Why you should focus on link tracking — 4 tools to get started + FREE bonus tool

Phillip Stemann
10 min readJan 21, 2021


You have designed a fantastic digital marketing strategy or campaign, but how would you measure its effectiveness? This is where link tracking comes into the picture.

Tracking links are one of the most popular strategies used in marketing to determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and activities. Without link tracking, you would be clueless about where the traffic on your website is coming from.

Have you ever wondered why your traffic increased and where your new customers come from, or how effective your marketing campaign or strategy is? All your questions have one answer; link tracking. Of course Google Analytics can tell you on a high level where the traffic comes from, but link tracking narrows it down.

Why should you track links?

Link tracking can provide you with valuable analytics and data about your marketing campaigns. You can determine which of the marketing campaigns are performing best for your website and which one is not as effective so that you can improve the less effective ones or focus more on the ones that are performing.

Link tracking gives you an understanding of the activities people value more so that you can invest wisely and more effectively. Using the link tracking technique, you can yield a good ROI, even if you have a low marketing budget.

It’s always a wise idea to track your page views as well; what’s even better is getting the idea where these views are coming from. We all are aware of the power of analytics and how it helps digital marketers. Link tracking is basically providing you with these analytics so that you can plan your marketing strategy wisely.

Let’s give you an example of my own experience to make you understand better.

A few weeks ago, my blog experienced a peak in visitors, and subscriptions rose above average. Naturally, I wanted to know about the sudden boost. I visited Google Analytics to determine the peak and overall performance of my website. But I was eager to know more about the source of traffic, and because I use a Switchy.io along with Google Analytics, I was able to do it. It turned out that the main source of traffic was some specific types of tweets. So I created some similar write-ups and invested in sponsored tweets for this purpose. Since then, I’ve learned a lot, however isn’t that money spent well?

The tools which collect the most data, are the tools you want to use as data is the new oil nowadays. Therefore, one should take advantage of both link tracking and Google Analytics to analyse your website’s performance.

Who benefits from link tracking?

People related to marketing know the importance of link tracking. Here are some examples of how link tracking can help in a number of ways.

For marketing individuals working in a company

Link tracking provides valuable information to the individuals working in a company’s marketing sector, big or small. It helps take control of the marketing and in boosting conversion rates. For content marketers, link tracking gives them an idea about what type of content was most welcomed by the audience and what content falls flat.

If we talk about social media profiles, link tracking helps marketers know which profile is proving to be most beneficial, and even down to what post is endorsing the product or service the best.

You can even up your marketing game using link tracking to offer your visitors personalised experiences. Simply use the option of advance redirect while developing a tracking link, enabling you to redirect your visitor depending upon their IP location. For instance, visitors coming from France can be redirected to the French website, the possibilities are endless.

Using the tracking link, you can even send invites to visitors for personalised live chats, which can help in converting your visitors.

For marketing agencies

Link tracking helps agencies show their clients 100% accurate figures of who has visited their website. You can make it part of your multi-channel attribution analysis.

Link tracking is particularly beneficial for the ad operations team. With its help, they can determine the response rate of each campaign and make comprehensive reports to present to their clients.

For affiliate marketers

E-commerce websites nowadays use online affiliate marketers to drive traffic to their webshop and increase conversion rate. However, it is important as a webshop to know which affiliates are generating the highest number of visitors and conversions to your webshop. This analysis of individual affiliates can be done via separate tracking links given to each one of them. It is the most effective way for e-commerce website owners to know which affiliates are providing the most conversions.

Not only affiliates but also you, can see what vloggers and influencers are driving traffic to your site so that you can invest in the most influential ones next time.

Sure, link tracking can be a bit tedious and cumbersome, but it can save a great amount of money and time on marketing strategies in the long run.

Tools to get started with link tracking

If you are a marketer, having URL shorteners by your side allows you to do so many things. For example, if someone watched your videos on YouTube and then clicks on one of your links, you can easily determine where that person has gone from YouTube and clicked which of your link, so you know what kind of products your visitors are interested in.

If you run a blog, you can retarget the people who have clicked on that specific link and show them an article they might be interested in.

If you create marketing emails, and you want to check the path which people go, you can put these little URLs inside and see where people are going on the diagram.

There are a variety of tools available in the market that will help you get started with the link tracking. However, choosing the right tool for you is the real task. I have analysed my four favourite link tracking tools so that you don’t have to go through the tedious market research.


Switchy is one of the most powerful link management tools that helps you shorten, manage, customise and most importantly track your links so that you can retarget your visitors and boost your conversion rate. It helps you customise the appearance of a post that is shared on social networks by adding UTMs and retargeting pixels. I personally use Switchy, and I absolutely love it’s full set of functionality.


Once you have the most clicked link in the game, you can track your users and get real-time analytics such as referrals, numbers and audience sources.

You may think that Switchy is just a basic URL shortener, but once you get to know its features, you understand it’s much more than that. Switchy enables you to customise the link completely; from description to domain and picture in a matter of minutes.

Key features

  • Shorten and customise your link which can help in link tracking
  • Helps to retarget the visitors
  • Offers unlimited retargeting pixels: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Pinterest etc.
  • Provides real-time analytics report
  • Enables link customisation
  • 404 Redirection



  • More features than its competitors
  • Affordable
  • You can make your own short links and custom domains
  • Provides a social preview of your website
  • The dashboard is easy and straightforward to use
  • It’s very easy to invite your colleagues


  • Doesn’t provide a free version, you can however try it out


Though Switchy does not offer a free version, the features it offers in their paid versions are much more affordable than the paid versions of initially free ones. The dashboard is straightforward and hassle-free to use. Sharing access with team members is a plus point of it. With the easy retargeting feature, you can retarget your visitor and convince them eventually to use your product or service.


Bitly is unarguably the most famous link management platform that allows businesses to track their visitor source, shorten URLs, add UTM tags etc. The main reason why it is so popular is its extensive features they’ve built over the years. They do offer a free plan, however, if you require a highly customisable URL you need to upgrade to the premium version which offers a custom domain name of your own, and much more.


The premium version contains features like; link retargeting. You can easily track individual links and get the analytics report displayed on the dashboard. Bitly can even measure the performance of your marketing campaign in a specific region.

Key Features

  • Can connect a custom domain
  • Straightforward dashboard with analytics display
  • URL retargeting
  • Custom URL in a premium version
  • Cloud-hosted



  • Custom URL notes
  • Offers free version for beginners
  • Easy and straightforward to use
  • Can create customisable links


  • Limited features in the free version, even the basic plan is not very comprehensive.
  • A bit expensive for their premium plans.


Bitly is one of the most used URL shorteners and link tracking platforms and for all the right reasons. The free initial version provides a basic understanding of it for beginners. The free version does not allow customisable domain names, but with paid versions like basic and premium, you can easily customise your domain. If you work with Google Analytics, Bitly can prove to be very useful for you.


Cutt.ly is a great URL shortener and link tracker with premium features. You know what’s the best part? Cutt.ly is absolutely free, okay they do have some premium plans. With an easy-to-use dashboard, you can shorten your links in no time. However, Cutt.ly does not offer a lot of integrations. If you are looking for a straightforward, easy to use and free URL shortener, then Cutt.ly might be your best pick.


The reason why Cutt.ly is becoming increasingly famous is because of its comprehensive free package. However, with paid premium Cutt.ly plans you can get access to more advanced and innovative features.



  • No account required to get access to features or customise URLs, however, you can get access to real-time analytics with an account.
  • Shortening links can require just a click as Cutt.ly also offers a free custom shortener button that you can add to your browser toolbar.


  • Few features are available for enterprise-level (no custom report, no bulk creation, etc.)


If you have an e-commerce website or blog and want to know the real-time analytics of your website, then Cutt.ly is your best choice. With free services and comprehensive premium plans that have great features, this URL shortener is becoming a favourite of many.


If you want branded short links for your websites or blog and track the visitor simultaneously, then Rebrandly is the name you can trust. It is the easiest way to create, manage and share branded links, and at the same time it’s a top tool of link tracking.

From individual users to enterprise companies, Rebrandly is one of the best tools in URL shortening and link tracking. It won’t be wrong to say that Rebrandly is the leading link management platform in the market.


Using Rebrandly, you can create, develop and share branded links through the browser extension directly. Yes, it’s as simple as that!

Rebrandly offers comprehensive packages. The packages include 3 versions for individual users and 2 for teams.



  • Create great-looking short links
  • Easy to set up a system
  • Option to choose more domains directly from them directly and then pay accordingly


  • The domain names they use are a bit longer compared to the competitors


If there are any link tracking and URL shortening platforms that can be said as ‘complete’ then it has to be Rebrandly. The most liked and used link tracking tool is offered at a reasonable price. The clean and easy to use interface makes it understandable to even the most naive users.

Free bonus tool: Google Analytics

When we talk about link tracking we often forget to talk about Google Analytics. It’s a free tool where you can make Utm Campaigns. An Utm campaign contains of Utm medium, Utm source, Utm term and more. There is an URL builder where you can easily plug in these values in order to get your Utm link.

When you create an UTM link, you need to fill out the following:

  1. Website URL: Your website’s URL inclusive Https.
  2. Campaign source: Where is this campaign running? (Newsletter, Google, Facebook)
  3. Campaign Medium: What is the material? A banner? An e-mail? CPC?
  4. Campaign name: What name do you give the campaign for you to refer to it? (Spring sale)
  5. Campaign term: Identify the keywords used for this campaign

These values you just enter in the url builder, and then you have your URL. This URL you need to use as all other URLs, and if you use the URL builder correct, you’ll be able to see all of your data in Google Analytics.


Link tracking is now one of the most important parts of digital marketing. It helps you determine the source of where your visitors are coming from, so that you can determine which of your marketing campaigns are performing and which are not worth investing further in.

Many tools offer link tracking for you, and is often a part of another marketing tool, it could be a good start for you. If I had to name a link tracking tool ‘all-rounder’ then it has to be Switchy, I use it myself and it’s simple and to the point.

It’s simple interface, and robust features makes it a market leader. Rebrandly is the other great link tracking tool that gives hard competition to Switchy. Its innovative features makes it increasingly popular.

When you start to optimise your links by tracking them, you should look at your newsletter form, I guarantee by reading these 5 tips on how to make your newsletter form convert, you will see a higher conversion rate.



Phillip Stemann

I am a web developer with 10+ years of experience. I believe that every project existing in the digital world is a result of an idea and every idea has a cause.