Competing in the ecommerce industry is hard.  Add to that the complexity of bigger and bigger competitors, rising marketing costs, a rapidly changing privacy landscape, fewer sources of new traffic, and overwhelming demands on engineering resources - companies of all shapes and sizes are facing difficulties.  One largely overlooked factor impacting the success of retailers that have apps is the inherent and unknown complexity of linking - meaning how to ensure users have the optimal experience and while maximizing the amount of traffic driven into their apps.  When done right, linking can double the revenue from an affiliate program, improve efficiency, and dramatically enhance incrementality for retailers.  

Why does it matter?  

According to eMarketer, 60% of consumers say mobile shopping is a necessity.  Retailers have driven over $10B in mobile commerce using the Button platform, enabling us to develop a marketing lead perspective on the complexity of linking, the problems that exist and how to solve them. Correctly routing consumers to the retailer app when installed is THE single most important element of any linking strategy and often the most underutilized and overlooked. Why? Because sending traffic to apps is proven to drive 300% higher conversion for retailers when compared to the value of mobile shopping visits.  This is because of seamless checkout experiences, payment and shipping details being pre-loaded, and fewer clicks being required to convert.  

Why do some companies not fix it?

Most affiliate managers don’t know that a “link optimization” problem exists because there is no easy way to identify the problem.  They’re often completely unaware of the potential impact of fixing the problem. Sometimes they hear from a publisher that something is broken (especially if they work with cash back and loyalty publishers), sometimes a Creator calls saying “Hey, my friend said she bought this and I didn’t get paid”.  Sometimes, it’s a known issue, but affiliate marketers don’t know how best to solve the issue.   

Why does the problem exist?

Traffic is like a maze, with affiliate marketers seeing traffic that utilizes countless link shortening and redirect services, different networks and aggregators, traffic coming from different apps and app version numbers, operating systems (OS) and OS versions, geographies, and social media app linking policies all contributing to the puzzle. 

This intricate web of factors makes it clear that a one-size-fits-all approach to linking has a lot of marketers leaving tons of money on the table.  Check out some of our case studies here to see the impact we’ve made for some of the most innovative companies in the world.

From social apps, news apps, and dozens of browsers (Button’s platform has seen 60 browser versions in the past 7 days, all in various stages of adoption), the challenge is to ensure links seamlessly transition users to the desired app experience from all these places.  Doing so is impossible with a single link.

Furthermore, the ever-evolving nature of apps presents another layer of complexity. Different versions of apps may introduce new features or alter existing ones, making it essential to have a deep linking strategy that adapts to these changes to ensure the best shopper experience.  

Operating System Quandary

Evolving mobile operating systems, namely Android and iOS, add another layer of complexity. Each system has its own set of protocols and deep linking standards - some of which work with marketing stacks, and others that don’t.  Ensuring links work consistently across all dimensions of a platform is a problem only software can solve because expecting marketers to use different links in different situations is impossible.

Geographical Considerations

Geography introduces yet another variable. User behaviors and preferences vary significantly based on location. Many retailers have different apps or internal plumbing or networks or commissioning logic based on their users location.  Marketers need to tailor their deep linking strategies to align with localized experiences but doing so on evergreen content and increasingly international creator sourced traffic is hard.  

Social Media Linking Policies

The role of social media cannot be overlooked. With social platforms being a significant source of traffic, retailers must contend with the ever-changing linking policies imposed by these platforms and the various state of “app version updates” constantly in effect. This adds a layer of uncertainty, requiring constant adaptation to ensure compliance and effectiveness in reaching target audiences and tapping into the ever growing creator economy.

The Solution: Button's Innovative Approach

Recognizing the complexities involved in deploying a linking strategy, innovative solutions like Button's patented AI engine and reinforcement learning model have emerged as game-changers. Much like a Cloudflare for commerce links, Button's technology identifies threats to conversion and eliminates them.  This provides retailers with a powerful tool to enhance user engagement and drive conversion lift - resulting in customers doubling the incremental revenue they see from their programs.

Button's ability to dynamically respond to the ever-changing landscape of linking is a key advantage. The ‘set and forget’ linking strategy is something we see retailers fall victim to with all the burdens they’re facing, but no platform offers a solution built for the affiliate and creator industry to support these commerce fueled business models. Retailers can rest assured that as things change in the digital landscape, the Button platform solution will respond in real time, ensuring users are given the best possible path to purchase and incremental revenue is driven.

For a real-world example of Button's impact, check out the Uber Case Study on Button's blog where Button doubled one of Uber’s affiliate channels with our Retailer solution.

In conclusion, the complexities of mobile deep linking in the retail space are undeniable - whether your traffic comes from media sites or a growing channel of creators. From the complexity introduced by countless redirects, apps and browsers and operating systems and all their associated versions combined with the nuances of different geographies and social media platforms, creating a uniform linking strategy is a formidable challenge. 

Button's approach, powered by AI and reinforcement learning, stands out as a beacon in this challenging landscape, offering retailers a sophisticated solution to navigate these complexities and ensure a frictionless user experience. Button is compatible with every major affiliate network and overnight will convert your current traffic to be more efficient, more incremental, and more valuable. Our mission is to build a better internet - one fueled by commerce - and it starts by making the models that depend on commerce work better. Contact us to kickstart your future today.