Short URLs With Analytics

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The problem with using short URL services such as TinyURL is that you can't really tell how effective they are (how many people click on them) much less where they have been seen on the wider Web. In a time when analytics is so important, I believe that services such as Cli.gs (which offers short URLs with traffic statistics) will eventually become the norm.

Cligs Short URL serviceCli.gs enables anyone to create a short URL from a longer one. Web pro's will not be able to keep the information private unless they register for a free account (which is quick and painless). I created a "clig" for the WM weblog (http://cli.gs/jjgsry) which shows all the post that are public on WebsiteMagazine.com. Analytics are kept for 30 days. What's helpful at Cli.gs are the depth of the reports. Users can see the latest activity from search engine bots on their Cligs short URL, mentions on social media sites like Twitter and inbound links to the destination URL. There is even a handy little bookmarklet available which creates shortened links on the fly.

 

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6 comments

John Fitzsimmons 09-29-2008 1:43 PM

I've been using cli.gs for about 2 weeks on Twitter and it's really nice to be able to see where referers are coming from and to see when people re-tweet what you've said in another post (which then also sends visitors).

Also, developer Pierre Far (@pierrefar on twitter) is very responsive and open to feedback. In other words he's doing it right.

One thing you forgot to mention: cli.gs uses 301 redirects which potentially benefit SEO purposes.

I'm puzzled why no one has done this before...

Dante Monteverde 09-30-2008 8:23 AM

What happens to the stats after 30 days? Can you somehow import into Google Analytics so you can keep the stats?

Peter A. Prestipino 09-30-2008 9:20 AM

You can export them but I'm not sure about importing them into GA.

JeremyC 10-01-2008 12:37 PM

Hi - You can track TinyURL usage quite easily. Add campaign tracking tags to the URL you submit and they'll show up in the analytics package. E.g. for Google Analytics, use the tag builder and add stuff like "utm_campaign=tinyurl" to make the source completely obvious.

You are correct that this won't catch impressions - but neither does anything else embedded in an email - one of the most popular usages of tinyurl that I see.

I'll go check out cligs, though - anything that makes tracking easier for clients has to be good :)

Peter A. Prestipino 10-01-2008 1:58 PM

A good suggestion JeremyC, but do you even need TinyURL then? Appending URLs with such information requires a lot of planning and coordination on the part of marketing teams - I would much rather have one service to handle it all. And you're right -  the service that makes tracking easier is the one that wins.

JeremyC 10-01-2008 2:20 PM

Oh yes, TnyURL is really useful for email. Some popular mail readers gleefully wordwrap long URLs. On a web site? Nah - not unless you were an affiliate, I suppose - hiding that tracking tag from the technologically illiterate (yes, you can catch the redirect if you want to, enough).

Cligs neat. A new toy. Thanks!

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