What do they do?
Goo.gl and Bit.ly are both URL shorteners, mostly used for social media they help to save characters, make URLs look nicer and importantly help you to track clicks from specific sources such as Facebook posts, Tweets, PDFs or YouTube video descriptions.
So here’s a nice example. I use Facebook chatbots to allow people to sign up for a 14 day trial of ActiveCampaign. The link for that is https://m.me/DeveloperAtTheDock?ref=w1706207 that’s one ugly link, it’s long and it has a parameter at the end (?ref=w1706207) that ensures that when the link is clicked the correct Facebook chatbot is triggered. So instead of sharing that link I created myself a bit.ly link, this one http://bit.ly/FreeAC14. This link is much shorter and much nicer to look at. It will still redirect to the full URL including the ‘ref’ bit too, so it will still work as expected.
Bit.ly provides a free to use service with a full analytics dashboard. For users who need to customise their links you can upgrade to a paid service however I’ve never had to do this myself as the free version works perfectly fine. You can also name the links so they’re easier to track in the dashboard.
You can find out more and register free for bit.ly here.
Unfortunately Google will be closing down the goo.gl service. Although you may still be able to get access I wouldn’t suggest using it as you’ll find that one day you won’t be able to access your links.
So in conclusion I suggest using bit.ly to shorten, prettify and track your links across social media and other campaigns. Don’t forget you can also add your own campaign parameters to your links by using my free Tracking Link Generator this will allow you to track your bit.ly links through their dashboard as well as within your own Google Analytics account, BONUS!
Extra Reading: Link (URL) Parameters
URL Parameters allow you to track extra information when links are clicked. There are three main parameters you’ll want to use:
- Campaign Source
- Campaign Medium
- Campaign Name
To add these into links we need to use three parameters:
I hear you saying “Uhhh Danny, I’ve got no idea what that means!”, and it’s okay I get that. Here’s what it all means…
Let’s say you’re running a campaign for Fathers Day you might be posting a link on Twitter. Here’s what that link would look like.
This will then track any clicks to that link into Google Analytics, a specific campaign will be automatically created inside Google Analytics for the Fathers Day Campaign. This report will track any links that have the utm_name of Fathers Day, for example as well as the link above these links would also be tracked in the report:
That’s really handy for tracking the effectiveness of different marketing materials across your campaign. Even better is that you will be able to refer to the reports next year and the year after and so on to compare the previous years campaigns.
Now, to make sure that you create these links correctly you can use my free Tracking Link Generator once you’ve built your link in the generator you need to use bit.ly to make it look prettier and to shorten it too.
As always, any questions please feel free to get in touch!