Short Links & Click Tracking

How to send URL links with SMS and click tracking

Andrew Craig avatar
Written by Andrew Craig
Updated over a week ago

Chattabox Short Links feature makes it easy to shorten URLs and track clicks in your SMS messages. Chattabox will show you every contact who clicked the link (or didn’t click it), as well as overall statistics to help you optimize your messaging campaigns.

While composing an SMS message in Chattabox , type or copy/paste any URL starting with http:// or https://, and the Shorten links / track clicks checkbox will automatically appear below the message:


You can preview how the URL will be shortened and verify the character count before sending the message. (To send any URL without Chattabox shortening links or tracking clicks, just leave the checkbox unchecked.)

By default, Chattabox sends short links with the domain, and each contact will receive a unique URL in the format (24 characters):

Chattabox adds “https://” for security, but you can remove it on the Messaging Settings page to shorten the link to 16 characters.

When any contact clicks the link, they will automatically be redirected to the destination URL, and the contact will show up as “Clicked” on your Messages page.


Although the Messages page shows the short URL like each contact actually receives a unique URL (not all x’s). This is different from link shortening services like — if you send short links from a link shortening service, everyone would receive the same short URL, and you wouldn’t know who actually clicked the link.

The actual unique short URL is hidden from the Messages page, because if you opened it in your browser, Chattabox would count it as if the contact clicked the link. The Messages page also shows the destination link, which is not sent as part of the SMS, which you can click without being tracked.

Branded Short Links

Accounts on Enterprise plans can replace with their own domain name or subdomain. It is possible to use multiple custom short link domains if necessary. To use a custom short link domain, contact [email protected] for more information.

Mobile App Deep Links

Chattabox's short links feature can also be used to send "deep" links to native mobile apps that the user has already installed on their phone. There are two ways to send deep links: via a https:// URL, or via a custom URL scheme.

If your organization has your own mobile app, when creating an iOS or Android app, one option is to register your own domain name (e.g. to be handled by your app. Then when the user clicks a link starting with inside an SMS, or if a short link redirects to, if your app is installed, it would prompt the user whether they want to open the link in your app or the browser. If your app is not installed, the web page at that URL could prompt them to download your app.

Alternatively, your iOS or Android app could register your own custom URL scheme like . Then, you can use Chattabox to send links starting with and use Chattabox's short links feature to convert it to a clickable short link. When the user clicks on the link, they would be redirected to your app (without prompting whether to open the link in the browser). However, if the user doesn't already have your installed, they would just see a blank screen.

Link Previews

The Short Links feature supports link previews on iOS and Android. If link previews are enabled on the recipient’s phone, the SMS app may show a title, domain, and an image from the destination page, giving the contact more confidence in the short link. When a link preview is loaded, Chattabox marks the message as delivered, but does not count the message as clicked until the contact actually opens the link.

Click-Through Statistics

If you send a short link to multiple contacts, the Broadcast Details page shows the real-time click-through rate and total number of contacts who clicked the link, and a chart with the number of contacts who have clicked the link in 15 minute intervals.

When viewing a broadcast, the Short Link filters show who clicked the link, and who didn’t click it. Details about which links were clicked are also included when exporting messages to CSV.

Passing Contact Information To Destination URL in Query Parameters

It is possible to pass variables such as the contact ID or phone number as part of the destination URL. When composing a message containing a URL, you can insert variables such as [[]] into the query parameters, for example,[[]] , so that the destination page will know which contact clicked the link. However, the value of the variable must not contain any spaces, since any characters after the first space will not be included as part of the URL.

Expiring Short Links

By default, short links never expire. To prevent short links from forwarding to the destination URL after a certain amount of time, click the gear icon after "Shorten links / track clicks", then enter the number of days when you want the link to expire:


The expiration time is relative to the time when the outgoing message was first queued to send. To allow links to expire in less than one day, you can use a decimal number of days (such as 0.25 days for 6 hours).

Trigger Custom Actions When a Short Link is Clicked

It is possible to trigger custom actions when a contact clicks a short link. For example, you could automatically add or remove the contact from a group, send a reply, add a label to the clicked message, or trigger a webhook URL. It is also possible to trigger custom actions if a contact doesn't click a short link after a certain amount of time.

To define which actions are triggered when a contact clicks a short link (or doesn't click it):

  1. Add a new Custom Actions service via Services > Add New Service > Custom Actions > When manually triggered for a contact.

  2. Click "Add action" then click "Send SMS to this contact"

  3. Type the message you want to send, including the original URL of the link you want to send.

  4. Click "Shorten links / track clicks"

  5. Click "Add click action" or "Add click timeout action", then select a subroutine to trigger when the link is clicked or not clicked.

  6. Click "Add action" within the subroutine and add the actions you want

For example:

To send or schedule the service to contacts, click "Send..." next to the service on the Manually Triggered tab of the Services page.

Developer API Integration

For organizations sending SMS messages from their own systems, the Short Links feature works seamlessly with Chatti's developer API. When sending messages via the REST API, just set the track_clicks parameter to true, and Chattabox will shorten URLs and track clicks within the message content. If you configure a webhook URL for status notifications, Chattabox will also notify your webhook URL when the contact clicks your link, with clicked_time set to the timestamp of the click.


The Short Links feature is available to users on the Pro plan and higher Custom plans. To try it out, compose a new message and paste a URL starting with http:// or https:// into the Message box.

If your current plan doesn’t include this feature, you can upgrade to Pro to start shortening links and tracking clicks. To send branded short links, Chatti's Enterprise plans support replacing with your own short link domain. To use a custom short link domain, contact [email protected] for more information.

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