Bit.ly isn’t just a URL shortener, turning long web addresses into short addresses. It’s also a social media measurement tool that counts clicks, monitors conversations, and store your data all at the click of a button.
If you ever share links via social media then you’ve probably used an URL-shortening tool at some point. Bit.ly with its extra data collection features is well worth consideration amongst the broad stable of shortners that also includes services such as Google’s goo.gl, Cligs, and the grand daddy of shorteners, TinyURL.
Just as you wouldn’t launch a website and never check how it’s performing (shame on you if you would) you need to keep an eye on social media too. Not analysing your performance on social media could be the kiss of death for your campaign. The data offered by bit.ly will help you to check how your campaign works, so let’s see what they tell you:
Number of Clicks
The basic stuff – how many people have clicked on your bit.ly link – whether you’ve tweeted it or used it in an email. Use this data to test what your customers want to read about. Find out if your method of delivery makes a difference to click through rates. Keep trying out different styles until you find one that works.
But bit.ly has a nifty trick up its sleeve. It can tell you how many people have clicked on a link to your page altogether. They can monitor any bit.ly link to your URL – so even if someone creates a different short link to your fantastic blog article bit.ly will still show you the data.
And, they’ll even tell you who’s linking to you:
The bit.ly feature conversations pulls together all conversations containing your link into one handy place. So you can see at a glance if someone said “brilliant article…” or “I can’t believe they wrote this…!” This shouldn’t be your only guide to how people are responding to your content, but it’s useful for a quick thumb in the air test.
The one draw-back here is that you will only see conversations from Twitter and FriendFeed so if you only use Facebook you aren’t likely to find anything of use.
As with every good measurement package this can tell you when people used your link, which site referred them to you and which country your customers come from.
If you are new to twitter and only have a small number of followers your traffic figures are likely to be low. (What do you mean 50% of my customers are in Singapore??) Don’t set too much store by this data, it should just be a useful guide suggesting the days when your target customers are most likely to read what you have to say.
Bit.ly at the moment is relatively limited in what it can measure. That said, it could help you to test, monitor and refine your social media strategies – much more than your bog-standard URL shortening tool. Data is great, but it’s what you do with it that counts – do you really need to know more?
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