Shortened URLs are a great way to make a message shorter and more readable for the recipient. However, it is crucial to understand some rules and best practices to ensure successful delivery, as well as a good user experience.
SMS and MMS messaging with shortened URLs
When sending SMS or MMS messages containing shortened URLs, use a dedicated short domain that belongs to your business, or a service which offers a unique non-shared domain for your URLs.
Do not send links that have been shortened using free public URL shorteners, such as free TinyUrl or Bitly links. In the United States, carrier policies forbid the use of free public URL shorteners, due to the frequency of use by spammers, scammers and other bad actors.
Some URL shortener websites offer a paid plan which gives you a unique domain. Alternatively, you could use your own domain and run your own shortening system.
When sending to some countries, the use of free public URL shorteners may not be outright forbidden, but it is still likely to cause reduced delivery quality. When using a free URL shortener, your messages may accidentally resemble harmful messages that a carrier has recently blocked, causing your messages to also be blocked. In addition, using generic shared URL shorteners may cause some message recipients to be suspicious about the links you are sending, and refuse to click on them.
WhatsApp does not forbid the use of free, shared URL shorteners. However, if possible, Twilio recommends using a dedicated short URL that is specific to your business. Recipients are more likely to trust a branded short URL, or even a standard long URL, than a generic short URL.