Social Media

Social Media Essential or Passing Fad: Should We Still Care About URL Shorteners?

Brad Smith
December 15, 2011

URL shortners used to be an essential Social Media tool.

But now I’m not so sure…

Two recent updates now make them seem useless.

Let’s break it down.

Where Did They Come From?

URL Shorteners first came about because of Twitter.

The 140 character limit really restricted your ability to share links.

So up popped Bit.ly, Tiny URL, and a host of other providers.

They were great because they also gave you “clickstream data”. This information tells you how many clicks a link received, where people were located, and what sources they were coming from.

Now you had top-of-funnel insight that helped to optimize your social media use and get more traffic.

But now some recent updates have made me question whether they’re still worth the effort…

1. T.Co

Twitter announced back in October that they were introducing the T.Co shortener. From then on, every single link sent through Twitter is automatically shortened using their own service.

Now when you look at your website or blog analytics, you’ll see the T.Co source.

2. Facebook Click-Through-Rate

A recent report from Buddy Media stated that “full-length URLs had three times the engagement compared to shortened URLS”.

Facebook users want to know what they’re clicking!

Not to mention, posting directly on Facebook has shown to defeat Facebook’s Edgerank.

So Do They Still Matter?

So do you still use URL shorteners?

Do you still need to know how many clicks you’re receiving, or should you just focus on goals that matter?