Social link shorteners are by no means a new phenomenon in the social media sphere, but it hasn’t been until recently that brands have understood the power of custom branded link shorteners to tell their story and get clicks.

Rather than using generic short links (like ones that Bitly and Google offer), which aren’t pretty or on message, increasingly more brands are creating their own unique short links that reflect their brand and personality.

But even as we see the uptick in usage for branded links, we’ve noticed something even more interesting: Many of these custom links feature new top-level domain (TLD) extensions for their distinctive link shorteners. So why are so many people turning to TLDs while creating branded links? We’ve explored the biggest reasons below.

Bitly found that Branded Short Links increase click-through rates by 34% over generic short links.Click To Tweet

They won’t get mixed up with your main website

When you use a domain to create a branded link shortener, it can only be used for that purpose—meaning that if you were planning to use your main URL as a link shortener, you’re sadly out of luck.

But there are benefits to creating a unique domain just for social media purposes. For example, it makes analytics tracking easier because you’ll be able to specifically tell which traffic is being driven by clicks and shares on social media. It’s also your chance to give your social media presence its own unique character.

New Domains are relevant to your content

Customizability is one of the biggest benefits of using a New Domain extension while creating branded links. Sure you can always get creative to the left of the dot while registering a legacy TLD, but you’re much more restricted by what’s available. When choosing a New Domain extension, you have the freedom to reflect your interests or personality.

Photographers can use a .PHOTO extension while media outlets can use .NEWS. Want to inject some fun and personality into your brand? Try .NINJA or .ROCKS Or, keep it simple with a highly-relevant .SOCIAL domain ending.

Big-name brands and entrepreneurs are already using them

Marketers from major companies have already recognized the value of New Domains for their branded links. Branded links increase brand awareness and trust, which leads to more engagement and a higher click-through rate.

The Seattle Times uses, Chick-fil-A has adopted, and StubHub uses on its social channels—and that’s is just the tip of the iceberg.

We’re even seeing the trend in some of our other domain extensions: Etsy used to announce the launch of their new Etsy Studio project, Apple has to share stories over iOS, and the People/EW Network uses as a convenient acronym for social media.

But other startups like Seattle-based Excy, uses  to brand third party content across social platforms. As these thought leaders recognize the value of using a distinctive URL to share social links, influencers and smaller brands are following in their footsteps.

Branded Short Links build trust

When your followers click a short link labeled “” or “,” it builds confidence in your brand. Customers will see you as a trusted source of information and news, making it more likely that they’ll click on your shared links in the future.

Bitly, for instance, found that Branded Short Links increase click-through rates by 34% over generic short links. Other link shortening services have seen similar numbers: Rebrandly has tracked 30% higher engagement with Branded Short Links, and saw 25% higher click volumes.

Both Rebrandly and Bitly are focused on highlighting the value proposition of these short domains when brands sign up for their services offering descriptive, memorable, and customizable links.

As it turns out, the two biggest benefits of the Branded Short Link—the fact that it’s short and measurable—is still the major selling point today. But the growth potential of Branded Short Links is really among the crowd that wants trusted and branded ways to communicate with their audience.

With the data from all Branded Short Link providers continues to showcase demonstrable ROI with specific marketing campaigns,  we will continue to see more use in Branded Short Links. As brands compete for trust and engagement on social media, this new trend in embracing Branded Short Links on social media will only grow.

How can you get started with Branded Short Links?

  • First, check the domains that you already own and see if one makes sense to put to use. If you don’t have one, head to a domain name registrar to see if,, or other relevant domains are available.
  • Next, select a link shortening service that can create custom short links using your new domain – like Rebrandly or Bitly.
  • You’re almost ready to go! Once your new domain is fully integrated, it’s just a matter of executing on your everyday social media strategy.

What experiences have you had with branded short links? If you have input or feedback, let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

About the Author: Matt Overman leads Rightside’s premium domain sales business. Matt previously served as General Manager of NameJet, establishing it as the premier auction marketplace in the domain name industry. He has also managed specialized sales efforts for five of the web’s top 10 registrars. Prior to joining Rightside, Matt held positions at Hotkeys and McCann Erickson in Seattle.

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