Why not just send people to the original link?
Let's say the original link is https://example.com/about . This is a long and ugly URL, not to mention it's no fun reading that string of words. By using a link shortener you're sending someone to something like https://bitly/2ciEd1q . It's much more pleasant to read this shorter version, but there are other reasons for shortening links as well.
Please note: We are not endorsing any particular service here, nor should these be considered paid reviews! These are only presented as examples.
Whether you have an e-commerce site or just plan on doing some word of mouth marketing, being able to track your clicks is important. If someone clicks on your link, you need to know where they came from. Link shorteners make this possible by using their URL or redirects (if there are any).
Inserting UTM parameters
The UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters help determine where your visits originate from. It can be difficult trying to get these into a normal URL though; it's not an especially easy thing to do. A link shortener allows you to easily add in your UTM's and mask them behind the shortened version of the link.
Good to use with:
Facebook – https://www.matchurl.com viralurl for a quick link.
Twitter – Bitly, goo.gl, and adf.ly are good choices here as well as the official Twitter shorten links feature now built into bitly itself. You can also use bit.ly's custom shorteners for this purpose as well as their basic URL shortener service if you just need a very small number of shorter links.
Google+ – The Google+ long link share option has a little box that says "What's This clicky thing? Isn't sharing enough?" If you want to keep your URLs from being automatically shortened by Google+, use Goo.gl or bitly instead of the normal g.co.
Pinterest – The original blog post that outlined this feature suggests using bit.ly but I'm sure there are other services as well. If you share a lot of Pinterest links, it would be great to be able to see where all your traffic comes from and how people found your content. You could even take advantage of this for geo-targeting purposes by finding out where each pin is coming from!
Google Analytics – Insert your UTM parameters into a link shortener before putting them into Google Analytics. This will give you an accurate count on the number of visits by source/medium/campaign name etc…
reddit – It's possible however it seems like a lot of unnecessary work when you can simply use the Reddit official short linkhttps://www.matchurl.com mp or create your own service as detailed here .
Tumblr – To help with attribution, as well as for other reasons such as link loss prevention and tracking.
Content Distribution Networks – Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP both utilize a different URL format than the conventional one we see on most web pages; this means that you cannot easily track offsite clicks and traffic sources to these articles (i.e., referrals). Using a link shortener like bitly allows you to properly attribute this otherwise hidden traffic, thus increasing publisher analytics visibility. You can also use an anonymizing proxy if needed such as Anonymouse.org or anonymouse.org , but note that they don't support UTM params currently (but do support bit.ly and Goo.gl).
giphy – For fun
Bad to use with:
Google Analytics (but only if you're already using the official Google Analytics link shortener bitly, which can be included in your GA code)
reddit (see above)
Tumblr (see above)
Facebook Instant Articles or Google AMP (because they have their own URL formats; see Content Distribution Networks section above for more information on this). But you can still use bitly or another provider for off-site links since these articles are hosted elsewhere. Also note that Facebook's official shorteners for FB posts will not work with Instant Articles/AMP; however, there is a workaround described here . If you're using Google Analytics, you can use an anonymizing proxy to link share even for Instant Articles/AMP links.
Twitter – Unless you are using Twitter's official shortener t.co or creating your own custom one as detailed here , I would strongly recommend against using any other link shortener with this service. Using a different provider with t.co could cause inaccurate traffic attribution if UTM parameters are inserted into the links since all of Twitter's links are t.co now (see Content Distribution Networks section above for more information). Also note that Goo.gl, bitly and adf.ly will not work on images tweeted via the old interface; only the new Twitter Cards feature works with these providers (may require additional set up process). Pinterest – The following bot will block shortened links on Pinterest: https://www.matchurl.com. This is due to the fact that the network itself uses links of only 23 characters (see Content Distribution Networks section above for more information).
Google+ – If you try to shorten a Google+ link with any service other than the official one, it's possible this community post might show up in your notifications… "Lolwut? Did you know "+https://www.matchurl.com is shorter than "https://www.matchurl.com"?" (yes, I had to write out the long version here because it would have been cut off).
Facebook – Unless you are using Facebook's official shortener fb.me , I would strongly recommend against using any other link shortener with this service as described here . In addition, note that Goo.gl and bitly will not work on images shared via the old interface; only the new Open Graph feature works with these providers (may require additional set up process). Note also that FB posts will not have click stats through Google Analytics since all FB links now use fb.me ; instead, they will go into a "Referral Traffic" category in GA under a source named "FaceBook" because it comes from Facebook directly (see Content Distribution Networks section above for more information). LinkedIn – As of+ January 2018, this link shortener does not work with a custom one configured in your LinkedIn profile. You can however use the official LinkedIn link shortener linkedin.com .
Reddit – Similar to Facebook Instant Articles/Google AMP links, because Reddit uses their own URL format for posts and comments (see Content Distribution Networks section above for more information).
Tumblr – As of March 2017 Tumblr has changed all their links to t.umblr.com , so be sure to update your blogrolls if you haven't already. And just like Facebook's official shorteners will not work on Tumblr posts since it uses its own custom URL format (see Content Distribution Networks section above for more information), neither will adf.ly or Goo.gl on images attached to posts and comments. This is due to the fact that you need to be logged into Tumblr for these tools' shorteners to work, but login cookie information isn't passed when clicking image links (see Content Distribution Networks section above for more information).
Pinterest – The following bot will block shortened links on Pinterest: https://www.matchurl.com. This is due to the fact that the network itself uses links of only 23 characters (see Content Distribution Networks section above for more information).
Facebook Instant Articles/Google AMP – See Twitter section above.
Google+ – As mentioned in the Facebook section, Goo.gl and bitly are blocked by this community's bot here . Google's own link shortener
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