Table of Contents
You can definitely find free URL branded shorteners online if you look for them hard enough.
However, are these free custom shorteners worth it, or would you be better off paying for such a service?
This post hopes to explore the possibility of utilizing free custom shorteners to increase brand awareness through branded links.
In this post, we will discuss:
- What branded URL shorteners are
- Why most branded URL shorteners have paid plans
- Whether or not you need a branded URL shortener
- Whether or not free branded URL shorteners are worth it
So without further ado, let’s get started.
What’s a Branded URL Shortener?
A branded URL shortener allows you to connect a custom domain or subdomain to it. Then, you can use that domain or subdomain to generate shortened links. This allows for custom links since you can adjust the latter part of the shortened link (after the forward-slash) as well.
Custom links allow you to represent your brand through the URL shortening process.
This is because the custom domain or subdomain that you’ll connect with will often be the name of your brand or some type of abbreviation of it. Thus, you’re able to add a touch of your brand to your shortened links rather than them bearing the URL shortener tool’s name.
You don’t want to use generic shortened links for your promotional content because that would advertise the URL shortener tool, not your brand.
Do I Need a Branded URL Shortener?
If you want to shorten links simply for personal use or even just for use within your company, you can get away with using a generic URL shortener.
However, if you intend to shorten links so that they can be shared with potential customers and your target market, then you absolutely need a branded URL shortener.
Well, when you’re a brand that wants to increase its awareness and recognition, you must ensure that every part of your content represents you. This is especially true in today’s age of digital marketing, especially on social media.
This includes the images, text, videos, and anything else that you share; It’s not surprising then that your shortened links need to represent your brand properly as well.
This leads to increased brand cohesion and a clear representation of your brand through your shortened links.
Not only that but branded links also increase customer trust since they’ll know who the link is from and where it leads to. Hence, they’ll be much more likely to click it and interact with your brand’s content. This obviously results in a much higher click-through rate as well.
Can I Find Free Branded URL Shorteners, and Is it Worth it?
Since branded URL shorteners allow brands to represent themselves, they are typically only available in paid plans. This is why most of the free URL shorteners that you’ll see online will only allow you to generate generic shortened links.
These links, of course, bear the branding of the URL shortener tool rather than your brand’s. In most cases, the paid plans that allow you to generate branded links usually cost somewhere in the range of $20 to $40 per month.
So, what about the few branded URL shorteners that are free to use?
Well, it may seem like a good deal but the truth of the matter is that if you’re a brand looking for a branded link generator, custom links aren’t the only thing you’ll need.
As a brand, you need several other features from your URL shortener too such as:
- Link tracking
- Detailed analytics and history
- Link retargeting
The issue with such free branded URL shorteners is that while they do provide you with custom links, they won’t provide you with these other features. Even if they do, they’ll be in a very limited capacity.
For example, Rebrandly offers you five custom domains for free. However, you can only track up to 5,000 clicks per month and you do not get custom reports per month.
Hence, while you’ll be able to generate custom links, you won’t have the means to track them properly. You also won’t get adequate statistics about your target audience. Naturally, all of these factors will hurt your discoverability and hinder your growth.
Why Do You Need Link Tracking?
Link tracking is absolutely essential for any brand that needs to construct effective marketing campaigns based on a certain target demographic or demographics.
You can’t construct effective campaigns if you don’t know who your target market is.
That’s where link tracking comes in. Link tracking allows you to identify certain traits about the individuals that click on your shortened links. Thus, you can use this information to build customer personas.
Once those customer personas are built, they can be utilized to create more personalized and specific marketing campaigns. Naturally, since they’re more personalized, they’ll have a much higher chance of grabbing the attention of that particular demographic.
Why Do You Need Detailed Analytics?
Any brand that wants to learn from its past mistakes needs to have access to its entire history of analytics. This includes the performance of the shortened links that they generate and share across all of their marketing content.
Not only do you need to keep track of the history, but you must also keep track of their performance in real-time as well.
That’s the great thing about marketing in the digital age.
You can monitor your performance in real time and then make changes on the fly accordingly. This approach can save failing campaigns and really ensure that you’re reaching the highest amount of likely customers possible.
Why Do You Need Link Retargeting?
Link retargeting is a super powerful tool that many paid URL shorteners have. In most cases, you will not find these features as part of a free plan for any URL shortener, even the free branded ones.
Link retargeting allows you to track visitors.
These are the people that clicked on your branded links. Then, once they’re tracked, you can use this information to serve ads to them at a later time. Since they’ve already interacted with your brand, they’ll have a much higher chance of interacting with the ads they’re served.
This sophisticated approach leads to a lot more user engagement and, eventually, an increase in sales and revenue.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Should I Use a URL Shortener?
There are several reasons why one would need a URL shortener. They fulfill a ton of needs for individuals as well as brands.
For individuals, smaller URLs are much easier to memorize and, thus, a whole lot easier to manage.
For brands, they can be a way to promote themselves through branded links. Furthermore, they increase consumer trust and brands also use them to keep track of their key metrics as well as target audiences.
How is a URL Different from an Email Address?
A URL is used to refer to a resource on the internet. When you enter it into a browser, it takes you to that resource, e.g., a website, a blog, etc.
An email address is an address to an account on a mail server. It is used to identify a person’s email account that can be used to send and receive emails. Email addresses have the “@” symbol, whereas URLs do not.
How Do URL Shorteners Work?
URL shorteners work by receiving a long URL as input. Then, they generate a much smaller URL that is essentially a redirect link that leads to the same web page that the URL you entered as input leads to.
Since the shorter URL leads to the same web page, you can use that instead of the original long URL that you input into the URL shortener tool.
How Does Link Redirection Work?
A redirect link is essentially a different link that leads to the same web page as a certain other link. Multiple links can lead to the same web page and URL shorteners work on the basis of redirects.
Since the shorter URL is a redirect link that also leads to the same web page as the long URL, you can use the shorter link instead.
Which URL Shortener is the Best?
Pixelfy comes with a cheap $20 per month plan that has everything a brand needs to grow with shortened links.
This includes features we mentioned above such as:
- Custom links
- Link retargeting
- Link tracking
- Detailed analytics
As well as other useful features we didn’t mention such as:
- Mobile deep linking
- Link rotation
- Link swapping
And a whole lot more.
While URL shorteners that are branded and also free are available, they often don’t have other necessary features that a brand needs.
If you are considering opting for a free branded URL shortener, make sure that you take a look at everything it offers. You don’t want to be stuck with a service that does not have all the tools you need to succeed as a brand.
Do let us know what you think in the comments below.