How to use to track your campaign clickthroughs

November 7, 2011


Driving website traffic is a goal for every client you have. How are you tracking it? (Image credit:


There are three goals every client I’ve ever worked with has in common. 1) Drive sales. 2) Raise awareness. 3) Drive traffic to their website.

No. 1 can be hard unless your client has ecommerce functionality or a coupon code. No. 2 is easy, but ambiguous — so you reached 100,000 people; how many of them actually did anything as a result of you reaching them. No. 3 is by far the easiest to prove. Especially if you are managing the client’s website. All you need is Google Analytics, which can tell you a whole lot about your website traffic. Another post for another time.

But what if you aren’t managing your client’s website? Maybe it’s a big client and you can’t get access to their back-end analytics or the person who manages it. Maybe that person even works for another agency. If you’ve ever worked with a big corporate client before, you have been down this road. And hopefully when you’ve come upon that road, you’ve turned to a solution like

How does work?

I’ll be honest. I have heard tons of people mention at different conferences and on different blogs, but I hadn’t come across an occasion to use it until just recently. I had always had access to the Google Analytics for our client’s websites. Or, truth be told, it wasn’t a metric we were calculating for certain clients.

Setting up a account is really easy. You just sign up for a user name and password with an email account. I actually set up recent accounts in our clients’ names instead of under my own personal name. Next, I created specific link bundles for the campaigns we were running.

Give me an example

One of our clients is working with 10 spokesperson bloggers on a campaign. The ultimate goal is to get people to register for their program. And people have to go to their website to register. So our goal is to get customers to the website. And one of the ways we’re doing that is through the bloggers’ posts.

So I created a link bundle for the 10 bloggers. Then I gave each blogger a unique link to the client website to share in their posts. Hint: won’t create separate shortened urls for the same url. So you have to use a workaround. In other words, if I want the bloggers to drive traffic to, won’t give me 10 different truncated urls to the website. But there is a way to make it work. Here’s how:

- Assign your website link 10 different Linksource urls

- Example of a Linksource url is

- In this case, B1 is the unique indicator for my url. It stands for “blogger one.” I can use the same format and just change the last part to read B2, B3, B4…and so on

Our last step was to give every blogger their unique urls for their posts. Then we check the bundle each day and see how much traffic they have driven to the client’s website. And this results in a happy client because we are able to track how many people we are driving to the brand website, which is where the registrations happen. Yes, we are also tracking the registrations.

What else does offer?

So far, I’ve just used the regular offering. But their is an enterprise option that most analytics gurus I know strongly recommend (see Shonali Burke, Don Bartholomew and Chuck Hemann on the analytics guru front). Enterprise gives you enhanced analytics — more than just clickthroughs — and allows brands to personalize their bit.lys. So instead of as a for a story on, it’s Enterprise is about $1,000 a month. If your clients will pay for it, I’d encourage you to use it. But if not, the example above is a good place to start. And maybe it can help you prove the value of bit,ly so the enterprise version will be an easy sell a few months down the line.

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ginidietrich 6550 pts

Be really careful with and the other link shorteners because they also track robots and spiders. We've found the numbers aren't totally accurate, when compared to Google analytics and the website CMS. I'd report your findings and then ask the client to provide a report, from their end, that you can compare the two. You'll find up to 30% of your click throughs aren't valid.

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JGoldsborough 250 pts moderator

ginidietrich Thanks, ginidietrich . You make a great point. I think bit,ly is best used the way you shared -- as a starting point where you know you'll get to compare with GA results. Or if you can't get access to backend analytics for the website, which unfortunately happens from time to time, especially with bigger brands.

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