If you don't know it, Bitly is a tool that creates shortened links. It's been around for years and has hundreds of thousands of users who enjoy the ability to track how successful their marketing campaigns are via the analytics attached to Bitly accounts. For example, when someone shares one of your marketing messages on Twitter or Facebook using a link created with Bitly, a piece of software automatically grabs details about where it came from and displays them in an easy-to-read format in your account area. This helps you see which campaigns have been most efficient at driving traffic and conversions.
What's particularly interesting for marketers is that there are paid plans available too ($199 per month). These add features such as content suggestions and custom link analytics. However, I haven't found the free version to be lacking in any way. As such it's definitely worth checking out if you spend a lot of time on social media and want to find more efficient ways to market your business online.
Here are some great ways you can use Bitly:
Building links – If you run a blog and publish new articles every week or so, then share those articles with Bitly first (using the bookmarklet tool) before spreading them around social media. This will help keep an eye on their success rates as well as allowing you to easily shorten the URL for sharing purposes (which is far easier than trying to type out a long web address). Content suggestions – Another useful feature of Bitly is its ability to suggest content for you based on the keywords and phrases that you enter. For example, if I search for "marketing" it will recommend articles from Forbes and other respected sources along with related images (see below).
Using this tool means you'll be content curating (finding great articles) as well as sharing them – a definite time saver! Re-purposing links – Have you ever shared a link online only to quickly wish that it had been shortened first? That's where tools like Bitly come into play; they can help turn long web addresses into short ones which actually has the potential to increase clickthrough rates (because people are more likely type in a short URL than one that goes on forever).
Tracking campaigns – As with most marketing tools worth their salt, Bitly allows you to track the success of your marketing campaigns. This is done by setting up "vaults" which link back to a unique URL (the campaign). When you create one, it's possible to enter in basic details about what made you create it in the first place. For example, if I set up a new vault for my blog then put in things like "business", "marketing", and "content marketing". That way when I want to see how successful that particular campaign has been I can check out my vaults dashboard for stats on each search term used in conjunction with my shortened URLs.
It's also possible to create custom segments which are basically just targeting options. For example, I could create one for my online marketing blog which targets only referral traffic from Facebook. Once created, this segment will show me how much referral traffic comes through Facebook each day so that I can see quickly what's working and what isn't in terms of social media marketing efforts.
Bitly Review Summary
I was pleasantly surprised after using Bitly to find out just how powerful this tool really is. Honestly, I wasn't expecting much but it offers a multitude of features that you're bound to find useful if you share links often enough: Tracking – The ability to easily track the success of your marketing campaigns is invaluable and something that not all tools can boast. Content suggestions – Not everyone knows about this one but it's a real time-saver and a great feature for marketers looking to curate content that is related to their industry.
It won't be the best tool for you if you don't fall into this category though because realistically there are better options out there (Hubspot, SEMRush, etc.). However, if all you're looking for is something simple with an easy-to-use interface then Bitly could be perfect! It certainly goes toe-to-toe with much bigger tools in terms of features so it's definitely worth checking out.
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