I started using Switchy back in 2019, soon after stepping away from Pixelme (a solid tool back then, but has not really innovated since). Before Switchy, there were Rocketlinks, JotUrl, Tiny URL and many others. I’ve tried a few of them and I’m still keeping JotUrl to this day, but it’s safe to say that I’m pretty set with using Switchy exclusively for any kind of outbound URL needs for our business.
The landscape has changed a lot since then, and a lot of new URL shortener (AKA retargeting tools) have entered the market. However, most of them focus on trying to tick as many boxes as possible but lack a number of features that make it a complete solution for digital marketers. After 2 years of use, Switchy is still my go-to choice for custom URL shortener because of the complete customization ability and ease-of-use.
The Use Cases
The basic use case: Shorten links
Let’s start with the absolute basics of what link shortener tools are designed for: Shorten links and retargeting.
My first impression of Switchy is how easy it is to use for a not-so-tech-savvy person. It’s literally a 2 step process to create your link (See below).
As you can see, the link’s metadata (preview image, title and description) was auto-populated, making it very well presented when you share on social media platforms. Where Switchy shines however is that we can edit all of these 3 fields, making it even more attractive.
Click-through rate (CTR) is super important in a lot of cases, especially when you’re sharing the link in a large community. Therefore, a great preview image that is customized for that specific audience would really help to improve the CTR and give you a higher chance to read your content and ultimately convert.
You can also quickly add retargeting pixels by selecting from the drop-down menu. With Switchy, it’s super easy to create a new link, as the process is very intuitive. You don’t have to scroll up and down to finish creating a link, as all the important customization options are laid out in the same window frame. Unless you want to adjust more advanced settings (tags, UTM, AB testing, etc.,) your link is already ready to use within seconds.
URL rotate (AB testing)
I didn’t use this feature until a couple months in, but once I understood how to use it, it was pretty much a no brainer.
It’s important to understand that there are two use cases when it comes to AB testing:
- The common use case: Where you would use it to track & compare customer experience when they’re sent through each option, using metrics such as behavior, CTR, and conversion rates.
- Amazon sellers: Where we can use each of the split test options to drive traffic to a different keyword.
For the second use case, we often call it in the Amazon world the “keyword rotator” feature (I assume it was dubbed by the folks at Pixelfy.me, who built the first link shortener tool specifically for Amazon sellers).
Similarly to Pixelfy.me, you can set up the keyword rotator link by creating 2 step URL links for different keywords from the Helium10 Gems page, and paste them into the AB testing feature when creating the link on Switchy
In the example below, I’ve created 3 links for the keywords “garlic press“, “stainless steel garlic press” and “garlic press crusher“.
I use this feature specifically to duplicate the same links and distribute them to different channels when we launch new products. This helps to track the amount of traffic that comes to the same destination each channel brings.
Below is the comparison between JotUrl and Switchy when I want to duplicate a link. With JotUrl the options are limited to what you want to customize. With Switchy, not only are there a lot more customizable fields, all of these fields are pre-filled so you can just add 1-2 extra steps, eg: Tags and UTM to differentiate the links.
Putting it to good use for product launch campaigns
We launched a children’s book on Amazon a while ago for 1 week, and it was the perfect chance for me to test this feature out extensively. Here are some of the things I did to promote:
- Posted it in our FB group, email, and on my personal FB
- Asked a few friends to help spread the word
- Hired 3 people from Fiverr to distribute the book
- In the last 3 days of the campaign, I also posted the links to a few subReddits that allows the promotion of free eBooks.
You can clearly see from the screenshot below the exact number of clicks from each source, as well as the fact that the traffic from the subReddits absolutely dwarfed every other channel. Now I know the exact channels to focus on next time.
This feature was the main reason why I went out and look for URL shortener/retargeting tools.
We have an e-commerce business selling children’s products, and we print QR codes on all of our packaging to invite customers to take further actions (Join our FB group, offer discount for the next purchase, etc.,). And there are 2 reasons why I did not want to use QR code generators such as QRCode Monkey:
- I want more data than just number of clicks.
- I want to change the root URL whenever I need to.
Changing the root URL
Switchy allows you to generate the QR codes for each link (cool 😊), and change the root URL anytime, so even if you print 100k units of packaging, we can still change the final destination when people visit the link printed on the packaging (great 🤩).
So let’s say if you have a promotion etc that is seasonal/time sensitive, you can change your landing page without worrying about getting stuck with an out of date link on your existing packaging (frigging awesome! 🤯)
Number of QR code scanned vs URL typed
Other than that, you can also see the traffic as well as the number of QR scans vs typed link. Different audiences behave differently. Our audience almost never scans (they don’t even know how to), so we know we need to include the url along with the QR code too.
Seeing where the traffic comes from
Looking at this one piece of data can potentially save you a ton of money when it comes to targeting/retargeting customers.
The map below shows the places the code has been scanned for only one of our products. As we sell mainly in the US (I live in Canada so when I test scan the codes, it gets counted), I can see every state that our customers who bought this exact product live in. When I hover my mouse over each state, I can see the total number of QR code scanned & link clicked in each state.
When we run our ad campaigns for this product, I can skip all of the states that are not highlighted here to make sure my budget goes to the pockets of audience that have the highest chance of converting (states where people bought the most of this product 💰)
Newfound (not so) secret email feature
This is why I love Switchy more and more: It has grown beyond simply being a URL shortener tool. In late 2020, Switchy introduced the ability to create links to different messaging platforms including Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, email, and more. The cool thing about this is that you can create message templates so the users don’t have to draft a long email/message with their queries.
Now, they can just click to email you with pre-filled templates.
Take an example of a customer trying to contact your store asking about a damaged/missing order. They click on Contact Us, and immediately sees a few options. “Where’s my package?” is one of those options. They click on it, and it auto-fills the email (see screenshot attached).
I made a mock link that connects you to our dear Jeff to complain about an order you received from Amazon. You can test it out here https://go.mightytools.co/demo-email-link
Bug reporting, collaboration request,… the use cases are endless! It can get users to write an email with content like the above already filled out ☝️ so they don’t have to write it from scratch.
Other features that were not mentioned, but deserves recognition
- Deep link: It took them a while, but they finally delivered! 50% of Amazon shoppers in the US shop on mobile, so deep links reaaallly help to make the experience seamless when users jump from one platform to another (email/messenger to Amazon app).
- Add notes on link: This one is small but mighty. As you create more links, it would be easy to forget why they were created, where each link is shared, etc., This helps solve the problem.
One popular feature that has been requested often is CTA on shared links. I understand the logic behind it, and why marketers love it, but personally, I’m not a fan of it. As a reader, I found it to be too gimmicky and can create a negative reading experience for some, so it’s definitely a good-to-have feature, but not a deal-breaker for me.
As of today (Feb 13, 2021), Jeff and his Switchy team are still working on releasing some mega size features so I’ll probably have to either update this post, or create a new, separate post to cover them once they are released.
Room for improvements
Strictly URL shortener related: I would love for Switchy to have better organization capabilities such as reordering folders and creating subfolders. It would be tremendously helpful as we create more links.
The AppSumo Deal
There are a number of URL shortener tools, that either offer monthly or LTD. For Switchy currently, with just 1 code, you get up to 30,000 clicks/month, 8 custom domains. For a small business up to $1m, you’re probably safe with just the 1 code.
Agencies however would need to stack this to the max because of the massive potential, and wide range of use cases. Clients can range from brick and mortar stores to ecom businesses, we all need retargeting links.