June 15th, 2016
If the internet were a living, breathing creature, links would be the backbone, possibly the central nervous system. Links help the internet in so many fundamental ways – from currency, to a primary means of navigation, to citations of information, to promotion, and ultimately what matters most – access and discovery.
As marketers, we know that discovery is important and we know the value of dressing up our links. We use images and OG tags on social media to give users a preview of what lays at the end of a click and seduce them to engage. But ultimately, when those vanity options are out of reach and the link is all we have (think a user sharing over text, a blogger mentioning you on Twitter) – the look and feel of that link matters. And not just a little, it matters a lot.
Branding has been around since the birth of commerce, a facet of business that many have been trying to master for thousands of years. The digital age is no different.
“Branding is fundamental. Branding is basic. Branding is essential. Building brands builds incredible value for companies and corporations,” writes Forbes.com.
So, ask yourself, should your links be any different than the rest of your brand? Branded links personalize your company to the average consumer. Often times they legitimize your social media post or referral link in a subliminal, but impactful way. And we can prove it.
Here at Branch, we had a hunch: that branding your links drives higher conversions. To prove our theory, we ran the exact same experimental Facebook ad, to the exact same audience, with the exact same budget, all while A/B testing a generic link vs. a branded link. We first tried running the ad using images associated with the link and the results were similar – the ads performed the same. So when a user sees a preview of what’s to come after the link click, how the link looks like matters less.
The big difference came when we didn’t use an image in our ad. The ads below were shown to the same audience of women between the ages of 18 and 45 and the branded link ad got double the click through rate.
Generic Link in FB Promoted Post:
Branded Link in FB Promoted Post:
We know that this is a sample test. So we challenge you to try it with your brand! You can get your own branded link for free when you sign up for Branch and test it against a generic, unbranded link. We’d love to see what your results show!