There is nothing that kills a positive user experience faster than being asked to create a profile and log in before utilizing a service. While this is a necessary function for many programs, when users follow links from one application to another they expect to be taken straight to the page the link advertised. Instead, they are often greeted by a login wall that prevents them from connecting with the app until they establish a profile.
As the use of applications continues its considerable rise in popularity, it is important that brands leverage every opportunity to connect with their customers, especially with the holiday season approaching. However, forcing users to log in instead of utilizing a deep linking strategy can eliminate many of these opportunities.
Study shows lack of deep linking
Recent survey findings show that the vast majority – more than 90 percent – of retailers don't deep link emails, advertisements or social media applications. Without deep links in place, users are sent to a mobile sign-in page to access the content. Mobile Commerce managing editor Bill Siwicki calls this "a social kiss of death." Whereas a deep link sends the user directly to a specific page, apps lacking this type of connection will simply bring up the login page.
And as Pure Oxygen Labs reported, leveraging these deep links is becoming essential, particularly as more consumers tap into mobile applications. A Localytics report found that people currently spend 21 percent more time using their apps year-over-year, the most popular of which being music, health and social media programs.
"What has gone largely unreported is the number of missed opportunities for brands to engage with mobile consumers and the frustration that arises when those consumers are met with the mobile login page for an app they already have installed and open on their smartphone," noted Pure Oxygen Labs.
Besides capitalizing on the potential to better connect with their customer bases, retailers that utilize an intelligent deep linking strategy have also seen user traffic increase in key areas, including their mobile-optimized websites and social media pages. Therefore, Pure Oxygen Labs noted that the main takeaway here is that a lack of deep links can translate to a brand basically giving its clients the cold shoulder.
"Ignoring the needs of app users significantly reduces your mobile social engagement (fans, links, followers, sharing, etc.) and increases mobile consumer frustration," the source pointed out.
Deploy deep links before the holidays
As part of their essential holiday preparations, retailers should take another look at their online footprint and ensure that an intelligent, deep linking strategy is in place. This can provide an overall improvement in the end-user experience, leading to boosted sales during this all-important time of year. When customers are able to quickly connect with the products and resources they are seeking, instead of having to enter their authentication credentials, they are more likely to make a purchase.
Brian Klais, Pure Oxygen Labs' founder and president, told Siwicki that this represents a wake-up call for retailers, and they should determine which mobile apps are utilized by their clients to establish the best approach to deep linking.
"Well over 90 percent of retailers are not deep linking at all, and this is an easily addressable problem that they should resolve before they freeze their code for the holidays," Klais said. "With the holidays around the corner, replacing social media links with smarter deep links is a simple update retailers can make."
The final step: Performance testing to ensure functionality
When new functionalities like deep links are added to mobile and Web applications, it is critical to ensure that they work properly. End users can become considerably frustrated by a login page. Imagine how they'd react if this functionality doesn't work at all. For this reason, guaranteeing the proper operation of deep links with mobile and Web performance testing is absolutely essential.
Our SOASTA platform has all the solutions needed to ensure the functionality of deep links, and any other application features. Using CloudTest for performance testing alongside mPulse, our Real User Monitoring system, can help guarantee that mobile and Web apps are more than ready for the seasonal rush.
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