Launches AppWords, A Deep Linking Ad Platform For Complementary Apps

The mobile search platform is adding a keyword-driven advertising program to break down the walls between users’ apps with relevant deep links.


Apps on our phones still live in their own little silos. We use one app, jump out and go on to the next and there is little to no connection between them. The team behind deep linking platform,, is aiming to change that (and monetize its platform) with Tuesday’s launch of AppWords, a keyword-driven mobile ad platform that deep links to relevant content between apps.

AppWords is quite different from the current array of in-app advertising products. AppWords aims to develop symbiotic relationships between apps in ways that are useful to their customers. I know what you’re thinking. AppWords sounds a lot like AdWords. That’s intentional. Whereas Google’s AdWords was created when desktops ruled, AppWords is what keyword-based intent looks like in the mobile era, according to the Deeplink team.

“We see this as the next iteration of mobile search,” co-founder Noah Klausman told Marketing Land. “Whereas on desktop, we go to a search page and declare an intent (‘sneakers’) and the search engine matches that up to a bidder, mobile is totally different because signaling isn’t the same. We built this platform to extract intent in real time based on what a user just did, and match up a relevant app to that intent.”

Here’s an example of how AppWords works: A user buys tickets to a movie using the Fandango app. After the transaction is complete, the user sees an ad from Foursquare (also installed on the smartphone) featuring a restaurant that’s near the movie theater the user will be going to. If the user clicks on the ad, he or she will be taken to the restaurant page right in the Foursquare app.

AppWords Deep linking ads

AppWords is designed for apps that have clear exit or confirmation pages like the Fandango example above. Host apps add the AppWords links to their exit or confirmation pages; when other installed apps bid on keywords — such as “restaurants in New York”, AppWords will feature a deep link to a page in the winning bidder’s app that is complementary to the user’s intent.

Klausman adds, “The beauty of AppWords is that, once you buy a ticket in a movie app, you have no reason to go back into that app, as you’ve exhausted the need. So that app can help their users who have already converted find the next thing that you are likely to do, and they’ll also get a new session from other users.”

The Deeplink organic network has been around for two years and is used by Shazam, Urban Outfitters, WeWork, Jackthreads, NYTimes, and several global retailers. It allows apps to direct traffic to pages inside their apps in Tweets, emails, share buttons and other methods of distribution. Many of the apps in the network had been testing AppWords in beta.

For its part, Google is among the several other companies developing their own deep linking solutions. In December, Google introduced app engagement ads with deep linking, and app indexing allows deep links to display in the organic search results.

To encourage app marketers to build out these kinds of complementary link relationships, AppWords is operating on a kind of link exchange basis. For every two links the host app sends out to other apps, it will get one link back in. It’s a bit quirky, but may be the trick at launch to spur adoption and scale.

For more details on AppWords, see the demo page here.

About The Author

As Third Door Media’s paid media reporter, Ginny Marvin writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She provides search marketing and demand generation advice for ecommerce companies and can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

(Some images used under license from


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