This article was published on July 21, 2016 and updated on January 8, 2019.
We share links in so many places that we usually don’t think twice when we click on them.
Most brands often don’t see them as a marketing asset so much as a marketing utility. But branded links can change that.
By branding all of your links, you’ll get more clicks, more engagement, and you can build brand awareness wherever you’re using branded links link. We know that for a fact – we did the research and found that branded links get up to a 34% higher click-through rate.
Here’s how you can use branded links today to get more click-throughs:
1. Create Compelling Calls-To-Action
Whether you’re using Bitly Enterprise or you’re a free user, you can customize the back-half of your link. By editing the back-half, you can better personalize the experience for customers and drive higher engagement.
Customizing the back-half of the link shows your audience what they’re getting, too. Nonprofits can experiment with “/donate” or “/volunteers,” a finance company could try “/invest” or “/banking,” or healthcare could use “/health101” or “/insurancepolicies.”
Also, branded links with customized back-halves are a lot easier to remember. At Bitly, we use them at the end of each webinar. Since you can’t actually click something within a webinar, we make the links easy to type into your browser so you can access the content right away:
For offline marketing efforts, this is really important. By customizing the back-half of the link, you can make it easier for people to type if they’re watching a presentation or picking up a business card.
2. Build Awareness of Your Brand’s Slogan
Red Bull uses branded links to build awareness of the brand’s famous tagline, “Red Bull gives you wings.” With win.gs, the slogan is consistent across all digital marketing channels.
As you roll out your own branded links, think carefully about what you want your domain to reflect. Since links are in every channel, this is one of the most visible elements of your brand’s digital presence.
As you think about branded links, you first should think about the domain. That will be the cornerstone for all of the efforts.
– Bitly uses bitly.is, so we can create links like bitly.is/everywhere
– Red Bull & Nike create domains out of slogans, like win.gs
– Vissla chooses to use a domain that mimics the company name, viss.la
– TD Bank pushes the website domain, go.td.com
– Cleveland Clinic breaks out the city, the name of the facility, and the function all in one link: cle.clinic
3. Promote Engagement Around a Product or Service
When you customize your links, you have a great branding opportunity to promote a product or service. If you’re creating a new channel or website for the product or service, you can create the domain to match up to the branding and messaging. So, with your branded links, you could make a domain like “fan.cy/shoes” or “inv.est/consultant.”
The other way to promote engagement and awareness around a product or service is to customize the back-half whenever you have a new offer. For example, Vissla uses Bitly to announce new products with the customized back-half of the link:
4. Build Authority with a Personal Domain
Want to know every single time a person clicks a link you shared? Want to make sure that you’re building your personal brand at the same time your links are shared? That’s where personal branded links come into play.
5. Use the Bitly API for Auto-Branding
If someone decides to share a product or a piece of content from your website, what pops up when they click the share button? Well, if you’re using the Bitly API for social sharing, you can make sure that every link that is shared to your owned properties automatically is branded.
This creates a consistent experience for customers when they see the links on each channel and offers unprecedented insights into what your audience is sharing and clicking—even if you aren’t sharing the stuff yourself.
We call this Organic Shares. Since millions of marketers and consumers alike are using Bitly links to share things each month, access to Organic Shares can help know what your audience is sharing the most. This will help your team plan for the future and personalize their experience based on what you know is already working the best.
For publishers, entertainment, e-commerce, and other companies with high-volume sharing, Organic Shares is an invaluable source of intelligence. E-commerce companies can see which, of all the products being shared, might need a little more attention from internal sales and marketing teams. Publishers might see that one video is rapidly gaining momentum over the past few days and start planning branded sharing campaigns around that movement.
Since links are in every channel, making sure that every link is automatically branded doesn’t just help build brand awareness, it allows you to tap into real-time metrics across every channel in one central place.
Branded Links Create One Experience
Next year, the channels marketers use the most will probably change, but one thing is for sure: your audience is going to keep fragmenting. Potential customers are building niche communities on different websites, social channels, and messaging apps.
This isn’t just a challenge for marketers, it’s a challenge for customers. Customers want a consistent experience from brands and, no matter where you end up, that experience often starts with a link.
Mastered branded links? Take your link strategy one step further with Bitly Enterprise! Here's how.Download