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Branded Links vs. Short Links: Which is Right for Your Brand?

Arslan Jadoon
6 minutes
branded links vs. short links

Have you ever shared an interesting post, recommended a funny video, or perhaps even critiqued an article that missed the mark? We’ve all been there. But what you might not realize is that the way you share these online treasures can significantly impact your brand.

If you’ve been using plain, generic short links to share content, it’s time to take a closer look. By doing so, you could inadvertently be promoting other brands instead of your own.

We’re going to cut through the noise and discuss the difference between branded vs. short links. We’ll help you understand the implications of your choice and how it can affect your brand’s online identity. So, let’s get straight to it! 

What is a short link?

A short link, also known as a short URL, is a compressed version of a long web address or URL. Short links are created to simplify lengthy URLs, making them easier to share, remember, and use, especially in contexts where character limits are a concern, such as social media or printed materials.

Short links typically redirect users to the original, longer URL when clicked. They are especially useful for sharing links on platforms like Twitter, where character limits for a single tweet are in place. Instead of using a long and cumbersome URL, you can generate a short link that directs users to the intended web page.

What is a branded link?

A branded link, also known as a custom short link or a vanity URL, is a type of shortened URL that includes a brand’s or organization’s name or a custom keyword as part of the link. Unlike generic short links that use a random combination of characters and numbers, branded links are customized to reflect the brand’s identity, making them more recognizable and trustworthy to users.

Branded links are a fantastic choice for businesses and individuals looking to enhance their online branding, improve user engagement, and create a polished and trustworthy online presence. 

Short vs. branded links: Which is better?

Branded links can indeed offer several advantages, especially when it comes to strengthening your brand identity and increasing user trust. They are valuable for businesses and individuals looking to create a cohesive online presence and improve user engagement. 

The choice between branded links and short links eventually depends on your specific goals and the context in which you plan to use them. Let’s explore the benefits of each:

Branded links:

  • Strong brand identity: Branded links reinforce your brand identity, incorporating your brand name or a custom keyword. This can boost brand recognition and user trust.
  • Higher click-through rates: Branded links often have higher click-through rates as they appear more trustworthy and relevant to users.
  • Enhanced user experience: They offer a user-friendly and memorable link, making it easier to recognize and share.
  • Consistency: Branded links maintain a consistent brand image across different online platforms.
  • Analytics: You can track the performance of branded links and gain valuable insights into user engagement.

Short links:

  • Conciseness: Short links are compact and ideal for contexts with character limits like social media or text messages.
  • Space-saving: They save space in printed materials, enhancing aesthetics and usability.
  • Universal use: Short links are versatile and can be used for various types of content.

The choice depends on your priorities:

Branded Links: If strengthening your brand identity, increasing trust, and improving user recognition are important to you, branded links are an excellent choice. They excel in marketing campaigns and content sharing where branding matters.

Short Links: If brevity and saving space are paramount, short links are suitable, especially in platforms with character constraints. They shine when the focus is on the content rather than the link.

Popular brands are using branded links:

Let’s take a look at how some of the most popular brands use branded links to their advantage:

  1. The New York Times – nyti.ms

The renowned newspaper, The New York Times, simplifies sharing long article URLs on social media and beyond by using the branded link nyti.ms. This branded link not only shortens the URL but also reinforces the brand’s identity with every click.

branded links
  1. Nike – swoo.sh

When it comes to sports and lifestyle, Nike is a household name. They utilize the branded link swoo.sh to create a memorable link for their products and promotions. This reinforces the Nike brand with every shared link.

branded links
  1. Amazon – amzn.to

E-commerce giant Amazon opts for the branded link amzn.to to shorten product URLs. This not only saves space in printed materials but also keeps the focus on their products rather than the URL itself.

branded links
  1. Coca-Cola – cokeurl.com

Coca-Cola, a global beverage icon, maintains brand consistency by using branded links like cokeurl.com. This approach ensures that every link shared aligns with their brand image.

branded links
  1. Starbucks – sbux.co

Coffee giant Starbucks utilizes branded links with the domain sbux.co to simplify the sharing of promotional content. This reinforces their brand identity and keeps their links looking clean and professional.

branded links

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fully customizable bio link

How to create short branded links?

Are you ready to start using branded links for your own brand? Replug, a powerful URL shortening and branding tool, simplifies the process of creating custom short branded links. Let’s walk through the steps to create these links and amplify your brand’s reach.

Adding your custom domain

The first step in creating branded links with Replug is to incorporate your custom domain. While Replug provides a default shortener domain (rplg.co), using your custom domain strengthens your brand identity and reputation. 

Also read: What is a Branded Short Domain and How Do I Get One?

Follow these steps to add your custom domain:

Step 1: Access custom domains

  • Open your Replug dashboard and navigate to “Settings.”
  • Select “Custom Domains” from the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Add a new domain

  • Click on “Add Domain” to begin setting up your custom short URL.

Step 3: Connect the custom domain

  • On the next screen, provide essential details, including your custom domain and settings like the 404 redirect URL and branded domain.
  • Click “Connect” to add your custom domain to your Replug account.

Step 4: Manage your custom domain

  • After successfully connecting your custom domain, you can manage it within your Replug account. Check connectivity status, edit domain settings, or delete domains as needed.

Note: To complete the domain setup, don’t forget to point the CNAME in your domain registrar’s DNS. Depending on your registrar, you might need to use “@” or “www” as the HOST value.

With your custom domain integrated into Replug, you’re now ready to create your custom-branded link. Here’s how:

Step 5: Add a new link

  • Once logged into your Replug dashboard, select “Select your campaign” to start a new campaign.
  • You’ll find the custom domain you just created within your campaigns.
  • Paste the original link you want to shorten in the “URL to shorten” section.
  • Click “Create” to generate a custom shortened URL.
Custom link

Also read: How to Create a Short URL: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 6: Customize your shortened URL

  • Enjoy the flexibility to customize your shortened URL. Select an alias or keyword to incorporate into the link, making it memorable and aligned with your brand.
  • Click “Update” to generate your custom shortened URL.

Step 7: Share and monitor

  • Utilize your custom-shortened URL in marketing materials, social media posts, emails, or any content where you want to promote your link.
  • Monitor the performance of your custom shortened URLs using Replug’s comprehensive analytics and tracking features, which provide insights into clicks, user location, referrals, and more.

Branded Short Links

Create and track branded short links for your business for better conversions.

Brand Your Links Now!
Branded Short Links


What is the difference between a branded link and a short link?

A branded link includes your brand name or a custom keyword, making it more recognizable and trustworthy. Short links, on the other hand, are simply shortened versions of long URLs, often generated randomly.

Why should I consider using branded links for my brand or business?

Branded links enhance your brand identity, boost user trust, and increase brand recognition. They also offer a more user-friendly and memorable link for sharing.

Are branded links more trustworthy than short links?

Branded links tend to be perceived as more trustworthy by users because they include a recognizable brand name, which can reduce suspicions of spam or phishing.

Can I track the performance of branded links, and how can I do that?

Yes, you can track branded link performance. Most branded link services offer analytics and tracking features to monitor clicks, geographic data, and more.

Arslan Jadoon
Meet Arslan, a skilled website blog and content writer who combines creativity and expertise to deliver engaging and informative pieces that captivate audiences.

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