Branded Short Links vs Unbranded Ones
Short links are an essential tool for modern-day marketing, especially when there are text length limitations imposed by the media where the marketing message is shared. SMS and text messenger marketing, posts in social networks, you name it - every time there’s a need to share links to online content in a concise and manageable format, short URLs come in handy.
However, not all short links are created equal. Branded short links (aka "vanity links”), in particular, offer several advantages over unbranded ones. In this article, we will explain the differences between the two and explore the benefits of using branded short links.
First, let's define the terms.
A short link is a condensed version of a longer URL, created using a URL shortening tool. Such tools generate a unique URL that redirects to the longer URL, making it easier to share on social media or in messaging apps.
Unbranded short links use generic domains such as yo.hn, bit.ly, or goo.gl. On the other hand, branded short links use a custom domain that reflects the brand's name, such as pep.si/link for Pepsi or amzn.to/link for Amazon.
Now, let's delve into the advantages of using branded short links over unbranded ones:
- Trustworthiness: Generic short links are not as trustworthy as branded ones. People are often reluctant to click on links they have already seen many times in spam messages. Branded short links, on the other hand, have a higher click-through rate (CTR) than unbranded short links (up to 39% higher, in fact, according to some experiments conducted). This is because branded links are associated with a recognizable brand, which makes them more credible and trustworthy.
- Spam filters: Even legitimate short links may get flagged or marked as spam, which makes your marketing efforts much less effective. The domain names of some generic short link providers are blacklisted by mobile carriers and other service providers by default. Even our own short link domain, yo.hn, once ended up temporarily blocked by Google’s Safe Browsing, which was why we had to integrate active threat monitoring into our product in order to prevent its misuse. Using a branded short link, however, is by far the simplest and most effective way to reduce the chances of being flagged.
- Brand building: It may sound banal but it’s true - branded short links are yet another opportunity for a company to get their brand noticed and recognised by the target audience. So why not use it?
It's worth noting that both branded and unbranded short links have their respective use cases. Generic links are perfectly sufficient for sharing content with friends, family, or small groups. However, branded short links are more appropriate for professional use, where a brand's reputation and credibility are crucial.