With the advent of Twitter came one clear requirement- the need to shorten URLs so as to save on those precious 140-characters. But there’s far more to be said for cutting down on the size of links than space alone.
Back in 2012 Bit.ly, arguably the most prominent link shortening service, underwent a significant redesign. Not for no good reason, in addition to a new look and feel, the platform also introduced a significant number of features, all of which can offer significant benefits when it comes to managing and measuring the success of a digital marketing campaign, something the team at Smoking Gun is obsessive about.
The ability to monitor the performance of all links being the most important. Think of the shortened URL, or bitmark, as a smart bookmark, which allows you to view the number clicks, shares and saves it achieves. This information can then be drilled down into for more detailed analytics, meaning it’s possible to observe how well a link is performing over time, and which websites are proving most valuable in terms of driving traffic towards your domain.
Realtime is another great feature. Unveiled in 2013, by using this interactive app it’s possible to observe every link generated by Bit.ly and discover what’s proving the most popular in real time. Not just a clever name then, this functionality allows users to filter by social network, location, language and subject, providing a great insight into the type of content that people are sharing, from where, when and on which platforms. All priceless nuggets of information for any professional.
Of course Bit.ly isn’t the only tool of its kind on the market, so take a look at our overview of the other options below, and see which best fits your needs… and feel free to add any we’ve missed via the comments box at the bottom of this page.
Features: Customisable URLs, 301 redirects, toolbar button
Features: Customisable URLs, link tracking, 301 redirect, geotargeted URLs by country, bookmarklets.
Features: Customisable URLs, tracking, 301 redirect, bulk URL shortening, stats for unregistered users, downloadable stats to CSV, bookmarklet, most popular links overview page
Features: Tracking, most popular links overview for last 60 minutes, bookmarklet, Google Chrome app
Features: Tracking, bookmarklet, Firefox plugin
Features: Tracking, most popular links overview, key traffic driving domains overview, public statistics, search function; Twitter account required
Features: Tracking, customisable URLs, 301 redirect, bookmarklet
Features: Tracking, customisable URLs available once account is upgraded (fees apply), 307 redirect