Rather than using a generic link shortener, many companies are using the versatility of new TLDs to deploy their own on-brand links over social media.
A Branded Short Link is a URL used for sharing articles and media on character-limited social networks like Twitter. Unlike other shorteners—like bit.ly or ow.ly—audiences find Branded Short Links more recognizable, trusted, and attractive. A study by Bit.ly shows that Branded Short Links actually increase social engagement by 34% over unbranded short domains.
At Rightside, we’ve seen a steady trend of big brands adopting Branded Short Links to share on social media, including Microsoft, Chick-fil-A, Trump Hotels, and the New York Jets, each of which use the relevant, memorable .SOCIAL TLD.
We’re also seeing the trend in several other domain extensions: Etsy.studio was Etsy’s choice to announce the launch of their new Studio division, Apple.news is the link generated by iOS to share links, and the People/EW Network uses PEN.live as a much shorter call to action on social media.
The momentum behind new gTLDs for this purpose isn’t accidental. Brands aren’t just searching for the shortest solution, they also want to use domains that meaningfully describe their content and put their brand in the best light. Whether the brand develops a direct call to action, or uses a link shortening platform, new TLDs give them the opportunity to find the best keyword matches for their specific niche.
The Branded Short Link trend also creates an interesting opportunity for domainers. It’s only a matter of time before brands start looking to broader, category-defining terms in their short links—think [industry].news, or [product].social—to gain a social media edge over the competition. These generic (and more importantly, investible) terms are great for short links, and new TLDs have created a vast inventory of these types of domains. There are also a large number of two- and three-character domains in these namespaces, giving brands and investors the chance to own a domain that is both relevant and incredibly short.
This is an exciting time for TLDs as brands go beyond mere brand protection and start recognizing new domains as a course toward true brand enhancement. Branded Short Links are one of the best examples of this, and the growth in this type of usage shows that brands are not only getting comfortable with new TLDs, they’re also integrating them into their businesses.
To see more Branded Short Link use cases, check out: Showcase.ninja.