BUILD 2014 App Linking Blog Post

Link Your App to Search Results

App discoverability and app engagement are major challenges that app developers face every day. With millions of apps out there, how do people discover your app? And after a user installs your app, how do you encourage them to engage with it? According to a study by Localytics, two thirds of app users open apps ten or fewer times in total. 

Today we are excited to announce Bing App Linking to help make your Windows and Windows Phone apps more discoverable and give users new avenues to engage with your app. Following a few simple steps, you can easily link your app to Bing-powered search results on Windows Smart Search and Windows Phone. For example, if you’re a travel provider and you on-board your Windows Phone app, anyone who looks up “paris hotels” on Windows Phone would see your app link alongside relevant search results for your website. With one click, the user can then deep link to the content about Paris hotels in your app or, if it’s not installed on the device, install the app.

Over a dozen apps have already on-boarded with Bing App Linking, including Hulu, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, Amazon, Kayak, and eBay. Look up “Modern Family” in Windows 8.1 Smart Search and, with one click, you can deep link into the Hulu app and start watching the show. Search for “Ferry Building” on your Windows Phone and jump into the Foursquare app to see tips about things to do around the area. Visit bing.com/applink to get started with your app.

  

Figure 1 – Windows app linking in Windows 8.1’s Smart Search results.


Figure 2 – Windows Phone app linking in Windows Phone search results.

How does it work?

Implement app linking in four simple steps.

  1. Link your website to your app through the self-serve Bing webmaster portal.  You can stop here if you only want app links for website-level search results (e.g. contoso.com).  Continue with steps 2, 3, and 4 to add deep links for relevant webpage-level results (e.g. www.contoso.com/A).
  2. Markup webpages that you want app deep links for.  The schema.org-based markup includes your app ID, package family name, and launch arguments.
  3. Enable your app for deep linking and then submit your updated app to the Store.
  4. Register your app for deep linking through the Bing webmaster portal.

 

When you’re finished, linked Windows apps show up in Windows 8.1 Smart Search results and linked Windows Phone apps show up in Windows Phone search results.  App linking is supported for all Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 and 7.1 apps and is available today on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices.  For Windows Phone 8.0 devices, app deep links for webpage-level results are not supported but app links for website-level results will be available soon.  Visit bing.com/applink for more details.

 

Evan Lew, Principal Program Manager, Bing