Bit.ly is now the defacto standard for URL shorteners in Twitter and Tweetdeck, etc, but I find many marketers aren't aware of how it can also be used for tracking the effectiveness of their content. It's essential to check you're staying relevant and useful through this instant feedback.
Before we get to the 4 steps, here is an example of a new (Nov 2009) "click summary" feature in Bit.ly which you access from your home page. You can see that this gives you a great overview of:
- Geographical location of your audience
- Use of Twitter.com (just 17%) for interacting against other applications - 20%
How to use Bit.ly to track PR effectiveness
The first 4 steps to get this feedback on what your followers are interested in take just 5 minutes to setup and it's automatic after that, so if you're not already, get tracking!
Step 1 is to signup for a bit.ly account which will then give you access to a history of links you have tweeted about, put in your Facebook Fan Page or have included in offline media, e.g. print articles, press releases.
Here is a report on links I have recently recommended to my followers.
Step 2 is to link your bit.ly account with the desktop app you use to Tweet with. With the recent release of Tweetdeck v0.30 your URLs are automatically shortened and linked to your bit.ly account with an API Key.
Step 3 is to shorten the URL you are linking to whether it's on your site, blog or another site you're referencing. This happens automatically in Tweetdeck or alternatively, if you use Twitter - you can use the Bit.ly sidebar.
Step 4 review your results to see what's interesting for your audience.
Through comparing the blue numbers - clicks on your link against the grey numbers you can readily see what you're audience and the wider audience is interested in. The Sept 10 post to Google Internet Stats showed this is popular and that it's worth me to continue building my new compilation of Internet Statistics for marketers.
I have around 2,000 followers, so this shows I have clickthrough rates varying from around 1 to 15%, not bad compared to email particularly since 90% of clicks within Twitter happen within a ridiculously short 5 minute period (Bit.ly will show you this too).
Tracking bit.ly through Google Analytics
This is Step 5, but unfortunately there isn't currently a good solution for this. The difficulty is that Google Analytics won't pick up the bit.ly referrer because of the 301 redirect used.
So you have to add standard Google Analytics campaign tracking codes. There are tools for this, but for me I don't have time or need to apply them - it needs to be automatic - hopefully Tweetdeck or Twitter are working on that.
Tools for tracking bit.ly through GA
Let us know if you know of an automatic tool...