Many companies choose to use a generic link shortener such as TinyURL, Bitly, or Goo.gl. While these services are great for sharing links quickly and saving characters in social media posts, they don't allow you to expand your brand awareness by customizing the branded landing page that appears when someone clicks on your shortened link.
If you're looking for a service that works well with all of your existing analytics tools and provides a quick way to shorten a URL without looking spammy or untrustworthy, small generic link shorteners might be best for you. However, if you'd like the ability to create a customized branded experience when people click through from one of your links -- providing more information about who you are or what you're sharing -- you should take a look at other options.
Here are some of the design features that make link shorteners excellent tools for expanding your brand's reach:
Generous amount of branding space on landing page
Link shorteners allow you to expand your brand by providing plenty of room for an image, logo, product shots, or additional text. TinyURLs and Goo.gl both provide 1/3rd of a page for custom imagery. The Bitly ad platform also offers ample branding space with its white panel backgrounds. These are all opportunities where you can put your best foot forward about what it is that makes you different from everyone else online. Not only will this help people remember who shared something with them, but it also increases your chances of coming up in conversations again later.
Customizable messages that appear when someone clicks on a link
Bitly's "Promoted" page layout options
When it comes to deciding whether or not you should use a link shortener that doesn't allow for branding, the answer all depends on your business goals and how you plan on using links. If your brand can benefit from having more real estate on the landing page, allowing people who see your links across the web to easily identify what makes you different or reinforces trust in you as a company, than it might be worth exploring other tools with unique features like this one. However, if you're just looking for an easy-to-use service that cuts down text so people don't have to write nearly as much, these generic tools can get the job done.
Understand the Relationship Between Bitly and Google
Bitly -- What is it? How Does it Work? How Can Marketers Benefit?
What Is Link Shortening & Why Should Marketers Care?
Moz article background information (to use as knowledge, not to be copied verbatim): As Bitly has grown in popularity, some people have become concerned about their data being shared through links shortened by the service. Some news briefs have even suggested that Bitly is sharing users' Twitter data with Twitter itself. Moz always looks for opportunities to correct misinformation like this when we see it ( reporting or misunderstanding on part of the press).
Bitly does not share any Twitter data with Twitter. It's important to note that the URL you share on Bitly is anonymized, meaning there are no direct links to your own URLs being shared publicly. This means companies like Google and Twitter have absolutely zero access to Bitly data. Only people who click on a shortened link can see where it goes after it redirects through bitly, which allows marketers to track data back to their source without compromising individual user information.
This may seem completely counter-intuitive for people just getting started using link shorteners for brand awareness purposes, but having more control over how your bitlinks look will actually help you expand your reach even further! Here's why: When you use generic link shorteners , you miss out on the opportunity for brand expansion. For example, when you use TinyURL or the free version of a tool such as Bitly, your shortened link will include the service's brand name, rather than your own:
Which one do you think will be clicked more?
Exactly. The tinyurl shortener is going to be used way more often because it tells users exactly where they're going and makes it really easy to understand - even if they've never seen that website before. Once someone has clicked through from a bitlink, however, all bets are off. They have no idea what site they're being directed toward until they land there in front of a screen full of options - at which point, most people will just bail.
The main takeaway here is to stop using generic shorteners right away if you aren't already, and start working on building up your own personal brand! The more specific, recognizable, and unique your bitlinks are, the better off you'll be. If you're not sure where to get started with creating bitlinks that do all this for you automatically, give Bitly a try ! They've got tools that can help take your brand awareness through the roof - plus the link customization doesn't cost anything (unlike now!)
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