Defining the Difference Between the Branded Link and a Generic Link
I bet you’ve noticed them popping up all over social media already. Disney has one:
Virgin has one:
And, of course, I have one too:
A branded link – a shortened URL built around a brand name or related term that helps to associate the company with the links, content, and information you share online.
And they work.
In this post, I’m going to explain you the idea of branded links further.
And then show you how you could start using branded links to build brand awareness too.
But really, Why Put Your Brand on Links in the First Place?
FACT: In the today’s world, having an established brand (be it personal or business) is everything. And there’s plenty of data to prove it.
- 1 billion names are googled every day
- Google handles over 75,000 queries per second
- 85% of customers conduct online research on the companies they want to engage with to confirm their expertise, professionalism and credibility.
We research others for one purpose: to form an opinion about them based on what we find.
This is especially true if you’re marketing to a younger audience. According to News Cred, brand recognition is the second most important driver of brand loyalty for the Millenials.
And so, like it or not, you already have a personal brand. And a business brand.
And it’s based on anything that people can find about you online, including the content you share.
So you have a choice: nurture it yourself or let it be dictated for you.
Branded links help you take control of your own brand awareness and recognition.
What is a Branded Link?
A branded link is simply a short link – a shorter version of a URL you want to share online (especially on services like Twitter with very strict character limits) -built around a brand name or related term.
Unlike generic shortened links (like buff.ly or goo.gl), brands these days prefer to use a link that incorporates their name, associating themselves with the content they share, reinforcing brand awareness and increasing their brand recognition.
A Branded Links is Made Up of 3 Elements
- Domain: Your Unique Brand Name e.g. MrPencil
- TLD: What you do, or one that feels right for your Online Sharing e.g. news, link, pizza
- URL Slug: Your Unique Keyword/s that tell people more about what you are sharing with them e.g. scoop
By customizing each of these 3 elements, you create your own unique branded links.
But Why Shorten Links in the First Place?
You probably think link shortening is about… well, shortened links. And while the length of a link is important, it turns out there are a few more important reasons to shorten your links these days:
- Tracking – being able to attribute clicks and marketing efforts of various campaigns.
- Inserting UTM parameters – This helps with link tracking, but inserting UTM parameters makes a link long and ugly. A link shortener allows you to hide, or mask, your parameters behind the new shorter version.
- Advanced features like changing destination URLs, splitting traffic, tracking affiliate commissions, or link retargeting.
So, you have to create short links, but using a generic URL shortener weakens your brand…
Enter Branded Links
The solution to this problem is simple – create a branded short link.
I’ve already shown you examples of various brands using them to share content and information: Pepsi, Virgin and others.
But there are plenty more:
New York Times MindShare Samsung Starbucks
Why Branded Shortlinks are so Useful
A shortlink gives you more space for including content in social media posts and helps to drive brand recognition and awareness.
But there are other benefits of using branded links too:
They provide a strong quality signal about the content you share. Aligning the content you share with your brand will help send a strong signal that the information you point your audience to is of high quality. This in turn will help establish your authority and brand recognition:
- Users whom the content has helped will most likely remember who recommended it and associate your brand with helpfulness.
- Your brand on a link will also make any content you share more visible and thus, build much better recognition and authority status.
- Lastly, users will begin to associate your branded link with quality, a perception that will transpire to your brand as well.
Branded links can even help SEO. If you’re concerned with your organic rankings, I have some good news for you: Shortened links do not hurt your SEO. As Matt Cutts says in this video, “Shortened links still pass anchor text and the page rank. Now, that’s as long as the link uses 301 redirect, which most of them do. But since shortened links get shared more often, there is an added SEO benefit from this greater exposure.”
Watch the whole explanation by Matt here:
Where Can You Get a Branded Link Shortener?
Honestly, we’ve created the best platform for purchasing and connecting a branded link shortener. I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true. Check it out..
The whole process of setting up a branded short link is actually quite simple. First, you need to select a branded domain for your short link.
It should be shorter than the one you already have, but still make it clear who’s behind it. Here are some examples how other brands have done it:
- Pepsi – pep.si
- NYTimes – nyti.ms
- Starbucks – sbux.co
Next, you need to connect it with a proper URL shortening service like Rebrandly.
Rebrandly allows you to register a domain directly from your account. To do so, simply type in your selected short name and Rebrandly will suggest all available domains:
Third, you need to register the domain. Once you select your branded shortlink domain, register it and…. you can start using it to post links to the web almost instantly. Rebrandly gives you a browser extension making the sharing process a breeze:
And, that’s it.
What do you think?
Do you see yourself using a branded short link? Do you think it’s something for you? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
- FAQ: What is a Branded Link
- FAQ: What is a Vanity URL
- FAQ: What is a Custom Short Link
- FAQ: How to Create a Branded Link
- Blog: Branded Links vs Short Links
This Article is About:
- Branded Links
- How to create Branded Links
- Benefits of Custom Short Links
- Vanity URLs
- How to create a Branded Link
Originally Posted: 29th of October 2015
Last Updated: 15th of April 2020