Branch launches ‘full-stack’ tools for linking web-to-app and email-to-app
Deep-linking company says the new products are the most complete solutions for those paths.
Deep links are links between mobile websites or mobile email, on the one hand, and apps. Unlike web links, linking to or from an app is not a simple thing, since apps work differently from sites or emails.
Today, Palo Alto, California-based Branch is releasing new products that it says are the first to provide “full-stack” solutions for deep linking from a mobile site to an app, and from a mobile email to an app.
Its new Journeys tool allows a marketer to create and deploy a banner or interstitial ad that links from a mobile website to an app, without a developer’s help.
For instance, CEO Alex Austin told me, a marketer for a game publisher might use such a link in a banner to drive installs of a new game app. He pointed out that the reverse — from an app to a mobile website — is a less common use case, and that mobile websites are the largest drivers of app installs.
A marketer can also direct the ads at specific audience segments, such as frequent website visitors who do not yet have the app installed. The Journeys tool also allows marketers to conduct A/B testing.
Previously, Austin said, his company gave marketers the ability to create and drop in a deep link, but it did not offer the ability for a non-technical marketer to create an ad with an embedded deep link, direct the ad to user segments or conduct A/B testing.
A second new tool, Deep Linked Email, integrates with email marketing platforms so that email campaigns can automatically include a deep link to an app.
Currently, the tool is integrated with cross-platform marketing platform Sailthru and Oracle’s B2C marketing platform Responsys, and integrations for email service SendGrid and Salesforce’s ExactTarget are in the works. An estimated 70 percent of emails are opened on mobile devices.
In a typical use case, Austin said, a travel site like Hipmunk might want to create a link from an email offer to its mobile app for, say, a special travel package to Hawaii. If the user doesn’t have the app installed, the link first directs the user to the appropriate app store, and, post-install, goes to the relevant screen within the app.
Before, he said, Branch was only able to do what other deep link providers do — make the deep link available to the marketer, who could manually insert the link or could get a developer to include it in automatic insertions of text into email campaigns.
Otherwise, he said, if the deep link was automatically inserted into an email campaign as any text might be, it would get wrapped in code from the email provider that tracks where the click goes. Such wrapping, Austin said, can cause problems in certain situations, such as on an iPhone. He added that Branch is the only provider of integrated deep linking that allows for automated insertion on email platforms without the wrapping issue.
Austin claims that, based on beta tests, every million emails sent by an app publisher who is not employing the new Branch email tool “leaves $5,000 on the table,” because of an average $60 purchase price resulting from email-to-app connections.
Branch is also now offering integration with selected analytics providers, including Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Localytics. Previously, all of Branch’s analytics were only available within the company’s dashboard.
Austin said that his company, founded in 2014, is now working on full-stack solutions for every conceivable channel-to-app connection, such as from social networks to apps.
Yozio, Tapstream, and Pure Oxygen Lab’s URLgenius are among those that also offer deep linking and some comparable features, but Austin noted that a Branch user “can [now] go to the dashboard, create a mobile web ad, [add a deep link], and do A/B testing.”
“No competitor offers a product like that,” he said.
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