FREE Tracking (and More) With Bit.ly
By Heidi Tolliver-Walker on April 22nd, 2011
You may have noticed that more and more URLs are being shortened with bit.ly. If you’re still using TinyURL or other non-trackable shortener, you’ll want to check this out. Not just for your email marketing, social media, and e-newsletter efforts, but also for creating QR codes to add to print.
Log into bit.ly and put the URL into the box. Hit “shorten” or, better yet, “shorten and share.” The “share” option allows you to automatically post the shortened URL to your Facebook profile or Twitter account. Built in social media marketing!
Now sit back and watch. Bit.ly not only shortens and posts to social media, but it also tracks. It provides you with the number of clicks to each link, when those clicks occurred, and where they came from. It gives you referring sites and the countries where the clicks came from. On the reports page, there is also a QR code you can download to add to blog posts, email, print, or any other marketing medium you might be using. It’s all free. (Google offers goo.gl, a trackable shortener, too.)
For my previous Digital Nirvana post on mobile websites, I created QR codes for readers to check out the differences between traditional and mobile sites themselves. I used bit.ly to do it. Not only did I add the QR codes to my post, but I also used bit.ly to share the mobile link on my Facebook profile and my Twitter account. By the time I uploaded the post (about 40 minutes later), bit.ly told me that I had 5 clicks already — 40% direct, 40% Twitter, 20% from Facebook — from two different countries. Not from the post itself (since it was scheduled for two days later) but from my social media connections.
As John Foley of interlinkONE / GrowSocially likes to say,
“In marketing, if you can’t measure it, don’t do it.”
Bit.ly is a powerful tool that allows you to measure the success of your marketing efforts. Instantly, you know what’s working, what’s not, and what’s working better than something else. Not only this, but it has sales implications, too. Imagine the value to clients in saying, “Sure, you can create your own codes for free, but we’ll create them for you and provide you with tracking and results measurement.” It’s a powerful value-add.
It’s a great tool that doesn’t cost you a dime!