If the links you’re sharing on social media are long, full of UTM parameters, and don’t look appealing, they’re going to turn people away from clicking them.
A URL shortener allows you to create and share good-looking, fully trackable links in just a few clicks.
In this post, we’re going to show you some of the best options out there.
Some of these tools are simple, offering link shortening, and not much else.
Others are robust tools with rich features and detailed analytics to help you improve and optimize your social media activities.
By the end, you’ll have a shortlist of tools that you can go and try out.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
What are URL Shorteners?
URL shorteners let you shorten long links into a simple, short, sometimes branded link.
They’re ideal for marketers who want to share content with their audience without having to send links that take up lines of space and don’t look good when shared.
For example, you’ll be able to turn a long URL that looks like this:
Into a short, branded, and trackable URL that looks like this:
It’s a simple but effective way of making your links branded, shorter, more trustworthy, and easier to manage.
Why Use a URL Shortener?
As a social media marketer, you’re always sharing links. Sometimes the links go to your own content, and you want to track the results.
Other times, you’re linking to external sites but you still want to see if they resonate with your audience.
The main benefits of using a URL shortener is that you can:
- Hide messy UTM tracking codes
- See detailed analytics into link performance on your content and external content
- Maintain a cohesive brand image
Your social media feed will look cleaner, and you’ll have more characters to spare to use on your copy, rather than having them all used up by a single link.
You’ll be able to see stats on who interacts with every link you share, even if the link is to a third-party site.
Short, branded URLs are easier to remember, so you can add them to images or videos you’re creating where a long URL wouldn’t fit. You can also add them to your email newsletters to get more granular analytics on how people interact with your links.
Best URL Shorteners for Marketers
Create branded links and easily track their performance
Rebrandly is a feature-rich custom URL shortener that makes it easy for marketers to create branded links and track their performance.
You can set up workspaces to help your team manage links everyone is using, manage links for multiple domains, and even connect multiple domains.
Another great feature for SaaS marketers is the ability to fire retargeting pixels directly from your shortened URLs. You can create highly refined retargeting audiences to use in Facebook, Google Ads, Twitter Ads, and other platforms like AdRoll.
It’s a powerful tool and ideal for anyone who wants to know exactly how their links across the web are performing.
Pricing: Free plan available, paid plans start at $29/month
- Quickly edit link destinations and custom branding
- Create UTM presets to quickly add link tracking
- Edit link settings in bulk
- See detailed link analytics and reports
- Retarget link clicks
Add a call-to-action to every link you share on social media
Sniply is a URL shortener that you can use to add a branded message to any link you share with your audience.
For example, if you link out to another website, you can use a custom Sniply link to add a CTA to that page. Your audience will be able to see the content on the other page, but your call-to-action will appear, prompting them to take action after checking out the content.
It’s a great way to keep people inside your sales and marketing funnel and encourage people to take action.
You’ll be able to get a higher ROI from links you’re sharing and improve conversions from your social media strategy.
Pricing: Starts at $29/month
- Add buttons or text pop-ups to external pages
- Create custom shortlinks
- See analytics on performance and conversion data
- Run A/B tests on different CTAs
- Retargeting pixel to build custom remarketing audiences
Popular URL shortener with a free plan
Bitly is a platform you can use to easily create branded shortened links, track performance, and amplify your brand.
Any link you share can be customized to use your own domain name so your audience and customers instantly recognize and trust every link you promote.
As you would expect, you can see clear insights on link performance, and there are a variety of integrations with popular social media management tools to ensure your workflow doesn’t get disrupted every time you need to share an interesting link with your audience.
Pricing: Starts at $29/month
- Use your brand name to host links
- Any link to your site shared by others using Bitly is automatically branded
- Group links into campaigns, import links to shorten, and export performance data
- Dashboard with detailed metrics for every link
- Browser extension to share links on the go
Open-source link shortener for quick and easy sharing
If you’d rather not use a paid solution and would prefer a self-hosted, open-source link shortener, Polr is for you.
You’ll need enough technical knowledge to host it and deploy it yourself, or, you’ll need to ask a developer.
The downsides compared to other premium options are that there are fewer features, but it still allows you to quickly and efficiently generate shortened links, and it even lets you instantly generate a QR code from your links.
- Self-hosted link shortener
- Easy to use
- Create QR codes for every link
Simple, free, and anonymous URL shortener
TinyURL may not be the first choice for business use, but if you want to shorten URLs for free, it does the job well.
Despite being free, the links you create will never expire and you can still use a custom alias at the end of your URL. That means instead your URL ending with a random string of letters, you could add a custom word or phrase, e.g. www.tinyurl.com/onetool
There’s no full whitelabel option, but for free, we can’t complain too much.
There’s a bookmarklet so you can quickly generate short URLs from any page you visit on the web.
- Custom alias to personalize links
- Browser tool to create shortened links anywhere on the web
- Completely free to use
URL shortener with a variety of features for enterprise and small businesses
BLINK is a link management platform that’s full of features to successfully grow your engagement.
You can quickly create short links using your own custom link structure, then monitor how those links perform over time. You can see what devices people engage with them on, where your audience are, and how engagement changes over time.
If you’re regularly working with other team members, the link notes feature lets you add useful notes and pointers to links in your dashboard so everyone is on the same page.
There are too many features to discuss them all here, but if you’re looking for a robust tool BLINK is a great choice.
Pricing: Starts at $12/month
- Branded links
- Categorize links with tags
- Easily edit links, add keywords to the URL, and set up links that vary depending on who clicks them
- Auto-archive and redirect old links
Track your link performance from an iOS or Android app with push notifications
Hyperlink is a link shortener that keeps you up-to-date with how people engage with your link using push notifications.
If you’re sending important links to customers, it’s a great way to see if they’re engaging with them, and will help you reach back out at the right time.
Every notification you receive will have details on the location and device someone is using to click your links. You can set a schedule that means you only get notifications at a certain interval, and integrate it with Slack and Zapier to get notifications wherever you want them.
Pricing: Free plan available, paid plans start at $39/month
- Create QR codes from links
- Integrations with Zapier and Slack
- Real-time or staggered notifications
- Analytics dashboards that update in real-time
- Chrome extension to create links anywhere on the web
URL shortener that connects with 2,000+ web apps
Zapier is an awesome tool for automating your workload, and one of the features they include is a URL shortener.
While the URL shortener itself is relatively simple, the main attraction is that it’s part of the Zapier suite so you can integrate it seamlessly into your existing workflow.
You can create Zaps such as posting new Eventbrite links to Buffer with a shortened URL, or, add new saved Pocket items to Twitter with a shortened URL.
It’s not as feature-rich as other tools, but you can still see analytics by connecting it with Buffer or other social media platforms and using their built-in analytics tools.
Pricing: Free plan available, paid plans start at $19.99/month
- Link to any app in the Zapier ecosystem
- Set up easy automations with link shortening
- Quickly shorten links you engage with via other tools
Link shortener integrated with Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a popular social media scheduling platform, but they also offer a link shortener. You’ll need a Hootsuite account, but you can use the Ow.ly URL shortener for free within your account.
You’ll be able to quickly shorten links and schedule them to social media, as well as track performance across every channel.
As you would expect, you can shorten links and instantly publish to your social channels using Hootsuite’s publishing tools.
Pricing: Free plan available
- Quickly create custom shortened links
- Share them directly to social media
- Measure results in a detailed dashboard
Link tracking to monitor all of your marketing links in one place
ClickMeter is a link and affiliate tracking tool for companies who want to track how their links lead to conversions.
It’s ideal for companies that want an accurate picture into how their links truly drive revenue. It’s useful for marketers running paid ads, as the data will help you easily identify click fraud and filter out traffic that isn’t representative of your real customer type.
ClickMeter is packed with features that let you get extremely granular. For example, you can set up redirects for people clicking links multiple times, tag links to categorize them, set up a conversion funnel to track link performance throughout, and even run A/B tests to see which landing pages perform better after a link click.
Pricing: Starts at $29/month
- A/B test landing pages and link performance
- Track which clicks lead to conversions
- Add retargeting codes to your links
- Click fraud protection
Retarget anyone who clicks your links
RocketLink is a URL shortening and retargeting platform. You can add your retargeting pixels for sites like Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, and build audiences who you can then target with paid ads.
There are also features such as the ability to add custom CTAs to links you share (like Sniply), overlay opt-in forms, and even add your own chat widget to external sites.
You’ll be able to see analytics on how every link performs from their analytics dashboard, and there’s even a direct integration with SocialBee so you can share your custom links directly to every social media channel you’re active on.
Pricing: Starts at $19/month
- Retarget anyone who clicks your links
- See analytics on clicks
- Create short URLs from the Chrome extension
- SocialBee integration
Simple but effective link tracker with a generous free tier
Linkly is a click tracking and URL shortener tool ideal for marketers. It’s packed with features that will help you get more insight into your link performance. You can create instant QR codes from your links, which is useful if your customers are familiar with using them.
Links can be fully branded with your own domain, and you can even add retargeting pixels for Facebook, Google, and Twitter.
Another helpful element is that you can customize social media previews for links directly inside Linkly. For example, you can update the title, description, and image that gets displayed. It’s a great way to add an extra bit of branding, or add some personalization to your social media content.
Linkly enables you to see detailed metrics on link performance and trends, so you know what’s working (and what’s not).
- Integrations with Zapier, Google Sheets, Chrome, and Firefox
- Branded URL shortener
- Retarget link clicks
- Customize social media preview for links and posts
Free link shortener with analytics and link management
Cuttly is a completely free link management platform that you can use to shorten links and view analytics.
Considering it’s completely free, it has some great features. You can shorten URLs and use your own custom alias to personalize them and increase the click-through rate.
Once you start sharing your links you’ll have access to an analytics dashboard showing metrics like total clicks, source of clicks, clicks by device, and much more.
You can also create custom UTM parameters that will automatically add to your chosen links so you can see performance within your Google Analytics campaigns.
- Completely free (donations are accepted)
- QR code generator
- Analytics dashboard
Branded link shortener with shareable analytics pages and advanced features
T2M is a link management platform for agencies and businesses who need an all-in-one solution.
You can quickly create branded shortened links, customize them, and share them.
It was built with agencies in mind, and there are some helpful features like the ability to share analytics dashboards with non-registered users, password protection on links, and the ability to import links in bulk via a CSV.
On their higher plans you’ll also get access to the API to connect T2M with all of your other business processes.
Pricing: Licenses start at $5, or, paid monthly plans start at $9.99/month
- Shareable dashboards
- Link tagging for categorization
- Password protected links
- API access
- UTM builder
Which URL Shortener is Right for You?
Depending on your needs, the best link shortener will vary. If you’re looking for something lightweight and simple, you might want to try a solution like Zapier’s URL shortener or even TinyURL.
On the other hand, if you need a tool to help you grow your social media presence and that has the ability to group, track, and show how links perform, then you might want a more robust tool like Rebrandly or Linkly.
All of the recommendations on this list are great choices, so you can’t go wrong. The paid options all have free trials so you can test them out and see which one works best for your exact needs.