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Advanced URL Shorteners - A Mighty Strategy For Brand Advertisers

To many, URL shorteners are known only for truncating annoyingly long hyperlinks that we hate to see in our social network feeds. Contrary to popular belief, advanced URL shorteners offer significant data, engagement and media value that are often overlooked by brands. Free to use and easily implemented, a URL shortener is a small but mighty social approach that can drive exponential results for your brand. 

Robust analytics optimize social campaigns

For advertisers, the ability to learn how their social content performs is critical when working to connect with readers. Link-shortening analytics can reveal deep audience insight including performance factors such as: number of clicks for each post and per day, platforms/channels from where users clicked (mobile, desktop, Facebook, email, etc.), geographic locations, and more. In today’s digital economy, brands can easily determine the popularity of content and identify significant trends in how users interact with it.

An example of how companies can glean valuable insights to optimize their social campaigns is by one of the nation’s leading retailers. When using link-shortening analytics, the retailer noticed that posts about shoes and handbags drove the highest volume of clicks. Using this data, the brand began sharing relevant shoe and handbag images, scaling down posts on clothes and cosmetics.

In addition, a major auto brand noticed that at least 20% more users engaged with the brand's tweets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays compared to any other days. Turning this data into ammunition, the brand’s social media team adjusted the timing of their posts to better align with their fans' social behavior and capitalize on when audiences are most engaged.

Vanity domains dramatically increase clicks

A major trend that brands are latching onto is leveraging a vanity domain. This involves purchasing a Web domain that looks or sounds like a version of the brand’s name (for example, Por.sc for Porsche), and attaching the shortened link functionality. Results show that consumers view a branded link as more trustworthy and are more likely to click on the link because it has the credibility of a brand name behind it.

Several noteworthy brands that have switched from using generic link shorteners such as “bit.ly” or “t.co” to publish content using vanity domains have experienced impressive results. For instance, after a major luxury retailer implemented a vanity domain, they experienced an average increase of 25% clicks per post, as measured by link-shortening newcomer Po.st. Other examples of vanity domains include campaign results from a major pet brand, which saw a 43% increase in click volume, as well as a CPG brand that received 103% more clicks after implementing the social strategy.

Inform future campaigns

Once a consumer clicks on a brand’s social post, it’s safe to assume they are interested in that company’s products or messages. For digital advertisers, these individuals are prime targets for display advertisements. For example, the 53,000 users who clicked on an Arby’s coupon posted recently on the fast food chain’s Facebook page would be ideal consumers for Arby’s media-buying team to target, through the use of anonymous cookies. Not surprisingly, the performance of these ads is proven to be higher than ads targeted demographically or contextually. These tools help advertisers demonstrate how social media data has a quantifiable effect on paid media results.

Another example is from a wireless carrier that recently experienced a boost in advertising performance while reducing its cost-per-user acquisition. Prior to implementing shortened and branded links on their social network pages, the cost to acquire a new customer online was approximately $360. After switching to branded links, the brand was able to capture data on all users who clicked on their content -- which led to the purchase of online display media that targeted these engaged users. After one week, the cost per acquisition fell to $73, saving the mobile company almost $300 per customer.

The proof is in the pudding. Brands that have switched to advanced URL shorteners are learning more about how, when, and the type of content their audience interacts with. While the tactic is simple and free to use, link shorteners are proving to be a significant tool for brand advertisers looking to boost campaign performance, maximize content exposure and gain deeper insight into audience social behavior.

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