We have a tracking system in place for links that are shortened using the bit.ly link shortening tool, but we recommend companies that are sending a heavy volume of texts use their own branded bit.ly account and follow the 3 suggestions at the bottom of this page.
Since bit.ly struggles with scammers abusing their service, they try to proactively block suspicious links for the following reasons:
- The link leads to a malicious copy of another website
- bit.ly detected inappropriate or unsafe content
- The destination link is hidden behind a link shortened by using another service
- A user or a blacklisting service reported an issue with the destination page
The best way to avoid this is to have an account with bit.ly that is in good standing and displays the company URL in the bit.ly link.
Many of our customers are setting up their own analytics on full links to their websites. They are inserting URLS that are shorter from primary sites for example
yourwebsitehere.com/learn (no www is necessary to make this hot in the text)
This way the link is short and then tracking pixels are inserted on the /learn page (as an example) for analytics. This way customers don't deal with link shortening at all and can still have the insight they need. We also allow for up to 600 characters so room for this slightly longer link is not an issue. Nowadays, we believe end users want to SEE the company name and click through ratio is consistently higher when the root domain is displayed.
Here's a more concise way to understand the way carriers seem to behave these days (via our partners at Bandwidth)
3 ways to improve delivery of messages with links
In order to improve deliverability, there are a few steps you can do in order to avoid accidental blocks of wanted text messages containing URLs.
- Limiting the number of redirects a link will take is the first and most important thing to remember when sending messages with URLs. If you send a link that, when clicked, jumps two or three more times to a completely different landing page or domain address, users AND carriers think that’s fishy. Optimize your link destination and take advantage of tracking methods like UTM parameters to avoid multiple hops.
- Using a full-length URL is the first suggestion carriers will give you, but that takes up valuable space on an SMS where you also have to identify your business and include contextual information in 160 characters. If you have critical links, it might be best to use full-length URLs and just bite the bullet on the extra message segment cost for those messages.
- Use a branded shortened URL when short on space that’s identifiable to your domain. Big brands like ESPN (es.pn), Nike (swoo.sh), and the New York Times (nyti.ms) have invested in this method, but it’s not restricted to big name brands. It may seem cost-effective to use a free, public link shortener like bit.ly or rb.gy (Rebrandly) but if those messages aren’t getting delivered, the cost to your business adds up and can be much more expensive than just paying for a custom domain (which is more affordable than you may think).