Friday, 9 August 2013

Secrets of bit.ly

I always thought the all those bit.ly shortened URLs were used to reduce the number of characters for tweets.  It turns out that using bit.ly does a lot more for you.
Services like bitly shorten a URL from http://workingmatt.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/using-raspberry-pi-gpio-interface.html to http://bit.ly/131tjBC.  This is good because it's shorter although it does hide where it points to from the human wanting to click on it.

What I didn't know was that if you sign up for an account at bitly.com you get a lot more than just short links.  You can save any shortened links to use again and put them into bundles - useful for organising bookmarks perhaps? Slightly more useful for reusing the same short URL for multiple 'sendings'. 

Far more interesting are the statistics you get. Bitly will track how many times your link is clicked, which country it was clicked in, and how the clicker got that link e.g. from facebook, twitter, email etc.  It will also show you how many clicks others' links to the same content are getting even if they used another URL shortener or the full URL.  If you connect to your twitter account in bitly you can see a list of tweets that link to the ultimate URL.


This is all interesting stuff.  It might be crazy cool stuff for marketing people... I have no idea, but I think I'm about to find out once we launch our Fezzee startup.
(the bitly link for this blog post is: http://bit.ly/15h4npf)