One of the biggest challenges marketers face is quantifying their efforts. Link shorteners allow you to track campaign performance by offering metrics such as clicks and conversions.
Many link shorteners, including Bitly and Ow.ly, will provide a short URL with a unique tracking code attached that allows them to attribute the click back to your source. This information can be used for detailed reports on links clicked, demographics of people clicking those links, time spent on your website from those links, and actions taken after arriving at your site from those links.
This level of deep insight usually comes at an additional price—Bitly offers free analytics for up to 1,000 monthly clicks or 200 weekly clicks; above that limit, there’s a charge for access. Ow.ly offers a similar service, with a free option to track up to 20 links per month and 100 clicks on each link, or a paid option for $9 a month that allows you to track up to 1,000 links and 10,000 clicks per month.
Below is an example of the types of metrics marketers can obtain from Bitly.
Overall performance: You’ll be able to see how many people clicked your link in the aggregate—and even whether these numbers have been climbing over time. For example, if you’re running a summer promotion featuring discounts for college students, you might find that this demographic is more likely to click on your URL than others are—meaning it would make sense to target this audience with your paid social ads.
Your own performance: The second row shows you exactly how many clicks you’ve received, grouped by day. You can compare these numbers to your average and see whether they’re rising or falling—information that will help you judge the effectiveness of your outreach efforts over time.
What the clickers saw: This section offers a look at what people who clicked on your link actually ended up seeing when they landed on your website. If their experience was different from what you promised them in your ad, then it might be necessary to reevaluate either the images and copy used in those ads or the landing page itself.
Clicks by country: This section allows marketers to see which countries their prospective customers are coming from. Knowing this information can help you determine where to expand your efforts—or to better target the countries where demand is highest.
Conversions: This section shows how many people completed a desired action on your website after clicking that link, such as subscribing to your email list or making a purchase. You might find that certain campaigns are generating lots of clicks but few conversions, meaning it’s time to refine your targeting or messaging to improve performance.
For instance, if you notice that most conversions are occurring only in the United States—even though several other countries also participated in the campaign-specific referral traffic—you might want to try tweaking the language used in ads and landing pages so they appeal more strongly to U.S.-based consumers, rather than simply abandoning international campaigns altogether. In addition to viewing overall conversion rates, you can also see which links are most likely to lead directly to a sale by clicking the “Direct” column in the table.
Once you’ve analyzed your Bitly data and made any necessary changes, it’s time to issue a new batch of ads and launch another campaign—allowing you to see if your tweaks worked and which audiences or regions grew more receptive to your message over time.
Link shorteners are useful tools for measuring link performance—and the deeper understanding they provide marketers can help them develop more effective social media ad campaigns.
Most link shortening sites will offer tracking metrics. This is information about who clicked your link, where, and when—information that will help you calculate the campaign’s ROI.
This level of deep insight usually comes at an additional price—Bitly offers free analytics for up to 1,000 monthly clicks or 200 weekly clicks; above that limit, there’s a charge for access. Ow.ly offers a similar service, with a free option to track up to 20 links per month and 100 clicks on each link, or a paid option for $9 a month for unlimited clicks and up to 100,000 monthly page views. (Neither free service offers the list of countries from which users clicked on your link.)
The advantage of paid options is that they offer more data—in addition to click and destination metrics, marketers can also see which links were most popular, when visitors interacted with certain parts of their website (such as a specific blog post or product description), and even where their users come from (down to the city level).
An example of the types of metrics marketers can obtain from Bitly. Overall performance: You’ll be able to see how many people clicked your link in the aggregate—and even whether these numbers have been climbing over time. For example, if you
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