URL Shorteners: Are They Helping?
Pros and Cons of URL Shorteners
URL shorteners are used in Online Marketing regularly ~ and have been for years. They allow business owners to track how many people clicked a specific link. They can provide statistical information on your websites traffic and the performance of a marketing campaign.
URL Shorteners for Users
There are many negative sides of URL shorteners. One of them is trust and credibility ~ users like to know where they are headed when they click a link. No surprises! Here is a list of negatives associated with URL shortening services:
- You have something to hide. By not disclosing the destination domain there are trust issues surfacing. I personally do not click on shortened links unless I know the person.
- URL shortening services are not 100% reliable. What happens if your URL shortening service is offline when your message goes out to your people? Your links will not work.
- URL shortening companies may not always be here. What happens to the thousands of links going to your site that you have built over time on the Internet if the company you chose to use goes away? That could mean thousands of inbound links gone over night. That will not only impact the direct traffic but your SEO rankings as well.
- URL Shorteners hurt your branding – and help the branding of the shortener service.
- It takes extra work to use a URL shortener ~ we are trying to make things easier not more complicated.
- URL Shorteners inhibit Clicks! As marketers we want people to click on our links ~ Click Through Rates go down when using a shortening service.
- BuddyMedia has research showing that Facebook Engagement is 3 time lower if a URL shortener is used compared to having a domain related link. Facebook is one site where I will not click on a hidden url. There is way too much redirection going on with Facebook already – often times links do not go where they were supposed to. Since trust is already down on Facebook ~ why give someone yet one more reason to distrust your FB posts?