updated icon March 2 2018

You must have heard of deep linking. In short, it’s a practice of using links that direct users straight to a specific page or content in an app. With mobile app deep links, user onboarding becomes much easier. It also allows you to track referrals, provides you with mobile growth statistics, analytics on whether your latest marketing campaign was effective and more.

Since app manufacturers discovered the perks of deep links, tech companies that create mobile linking platforms have been trying to win customers over. And the competition is fierce. Various platforms offer different approaches to growth hacking mobile apps. We’ll have a look at three of them: Branch, Firebase, and GetSocial, so you could decide which one works best for your app.


Branch, aka Branch Metrics, is a platform that offers an advanced deep linking solution. Its core features are highly customizable deep linking, mobile growth statistics and smooth integration with the main marketing platforms. And that’s it. Branch is simply a deep linking tool that can be paired with a popular marketing platform. Sure, it has a powerful SDK to create links, transmit any necessary information and use it in an app, but Branch fails to engage users in any other way than simply linking them to the app.

Branch does deep linking and does it well. If that’s all you need, then it’s a perfect tool for you. However, if you need a complete solution for your mobile app growth, you might want to search for something else.


Firebase was created in 2011 and offered a back-end solution for iOS, Android and Web apps. In 2014 it was acquired by Google, which meant two things for Firebase: scaling up and introduction to Google Cloud Platform. Firebase is primarily a backend-as-a-service tool, designed to make a developer’s life easier. On top of that, it provides a number of other services and mobile app growth through deep linking is among them.

With numerous tools for building and promoting the growth of apps, Firebase may seem a Jack of all trades and a master of none. While it is legit as a back-end solution, you can’t shake the feeling that its mobile app growth tools are somewhat raw. Firebase offers marketing solutions but they are borderline basic. Their Dynamic Links (which is how they call deep linking) feature does a basic job but nothing more. If you need to customize different parameters, like social meta tags, you’ll have to manually encode them into the URL, which makes Firebase’s messy URLs even messier. And if you need a detailed report on link performance – sorry, it’s just not there. Firebase Invites are kind of a referral system but not quite. On top of that, only Android users can use links without authentication and the available channels are only SMS and email with little customization. As you can see, the functionality is pretty limited.

The only advantage in using Firebase Dynamic Links for building growth hacking mobile apps is that they come in a package with many other services. So, if you need Firebase as BaaS, you might as well use their tools for mobile app growth.


GetSocial is an in-app solution for mobile app growth that acquires, connects and engages users. Deep linking, or Smart Links, is one of its core features and offers sharing across every platform or channel. Similarly to Branch, it packs them up with powerful analytics and mobile growth statistics. And it supports data export too.

GetSocial is a fully customizable platform. Its UI can be quickly and easily personalized thanks to UI templates and configuration files.

What really makes GetSocial stand out is that, unlike the other two platforms, it empowers your app with end-to-end (viral user acquisition to retention) social layers. Its SDK easily lets users refer their friends through Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, Kik, Kakao or Whatsapp. These are just a few of the channels GetSocial’s Smart Invites work with. Basically, Smart Invites help you build your very own in-app referral system, allowing word-of-mouth to work for you, lowering user acquisition cost and increasing lifetime value. It also increases acquisition and retention rates as people are more likely to be loyal to an app if it was recommended by their friend.

In addition to that, GetSocial is the only platform that increases the daily user engagement with your app. Activity Feeds, Social Graph, Push Notifications – a lot of its features are focused on making users return to your app daily, which makes it a perfect solution for app’s consistent growth. If you want to build loyal in-app community with users frequently getting back to your app, engaging with each other and referring their friends – opt for GetSocial.

Feature comparison

 GetSocialBranch MetricsGoogle Firebase
App Invitesyyy
Native Integration w/ Chat and Social appsyNative Share SheetSMS and Email only
Install Attribution and Referral trackingyyy
Localization support for invite textynn
Rich media supportynn
Deep Linkingyyy
Marketing Linksyyy
Google App Indexing supportnyy
Web to App toolsyyn
Support for thousands of deep linking edge casesyyn
Analytics (with Data Export)yyy
Custom Event Trackingnyy
Postback (Webhooks) Supportyyn
Ad network attributionnyy
Third-party integrationsyyn
Segmentation and Targettingyny
Push notificationsyny
User Managementyny
Activity feedsynn
Social Graphynn
Facebook Graph Integrationynn
In-app mutual friend recommendationsynn

GetSocial latest features

GetSocial combines the best of all worlds to maximize the social performance of your apps. Meet the brand new solutions to growth hacking mobile apps.

Smart Banners

GetSocial Smart Banners are fully customizable and easy-to-implement mobile banners that drive traffic from your websites to the app. You can quickly change every element of the banner through a dashboard. It’s super easy to use: just create an empty element (for example “smart-banner-container”) that will indicate the place where the banner should be shown. After that, call a banner function on this element from your file and voila!

Smart Audiences and Smart Targeting

Smart Audiences gives you a better understanding of your users. It lets you segment them into different audiences and study their in-app behavior. You can find influencers and social whales, compare platforms performance and export the list of users in any given segment.

Smart Audiences opens the door to Smart Targeting. You can re-engage any given user segment with push notifications or run Facebook Lookalike marketing campaigns to acquire a similar audience.

Social Graph

Combined with Smart Invites, this tool allows you to build a social network within your app. You can see the “who’s invited who” information and suggest friends based on mutual connections. You can also create group experiences that will encourage users to engage with the app more and invite others. This tool will give you a fully automated graph for your app, and it’ll take you only 5 minutes to integrate Social Graph API. It also incorporates Facebook Graph API, meaning that you can find out which of the user’s Facebook friends are using the app as well.


Although Branch, Firebase, and GetSocial all operate in the deep linking space, the services they offer differ. Branch is a highly customizable deep linking tool with rich analytics and exporting data. Firebase has many services for building an app in addition to its Dynamic Links. But none of them can offer as much user acquisition, retention, and engagement as GetSocial. If you need a complete SDK to boost your app’s growth and retention, sign up for GetSocial.