Optimizing Organic Social: How to Get Social Media Users to Your App

Johanna Grahn

Strategic Customer Success Manager

May 09, 2022

Your brand’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok profiles represent an extension of your own digital properties. Users that follow and like your social content likely have a strong affinity for your brand. This means many of them will also have your app installed.

While social engagement with your brand is important, our data repeatedly shows that when users engage with your mobile app, they are twice as likely to buy and they stay with you twice as long. However, driving app engagement from social channels can be tricky. This is why many marketers don’t prioritize organic social when planning their growth campaigns. 

Many of these social platforms act as walled gardens. With a goal to keep their own engagement metrics high, social platforms try to keep users inside their own platforms — even users who already have your app installed. They load an in-app browser designed to keep users in a walled version of your website, making it difficult to get users out of their ecosystems and into your app. 

Luckily, Branch has a solution to increase engagement from organic social channels. Branch customers leverage our mobile linking platform to optimize app acquisition and engagement by easily taking users from social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to their mobile app.

How Branch supports organic social channels

Arming your organic social posts with Branch links will provide a superior user experience and help you increase customer lifetime value. Branch links can be scaled across social channels to break down the walls and route existing app users from content in a social post to the same content in your app — even through an install.

In order to deep link from social media platforms, you can create quick links that work across every device, operating system, and channel. These can be created in our Branch dashboard or through our Chrome Link Creator with custom redirections, analytics information, and social media tags. For users who already have your app installed, the quick link will take them directly to the content within your app, increasing the likelihood of a conversion. The redirects come into play for users who do not have your app installed. You have two options for where to direct these users: 

  1. Fall back straight to your app in the app or play store 
  2. Fall back to your mobile website where you can serve a Branch Journeys banner to prompt an install

Unlike other web-to-app banner solutions, Branch’s Journeys are highly customizable, both in template design and targeting options. They are designed to give attribution by default back to the link the user clicked on before landing on your site. This makes them the perfect tool to incorporate into organic social campaigns. Using Journeys, you can drive users to your website, target based on their organic social channel source, and personalize their banner based on their high intent. Doing so will ensure both install attribution and subsequent downstream events are credited back to the referring social campaign. 

“9Now has undergone a big effort to ensure as much of our inbound app traffic as possible is coming from Branch links, including our Organic Social channels. Apart from the seamless user experience from link click to specific content in the app, it allows us to more accurately attribute performance to the right channel and understand the true effectiveness of our paid initiatives.”

— Adrian Grasso, 9Now Performance Marketing Lead

in-app screenshot advertising an episode of LoveIsland UK
screenshot of the LoveIsland UK app

How to start using Branch links in organic social

Teams looking to revamp their social media strategy have a lot to consider. You may propose a strategy to make organic social channels part of your app acquisition and engagement mix. And you’ll most likely need to prove to internal stakeholders that this will actually work, which means you’ll need data. 

A tried and true starting point is to simply replace the links on your brand profile pages with Branch links Doing this will allow you to start driving users to your app. It will also allow you to measure effectiveness, both through app installs for new users and app opens for users who already have your app installed. 

picture of people looking at link to install app
screenshot of app after users have installed

Then, look at the data. Click-to-install (CTI) and click-to-open (CTO) rates from these links can help you forecast what kind of app engagement you can drive from your social channels. You can then apply these metrics to your overall social clicks to predict the uplift of replacing every social link with a Branch link. 

screenshot of a click-to-open Branch deep link on instagram account for SBS On Demand streaming app
screenshot demonstrating a successfully opened Branch deep link taking a user from Instagram to the SBS On Demand mobile app

Get more advanced with your organic social strategy

Once you have your benchmarks set and buy-in from key stakeholders, you can really get creative. If you’re an e-commerce or subscription-based business, you can run posts to boost app adoption. Next, consider offering a discount to new app users if they download the app, and apply the discount automatically via Branch’s link data. Afterward, you can utilize the attribution data from these links to know the post’s effectiveness and iterate on the strategy to optimize for better performance. 

If you use social media influencers to promote your brand, Branch links are a great way to keep track of how those links are performing, too. This can help you understand whether to pay on a per-install or per-sale basis. It also helps you make informed decisions around whether continued engagement with a certain influencer is worthwhile or whether you should increase the level of collaboration. 

user flow displaying a deferred deep linking flow from the Revolut Twitter account through the App Store and into the app

Businesses with multiple brands and social media profiles under their umbrellas can leverage cross-promotion to reach new audiences. A media company with news, streaming video, and radio divisions can cross-post between profiles to expand its audience. For example, the company can post about a noteworthy show to stream from the news profile. By tapping into a new social following for acquisition or app engagement, apps can grow their user bases without tapping into their advertising budgets. 

Organic social and beyond with Branch

Branch’s most successful customers leverage the Branch mobile linking platform wherever a link can be placed. If you want to grow your app, driving all channels to your app will yield better results. 

The wider you cast your net of Branch links, the more insights you’ll gain into how different marketing channels perform. Understanding where your app traffic is coming from and attributing down-funnel activity back to the source is critical for ensuring your marketing efforts are worthwhile. If your company invests heavily in paid advertising, it’s even more important to have a solid strategy for paid and organic channels. This is so you can accurately and holistically measure the true return of your investment. If you learn organic social is responsible for driving much of the traffic that ads have formerly taken credit for, you have an opportunity to downsize your investment. This will, in turn, increase your bottom line. Better yet, Apple’s policy changes do not extend to owned and organic channels, so you’ll be able to get granular attribution data from these efforts. 

If you’re ready to start maximizing your organic social channels for acquisition and engagement, contact our sales team or your Branch support team. 

Branch provides the industry's leading mobile linking and measurement platforms, offering solutions that unify user experience and attribution across devices and channels. Branch has been selected by over 100,000 apps since 2014 including Adobe, BuzzFeed, Yelp, and many more, improving experiences for more than 3 billion monthly users across the globe. Learn more about Branch or contact sales today.
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