Since the internet first began, links have been the primary mode of transportation for users. They allow people to go from one website to another instantly just by clicking an URL. Unfortunately, links often become long and complex as tracking parameters are added or site structures grow to accommodate hundreds of pages.

As social media emerged, lengthy URLs started to present a problem. Originally, Twitter limited their messages to a maximum of 140 characters, and they counted every character in a link. This meant that a lengthy URL could take up your entire tweet (X post). URL shortener tools emerged as a solution to this sharing problem.

What is a URL shortener?

A URL shortener is an app that converts a long URL into a short URL.

The idea is to minimize the web page address into something that’s easier to remember and track.

Typically, it shortens the website’s address and adds a random combination of letters and numbers.

For example, a URL shortener would convert a long URL like


url shortener used for a tweet

The URL shortening service you choose will maintain the connection between the new link and the original URL. This means that anyone who clicks your new link will be redirected to the original page.

In the context of our example, you’ll still reach our report on Social Shopping Behavior in 2022, but it’s much easier and quicker to enter the shortened URL or link.

A URL shortener is also referred to as a link shortener, a link shrinker, a link compressor, a URL condenser or a vanity URL creator.

There are many URL shorteners on the market today, including, Goog.le and

Why it’s important to shorten URLs

Content is a critical part of any marketing strategy. To share that content, you’ll need the shorten URLs. An URL shortener ensures that you get the right messages out to your audience without taking up too much space in your social posts. Additionally, tools like

  • Make it easier to share your content: Some link shorteners let you create a branded URL containing your brand. Simplified and branded URLs tell customers everything they need to know about your site. There’s no need to use reduced URLs with random combinations of letters and numbers anymore. For example, you may have seen long URLs on Amazon shortened to a branded URL like:
  • Allows for traffic monitoring: comes with tracking monitors that measure the sharing activities of your tweet or post over a certain period. Most link shorteners also let you track engagement with UTM parameters. They track who, where and when someone clicked your link so you can measure its effectiveness. Businesses need to know the ROI of campaigns to adjust and plan for future campaigns. You can also combine UTM parameters with Google Analytics to get a complete picture of behavior.
  • Make your URLs more appealing: Shorter URLs have more aesthetic appeal. Although this might not seem important, a shorter URL could make all the difference in convincing someone to click on your links. You may find yourself dealing with a long URL if you’re linking to a page buried deep within your website or using UTM parameters to track your visitors. Long URLs can also look a bit suspicious with letters, numbers, backslashes and question marks. So people might be reluctant to click the link: But a link shortener keeps things looking clean and trustworthy.

However, it’s important to ensure your shortened links don’t harm your reputation. Though URL shorteners are useful, they also hide the original content of your link, making customers more suspicious. Brands will need to make sure that their links always lead to the content promised to keep customers happy.

How do you find and use URL shorteners?

There are plenty of URL shortener tools on the market today.

Some sites, like, handle everything from URL shortening to analytics and tracking like. Others simply transform your URL into a new reduced link.

When you choose the URL shortener you want to use, simply enter your URL into the content box and click the button to reduce the link. Remember to be careful of link shortener tools that remove the branding from your content as this could make the link look less reliable.

Features to look for in the best URL shorteners

Here are five key features to look for in a URL shortener.

Customizable URLs: Let you adapt the shortened URL to fit your brand name or indicate what the link is about.

Link tracking: Lets you prove the clicks and possibly conversions on your links so you can report on the ROI of a campaign.

UTM parameter support: Lets you add and track parameters for source, medium and campaign so you can see who clicked the link.

Link retargeting: Lets you add retargeting pixels to links and expand your custom audience profile so that you can serve ads to them later.

Integrations: Lets you integrate the link shortener with other tools in your marketing stack. For example, Bitly integrates with Sprout so you can embed shortened links directly into your content during the social media workflow.

Bitly Sprout Integration

If you have a custom domain, you can use it when adding links to your social posts. This will enable you to shorten any link using branded links instead of a generic link. How to Connect Bitly to Sprout

  • Click Account and settings > Settings > Account Settings.
  • Scroll down so that you can see the Settings by Group listing. sprout integration hq
  • Click Connect for any group where you want to use your custom Bitly account.
  • Enter your Bitly credentials and click Allow to authorize access to your Bitly account.
  • Now, when you’re composing a message that includes a URL, click Shorten Links to add your branded Bitly link.
Shorten Link