bitly

Bitly isn’t just a Link Shortener

The first time I heard about Bitly it was the year 2010. It was simple to use when I just started creating my YouTube account trying to strike it rich. Bitly hadn’t advanced that much at the time. It was a simple website at the time.

All you had to do was shorten your link and customize however you wanted it. Then you copy and pasted your new link and the sky was the limit from there.

Really easy to use.

Bitly did their job quite well. Long links were a pain in the ass to deal with when I was creating videos back in the day. Thanks to Bitly I had super short links which kept me and my watchers happy. I had no need for it anymore when I stopped updating my YouTube account. It has been such a long time ever since I saw Bitly.

I’ve recently went back and saw lots of new changes. They’ve completely changed and trying to change themselves. I don’t see why but – but hey that’s there call. Now the new and improved Bitly looks sexy and has more useful features then before. They have certainly grew from just being a link shortener.

Their new motto is now… “The power of the link.”

They are living up to that name now. They have approximately 20 billion links as of right now.

They are no longer just a place for shortening super long links anymore. They are now rebranding themselves as a marketing tool that help businesses, social media managers, and content creators to help them increase their performance. They even have a section for driving more application downloads. They have definitely shifted from being just a link shortener.

Can you still shorten your links? Thankfully, they still have that feature. No sign up required. Bitly has preserved their old functions that made them great to use back in the day.

If you create an account with Bitly you get to have access to all your links that you shortened and analytics on how those links are actually doing. It’s like the Google Analytics for link shorterners. Neat.

The analytics portion of Bitly shows all kinds of metrics that can be useful for your marketing campaign. Some metrics that Bitly has for you are:

· Total Clicks

· Total Clicks within a specific time period

· Clicks from a different shortened link that sends you to the same page

· Where it was shared

You can save all of your links and edit it to your heart’s content.

You can check out the statistics on all of your links thanks to Bitly’s stat feature. There’s even a network feature. You can integrate your social account into BitFly and see who else within your network is using Bitly. You can even see all their shortened links as well.

Inside my network I see a blogger named “Pretty Shiny Sparkly” and she is utilizing Bitly’s feature to create your own short url. So instead of the traditional bit.ly format she used “sprk.li” This is an abbreviation for Sparkly of course.

Bitly is being sly. They are making money by giving you your own custom shortened link. The greatest benefit of this system goes to people who are building a brand. Imagine if Coca Cola had “Coke.Co” as a part of their branding effort. It would certainly work. People can associate your custom Bitly link as a part of your brand.

It’s interesting to see how Bitly is doing all they can to rebrand themselves as the premiere marketing tool out there. They even have free guides that you can access on their website on using their stuff and other things. If I was personally running Bitly that’s what I wouldn’t do at all. Just place a bunch of ads on the shortened urls and sell it to someone else. To each their own.

BitFly created something called Brand Tools. This is a paid tool that is oriented toward big established brands. The purpose of the tool is to give better data on understanding their audience and the steps they can take to increase conversions on that audience. The paid tool features being able to divide your audience as much as you want and give you useful data on your audience.

Big brands like Verizon and Ebay are using Bitly to promote their brand. Sometime it just amazes me how Bitly has developed over the years.

Pros

The biggest benefit for using Bitly’s service is all the free information that they have to assist you to build your brand and market to your audience. It’s great for people who are starting out and aren’t as big of a brand like Verizon. It’s nice to see who is clicking your links and where/when it’s taking place. Good data to have. More data is always better to have when you are first starting out. You can even see which country is visiting the link.

This helps a lot when creating content for your audience. Knowing whether your audience is from Russia or Brazil is relevant. Great data to have.

And if you don’t want to use any of their other new features that’s fine. You aren’t really pushed to use their other services. You can just visit Bitly to shorten your links and just leave from there. They aren’t like other websites that force you to go through all of their premium stuff. That’s a plus for Bitly.

Cons

The biggest negative is ironically their new target audience – that being established brands. Bitly despite having all that information for small guys like me, that really isn’t their target audience at all. They want to target the big brands like Coca Cola and Proctor & Gamble. That laser focus somewhat makes me left out with regards to their marketing strategy.

It really isn’t that easy to navigate around Bitly for resources on their free version. Which is kind of odd. It seems like that all they care about is their paid tool which is geared toward larger brands. It would be great if they had a guide somewhere that helped me use their free tool.

However, after searching a few minutes on their site such a guide really doesn’t exist. All they care about is larger brands. I guess I can understand because that’s where the big money is at.

There really isn’t much to complain besides that. It’s a free tool and you or I aren’t paying any money for it. Better than nothing. Bitly has really improved their website design and user interface. I’d suggest checking out Bitly and see whether it can help you out.

Bitly is great for branding because of their custom URL feature. Check it out.

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