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5 Things to Look for in Your Bitly Stats

Mid-year I created a Twitter account (@SerenaHsiOS, ~700 followers) to push out elearning links since it didn't seem like the right venue to push them out my food-themed Twitter account (@nwfood). There are two stats from the Bitly dashboard that I find most curious. The first is the country domain referrer and the second is how users find my tweet--and only 15% them find it through Twitter.

Like most people, I just use Bitly as a link shortener. I know it has link stats and that once you create a bitlink, it can never be deleted (maybe archived these days). And with a mobile device and social sharing permissions, I can use Bitly to push out links to either Twitter account through Bitly with no extra logins required. I can even format the layout of the tweet.

This to me is very strange, considering that I only broadcast business and elearning story links through non-food Twitter account. Let's tackle country referrer first. Here is the last 30-ish days from my Bitly dashboard:

2015-12 Last 30 Days - Bitlinks on @SerenaHsiOS - Country Domain
What in the world?? Why is engagement so high from Germany if my primary follower audience is US-based? I have no answer for this just yet.

The next dashboard shows me how a user got to my feed:
2015-12 Last 30 Days - Bitlinks on @SerenaHsiOS - Refer Type
Even more puzzling is the grouping for the first bucket. What makes me concerned about the validity of this data is that when I look at the list for my top tweets, according to the Bitly dashboard, no tweet has received more than 5 likes. And, on top of that.. how do you suppose impressions are calculated? I would have expected the top two stats to be reversed. How are my tweets being picked up if not through Twitter itself?

2015-12 Twitter Dashboard @SerenaHsiOS
Between Bitly and Twitter, my social analytics dashboards make no sense -- because my followers/following is so small (fewer than 1k each).

Five things to look for in Bitly stats (for business or consumer brands):

1. Daily clicks of all links. Bitly will show a 30-day history. And, if you use the free version of Bitly, these snapshots aren't saved. You can even drill down to the 'hour' on the free version. I'm not sure what extra bells and whistles you get for using Bitly's branded tools. If you're running retail eCommerce with Twitter as a referral source, this will tell you which links are outperforming others to your given audience.

2. Daily clicks for individual links. Let's say that this is a link that was pushed out on some other medium and you have taken that link and pushed it out (minus other people's campaign trackers). Bitly stats will show what your link's performance is relative to the global clicks for that link. It's pretty neat.

2015-12 Bitlinks relative to Global Shares & Saves
Tim Ferriss is very popular at most everything he does. And, he has rabid fans who will credit him with the content source (vs just posting a link without his name or Twitter handle attached).

3. Drilling down on an individual time stat, you can see what time of the day that your links got the most clicks. As part of my morning wake-up routine, I read Feedly and LinkedIn's Pulse after waking up and before I drink my first cup of coffee. This could partially explain why I get more international likes and shares to my business-flavored tweets.

4. The referrers. In most cases, your referrers should be from Twitter. In my case, it's not and not sure why. How users get your tweets can help you improve those particular channels.

5. Countries where users are from. eLearning and general business info is universal regardless of which western country you are from, though paying attention to the countries that are the most engaged with your tweets can help you prepare for content that you feel is important for them to know about. I just happen to mute everyone who tweets in a foreign language so it never shows up on my feed. I suppose that if you have a business (e.g., Nordstrom) and your customers are located everywhere; you might want to create language based tweets or be wary that not everything that sounds funny in the US translates as well to other languages.
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