Hotel Tonight's two-sided incentivized referral program | Powered by Branch deep links

March 22, 2017
A great example of a deep linked incentivized referral program for mobile apps. Check out to get started or to see more examples of Branch deep links in action.


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It’s been well-known for a while that users prefer to spend time in native mobile apps on their phone instead of mobile web. However, deep linking in and between, to and from apps is still not as robust as it should be, so mobile websites are still a prominent part of mobile phone usage, especially in the discovery flow.

For example, imagine an existing user shares an article from your app to Facebook, and a bunch of new users click on that article. If you take them to the appropriate app store page instead of showing them the article, there will be a lot of angry users who just close the store and go back to Facebook. This is where a mobile site with a banner can come into play.

What Is A Smart App Banner?

A mobile smart banner consumes a fraction of the screen on a mobile website in order to convince users to click to open the native app if they have it or install it if they don’t. It’s a smart link that includes all the routing logic to automatically open up the app when it’s installed or fallback to an app store page if not. Here’s an example from Basecamp’s mobile website:

As you can see, the mobile content is visible in the browser, but the real estate near the top is consumed by the white banner with a green call to action to install the app. The content is still consumable on this mobile site page without the app, but the banner presents an option to download if the user so chooses. For new users, showing a mobile site with a banner delivers a gradual onboarding model, where they can interact with your property but convert into full app users when ready.