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Mobile Deep Linking: Interview with Branch Co-founder Mada Seghete

Most marketers have grasped the importance of effective deep linking, the mobile community has yet to catch on fully. Branch is leading the way with mobile deep linking so we sat down with Mada Seghete - an experienced marketer, developer evangelist and co-founder of Branch - to learn more about mobile deep linking, and its importance to marketers.

S: To start, what does Branch stand for, and how does it deliver on that promise?

MS: Branch stands for unifying the mobile ecosystem. Branch was started by 4 founders, who got their start as a founding team trying to get their photo printing app, Kindred, off the ground. They built Branch in an effort to make their own app discoverable. The founding team quickly realized that all apps faced a similar problem and needed the same solution. 

Today, Branch runs a global community made up of 20,000 app developers and mobile marketers who share challenges and solutions for growing their apps. We focus on building across the fragmented ecosystem to power deep links for a seamless user experience, no matter the platform, device, or operating system. 

S: What does mobile deep linking mean to you? And why is it so important in 2017?

MS: Chances are you don't remember the time during the early years of the internet when linking wasn't standardized. Before http:, it wasn't very long, nowhere near the amount of time mobile has been fractured. To us and all mobile marketers deep linking means growth. It means making it as easy for companies to grow on mobile as it is on web. 

It so important today because the ecosystem is actually becoming more fractured, not less.

Mobile has become the ultimate battleground for brands around the world. This war is being waged between the large platforms. Each building their own walled kingdoms with constantly changing standards, making it harder and harder for users to leave. This complex and changing ecosystem is creating challenges for enterprises and startups alike, where having a great native app for mobile is no longer enough. Trying to ensure a consistent and optimal mobile experience means building the various components for these different platforms - from iOS to Android, to iMessages apps, chatbot apps, wechat apps, amp pages and the list keeps growing.

S: What is the biggest mistake brands make when it comes to mobile deep linking, and what are the indicators a brand needs mobile deep linking?

MS: The biggest mistake is thinking that building a linking infrastructure is a onetime implementation. It requires constant upkeep and management.  The big platforms are currently changing standards - it used to be URI schemes, now it's Universal Links and App links, but things change every day. Just recently Apple changed their standards with iOS 10.3. Putting that burden on your team means you're keeping them from building out the features and experiences that your customers want.  

"Without deep links, you're servicing your customer blind"

S: What piece of advice would you give marketers about utilizing mobile deep linking technology in the future?

MS: Customers expect better experiences across every channel. There isn't a marketer out there that isn't talking or thinking about personalization. Deep linking powers personalization and a unified experience across multiple channels, as well as a unified measurement across web, Android and iOS apps. Without deep links, you're servicing your customer blind. Brands are still playing catch-up on mobile, trying to keep up with customers’ demands on their phone. If you're not using deep linking on mobile, you're not delivering the best experience to your customers. And you need Branch to do that.  

S: How do you see image search and AI butlers affecting mobile marketing and advertising in 2017? Is this something Branch is also addressing?

MS:They’re just another channel to build loyalty with your customer. We don't believe that they are going to revolutionize mobile marketing. At the very best, AI butlers will streamline customer service and support. However, your customers will have expectations around them. The big take away is: if you’re building experiences on mobile just to check a box, it won’t entice your customers. You have to build for mobile holistically so that new platforms fits into your universal marketing plans and seamlessly interact with the channels you’re already utilizing. Today, Branch is focused on unifying the marketing channels that are inherently fragmented on mobile, like email, web-to-app, social and ads.

S: What's the next step in the Branch story that readers can expect?

MS: You can expect us to optimize every marketing channels with deep linking to unify your customer's experience across all platforms and channels. Being able to measure and improve campaigns across all channels, from paid to viral or social, will continue to give your users the best possible experience while providing marketers with an unparalleled view into their measurement across all platforms. 

Don’t miss your opportunity to meet Mada in person and learn more about Branch at the Savage Marketing 2017 Conference

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