- 01/29/2014

Ecommerce, Social

URL Shorteners: Track Links Faster Than Kevin Bacon

If you want to get a better feel for which online marketing strategies are generating the most traffic back to your website, you will want to track link clicks using custom campaigns in Google Analytics. Custom campaigns are easy to set up – you simply add UTM parameters (tags) to your URLs.

For example, instead of just linking to:


You would add tags to the link to track where they were clicked like this:


This will result in the ability to look inside Google Analytics under Acquisition > Campaigns to see the amount of traffic you receive from visitors to your Facebook page who click through to your website from your custom tabs.

The issue with this, of course, is the long ugly link that you have to use. Fortunately, URL shorteners can solve that problem. Services like Bit.ly allow you to convert a long URL with UTM parameters into something that is a little more consumable.


You can even customize the ending of the shortened URL to be more friendly by creating a free account and customizing the URL.


URL shortener services also give you the ability to track clicks on links to any website beyond your own, making them convenient if you are marketing an app on the iTunes / Google Play store or other offsite content.

Now that you know why you want to track your URLs, how to do it, and ways to keep the URL short and simple, let’s look at the ten places you would want to use a URL shortener for better tracking.

1. Twitter Profile Links


Since you can add links to your Twitter profile’s 160 character bio, a shortened URL is perfect as it will take up less characters and let you track clicks that are made to that specific link.

2. Facebook Page Short Description Links


The short description for your Facebook page is another great place to use a shortened URL. Bit.ly allows you to customize even the shortened domain for your URL, so instead of bit.ly, Mozilla has mzl.la.

3. LinkedIn Contact Links


LinkedIn profiles allows you to have three links to your websites. You can use a shortened URL for each and change the anchor text to something more descriptive than My Website and My Blog.

4. Google+ Profile and Page Links


Google+ profiles and pages offer the ability to add links in the official links section as well as in the Introduction. Both allow the ability to use shortened URLs for tracking purposes. Just don’t use one as your official website link since Google verifies ownership of the main domain.

5. YouTube Channel Profile Links


The new YouTube channel design allows you to add one main website link that overlays your channel banner along with additional links in your About section. You can use shortened URLs to track these.

6. Status Updates


Want to know whether the Facebook wall post you promoted drove more traffic than one without promotion? Use different shortened URLs with specific tracking tags to find out.

7. Video Links


If you have been posting videos to different networks, such as Vimeo or YouTube, you can find out which ones are sending the most traffic to your business using shortened URLs in the video descriptions.

8. E-Mail Signatures


Programs like WiseStamp allows you to create fancy email signatures. Even if you just use plain text links, shortened URLs will allow you to track clicks from your email to your business.

9. E-Mail Marketing Content


Speaking of links within emails, shortened URLs can help you track various links within your email marketing messages. You can track links from a specific newsletter, as well as track all the way down to whether someone clicks the first or last link in the email.

10. Community Profile Links


Aside from social profiles, if you are a member of any online community that allows you to share a link to your website, consider using a shortened URL to track the clicks from your profiles to website.

P.S. Type the bit.ly link from the top image into your URL to make your day filled with unbridled cuteness.