean for your app?

On Wednesday at Facebook’s yearly F8 conference, they announced Applinks, a new initiative to make deep-linking between apps easier for developers and a better experience for users.

Unlike on the web, there is not an easy way to navigate and link between applications. For example, if a friend sends you an awesome show they just found on Hulu it will open in a browser instead of opening the app. Most likely you will not be signed-in so to view the show you have to find the Hulu app and search for the recommended show.  How frustrating.

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Because there is no native back button between apps on Apple devices, you are responsible for finding your way back to where you were to respond to your friend or keep browsing. Apple has worked toward improving this process and makes it fairly easy to access your recently opened apps, but it takes more than one tap.

This is all about to change thanks to Applinks. With one universal, accepted method for linking, communication between apps will be easier than ever which will improve the overall mobile experience.

One of the features I am most excited about is the opportunity to easily return to the app you came from with one tap. This has been a speed bump for many of our clients in the past. We will add an email option that launches your native email client but you have to put trust in your users that they will not get distracted and never return. Receiving apps are now given the ability to provide a back button for their users.

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There are so many opportunities for DPS app developers to integrate other apps into the experience and be assured their users will return.

Here are a few examples:

- In an article about a musician, include a Spotify playlist that you can directly link and save. Users can follow the playlist, share it with a friend and then return to your publication.
- Share a PDF by email to a friend. An easy way to set up PDF sharing is through the email functionality. Create a pre-filled email template for your users. With the new App Link bar, your app is only one tap away at all times.
- Update status on a social network. Pulling in content into DPS apps is easy and creates a wonderful experience. However, when they click to access their own account and write a tweet about you, like your page or write a Yelp review the experience is broken. Encourage your fans  to engage with your social pages knowing the app is very accessible.

Many apps are already supporting the App Link initiative to improve the user across all devices.

We will be joining these apps and embracing the App Link initiative to provide the best user experience for all our users.