Last week, Facebook announced in a blog post that more than 1 billion App Links have been used by developers since the program’s launch three months ago.
App Links allow developers to introduce links on third-party mobile properties that, when clicked, open up the associated app on the phone, rather than opening the mobile browser site.
App linking — also called deep linking — has become an extremely important mobile trend recently. That’s because until now there hasn’t been a great way of communicating between different apps, even though apps are how mobile users overwhelmingly prefer to spend time on their devices.
BI Intelligence finds that of the 2 hours and 42 minutes per day that the average U.S. consumer spent on smartphone and tablet iOS and Android devices during the first quarter of 2014, 86% of that time was spent within apps.
- That share of time-spend is up from an 80% share in the same period last year. In terms of average total time spent in apps, it grew from 2 hours and 7 minutes to almost 2 hours and 19 minutes.
- Growing app usage means users are spending less time on the mobile web. The mobile web’s share of time spent fell from 20% to 14% year-over-year, and users now only spend about 22 minutes per day in mobile browsers.
- App usage growth outpaced total mobile time spent growth. Time spent in apps is up 9.5% from last year while total time spent on mobile devices is only up 2.5%.
- Mobile users now spend more time in the Facebook app (17%) than they do on the mobile web.
With Facebook’s App Links program, the company is becoming a leader in deep linking. Increasingly, companies are looking to improve the experience of going between apps on phones to help users complete multi-step tasks. This is part of a broader trend toward mobile personalisation — the effort to serve users the apps they want when they want them and make the transition between apps that much easier. In a recent report, BI Intelligence found that mobile personalisation is an important mobile battleground right now. On Android, personalisation apps saw a 1,325% increase in user sessions between early 2013 and early 2014.
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