Mobile Application Deep Linking

What is a deep link?

Mobile deep linking brings new power to, allowing you to redirect people to an application URI as well as a traditional URL link. So for example, the next time you share a YouTube video link through you can have it open directly in the YouTube application on someone's mobile phone instead of opening the URL in their mobile browser.

Of course if you have your own mobile application then the possible uses go beyond being just a neat trick when sharing videos with your buddies. Remember however, that enabling deep linking on mobile applications requires the application to be configured to allow the use of Universal Resource Identifier, known as a URI.

Some examples of URIs that launch mobile apps:

  • twitter:// is the iOS URI to launch Twitter’s mobile app
  • YouTube:// is the iOS URI to launch YouTube’s mobile app


Creating a Mobile Application Deep Link

The basics behind creating a trimmed link for deep linking is exactly the same as creating a shortened URL, with the difference being that in the "Enter your URL" field you would enter the mobile link. In the example below we are entering the URI to open the twitter application on an iOS device.

Use Deep Linking with Targets

This is where the deep linking ability in gives great value. If you are not already familiar with How to use Targets in the basic concept is that it allows you to target people, forwarding them to a custom destination depending on the device or country they click your link from.

Lets consider a simple example of sharing a YouTube video. Lets say I wish to share a video with people on mobile devices and on PC. Depending on the device they are clicking the link from I will want to direct them to either the URI for iOS, the URI for Android or the standard URL of the video on the web. 

This is how those full links would look for the video I want to share:

  • Standard URL Link:
  • Apple iOS URI Link: youtube://watch?v=YNvcZ3Fo4r4
  • Android URI Link: android-app://

So first I would sign in and trim the standard URL for the YouTube video above, this will be my default redirect. Then I click the Targets option to set up my targets so I can specifically target people on mobile devices.

The process for configuring your targets is basically the same as for any normal URL link, the difference for a deep link is the format of the link you will enter and the Mobile Deep Link check box you can check which will allow you to enter a Fallback URL.

Fallback URL

The Fallback URL allows you to specify an alternative URL where the targeted audience will be directed if for example they do not have the mobile application installed. You may want to use a link to the smartphone's app store here so the viewer has the option of installing the application on their phone. 

Lets look at the set up of my two targets here:

Android Users

My first target group is Android users, here I enter the Android deep link so users view my video directly in the YouTube android application (android-app:// Since this is a Mobile Deep Link I check the box which allows me to set a Fallback URL.

In our example we will use the standard URL link to the YouTube video, this means the video would load in the user mobile browser if they did not have YouTube installed on their mobile device. 

Finally, I set the filter for this target group so that only users who click the link from an Android device will be forwarded to this Deep Link.

iOS users

I go through a similar process here for iOS users, only this time I enter the iOS specific Deep Link URI which is different from that used by Android devices (youtube://watch?v=YNvcZ3Fo4r4). I also change the filter rules so that only those clicking the link form an iPhone or iPad will use the Deep Link.

Everyone else?

Well as we mentioned above, people clicking links from devices not specified in my Targets will simply be forwarded to the default URL that I entered when I first trimmed the link.  (


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