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July 1, 2013

How to install a Smart App Banner without a WordPress plugin

On Tuesday, June 18, and after months of hard work with TypeEngine, the contributors, and French photographer Axel Dupeux, I finally released I CARE IF YOU LISTEN Magazine in the Apple Newsstand.

Even though the launch was quite successful (the Guardian featured us as one of the 20 best iPhone and iPad apps the week of June 24), I want to make our blog readers more aware of the Newsstans App and I decided to install a Smart App Banner.

What are Smart App Banners?

In case you’re not familiar with the Smart App Banners, they are a great way to promote one’s iOS app on iOS devices in Safari (iOS 6 and later; not on OS X). If you visit ICAREIFYOULISTEN.com on your iOS device using Safari, a banner will automatically appear to advertise the app, offering a direct link to the App Store.

Considering the time I had to implement this, I started looking for a plugin but none looked really satisfying. It turned out that manually installing a Smart App Banner on my self-hosted WordPress took less time than looking for a plugin.

What do I need?

You will need your app ID. The app ID can be found in your AppStore link. For example, your link is:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/name-of-your-app/id123456789?mt=8

your app ID is 123456789. Use the iTunes Link Maker to find out your app ID.

What do I do?

Once you’ve found your app ID, go to your WordPress dashboard and click on Appearance > Editor, and select header.php on the right.

In the <head> section, insert:

<meta name="apple-itunes-app" content="app-id=123456789">

Where, of course, 123456789 is your app ID.

Save, clear your Page cache if you use something like W3Cache. You’re done. Visit your page (you might have to clear your browser cache too in order to see the see the changes).

What if I don’t run a Self-Hosted WordPress?

Just make sure to copy the meta tag in the <head> of each page where you’d like the Smart App Banner to be displayed.

What are the advantages?

  • A single line of code: You really don’t need a plugin for this.
  • It is a proprietary Apple feature: It looks great and legit.

Final thoughts

Smart App Banners are really… smart. They can detect if the App is already installed on the device (and will offer to open it on a tap), or if the device cannot support it (in which case, the banner won’t be displayed).

The content attribute allows the use of two optional fields: affiliate-data and app-argument. For more info, visit: Promoting Apps with Smart App Banners.