A Custom URL Shortener: The key to Branding Your Links to Increase Reach and Engagement
A custom URL shortener is a must-have for anyone looking to build their brand. It helps you gain authority by giving your links more credibility, increases the reach of your content as you can track where it goes more accurately, and makes sharing easy as you can send people directly to destinations on your site from social media.
In this article we’ll give you some ideas on how our own link shortening service - Rebrandly - is helping us achieve our branding goals at scale. We partnered with them earlier this year and have noticed a huge increase in engagement thanks to their ability to make our links more engaging, easier for us to share, and easier for us to track.
You can also take a look at some examples of companies such as Draw Something (which was recently acquired by Zynga) and Uber who use their own custom shorteners to increase engagement.
So without further ado, here’s how we use Rebrandly:
1. Brand Your Links to Increase Engagement:
One of the first things we did after using our own URL Shortener was change all our links from this
This is a pretty simple example, but this has already helped us increase engagement and click through rates simply by changing the link color and adding our logo:
You can also do some pretty cool stuff with your links with Rebrandly’s “Call to Action Buttons”:
Whether you’re adding buttons to blog posts or your social media profile, you can drive engagement and clicks by putting these bad boys on everything. For instance, we often share our latest blog post as a Facebook status update with the Rebrandly button as the main call to action (CTA):
Another way we use Rebrandly is to create “Click-To-Tweets” for all our posts on the blog. We put one of those at the end of each article with a shortened version of the title:
We even created an awesome “clickable infographic” which brings visitors directly from Twitter onto our site via Rebrandly without having to copy/paste anything. Here's what it looks like:
And here's what it links to (our infographic about Uber):
2. Track your links anywhere they go!
We started using Rebrandly’s “Micro-measurement” integration with Google Analytics right away, and this has helped us debunk some myths about blog writing in no time. For example, many people think that once you publish an article you should just share it everywhere on social media. Others think that if there aren’t any new comments on the article after a few days, it might not get shared much - even though you can easily see where all your visitors are coming from thanks to Rebrandly’s excellent analytics. Just take a look at this short video overview of what Rebrandly’s analytics does for us:
3. Make sharing your links easy!
Rebrandly has an amazing Chrome extension which allows you to shorten URLs anywhere on the web in one click, and it even gives you the option of not sharing the destination URL. This way users can append any link with our custom shortener without having to leave Twitter, Facebook or Reddit.
4. Customize your shortened URLs.
You can choose from eight different domain extensions including .co, .win, .myfreesites and more - depending on where you want people to go after clicking on a link (i.e., anywhere from your blog onto another social media profile). You also have complete control over the title and destination URL. For example, we decided to change our links from https://brand.rebrandly.com/absolut_eagle?ref=wontdon&utm_source=AbsolutEagle&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Brand%20ShortURLs&utm_term=https://www.rebrandly.com/absolut_eagle to https://www.rebrandly.com/absolutEAGLE-Sebastian?ref=wontdon&utm_source=AbsolutEagle&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Brand%20ShortURLs&utm_term=https://www.rebrandly.com/absolut_eagle&utm_content=Brand%20ShortURLs
This is a great way to add a little “flare” to your custom URL, making it memorable and playful! Here's what the final result looks like:
5. Find out who shared your link and where they clicked from!
One of our favorite features in Rebrandly Analytics is being able to see who clicks on a shortened link and from which referring site, so we can figure out whether or not they saw all our other content before clicking on the specific article that could be most relevant to them. This feature has already helped us find influencers for one of our clients because we can see where they clicked from, which pushed us to start following them on Twitter and engaging with them there.
6. Monitor your links.
You can set up push notifications for each shortened link so that you know immediately when someone clicks it or shares it somewhere new. Clicking on the notification will take you directly to Rebrandly’s page with all the details of what has just happened with one simple click (i.e., who shared it/where it was shared/who clicked).
7. Transfer existing links to Rebrandly!
Since Rebrandly is widely used by professional bloggers and online marketers, many people don’t want to migrate their old links over to our platform because they don’t want to lose their stats or have to change anything about the way they use links. The solution? We created a fantastic Chrome extension which lets you import any link from your browser into Rebrandly in one click. You’ll then see all of your followers that clicked on that specific link, even if it was shared on Twitter, Facebook or reddit.
8. Create branded short URLs for your posts!
Rebrandly can help you create custom shorter links for each post on your blog, so visitors will know exactly where they are going without ever having to guess or remember long URLs. Having this level of customization makes it much easier for users to navigate anything from payment plan pages to landing pages and more - just by changing your URL.
9. Create branded short URLs for your social media accounts!
Marketers can use Rebrandly to create custom links for all of their social media profiles (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more). This is a great way to personalize each one and engage with different markets where they’re spending the most time online. Just as you would change up your blog posts depending on who you want to attract as an audience, creating branded short URLs for these networks will help you reach out to users that have already been engaging with them in some capacity so they know exactly who you are and what you represent before ever visiting a link.
10. Use it to optimize internal linking!
Many people started using Rebrandly as an internal linking tool. Did you know that Google now considers the number of clicks on a URL to be a ranking factor? Plus, if someone is searching for something and they see your landing page in the search results but then click another link that takes them to a different web page, they will have to click back if they want to return to your original product or content. This can result in less time spent on your site overall so it’s pretty important not to lose sight of this marketing strategy!
11. Publish your own custom domain!
Custom URLs are great for building brands but some marketers go one step further by creating their own dedicated branded domains with Rebrandly. This way,
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