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Link shorteners: what are the benefits, and also where it is better not to use them

Link shorteners are widely used to shorten long URLs, which is useful in many communication channels: social networks, presentations, SMS, instant messengers, and even websites. With a URL shortener, you can do more than just get a link with fewer characters. You can customize it by adding your own ending, or an alias, and even connect your own domain so that the user can accurately identify it to your brand.

Purpose, benefit and exception to the rule

Why are shortened links needed? Here are the main reasons for shortening URLs:

to save characters (this especially concerns posts in social networks, instant messengers and SMS. For example, adding a short url in SMS instead of a full link significantly affects the length of the message, and therefore the cost of sending. And in Viber, where there is no strict limit on the number of characters (for sure your promo will be shorter than the valid 1000 characters), a short customized link will look better than a regular long link;
to hide the parameters of UTM tags;
to simplify the visual perception of the text block;
for the convenience of memorization and reproduction;
for counting conversions in built-in service analytics. service analytics

When is it better not to use link shortening services? There are several such situations:

The first - the main and not the most obvious at first glance - in email newsletters. Mailers are not always able to track where the shortened link leads, so they do their best to prevent their use in letters. In practice, this means that messages with shortened links are more likely to end up in the Spam folder. Mail services in this way try to protect their users, because when you click on a link shortened using a shortened link, you can end up on a page with irrelevant information or accidentally download a file with a virus.
Therefore, it is better to use links in emails without shortening them or making redirects. Moreover, there is no need for such a tool in email, since you can do

hyperlinks in the text or add call-to-action buttons where needed. It will also be easy to track their effectiveness.
The second situation when you shouldn't use shortcuts is in site navigation, especially for important sections. You should not rely on a third-party platform for such important issues, which can change the conditions of work or shut down.

The third and final situation is any other use case evergreen or a perpetual link is needed. The shortener service may stop working sooner or later, and the links obtained with its help will break. To prevent this from happening, it's best not to use shortened links in content that has been created for centuries.