If you’ve just signed up with your first affiliate network, you’ve probably just noticed the unimpressive, long and ugly URLS? It’s likely you want to know if it’s OK to shorten affiliate links, specifically for use on social media, like Twitter or Facebook?
Can I shorten affiliate links? If so, how?
Yes, most* affiliate networks allow users to shorten their URLs. *I would advise you email a representative at the network for confirmation first, if you cannot find any information in their help or FAQ section.
Commission Junction doesn’t have a URL shortener just yet, but a representitive from the company told me that using one should not affect tracking.
If you use RewardStyle, there’s an option to automatically shorten all your links with bit.ly (visit My Account > Basic Information to activate).
SkimLinks has a built in URL shortener too. Access this in the toolbox menu (visit toolbox > tools > URL shortener )
Amazon confirm you can use any URL shortener of your choice, though they suggest using their amzn.to inbuilt shortener because they can verify it’ll track your clicks and sales correctly. Read more in their FAQ section.
List of commonly used URL shortening services
You may wish to shorten your affiliate links with one of the following tools –
Goo.gl (owned by Google, good stats)
Bit.ly (see below for why I don’t use Bit.ly)
Buffer *MY PICK (scheduling tool, automatically shortens, good stats)
Why I don’t recommend Bit.ly
Bitly’s URL shortener is a favourite with bloggers, due to the handy statistics it provides. However, earlier this year, Bitly partnered up with Viglink and started appending affiliate cookies to links posted through the tool. PracticalEcommerce.com explain why this could be problematic for bloggers –
Say a blogger, who is one of your approved affiliates, promotes your brand across her social media channels. To keep her posts short and pithy, the blogger uses Bitly to shorten the affiliate link. Now that Bitly is in partnership with Viglink, if the blogger’s post drives a sale, that sale is attributed to Viglink, not to the blogger.
Eeek! This was only a test on a small subset of users, and according to the site’s knowledge base, the test is now over. However, Bit.ly haven’t stated whether the test was successful and they intend to activate affiliate links to ALL of their free users in the future.
Can I share affiliate links on Facebook? – Lovely Blog Academy
How to shorten Amazon affiliate links – Bloggers Help
Bit.ly affiliate test – Bit.ly knowledge base
Bitly-Viglink affiliate deal raises concerns – Practical Ecommerce
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