URX, which is trying to solve the problem of interconnecting apps similar to how the web operates with clickable links, has introduced a new tool called “OmniLinks” and secured $12 million in funding, led by Accel Partners with participation from First Round Capital, Google Ventures and SV Angel. The San-Francisco-based company, which specializes in “deep-linking,” has now raised a total of $15.1 million since its founding in February 2013.
When we caught up URX CEO (and ex-Googler) John Milinovich in March, the company was focused on e-commerce, working with clients including Living Social, Spotify and ThreadFlip, to make their mobile ads connect users directly to the right page within an app. Because these particular apps have deep link capabilities, URX was able to create ads that link users directly to the correct page within the application and even tailor ads based on their prior browsing behavior.
Now, URX is taking things a step further by introducing OmniLinks. The free tool, which officially launches tomorrow, creates smart links that work everywhere. URX’s OmniLinks work by simply putting “urx.io/” in front of any web URL. When a user clicks on the link, they are taken to either an app or a website. For example, “urx.io/https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ” takes users to a different place based on whether they have the YouTube app installed and if they are using a mobile device or computer.
This “smart” web linking enables developers to design links that direct users to either an app or a Web page, depending on the device that’s being used. Marketers can use OmniLinks in their email, social, push and paid campaigns and work with URX to optimize mobile traffic. URX is also unveiling the Open Deeplink Standard, its proposed method for exposing an app’s deep link structure, which will allow developers to link to each other’s apps and expose content to mobile search engines with just a few lines of code.
One of the challenges with deeplinking is that the apps need to have deeplinking capabilities for many of these tools to work. In March, Milinovich told us that the majority of apps still didn’t have deeplinking capabilities, however, the number was growing aggressively. One of the benefits of omnilinks is that it utilizes meta tags that already exist on websites so developers don’t need to do any heavy lifting for omnilinks to work.
“The main motivator for many developers to implement deeplinking today is so that they can benefit from much of what Google, Facebook and Twitter are doing in the space,” Milinovich said. “Omnilinks work by using the meta tags needed to make those systems work so that it is truly a zero work setup to get up and running with omnilinks once your app supports deeplinking.”