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With this post we’re rolling out a new feature to help Windows Phone 6 developers market their applications: deeplinking with the new “Get It Now” Windows Phone logo.
A Windows Phone 6 deeplink points users directly to your application details page on either the Marketplace website, or the Marketplace on-device client. When used with the new logo, deeplinking to the Marketplace website is perfect for email marketing, or for telling users who come to your website how to find your Windows Phone 6 apps.
Deeplinking to the client is even more powerful because you can embed the link within an app. When a user clicks on a client deeplink it will open the marketplace client directly to the details page of the linked application, giving you a great way to help users try new products, or to convert free trial downloads into paid transactions.
Another great thing is that your deeplinks will always point to the latest published version of the linked apps, within your user’s home market. So, you won’t need to go back and change your deeplinks every time you publish an update. Deeplinks are currently limited to applications within the user’s market; however we expect to roll-out cross-market deeplinking in the near future.
Let’s take a closer look at how deeplinking works, starting with the web experience.
The first thing to do is download the new “Get It Now on Windows Phone” logo artwork and license agreement here. You can use deeplinks without the artwork, but it’s free, easy to access, and comes in several different languages, so why not go ahead and download it?
Now, let’s build a deeplink for a specific app. Deeplinking uses a parameter called Link ID, so let’s grab the Link ID for the app you want to link to. You can find this within the Marketplace developer portal by following these steps:
Once you have the link, create a new URL of the format:
The Link ID is the 32-character string copied in step 4. Now, link to this URL in your app-specific marketing communications, using the “Get It Now” artwork
That’s it. When a user clicks on that link, they will go directly to the details page for your app on the Marketplace website. It’s important to remember that while the Link ID will remain constant for any updates to an app, there may be different Link IDs for Standard and Professional apps. So, if you have apps for both Standard and Professional devices, you’ll need to get the unique Link ID for each of those apps, and point your users to the different versions appropriately. Also, if they are not already signed in with Windows Live ID, users will be reminded to do so before they can download or purchase the app from the Marketplace website.
Now let’s take a look at deep linking on the on-device client. First you’ll need to grab the 32-character Link ID by following steps 1-4 in the deeplinking for web instructions above. Once you have the LinkID, the best way is to use it is to add a new button control to your app. You can even use the “Get It Now” artwork as the visual for the button control, like we did in this demo app screenshot.
Once the control is placed, add an action to launch a process from the control using:
Where Link ID is the 32-character string you grabbed above.
When the app is compiled, a click on the button control will open the Marketplace on-device client directly to the details page of the linked application, like this:
The final step is to submit the updated .cab file for certification testing via the Windows Phone developer portal. You can do this as an update to the existing app, and remember, you can submit as many as nine free updates to each Marketplace application.
Just as with deeplinking on the web, the Link ID will remain constant for updates to an app, so you won’t need to change the control when you update the linked app. You can use this feature to up-sell free trials to paid downloads, (which by the way is a great strategy for increasing revenue), or simply to help your users find other apps you think they’d like.
Whether you use the website version, or the client version, or both, deeplinking gives you a great way to tell users how to quickly and easily find, try, and buy your applications on the Windows Phone 6 Marketplace!