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What is Link Cloaking & How Does It Work: Quick Guide

Arslan Jadoon
4 minutes
link cloaking

Have you ever hesitated before clicking a link, unsure of where it might lead?

Enter the world of “link cloaking.” This technique conceals a link’s true destination, displaying a neater, friendlier URL instead. But it’s not just about appearances – a cloaked link also plays a crucial role in enhancing security, ensuring accuracy, and boosting user confidence.

This guide is your easy tour of link cloaking—its perks, easy methods, and best practices. From shortening links to staying transparent and tracking clicks, we’ll walk you through it all. Let’s simplify link cloaking and make it work for you!

What is link cloaking?

Link cloaking, link disguising, or link shortening is a technique used to hide the actual destination URL of a link while presenting a different, more user-friendly link to visitors. 

This is often done for various reasons, including affiliate marketing, branding, tracking, and improving the appearance of links. By cloaking a link, you can make it appear cleaner and more trustworthy, as well as monitor click-through rates and other metrics.

However, it’s worth noting that link cloaking can sometimes be misused for deceptive or malicious purposes, so it’s important to use it responsibly and transparently.

Affiliate link cloaking: What does it mean?

Affiliate link cloaking refers to the practice of concealing or disguising affiliate links to make them appear more user-friendly and appealing. 

Affiliate marketing involves promoting products or services through unique affiliate links, and when a user clicks on such a link and makes a purchase, the affiliate earns a commission. 

However, these affiliate links can often be long, complex, and not very attractive. To address this, affiliate marketers use link-cloaking software to create links that are shorter, cleaner, and more customized. 

The purpose of cloaking affiliate links is to make them blend seamlessly into the content, provide a branded appearance, and potentially increase the likelihood of users clicking on the link. It also offers the advantage of being able to track click-through rates and other analytics to measure the effectiveness of the affiliate marketing campaign.

Link cloaking vs. Link shortening: What’s the difference?

The key distinction between link cloaking and link shortening lies in their primary purposes. A cloaked link focuses on masking the destination URL for reasons of appearance, branding, and sometimes tracking, whereas link shortening primarily aims to create shorter, more manageable links for sharing, without altering the visibility of the destination URL.

A branded link can be referred to as a cloaked link. Essentially, when you utilize a branded link, you’re employing a cloaking technique by substituting the original URL with a custom one that embodies your brand’s identity. 

This approach not only streamlines the link’s appearance but also maintains a consistent and trustworthy image for your brand.

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How to use Replug for link cloaking?

To use Replug for link masking, follow these steps:

Step 1: Sign in to Replug or create an account for free.

Note: If you need to add a custom domain or brand, please follow this guide first.

Step 2: On the main dashboard page, select “Replug links” under the “Manage” section.

manage and replug links

Step 3: Click on the “New link” button to create a new cloaked link. 

new link

Step 4: Select your “campaign” and paste the original link in the URL section.

Note: In this step, you can also add UTM parameters to your link.

Step 5 (optional): In this step you have the option to add extra features to your cloaked link. 

Step 6: Once done, click the “Save link” button and your link will be automatically cloaked. 

Step 7: Here you can customize your newly created link with a custom slug. Also, you’ll have the option to copy, share directly, or download your cloaked link as a QR code. 

Monitor cloaked link analytics with Replug:

Replug offers valuable insights such as click-through rates and geographic information related to the users interacting with your cloaked links. 

By utilizing this data, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of how your links are performing. This information helps you gauge the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, identify trends, and make informed decisions for optimizing your strategies. 

Whether you’re aiming to measure engagement, target specific demographics, or refine your campaigns, the analytics provided by Replug empower you to fine-tune your approach and achieve your desired outcomes.

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How does link cloaking work?

Cloaked link often uses technologies like iFrames to display the destination URL within a webpage, while showing a different link to users.

Is link cloaking ethical?

Link cloaking itself is neutral, but its ethical use is crucial. Transparently informing users about cloaked links, especially in affiliate marketing, is essential.

Are cloaked links trackable?

Yes, many cloaking methods allow you to track click-through rates and other analytics to measure the performance of your links.

Can I retarget users with cloaked links?

Yes, some cloaking tools let you add retargeting or remarketing tags to cloaked pages, enabling you to show ads to users who clicked but didn’t convert.

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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