Link shorteners are great allies for any marketing team. We use them to shorten our URLs so that we can share them on social media platforms.
Audiences are used to them, and in general, their use is good practice to implement url shorteners.
A branded link conveys trust, and impressed short links have a 39% higher click-through rate.
However, it does not mean that your link shorteners should be used in all communication channels since, for example, they negatively affect email deliverability.
Although, there are multiple options, such as Bitly, branch.io, ClickMeter, Clkim, Goo. gl, and TinyURL, to name a few. As email service providers, we advise avoiding the use of url shorteners in your transactional emails.
We firmly believe that transparency is a best practice to bring link shorteners in multiple contents.
But the fact is, using link shorteners in email is an excellent practice for some people like spammers.
Spammers use shared domain url shorteners to direct people to malware and viruses. The final destination is sneaky, allowing them to sneak past ISPs that might otherwise leak your messages into the spam folder.
Using the same url shorteners as spammers will blacklist you as collateral damage even if you mean well.
Being blacklisted hurts your reputation as a sender, which carries much more weight to email databases than the quality and content of an email.
Link shorteners can also compromise your data. Because the URLs are so short, they are easier for attackers to scan, resulting in the unintended consequence of longer URLs being made public and discovered by hackers.
- Don’t hide your domain
Rob McEwen, founder, and CEO of the invaluement.com Spam Database and Blacklist (DNSBL), which includes two sender IP antispam blacklists and one antispam URL blacklist, is particularly skeptical of goo. gl.
If a marketer is doing things right, he shouldn’t need to hide his domain name from him. Instead, they should wear it with pride and not feel the need to hide behind the Google shortener.
Of course, there are many legitimate ways to use link shorteners. But email databases don’t always see it that way.
In the end, it is better to save it for social networks and keep the abbreviated links out of your Transactional Emails and your Email Marketing campaigns.
Other options for shorter links
If link shorteners are forbidden in emails, what other options are there? Here are two alternatives:
Link long URLs to images or text in the HTML version
As long as you send more than just text emails, hiding long URLs is as easy as linking to the appropriate text or images within the HTML.
This way, subscribers won’t see long URLs, and your sender won’t risk being blacklisted.
Your deliverability will be safe!
- Create your own link shortener
You can buy a shortened domain the same way you can buy a vanity URL. So creating shortcut links is as simple as installing a shortening script, like yourls or kissa.be! and configuring your own link shortener.
If you browse on Facebook or Instagram, you will have noticed that there are shortened links, which usually end in .ly or .co, for example. These are links that refer to a longer URL, mostly used to collect open data.
These short links are obtained through sites called URL shorteners (URL Shortener) and are very useful on platforms like Twitter, for example, where characters are counted and have a specific limit, as well as being more aesthetically attractive.
And for email marketing? In email marketing, its use is not recommended; it can even be dangerous in some cases.
There are two main reasons:
It is a useless practice if you already use eMailChef to send your emails because it already provides you with all the information you need in the Reports section, so you don’t need a URL shortener to get information about your clicks;
Shortening links is one of the favorite activities of spammers to hide links to dangerous sites or for phishing!
Using URL shorteners is highly appreciated by those who use email marketing for illicit purposes, and it is also frowned upon by spam filters: and although you may use a shortened URL which leads to a real site, your deliverability may be affected and could be blacklisted.
What does this imply? If the links that are included in your messages are not labeled as safe, then the ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will block your emails: in this way, your delivery rate will be minimal and then you will not be able to communicate effectively with your recipients.
How do I get reports of clicks on the links in my emails?
If you are looking for accurate data and information that is updated in real time, then you are in the right place: eMailChef provides everything you need in the Reports section. It will be like viewing your campaign statistics with X-rays!
How to fix link shorteners
To fix problems with link shorteners:
Shorten your own links instead of using third-party link shorteners. Doing this can help you control how those links will reflect your brand and match your sending domain.
If you send plain text email, switch to HTML. Long URLs found in HTML code do not impact formatting.
All in all, email marketers can definitely take advantage of URL shorteners, but should do so with caution as the deliverability of their messages could be negatively affected if the blacklisted URL shortening services are used.
There are other considerations that can come into play for your email deliverability, like having valid HTML in your email, using CTAs (For example, “Reset Password”) instead of writing out the URL.