When was the last time you went to share a link with someone and wanted to make it shorter? Maybe you’re tweeting, or sharing on Facebook, or sending an email. The longer the URL, the less likely people are going to click through.
One way to shorten links is with a link shortener like bitly or Goo.gl . You can use these services for free, but there are some disadvantages to using them that might not be immediately obvious. One disadvantage is that they do not provide statistics about usage of your shortened links—you have no insight into who clicks on what! Link shorteners don't know anything about where links take your audience after they've clicked either. This means you could be missing out on valuable insights about which content is most engaging with your audience.
Another disadvantage, if you use one of these free tools, is that the analytics usually only offer information about what’s happening on your shortened links. If you use a link shortener (like bitly) to track the performance of Buffer posts, for example, then you can see how many clicks each post gets and where people are clicking from. But if someone clicked through from Twitter to read an article in our blog, it won't be included in those stats.
For this reason, we've built some nifty features into Buffer for Business so that you can shorten links without losing out on precious data! Analytics + link shortening = awesome sauce!
Shortening Your Links With Bitly Or Goo.gl
In Buffer for Business, you can access other Google Analytics views from the Analytics Settings tab of your settings menu:
Google Analytics view that tracks how many times a link is clicked in a given time period. If someone clicks through to a blog post from their social media feed, this will show up in total clicks on the link and where people are clicking from. This won't tell you what site they visit next—only that they clicked! Link tracking = 👍👍
Google Analytics view to find out how many times each unique person has visited one of your posts or landing pages. This tells you which posts are seeing the most traffic over a certain time period (overall), which helps you know what content to prioritize and promote through Buffer and campaigns. Link attribution = 👍👍
To get started, you can either:
Create a new link in Buffer , use the Advanced Options to add your Google Analytics tracking ID (if you already have a link shortener for this post), and choose "Google Analytics" from the dropdown menu ( 💡 Tip : You can add other analytics properties here too!). Copy an existing link into Buffer , then click the little cog icon next to it and select "Analytics". Paste your Google Analytics tracking code into the box that pops up.
Once you’ve done this, each time someone clicks on one of your links and arrives at a destination page, we'll send information about where they came from and where they ended up to your Google Analytics account.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can track with Google Analytics:
Clicks on links in Buffer posts. This shows you how many clicks each individual post sends, which is great for identifying content that resonates most with your followers. For example, we could see that an article about email marketing got more clicks than the one about content promotion . We use this information to prioritize our own sharing habits and plan future Buffer campaigns accordingly! Clicks across all domains on a link. If someone starts their journey to a destination by clicking through from Twitter, but ends up following a lot of other people's tweets before finally arriving at the destination page Facebook, this will still show up as a click on the original link. If someone clicks through from Twitter and follows lots of people's tweets to get to your blog, we'll still track it as a click on that first source ( Twitter ). Clicks across all social networks on a link. If some Buffer posts happen to include an ad or referral code for another product, and some of those clicks go against our own sites policies , we'd be able to identify this activity in Google Analytics and block it from setting off follow up campaigns with Facebook Custom Audiences .
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