Have you ever
seen a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn that starts with bit.ly or j.mp ? If your QR Code scanner shows you the URL of the code you just scanned, you might have noticed a shortened URL there too. I’ve seen shortened URLs used in books, on posters, and even a business card. Did you know that the stats about those URLs are publicly available? These stats are quite useful when you’re creating links of your own, but you can access ANYONE’s stats by just putting a + after the URL. For instance, to see this post’s stats, simply go to: http://bit.ly/PQnBB3+ and you can see exactly how good or poor this post is being clicked on via the initial tweet from me.
Bit.ly offers a custom service,
which many bloggers and companies use. What this means is that there are plenty more URLs you can spy on besides bit.ly or j.mp. Even companies like Mashable (on.mash.to) and Facebook (on.fb.me) utilize the bit.ly service. Take a look at some of your favorite bloggers – chances are they too use their own shortening URL through the bit.ly service. Remember: Just add a + to the end of any link you see from a short domain, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see the click stats.
So how is this useful?
Ever wonder how many clicks your competition is getting? If you have a direct mail piece with a QR Code from them that happens to use the bit.ly shortening service – you can find out.
Admire a blogger with a ton of followers and want to know how many clicks they are getting on blog posts? Chances are good if they use a short service, you can see just how many clicks they are getting.
In the middle of a web or SMS demo and you’re provided a shortlink? Just add that plus sign and know how many clicks that demo part of the demo has received. You can also do a pretty good job guessing how many times that company does the demo and when (based on the clicks).
Want to research good titles for job postings? Start gathering data on the click through rates for postings that use short URLs. Keep a spreadsheet and see if you can see any trends in titles vs. clicks.
These are just a few ideas I had before coffee this morning, so I’m sure you have plenty more idea you can share with our friends belowTweet