This is our pick of the top 5 custom URL shorteners for 2023.
In this guide, we’ll cover:
What do we really mean by a link shortener in 2023?
How do you choose the right link shortener?
Our picks for the top 5 link shorteners.
If you want to improve your marketing, branding and conversion, read on.
Link shortening has come a long way from the days of Bitly & Twitter a decade ago.
Since then, Twitter released it’s own shortener, and we’ve seen the rise and fall of Google’s shortening service.
Link shorteners have their place today though, but are focused on altogether different (and richer) feature set, most notably:
The expectations of a link shortener are much higher too.
A typical link shortener will handle millions of clicks, and be responsible for a lot of sales, so a reliable technological underpinning is also vital.
Let’s get started.
Once you’re tied to a link shortener, it’s difficult to switch, so it pays to do your research.
Choosing the right link shortener for you really depends on focus. What features do you need, and what can you live without?
Without any further adieu…
Well, you knew it was coming, didn’t you? :)
Linkly is a link shortener for marketers.
It has a few unique features up its sleeve.
Firstly - it has outstandingly beautiful reporting:
You can add retargeting pixels to links, so you can build custom audiences with every link you share.
You can redirect people by country, device or run a split test.
You can change the destination after you share a link, which is useful, if, for example, a promotion ends.
You can use your own domain to create custom short links (sometimes called vanity URLs). These improve CTR and brand awareness.
You can even edit social media previews:
No list of URL shorteners would be complete without the original.
Bitly sprang out of Twitter’s original 140 character limit, meaning a link shortener was vital to getting links shared.
Bitly is very limited, but they do offer paid plans now that allow you to use custom domains and retargeting pixels.
One place where Bitly does excel though is the management of many thousands of links, as its dashboard is well designed:
A restriction of Bitly is that once links are created, there’s no way to change the destination.
Another issue is that Bitly Enterprise is an expensive product, best suited to Fortune 500 companies.
Bitly isn’t really targeted at small & medium business, and most deals (apart from their limited $29 plan) require you to call and get a quote.
A veritable newcomer, Rebrandly focusses on custom short links for companies.
Even on the free plan, Rebrandly offers a decent number (5) of custom domains, and 5,000 clicks tracked per month.
Rebrandly also allows you to purchase a domain through the site, which can be convenient if you don’t already own a domain for your short links.
Rebrandly has a number of extra features, such as retargeting pixels, ability to edit opengraph tags and more, though all of these features are on paid plans only.
Rebrandly’s dashboard is clean and functional, although the reporting itself is quite limited (and opens up in a popup).
One unique feature of Short.cm is the ability to integrate Google Analytics, Segment and Google Tag Manager.
Short.cm’s dashboard is functional:
The other thing- Short.cm is cheap! They have a free generous free plan, and don’t limit clicks on the paid plans.
This is an honourable mention.
Sniply is a bit different, and is geared towards social media marketers.
Sniply’s goal is to add a ‘call-to-action’ to every link you share.
The idea is that you:
Shorten a link with Snip.ly.
Share the link on social media.
Sniply then displays a popup ontop of the shared article, with a call-to-action.
The goal is that you can benefit from other people’s content (for better or worse!).
Sniply really took off as it turned out to be an easy way to get clicks.
One challenge here is that using Sniply has gotten harder to do. Many large websites actively block the technology Sniply uses to do this (that is, the ability to open a website in an iFrame).
Sniply does offer the ‘normal’ stuff too - tracking, retargeting pixels & custom domains.
Track 1000 monthly clicks with all features included.
No credit card required