Your SMS campaigns can vary a lot based on your company’s needs. Text messages are a great way to reach customers with the latest promotions, send alerts, updates, and reminders, win back lost customers, or keep the loyal ones engaged.

One thing that is common for them all is SMS links that can direct your subscribers to your desired location where they can act – whether it’s placing an order on your online store or rescheduling a dentist appointment.

The problem is that long URLs take too many precious characters in text messages, don’t look very professional, and can even be considered spam.

That’s why it’s best to shorten them, and below you will find 5 of the best URL shorteners for SMS marketing that can help you do it.

What is a URL shortener?

Link shortening example

A URL shortener is a tool that you can use to turn a long URL into a shorter one – as simple as that. It helps you create unique SMS links for your text communications and easily redirect your customers to a specific page on your website, for instance.

Brands use shortened links in text messages to not only achieve their goals (increase sales, boost customer engagement, provide information, etc.) but also track the results and measure their SMS marketing performance.

What are the benefits of using an SMS URL shortener?

Let’s dive into more benefits that using a URL shortener can bring to your business.

You can track the performance of your campaigns

The majority of URL link shorteners offer some kind of analytics that enables you to see how well your campaigns are doing. Meaning that you will be able to access information about clicks, locations, channels, specific times, and so on, and make future decisions accordingly.

To avoid any confusion, misunderstandings and increase trust in the content you share, most URL shortener tools allow users to brand their links. This way, subscribers can instantly see the destination of the link they’re about to click and that it’s coming from the sender they’re familiar with.

Admit it – seeing a long, bulky link containing random letters and is longer than the actual text message can raise some eyebrows. It can prevent your subscribers from clicking on them since it might not feel safe, or the link itself can simply be cut in half due to the SMS character limit. Your goal is clean, short, preferably branded links, exactly those that URL shorteners help you deliver.

URL shorteners let you get the best out of character limits

With SMS, you have only 160 to spread your message, and you definitely don’t want to waste them on long, unruly links. By turning a messy URL into a cute little one, you get to use the rest of the characters to say what's important without compromising your chances of getting people to click through.

1. Bitly

Biltly URL shortener homepage

Bitly is probably one of the best-known URL shorteners, widely used for various purposes, be it social media, email marketing, or – you guessed it – SMS marketing.

Bitly’s clean interface and well-thought-out features make it an easy-to-use and valuable tool both for beginners and professionals. This URL shortener gives you access to a ton of data, like the performance of your links (clicks, shares, etc.), your audience, referral sources, all neatly organized into graphs.

Key features:

  • Short branded links
  • Custom domains
  • Mobile deep links
  • Easy link redirection
  • UTM parameters
  • QR codes
  • 700+ integrations
  • HTTPS encryption
  • Campaign management and analytics

Bitly pricing: Free plan available. The Basic plan costs $29/month (or $348 annually); for Premium, you'll be billed $199/month ($2,388 annually).

2. Rebrandly

Rebrandly URL shortener

Rebrandly is often considered one of the Bitly alternatives that provides its users with a variety of features, allowing them to take care of short URLs from the moment they’re created to measuring their success.

Besides link management, Rebrandly provides a platform where teams can easily collaborate (share links, create workspaces, set specific access levels for teammates, etc.) and learn to get the best out of this tool using Rebrandly’s knowledge base, video tutorials, or even receive direct training tailored for specific teams.

Key features:

  • Custom URL slugs & editable destination URLs
  • QR codes
  • Branded link export
  • UTM builder
  • Team collaboration
  • Traffic routing
  • GDPR privacy
  • Multiple domain names
  • HTTPS (SSL) encryption
  • Training and support
  • Analytics

Rebrandly pricing: Free plan available. You can also choose from three paid plans: Starter - $29/month; Pro - $89/month; Premium - $499/month.

BL.INK URL shortener homepage

BL.INK is a feature-rich URL shortener that provides marketers with an opportunity to always stay compliant, collaborate with other team members when managing links, and track link activity.

Although aimed at the bigger enterprises, beginners will also find BL.INK beneficial and not that complicated to use. This URL shortener comes with everything you need for effective link management, options to connect it with the tools you already use, automate specific processes to streamline workflows, and more.

Key features:

  • Fully editable and trackable links
  • Branded links
  • Dynamic link routing
  • In-depth analytics
  • Wide integration options
  • Automation possibility
  • Solutions for highly-regulated customers
  • Flexible paying options
  • Reliable customer support

BL.INK pricing: BL.INK offers four different pricing plans that vary from $48/month to $599/month.

4. TinyURL

TinyURL link shortener

It may seem that TinyURL has been there forever, but it doesn’t mean that this URL shortener or its features are outdated. In fact, it’s still a strong player in this whole link shorteners competition, which also brings many valuable functionalities to the table.

The best thing about TinyURL is that it's straightforward and easy to use. You'll get your links shortened in a couple of clicks and get to manage them in one centralized place. Just like other link shorteners, TinyURL also enables you to create branded short links and enables SMS link tracking. Real-time data will help you better understand your customer behavior and improve your next campaigns.

Key features:

  • Branded and customizable short links
  • Custom domains
  • No link expiration date
  • In-depth data monitoring and analytics
  • Easy to use

TinyURL pricing: Free plan available. Pro plan's pricing starts from $9.99/month (depending on the number of active URLs); the Bulk plan's pricing starts from $99/month.

5. Replug

Replug URL shortener

Replug is not just a simple URL shortener that allows you to manage the SMS links. This tool goes one step ahead by offering an option to add retargeting pixels, embed call-to-actions, and even create bio landing pages for social media.

Of course, you can analyze how your links are performing by using such KPIs as click performance, conversion, visitors by country/source, and more. Replug URL shortener can also be integrated with many SMS marketing platforms for effective execution.

Key features:

  • Branded and custom short URLs
  • Custom domains
  • Deep linking
  • QR code short links
  • Traffic routing
  • A/B testing
  • Retargeting and lead generation (with branded CTAs)
  • Social media bio links
  • Analytics (10+ data points)

Replug pricing: Basic plan costs $19/month. For the Professional plan, you'll be billed $49/month and $79/month for the Agency plan.

Although short links are nothing wrong in general, some SMS marketers and even regular consumers are skeptical about using those in text marketing communications. The main reason behind this is that short links are not that difficult to compromise, making them a powerful tool for scammers.

Take FedEx, for example. A few years ago, the company had to put out some fires as the text message, claiming to contain a FedEx package, has been sent to thousands of phones. Here's how it looked:

FedEx scam message

If you aren't careful enough and happen to order something online recently, it's easy to follow the link without much thinking. But that should never be the case, especially when the link contains no information related to the company itself – just a bunch of random characters. That's when you can start considering it being spam.

Because of such situations, it's best to use branded short links or – even better – your own links, if possible. For instance, instead of using to direct your customers to your return policy, take advantage of customization options and use instead.

Shorts links can bring many benefits to your company, no matter what you do. Being able to analyze the performance of each message you send can give you a better understanding of your subscribers’ habits and inspire necessary improvements for further growth.

With a link shortener, this whole process becomes easier to manage. Branded links are also less likely to raise questions between your recipients, decreasing the chances of negatively affecting your click-through rates.

Have you chosen your favorite one yet?

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