In the last weeks I managed to reconsider some of the potential uses of shortening services, while I was at the university I created a shortening service called 21Url (now closed and offline) that had the idea to generate the creation of analytics for the urls that were shortened by the users.
A service that I personally use (and love) is Bit.Ly, that integrates perfectly with my Twitter Client and manages to give me an accurate feedback on my twitter activity, giving me a feedback on how I’m acting in that environment and more important about the feedback that I get from my followers.
This service can be used also in the opposite side of the analytics, with the data that it gather we can understand also how a specific blog/site/page is performing globally between the twitter users, those data can be considered at the same level of Alexa. Here are some points:
Market Share & Validity of Bit.Ly
First of all we have to understand how valid are the data that this service provide. We have to assume that the data comes from a good source composed by a sufficient number of individuals that uses the service, in this way looking at the traffic generated we can think that it serves a wide range of users, that can give an objectivity of the data. To do that there is the need to compare different services by using a good (and almost reilable) source, Alexa.
As can be seen Bit.Ly is the one that has a bigger reach between similar services, giving us the idea that the data that provides comes from a big variety of people, giving validity to the data provided.
Looking at the times that people made a click on the link you shared, you can understand how much your followers cares about what you share with them, creating a big understanding about the very real activity of your network. It’s good to have thousands of followers, but how many of them actually cares about you and what you share, are they looking forward to see what you are reading? Looking at the difference between Followers and Clicks you can start understanding how much you are considered by the community. With a little passion you can also see what categories of links receive more clicks by the community, giving you also a feedback about what the community care, and what they think you are good at. If you receive a lot of click on links about Agriculture and less about Phones, probably your community is made by farmers, or they consider yourself a good source of links about agriculture.
Like Alexa for Twitter
Just by giving a brief look at the total number of clicks received, you can actually see the grade of authority that it owns on Internet. If it received a lot of clicks can mean for example that a lot of people shared it (empowering it with authority), or that some super followed people shared it… but the real information that manages to validate the info is the number of people that actually shared the link on their profile. Looking at the Echo (we can call so the resonance of the link on twitter) that the link owns, we are able to own an objective data about the real traffic and consideration of a web-site.
If a site that talks about Online Branding has a low Echo can mean for example that it is not considered by the community as important, that their efforts haven’t been inside Social Media, or that the community doesn’t use bit.Ly.
There is the possibility to see if someone else decided to share your link the same page via Twitter. This is an opportunity for profiling other users, managing in this way to understand their ideas and what else they share and what they are interested to. Doing that you have the possibility to discover also new source of information, and discover by using them new trends and possibilities.
Like every analytics works you can see for example where and when you receive more clicks, giving you an hint about the type of users that are more “attracted” by your sharing stream, and in this way decide where to put more effort and resources.
Those are some of the many possibilities that this service can give us on analytics… and those information combined between them can give to every user insights important to create a better brand and improve the communication.